Chicharon Heaven. I am very much on a strict diet at the moment, having fallen off the wagon for several weeks and now struggling to claw my way back if I am to have a hair of a chance of achieving my goal of 170 pounds by May 1â€¦ I went to Megamall just hours ago in search of bottled batwan but was unsuccessful. However, I noticed that there was a â€œNational Trade Fairâ€ in the exhibition halls and smelling food from five stories below, I decided to stop in for a quick look-see. Geez, was that diet death or what? There must have been at least 8 vendors selling chicharon and under the guise of doing this in the supreme service of Marketmanilaâ€™s readers, I purchased three different types of chicharon (9 bags total, because the price is cheaper if you buy 3) which I feature here. If you have a thing for chicharon, and I know SOME of this blogâ€™s readers do, head over to the trade fair right now and stock up. If I pass out from cholesterol shock in the next few hours this will be a fitting last postâ€¦
First up, SLERâ€™s stunningly large piece Chicharon or Pork Cracklings from Cagayan de Oro. These massive, substantial pieces with heft, but no laman, are so large they are curling back on themselves like a recently unrolled banig or mat. The bag is quaintly tied with real twine (no synthetics here) and upon opening, you can literally inhale the fat. I never realized you could taste fat from simply sniffing deeply from a bag of chicharon! The ingredients list states porkskin, salt, MSG and spices. This was very good. And the bag I had was obviously very fresh. I liked the consistency, weightiness (smack in the middle to heavier mass) and taste of this product. I am not keen on MSG but I suppose that is what makes it so attractive to oneâ€™s palate. PHP100 for a huge bag with about 250 grams. See their website at slers.com or contact them at 88-8551437 or 0917-7068911.
Next up, Chicha-rabao or CARABAO chicharon. How could I resist? The texture is the puffiest of the three purchased today, with light, tasty almost gamey flavor (or am I just imaging it?)â€¦ It kind of looks and feels like puffed cheese balls, without the cheese flavor. It comes in garlic and hot & spicy versions; I tried both and prefer the spicy one. Oddly, the fat must be difficult to remove from the skin as some pieces look distinctly like they include a bit of skin and hairâ€¦ But the taste is interesting, more complex and not as heavily fat laden as other chicharons. Manufactured by the Lighthouse Cooperative in Tuguegarao, Cagayan North, they can be reached as 78-8466003. If only for lively pulutan conversation, you should have some of this at your next chicharon buffet! PHP100 for 3 packages of about 70-80 grams each.
Finally, the most usual looking chicharon under the Porky Best Brand. We had a free taste of this one and they were cooking up fresh batches right there in front of you so I thought this would be a good choice. It has smaller more manageable pieces with a good flavor and taste. A product of Davao, it is made up of pork skins, salt and spices (not sure if they lump MSG in with spicesâ€¦). Sorry, no contact numbers on their packaging. These were PHP35 per package of about 100 grams. Oh well, this counts as protein, doesnâ€™t it??? Trade Fair is on-going until Sunday, March 18th, I think.