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How Well Do You Know Your Chicharon?

October 20, 2014

Whether enjoyed with your favorite beer, brought home after a grocery run, or included among the essential Pinoy party dishes, chicharon has and always will be part of the Filipino’s daily or occasional food ritual. Some of us favor the crispy thin skin of a cocktail chicharon, while others prefer the harder but saltier bite of chicharon na laman. Chicharon originated from Andalucia, Spain (where it’s spelled as chicharrón) and other variations of this familiar snack can be had as well in Latin American countries such as Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, and Argentina.

1. Cocktail Chicharon

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The chicharon we usually snack on is referred to as “cocktail chicharon” at R. Lapid’s, highlighting this variant as one of the best types of pulutan. The pig skin is deep fried so that it’s thick enough to give that satisfying crack upon each bite. The crispy pig skin is savory on its own, but soak each piece in vinegar to make it a little tender for continuous consumption. Monterey also sells its own variant of pig skin chicharon in salted and chili vinegar flavors. For a cheaper yet just as tastier fix, pop by the convenience store and hoard a few bags of Chicharon ni Mang Juan.

2. Chicharon with Laman

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These are the pork rinds that are a bit tougher but much tastier from the first bite to the last smack on your lips. The addition of fat and meat to the deep frying process lets you enjoy pork in all its dangerous yet delicious glory. Each piece curls up more than the cocktail chicharon, since the former only contains the pork skin and not the fat. Apart from Lapid’s, Guby’s Chicharon Espesyal at SM Bicutan serves 50g to 1kg of Chicharon Laman. In the States, Filipinos can always return to the taste of home with Elena’s Lapid Chicharon and its “May-Laman” and “Mini May-Laman” varieties.

3. Chicharon with Special Laman

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R. Lapid’s gives double the meat, plus the pork fat and skin in the chicharon with special laman. Pork loin bits are deep fried to give a crunchier texture to most Filipino’s favorite “ulam.” For a truly special kind of “laman,” visitors to Cebu can indulge in the deep fried pig skin from Germany or Belgium in Zubuchon’s own chicharon, which promises actual meat to each bite.

4. Chicharon Bilog

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Chicharon Bilog lets you enjoy pork belly with thicker and saltier pieces to bite into. This variation is recommended for those who want something fuller in each crunch.

5. Chicharon Bulaklak

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I grew up accompanying my mom to most of her grocery runs and she’d always end the trip by buying herself a bag of peanuts. These salty peanuts also happened to be right beside an entire glass showcasing my favorite chicharon of them all: chicharon bulaklak. A tiny bag of this deep-fried ruffled fat never seemed enough. You can’t miss these stalls after exiting the supermarket counter: just follow the scent of those roasted peanuts.

6. Chicharon Bituka

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Offal doesn’t always have to be prepared over a grill; chicharon bituka or deep fried pork intestine is enjoyed in bite-sized bits. Guby’s Chicharon Espesyal also sells bituka at 30g as large as 1KG weights. Choose according to your desired heart attack.

What is your favorite type of chicharon? Where do you buy your favorite chicharon type in Manila? Do you have any recommendations of places to buy from in Manila and in other provinces? Let us know in the comments section below!

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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15 comments in this post SHOW

15 responses to “How Well Do You Know Your Chicharon?”

  1. Veronica Ester Mendoza says:

    Chicharon with special laman is my fave. However, some R.Lapid branches (Rustan’s Supermarket in Shangrila Plaza) carry the chicharon durog. This one is great for toppings on pancit, instant mami or lomi, and even sinangag.

    One can also get chicharon with laman at Merced Bakeshop & Restaurant along EDSA corner Quezon Ave. My dad introduced me to this in the 80s.

    • gela velasco says:

      Such a heart stopping touch, chicharon as toppings! But definitely worth trying 😀 Thanks for the tip on Merced 🙂

  2. Volts Sanchez says:

    Chicharron ni Mang Juan is NOT an effective substitute. It just won’t kill you nearly as fast 😉

  3. This post is pure evil. *drools*

  4. hehehe says:

    I buy ready to cook chicharon with laman from Pampanga, at about P500 per kilo. Every time I do so, I lessen my lifespan by a year. But it’s soooo worth it. 😛

  5. CJ Aguilar says:

    Daboy Special Backfat Chicharon is another killer! (pun intended)

  6. Shayne says:

    Well I guess I was oblivious all my life. I didn’t know there was an actual variety of chicharon, but for as long as I can remember chicharon bilog has been a staple in my family’s pantry.

    shayneblogs.com

  7. JEDCO says:

    Check out the chicharon from Car-car City, Cebu. Its better than Lapid’s.

  8. dog1ph says:

    so what’s the diff between RL Lapids and Lapids (white plains branch where you drive up and the now extinct drive through along shaw blvd mandaluyong area…yes that was the only one of its kind….I think)?

  9. Karen says:

    I thought chicharon bilog is the one being sold by the balut vendors(one that had baluts and penoy in baskets wrapped with hot cloth then they have the chicaron hanging in the basket) that were shaped in small round ball, very thin skin and all air inside:-)

  10. Jay says:

    Have you ever heard of a store in Libertad Pasay that sells the best tasting chicharon bituka and chicharon bulaklak around the area?

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