It’s NOT chicken, it’s barbecued intestines!
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Pinoy Isaw

My husband and I went to Hongkong for our honeymoon about two years ago. We chanced upon a small stall at a corner of the street while doing our night shopping. They were selling grilled stuff, and out of homesickness, my husband and I bought a couple of ring-like stuff on a stick. Neither of us knew how to speak Chinese, so Marc pointed at the the ring-like things and indicated he wanted two. The lady said it’s “chicken.”

The ring-like stuff on the stick looked exactly like our Filipino isaw, which was barbecued pork intestines. For the sake of just keeping the conversation short (it was pretty hopeless trying to explain that we knew exactly what those grilled food were, the language barrier can get really frustrating), we simply asked how much and paid for our orders.

They cook isaw differently in Hongkong—I remember the lady placed the intestines in a vat of boiling water—whereas here, it’s pretty straightforward: Grill! Some pre-cook the food before grilling, but bottom line, isaw has to be grilled or it won’t be isaw at all (well, for me at least).

Isaw marinade differs depending on who made it, but it’s usually sweet (considering the Filipinos’ penchant for sweet food) and tangy. Some are even spicy. The isaw itself is chewy with a bit of a crunchy and smokey grilled taste. Dip it in a bottle of vinegar with local chilies and Tagalog onions… Yum! Definitely a heart attack waiting to happen (isaw is so rich and fatty, I feel guilty just imagining myself eating it), but hey it doesn’t hurt having a few once in a while 😀

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