Bulalo / Bone Marrow


Bulalo or bone marrow is one of those ingredients you either love or hate. I do love it. But I rarely indulge due to the levels of cholesterol involved. And I feel that it tastes best when simply roasted and served with some good salt, as the flavors are more intense, concentrated and sublime. But there is nothing like a large bowl of beef bulalo on a Sunday evening while it’s raining cats and dogs outside. This version of bulalo was definitely more the Cebuano style with green onions, corn and other stuff. And it was served with raw chopped onions, tomatoes and eggplant as a side dish or condiment. It was a superb dinner, but since I have already done a post on bulalo, and puchero, I figured I would just do this short post on the bulalo itself…


Scooped out with this single-purpose implement, a bone-marrow spoon with two sizes of scoops at either end of it, this was a treat to be savored. Soft, silky, gelatinous and flavorful (though less so than a baked version), this is the stuff that many foodies around the planet speak of with such fondness or even reverence as foie gras, caviar, etc. The smell of this delicacy was so beguiling that our chocolate labrador couldn’t resist a prolonged sniff while I was trying to snap a photograph! But she has incredible self control and remained inches away; if this had been any of the five german sherpherds I grew up with, the bones would have been gone in a flash! But this indulgence will cost me… at 196 pounds and creeping up on the 200 pounds I swore I would never reach, I am now embarking on a 10 week program of increased physical activity and more healthy eating habits. I want to be ready for the November Lechon Eyeball and holiday season that comes after that! :)



48 Responses

  1. Hello MM, Good luck on your program. Lots of self control and discipline will be required to achieve your desired weight. You can do it! Love the Spoon as well…

  2. Where did you buy the spoon MM? I remember fighting with my sisters, brother and dad for the bones with marrow when we had bulalo for sunday lunch. that’s a fond memory as i have not had bulalo in ages (bad for me).

    Sorry MM but I just had to ask and this is off topic. I saw a picture of a salt platter in Foodie. This was for a trip to New York by Myrna Seguismundo and Jill Sandique who dined at Per Se. Pardon my ignorance but I couldn’t understand why they had 9 containers for salt – it was quite intriguing. I know you talked about kosher salt in a previous post so would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks

  3. Wow what a coincidence! We’re having bulalo for lunch today.

    MM, I remember you use La Germania here in Manila for cooking as your Viking is in Batangas. Are you happy with La Germania?
    What can you say about Smeg free-standing stove & range which uses gas? Ok din ba?

  4. Tricia, our La Germania or ELBA in the city works reasonably well, but I find with our constant use, it only has a an expected life of roughly 5-6 years before it quite literally is headed out the door. For normal household use, it might have an 8+ life. I get the feeling our Viking will last some 15-20 years at least… I am not familiar with SMEG, though it is a well-known brand elsewhere… Maria, the sterling silver bulalo spoon was a gift from sister, it is a Tiffany & Co. hallmarked piece from the mid 1800’s or so, I think. I was going to attempt to have it replicated by a silversmith here in the Philippines but I haven’t found one who can work with this much weight of silver in one piece… Saltpeter is a chemical, potassium nitrate or sometimes sodium nitrate that is used in conjunction with salt to preserve meats such as ham, sausages and in some cases, even tapas and tocinos. I have yet to read Foodie so I am not familiar with the article you are referring to… and have no idea why they had 9 containers of salt other than if they were presenting several different kinds of salt as options to diners… We stock at least 8+ salts in our own pantry at the moment… :) sister, no kidding, amazing what brother-in-law statements will do to PREVENT crossing 200 pounds!

  5. unknown, I have allowed your comment in, which had been moderated, for one reason – to respond to it… If you have such a strong reaction to the marrow, and yes, our lab would absolutely love it as well… then I hope you are at least a vegetarian if not a fruitarian so that I wouldn’t burst out laughing if it turns out you have EVER eaten a hotdog, spam, or corned beef in your lifetime… do some research and see what goes into THAT. One really should look at the broader perspective of food likes and dislikes before being so certain about how something does or does not taste good… And despite my quip about cholesterol up top in the post, here is something to dwell upon, and I quote:

    “(those who do not eat or enjoy marrow…) is a shame, because eating marrow is a tasty, textural experience similar to eating foie gras, plus it’s good for you. Unlike all other beef fats, marrow is mainly monounsaturated and contains iron, phosphorous, vitamin A, and trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. In the nineteenth century, it was regarded as a HEALTH FOOD and given to invalids and sickly children to improve their strength. And Queen Victoria, who died at the ripe old age of eighty-one, was a lover of bone marrow, reputedly eating it every day…. “

    Jennifer McLagan in her book “Fat” by 10 Speed Press

    “bone marrow, one of God’s great gifts to serious eaters…”

    Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook by Bloomsbury Publishing

    So there. :)

  6. hi MM! I so totally agree that bone marrow is one of God’s great gift… love it cooked in anyway… baked, in bulalo soup, with steak…

    i would risk being in my high range of cholesterol level and in a little pain just to eat this stuff… even my brother loves it better than foie (which he also consumes a lot)!

  7. Your chocolate lab is adorable! Give her more than a sniff of the bulalo, please???? I can absolutely see the longing in her eyes!

  8. Cecile J, she is on a STRICT diet of specific foods due to allergies… she’s harder to feed than a human! For some reason, brown labs have an incredible propensity to allergies and the like, probably because they are somewhat considered mutants of a nice sort… :)

  9. hi marketman!!!!!!!!

    i absolutely agree with you that bone mnarrow is one of the best food!!!!!!!!even topchefs in new york city loves this……i have seen them in afc channel ang travel and living….!

  10. I had bulalo for super heavy breakfast today. Because my next meal would be dinner. I’m Catholic but since I’m here in UAE I’ll observe fasting for ramadan. :)

  11. MM, thanks for the reply. Viking is really a dream so I would have to settle for a Smeg & La Germania for now hehe.

    As for the bone marrow, my son loves it! He is on gluten-free,casein-free diet. He eats only chicken skin, gfcf spaghetti and bulalo. That’s probably why he rarely get sick and if he does, it only takes a few days at the most.

  12. MM, bone marrow is one of the reasons while i love osso bucco! i hope you can cook it one of these days and show us how. it kinda looks complicated to make, basing from just reading the various versions of its recipe. i could just imagine your gorgeous photos of this dish! love your lechon sisig post by the way, and looking forward to taste in on EB.

  13. “(those who do not eat or enjoy marrow…) is a shame, because eating marrow is a tasty, textural experience similar to eating foie gras, plus it’s good for you. Unlike all other beef fats, marrow is mainly monounsaturated and contains iron, phosphorous, vitamin A, and trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. In the nineteenth century, it was regarded as a HEALTH FOOD and given to invalids and sickly children to improve their strength. And Queen Victoria, who died at the ripe old age of eighty-one, was a lover of bone marrow, reputedly eating it every day….”

    Well, that makes me even love bone marrow more!

  14. so that’s why i couldn’t find it in your archives, i misspelled it with 2 Cs! my bad! sorry. i knew you would have great photos of it, and i hope i could try making your recipe one of these days. thanks a lot MM!

  15. Aw, what a sweet photo of the Lab mere inches away from the delicious bones! She must have so much self-control to keep from grabbing a bone away from you.

    I am in the lovers of marrow camp, it’s great on toast, super on rice. Ten weeks of healthy eating with the looming feasts to look forward to, totally worth it!

  16. ay naku MM..this continuing saga of your (over)weight. problem is you eat too well! and everything you eat isn’t good unless with lots of rice. if i were living in manila it would be hard to resist eating like you do. buti na lang there are “designer” pinoy food resto’s so i can still have the flavor but in small portions. discipline!

  17. No offense intended MM. I felt there should be some parts of the carcass left for animals to eat.

    Yes, I had been vegetarian/fruitarian for a while now. I never believed I could become one and it gets easy as time rolls by. My Indian co-workers had a big influence on my change/shift of eating; with no religious Hindu bearings of course.

    For meat eaters out there, I apologize.

  18. Nice spoon – although the reference to a single-use implement threw me off for a while until I realized you meant single-purpose! (To me, single use is an item you only use once, like a paper plate or a plastic fork – not good for the environment at all.)
    I’m not a huge fan of bulalo, although I appreciate it in a good soup and in tiny doses. One French preparation for it is quite simple – consists of slathering the marrow on a thin slice of lightly toasted (that stage just before it browns) good bread. Funnily enough, I’ve met enough Frenchies who blanch at the thought of eating innards (marrow, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads) to belie the image of them being quintessential gourmets.

  19. Well, I guess I am one of the few who do not eat bone marrow nor have any inclination of trying it. I think it is the mouth feel of it, not the taste that I don’t like, sorry. I enjoyed the post though and realize how many enjoy and love it.

  20. Maria, on purchasing bone marrow spoon, try William Sonoma, maybe not at as beautiful as MM’s but functional.You can try Martha Stewart’s web site.
    I cooked my marrow with just salt and pepper and tie it with 2 blanced onion to keep the marrow intact.

  21. unknown, I wish I had indian friends who could teach me how to eat/cook all those flavorful vegetarian indian dishes… I don’t eat bulalo simply because i don’t like the texture, but I did thoroughly enjoy the one time I had roasted bone marrow at Pepato. Sprinkled with salt and spread on warm crusty bread, I could really taste the intense marrow flavor without enduring the squishy gelatinous texture I dislike so much.

  22. I love bone marrow! Concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy be damned. LOL.

    I like it cooked the Western way (roasted), and I like it cooked the Pinoy Southern Tagalog way (in piping hot broth).

    You’ve just made my mouth water and my stomach grumble. :)

  23. Love the picture with your lab. Always wanted a chocolate lab but now that you say they are prone to allergies, have a strict diet,etc. Makes me thing twice about it. I am not able to watch over my pets as much as I’d like. Just my cat who is low maintenance. But it is such an adorable picture of self-restraint. And I love bulalo too.

  24. Many thanks MM for the reply – heirloom pieces such as your bulalo spoon are useful not just for the obvious but for the history. I look forward to your post on the salt taster platter when you’ve read the latest Foodie magazine.

  25. Marketman, my computer’s getting ruined by all the salivating I do when I read your posts. Thanks (for the posts, not on behalf of my computer).

    On ranges – these gas top/electric oven jobs seem good, but they’re not tough at all. Make sure that the oven door has a double-glazed front. I had a SMEG once with a single glass pane, and it just blew up one day when I forgot to turn off the grill – scattered the whole kitchen with tiny shards of glass.

  26. Richard, I completely agree with you on the durability issue, and the locally sourced ovens we have purchased haven’t laste very long at all. However, I did notice a PHP200,000 industrial looking La Germania at Anson’s Appliances one day… it looked pretty durable, but at those prices, I would stretch a bit to get a WOLF or VIKING which is more capable of taking serious use/abuse… after all things like oven doors are closed with one’s feet in a serious kitchen…. :) zena, yes, be forewarned, chocolate labroadors are a medical bill nightmare… incredibly cute and nice, but need blue cross blue shield major medical coverage for true peace of mind. Myra P, yes, the roasted version is less gooey and more flavorful… El Cirkulo also does a nice version… Homebuddy, texture does matter. It’s the same reason I am less of a tripe fan than I should be… Emily, you are completely correct, of course, single-purpose rather than single-use, I have updated the post, many thanks! unknown, thanks. mikel, yes, the issue is the hazards of this blog… frankly, I wonder how Giada di Laurentis manages to maintain such a slim figure and cook so much… I kind of buy the don’t trust the thin cook saying… :) But I just need to consume less as I get older. Lex all the most delicious things are deadly… foie gras, bulalo, crispy pata, chicharon, etc.! Mila, yes, the lab knows when not to grab. Readers not to worry, she has lots of yummy treats throughout the day…

  27. Sorry could not help but comment on the spoon. That would be perfect for when Uyab and I would eat at Kansi in Palanan. I could scoop up all the marrow without having to wrestle with a hot bone. *lol* Fits nicely in a handbag too.

    MM, good luck with your 10-week health program. It is so hard NOT to eat when one’s primary passion is food. Mine sure is and it shows! Hehehe…

    I love Giada and if I didn’t see her INHALE food inevery episode of her every show, I wouldn’t believe she had such a passion for food.

  28. I remember fighting with my siblings on who gets to have the biggest chunk of bone containing the most marrow when we would have kansi or bulalo! I also remember begging my father to drive us so we could buy bulalo from Bilbao’s Eatery downtown or at Shopping. But hypertension runs in the family, so kelangan mag ingat na. But bulalo with lots of bone marrow on a rainy day is simply heaven.

  29. Bone marrow is one of my favorite things! I remember when I was a kid, my dad would divvy up the bulalo for us…a much sought after food!

  30. Hi Rhea, there’s a cheaper bulalo place in Libertad Extension. The cansi houses in Shopping are terribly overpriced and overrated. Bilbao is not the same as before…. katilaw ka na sa Sanings?

  31. bone marrow is sooo yummy! :-) when i was pregnant with my two kids, my husband( a doctor) would let me eat to my heart’s content all the nilagang baka with bone marrow during my 1st trimester cos that’s when the baby supposedly needs it the most especially for the brain. who was i to argue? :-)

  32. Hi Lee, the best kansi for me is still the one of Sharyn’s in Shopping. Every time I go home to Bacolod, I make it a point to bring kansi to Manila. :-)

    Hi Marketman, your roast bulalo sounds interesting. My bulalo experience has been limited to kansi from Bacolod, puchero from Cebu and bulalo from Manila… Care to share your roast bulalo recipe? :-)

  33. Hi Lee, haven’t tried Saning’s yet… but it’s on the list now for best places to eat for when I go home this December. Thanks for the tip.

  34. hi yang…. corner eatery in libertad extension has kansi priced at P 70.00 compared to the shopping cansihans who overcharge at P 180.00!!! there’s also KBL at 35 pesos, and a lot of sud-an at reasonable prices………. marroooooow

  35. i LOVE bone marrow.. my dogs do too. =) it’s actually very good for their teeth but the bones must be given raw (frozen is even better.. they last longer).

    i have to admit though.. my dogs get the treat much more often than i do. they get it once a week and i can’t even remember the last time i had some!

    by the way: i have a german shepherd & a rottweiler. your chocolate lab is adorable!

  36. hi.tnx for your article n d comments frm readers.my bayaw had his high blood pressure n serum cholesterols brought down to normal n 2 wks by dr navarro wd his prescription f bone marrow frm bulalo n 4 eggs a day as sources f choline n lecithin to dissolve d bad cholesterol n his veins.if bone marrow s monounsaturated fat,then its not really bad for our health which is mainly the presumption of many people! happy eating!



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