Innards, whether of pork, beef, chicken or any animal, are not for everyone.
The moment you mention innards to some people, they will block it off and never entertain the idea of putting such stuff in their mouths.
I love innards as long as they’re prepared properly. They have that animal fat in them which can be very tasty. But, when not cleaned properly, innards can taste like a nightmare.
I was in Ilocos Norte doing the TV show “Foodprints” in a place called Dayo where cows, carabaos and goats are traded among residents. In a turo-turo restaurant, I was made to try a dish called papait—raw carabao meat sliced and topped with chopped onions and garlic, then drizzled with papait sauce.
This is how the sauce is made: The carabao is grass-fed, then slaughtered, and the grass removed from its stomach. The juice is then squeezed from it, boiled to high heat, which becomes the sauce that’s poured over the meat.
It was not bad, it was horrible. It had the smell of fresh poo. Whoever invented this must have been drunk.
Haggis from Scotland, on the other hand, is made from sheep innards like the heart, liver and lungs. I’ve never tried it, but I am eager to.
From the pork innards, I love the Ilokano igado , or a dry-toasted bopis made from liver, spleen, heart, etc. If a bit spicy, it would be perfect with a below-zero light beer after a hard badminton game.
Aling Mila’s Chicharon Bulaklak in Angeles City and Hector’s Chicharon Bituka in Pasig, with its slight pungent smell, are winners.
At the University of the Philippines campus, students line up for grilled chicken intestines, heart, IUD, liver or gizzard.
I also love a tender chicken adobo gizzard or a grilled liver with my Bacolod Chicken Inasal. I always order fried beef liver with chicharo and quail eggs at New Toho Food Center on Tomas Pinpin, Binondo.
I also like a well-made callos of beef tripe.
Callos, when newly bought, has an off-putting smell. I like to simmer mine with a little baking soda, vinegar and some water for about 20 minutes just to get rid of that smell. The acid from the vinegar takes care of that.
I have tried many callos dishes. Well made, it is one of my favorite Spanish dishes.
Deedee and Bien Santos made me sample one that their friend, chef Victor Sanchez, makes. I thought it was going to be the usual good-but-not-great dish, so I was totally surprised by this version. It was gelatinous, sticky, rich, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and very tasty. One of the best callos I have ever tried.
I tried to analyze how it was made. I imagine chef Victor boiling the tripe to death in a broth along with the beef mask and ox tail, which have a lot of fat and gelatin in them. You can taste the saltiness of the chorizo, the richness of the broth, the combination of garbanzos and bell peppers.
I had to call Deedee and order some more. Now I have stocks of it in my freezer in case I get a craving. Topped with extra-virgin olive oil and a toasted baguette on the side, it’s a dish to die for.
Chef Victor Sanchez’s callos is made to order, tel. 0917-5777099.
My Japan food tour of Fukuoka/Hiroshima is on Nov. 5-10; Hokkaido, Nov. 19-24; Okinawa, Dec. 10-15.
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