January 4, 2009

Oh, my poor heart

Most Filipino gatherings will not start out right without the yummy, heart attack-inducing chicharon (or tsitsaron, since the Filipino alphabet doesn't have the letter C): deep-fried, crunchy pork rind. It is usually served to guests while they're waiting for the food to be brought out to the buffet. Chicharon is available all over the Philippines, but in Metro Manila, the best is probably Lapid's Freshly Popped Chicharon. The skin is so evenly popped and airy, you won't encounter a single tough spot. I think they only have two stores in the entire metro, however, so it's not easy to get. Chicharon comes in two varieties: skin only (the kind in the photo) or may laman, with meat, though the 'meat' is really fat, which becomes crunchy-creamy in the process of deep-frying. Chicharon is best eaten quickly dipped in vinegar, with or without black pepper, chili peppers or garlic. The vinegar mix of Lapid's is so popular they've already packaged it. Chicharon is also very popular as pulutan. I can't think of an exact English translation except for 'bar chow'—you know, the food you munch on while drinking liquor.

Lapid's Freshly Popped Chicharon

19 comments:

brattcat said...

Thanks for your kind comments about my new blog. I think the "Rolls Royce" of Chicharon might be on my no-no list but I loved reading about it.

N.P. said...

Is that fried pork skin?

nobu said...

I have ever had it.
It's delicious.

Ken Mac said...

down south we call these pork rinds!

Sharon said...

Now this is something I recognize. They sell these everywhere here!

Jarart said...

We have these here too, and also call them pork rinds. Used to think they were tasty before we learned about cholesterol.

George said...

Pork rinds are popular here in the mountains of Tennessee, although I'm not sure ours can compete with your 'Rolls Royce' variety.

Abraham Lincoln said...

We like the pig skin after the lard has been rendered out. That is then cut into small pieces and eaten. Some are so hard that they almost break your teeth. Some have a little meat left on them and they are so good. The puffed up ones like you have are sold in stores and they are the skin, like I described above, that are deep fried to puff them up.

You can also take the ones I described that are so hard and put them in a small dish and put the dish i the microwave oven for about 2 minutes. That puffs them up with out deep frying.

We call the ones we eat that are not puffed up, "Cracklins."

mouse (aka kimy) said...

amazing how universal this snack food is...it's popular in many parts of the u.s. as so many of your commenters have noted, however, they aren't often accompanied by dipping sauces.

there is a genre of food called 'bar food'

angela said...

It sounds like pork crackling...I like your description, Hilda, but think I may have to pass on this one..

N.P. said...

It's a very popular in Denmark too. They sell that kind of snacks at supermarkets. But we don't have that in Canada.

marley said...

Pork scratchings here!

Boise Diva said...

I've seen it in stores, but never tried it - it seems a bit scary to me. There's no good reason, fried fat sounds good.

Ruby said...

Yes, familiar to me too as pork crackling. It's often sold behind the counter in pubs in the UK - in fact I think that's the only place I've ever seen it. It'd be interesting to compare the two and see if they are in fact the same!

Zsolt said...

I didnt know that in the Filipino alphabet there is no letter C. Very interesting:) How you say Chicago then?:)

Halcyon said...

These are also very popular in the Southern US, although I suppose we have different brands.

I've never tried them though as I don't eat pork!

Lois said...

I've never been a big fan of pork rinds but that vinegar dipping mix looks good to me!

J. Villanueva Cabrera said...

We do have "C" in our alphabet, so we can call it "CHICHARON", In the USA and Mexico they called this "CHICHARONES"

mkhansen said...

The first President Bush of the US (1988-1992) loved these, and was roundly criticized for championing such a high-fat food. He's still alive and kicking, though.