Chicharon, chicharon… where art thou?

It’s not like I don’t have a chicharon entry in this blog. I do. An old one with with a lousy photo taken with a lousy cam phone. Last Sunday, though, despite plans to watch Die Hard 4 that went awry because the queues were just impossible, I took time out to take photos of the various kinds of chicharon from the same stall in front of the supermarket at Robinson’s Metro East. This time, I used a real camera — my husband’s.

See, it’s difficult to talk about the different kinds of chicharon without good illustrations. Besides, it’s kinda nice to drool over food photos. :twisted:

casaveneracion.com chicharon baboy

Chicharon means “crackling” traditionally eaten as a finger food with a dipping sauce made of vinegar, salt, chopped onions, garlic and chili peppers. Older generations knew it as pork cracklings (chicharong baboy) probably because the oldest and most common variety of chicharon is the kind made with pork rind. The rind is boiled in salted water until tender, dried under the sun then deep fried until puffy and crisp.

It may also be ground and sprinkled on food as in the case of pancit luglog. It can also replace sauteed pork in stews (try using chicharon in your mongo guisado).

But even chicharong baboy has sub-varieties. Some are made with pork rind only. Others — and this is the kind I really love — has a layer of fat underneath the rind. This layer of fat turns puffy and crisp too during deep frying.

Not as widely available but more highly-prized than the best cooked chicharong baboy is the chicharong bulaklak (below).

casaveneracion.com chicharon bulaklak

While you can get so much rind and fat from a single hog, you’ll get only one piece of omentum. Contrary to some claims, chicharon bulaklak is NOT made from pork intestines but from the omentum. Actually, there is a greater omentum (the fatty sac covering the small intestines) and lesser omentum (the organ that connects the stomach to the liver) and which one becomes chicharon bulaklak is something I still have to discover.

I used to be able to buy thoroughly cleaned omentum neatly packed in styrofoam trays from Robinson’s Supermarket but I haven’t cooked chicharon bulaklak at home in years. The cooking part is simple; it is finding good quality — and clean — omentum that is the bigger challenge.

Another popular variety of pork chicharon is the chicharon bituka (below). Bituka means intestines and, ergo, chicharon bituka should not be confused with chicharon bulaklak. The latter, for me, is the gastronomic experience to die for — figuratively, of course. :razz:

casaveneracion.com chicharon bituka

Both the large and small intestines can be cooked as chicharon (the small ones are also known as isaw). Personally, I prefer the large intestines because they can be cleaned thoroughly. Just fit the end of the intestine onto the faucet spout and let the water run through the length of the intestine until it runs clear. This is how I clean cow’s intestines too for kare-kare.

casaveneracion.com chicharon balat ng manok (chicken skin)

While crisp chicken skin has always been a “must” for good fried chicken, selling them separately as chicharon is a relatively new phenomenon. Chicharong balat ng manok (above) is very popular today.

The only kind of chicharon I haven’t tried (and probably never will) is the kind made with chicken intestines (below). I just don’t see how they can be flushed with running water to get rid of everything inside them.

casaveneracion.com chicharon isaw (chicken intestines)

Nevertheless, probably because they are much cheaper, chicharong bituka ng manok have become popular too. In fact, chicken intestines even come in grilled barbecue form.

So, we come to the end of this high-cholesterol entry. The fashionably health-conscious stay away from chicharon in any form but I don’t believe in deprivation. I do eat chicharon but not everyday. Once every two or three months is more like it. :)

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Comments

  1. says

    Like Tapsilog and Pakaplog, chicharon has come of age — they are now known by their nicknames: “Chibit” for Chicharon Bituka and “Chilak” for Chicharon Bulaklak. Check out the chicharon stand at Shopwise for the rest of the nicks. Ang saya! :-D

    • rowena says

      To clean the chicken intestine is to use barbecue stick to turn it inside out then wash with water usually we soak it in vinegar and salt para malinis talaga

  2. cel says

    mmmm… i love chicharong bulaklak. madalas magluto nyan ang lola ko nung bata pa kami. masarap yan iulam sa kanin. chicharong balat ng manok lang ang pwedeng kainin ng isang friend ko due to religious reasons. pero grabe naman kung makakain, parang wala ng bukas. hahaha!

    yung bituka ng manok naman, ako palagi ang pinaglilinis ng bituka kapag nagpapatay kami ng manok. my dad showed us how to clean it. basically, you invert the intestine by pushing one end inward and then forward hanggang mabaligtad na. i would use a stick that’s thin enough to get through the tiny hole. oi, napakatrabaho nga lang so i dont know how they clean those big batches of intestines.

    anyway, your photos always look so enticing. i swear i always end up cooking something after visiting your site. no wonder tumataba kami lahat dito sa bahay. haaay…

  3. Ube says

    Who can resist chicharon especially the pork rind with meaty meat underneath the puffed skin with good spicy vinegar sawsawan? Only chcken feathers go to waste now to the whole chicken is edible! Way to go chicken!

  4. dhayL says

    oh i love all kinds/variety of chicharon! even when i was a kid, i had my share of experience in terms of selling ihaw-ihaw in the afternoon in front of our house! i even eat bituka ng manok too, i was allowed to eat only because my aunt prepares and cooks them and for us to sell after, so we know that it is cleaned properly! but one thing i remember is that after cleaning the chicken bituka, she would let it boil, throw the water out, let it boil again and repeat the same step a few times….

    after seeing your photos, i am now wondering how can i get some chicharong bituka at the nearest filipino store knowing that they’ll be closed when i get off work today! :(

  5. says

    only in the Philippines:

    Lapid’s Chicharon Drive Thru almost at the end of Shaw Blvd going to JRU- almost a clone of the one along white plains katipunan

    Same great smelling, crunchy tasting, moment on your lips and a life lifetime on your hips experience.

  6. says

    Ay, I just ate some chicharon (the one with the fat layer) last night. Am hypertensive but can’t resist. Just made the excuse that I had lots of garden salad along with it. LOL.

  7. Anna says

    hi, i love chicharon, i came from the visayas region and its one of our delicacies there.
    anywaze, im a 1st time mom to be and its really hard to prepare a proper diet for me. can you recommend some quick meals for bfast, lunch and dinner? thanks so much.

  8. says

    The photos seem to reach out to me, Connie. Its like saying “Take me home, take me home!” LOL!

    I can almost feel my head spinning and my nape hurting a bit. I don’t eat chicharon nowadays, not since my gall bladder was removed. But before that? We are chicharon fiend family, that variety that can be bought in Bohol with a bit of fat under the skin. Very tasty, very crunchy, very dangerous, very expensive. Php350/bag. The kids still love to eat chicharon though.

  9. Janet says

    My mouth is watering! My favorite is chicharon bulalak which I dont know where to buy here in San Diego.

    Thanks for the great photos! It makes me feel close to home kahit sa picture man lang!

  10. Rose says

    Damn is all I can say. That is the most cholesterol, fat-laden and *delicious* tray of snacks I’ve ever seen :) I’m now having a massive craving for crispy roasted pork (the only thing that comes close here…), but I’ve overindulged last week and it’ll only make me feel sick :/ People who are way too careful about fat in food (aside from those with medical issues) piss me off, lol. I believe in not depriving yourself as well as long as everything’s eaten in moderation. I didn’t deprive myself of much when I started my weight loss programme last year and I still managed to lose 7 kg.

  11. brenda says

    Chicharon from Carcar in Cebu is also good. They have the regular and the special (with fat) with a whooping P500/kilo.

  12. says

    Ate Connie,
    Ay nakakagutom naman! I’m drooling for Lapid’s Chicharon. Magkano kaya magpa-FedEx ng Chicaron? $45 ang minimum international. It’s not being OA but the chicharon around here doesn’t come close to what we have there in the Philippines. The last time I had them, a cousin who went to the home brought some back then sent it to me via postal mail. Pero kung galing sa Pilipinas via post office, makunat na pagdating dito. Buti nalang hindi ako naglilihi kung hindi I’ll spend for the FedEx.

  13. peterb says

    Just had some chicharon with laman last night while having dinner. Crunchy chicharon with spicy suka! Panalo!

  14. brenda says

    hayyy… ang tagal ng walang bagong post si Connie…. I hope you’re not sick, maybe just too busy…

    been checking everyday for new post, and will always do.

    take care

  15. misao says

    it’s been years since i last ate chilak and chibits! your post is close to making me drool… my college friends and i used to drop by sta. lucia mall (on our way home) to eat chilak and chibits. it has become some sort of 30-min bonding activity for us… and everytime someone new would accompany us on the way home, we would ask them to try eating it with softee (soft ice cream).

  16. ruby says

    a good side dish with chicharron is “pico de gallo” (rooster’s beak, but of course it has abosolutely nothing to do with a rooster’s beak). anyway, you’ll need diced red tomatoes, onions, sileng labuyo, cilantro, and avocado. sprinkle it with salt and mix. eat it with corn tortilla or even with flour tortilla. it’s very good. this is something i learned here in mexico. they dont eat the chicharron with rice. always with tortilla.

    another way to eat chicharron too is with green or red salsa…that is if you like to eat soggy chicharron. you’ll need green or red tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cilantro and salt. blend together, then pour into the pan, boil it with the chicharron until it becomes soft. serve with tortillas.

  17. queenie says

    woooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww!it’s been a century maybe that i didn’t eat chicharon.i will try to make it maybe this weekend although very difficult to find clean pork meat here in Lebanon. But the sooner or later i have to make it!! few fats to be earned? duh!no big deal just 3 hours ride in the treadmill. (OMG, say it again, 3 hours?)

  18. chunky says

    bawal ang magkasakit! kaya lang…kasi naman…ang sarap! i really avoid this stuff now, probably a piece or two will do…para lang masabing nakatikim. pinoy food is so deliciously sinful no? i was at robinson’s last night and I just stared at the chicharon and it stared back at me. I won. hahahah!

  19. lorna aranilla says

    its me again, can i ask for the chicharon recipe, the pork rind recipe? i have a recipe for this but sometimes,it doesnt turn out good, is there a secret ba?

    lorna

  20. jeffrey says

    hi te connie..

    ask lang ako nang favor about chicharon, i really love eating but i also want to know how to cook it. tnx..

  21. goofy says

    thanks for all this info. i think of some of this as southern (american) style cooking. but with different names. i am learning to grow and process my own chickens and have been looking for something useful to do with the intestines. :)

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