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?


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