Food Blogger Cliche: My Top 5 Offal Dishes

Last time I wrote about Food Blogger Cliches (Healthy Foods), it made me imagine a sunny, smiling, healthy-eating woman, maybe someone like Giada De Laurentiis.

For this installment of Food Blogger Cliches, let’s imagine someone else: a dark, chain-smoking, adventure-seeking Anthony Bourdain.

Fans of the chef are well-familiar with his tendency for trying all kinds of offal – organ meats from internal organs and entrails of an animal. I, too, have a certain inclination for eating those kinds of meats: the things that could make other people either say “eww” or “oohh!”

I’m from the Philippines, where nose-to-tail eating is a normal way of life, so I don’t consider these things exotic or adventurous. I do, however, consider them utterly delicious.

Most foodies don’t flinch when they see the word “offal” in a menu.  In fact, it has become pretty mainstream in the US.  Whether it’s just a trend or already a cliche, I made a quick list of some of the best offal dishes I’ve eaten.

My Favorite Offal Dishes (Vegans, Please Look Away)

1) Liver

Whether it’s prepared the Filipino way (above, with soy sauce and onions, always served with hot rice), or with wine, olive oil, butter, and onions, in pates served with crostini, or even in liverwurst, I hardly ever turn down a chance to eat liver.

Special mention under liver is Foie Gras, which is the liver of a fattened goose.

This is the foie gras nigiri at O Ya, where I had the most extravagant meal of my life.

2. Sweetbreads

Sweetbread is NOT dessert.

It is the thymus gland or pancreas of a calf.

When I went to Dallas a few months ago, I tried a stew with pieces of offal called Sonofabitch. Not only did it have sweetbreads and liver, it also had chunks of beef heart, beef tongue, and beef tenderloin. It was very good.

3. Pig Tail

No, not the hairstyle!

You know the cute curly tails of pigs? This is it. The one pictured above is from Coppa, roasted with a sweet and spicy mostarda glaze. I also like the crispy fried pig tails at Craigie on Main.

4) Bone Marrow

It was only here in the US where I learned to eat bone marrow with crostini; I was used to eating it with soup or an osso bucco stew. This fatty and unctuous dish elicits a love or hate reaction from most people I know. I’m certainly on the former side.

5. Lengua or Beef Tongue

I really like the lengua tacos at Anna’s Taqueria, but the best beef tongue dish I’ve ever had is the one made by my Tita Ine at home: braised lengua in a creamy mushroom sauce. I think about this dish weeks before I go home to the Philippines, and my friends love it as much as I do.  Out of all the offal in this list, the lengua at home is my favorite.

Do you eat offal, too?


15 Responses to “Food Blogger Cliche: My Top 5 Offal Dishes”

  1. #
    Rhonda posted August 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I have had lengua tacos before and I am so ready to try everything you have listed here! We recently got a restaurant here called the Salty Sow that emphasizes nose to tail eating and I plan to go there very soon!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      How fun! I bet the food there will be very interesting!

  2. #
    Kitchen Butterfly posted August 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I havent ever shied from eating offal, but I love the creative ways they are shared here. I need to try bone marrow and sweetbread as all the rest are pretty much familiar ground to me! Thanks for sharing

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      I definitely recommend bone marrow – just a little bit tastes so decadent!

  3. #
    Monica posted August 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I haven’t tried all of these but I’m a big fan of bone marrow and I like hot, seared foie gras in moderation (pretty much the only way to eat it). Have a great week ahead, Bianca.

  4. #
    Michelle posted August 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    “Vegans, Please Look Away”—too funny! I do like (most) offal. I’ve never had liver the Filipino way, though. Must remedy that. Sounds delicious!

  5. #
    Natalie posted August 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

    You’re brave, All of those dishes scare me lol

  6. #
    Megan posted August 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    That pig tail at Coppa is sooo good!

  7. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted August 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Well, I don’t think I’d be as adventurous as you with some of these foods…but liver and tongue are big jewish delicacies as well, so i’ve had those! Maybe i’ll be brave enough to try some others some day…

  8. #
    Jeremy Krantz posted August 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I absolutely love bone marrow and try to advocate for that dish. I think that most people who haven’t tried it should at least try it however not all of the dishes are equal. Places like Eastern Standard, Toro and Craigie on Main do a much, much better job with it than others who serve it but act like poseurs. I think that bone marrow at Russel House Tavern is underwhelming. That being said, it’s also something that you can prepare yourself very easily, which I’ve done and which is worth doing. You can get bones at Savenor’s for a couple of bucks instead of the $9-$11 price places will charge for it.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Hey Jeremy! I agree. I think Eastern Standard and Toro do it well. The picture above is from Barcelona Brookline, and they’re pretty awesome, too. I started roasting bone marrow at home, too, and serving it with toast points (or steak)!

  9. #
    Meghan M. (@TraveleatloveMM) posted August 13, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Very interesting post! I have steered clear of most of these, to be very honest, but I do like marrow.

  10. #
    Amy (Savory Moments) posted August 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I need to get more offal in my life. I tried liver recently and didn’t really like it. But, I need to try it in some new ways. I love that bone marrow photo.

  11. #
    Mellie Walks posted October 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Nice post! I love all of these! I also enjoy lamb kidney and pig’s feet too!

  12. #
    Mellie posted October 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Oh and I forgot beef heart and oxtail!

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