6.053 TEIBR 7 : Chicharones


27 (Fri) February 2015



at Bistro Remedios

-Malate, Manila-

with CT

TEIBR (Try Every Item at Bistro Remedios).

A highly regarded landmark restaurant that serves excellent mainstream Filipino fare, I’m attempting to eat my way through it.  Everything on the menu (except desserts, unless someone else orders it).  75 items in all.  While spending the vast majority of last year in the Philippines, I didn’t take substantial advantage of the opportunity to get fully immersed into the cuisine, much to my retrospective regret.  TEIBR should lead me down the right path—a higher purpose.

5 new items tonight, 27 items down total, 48 remaining, 7th visit to the restaurant, averaging 3.86 items per visit, on pace to complete the project at TEIBR 20.

The masochistically gluttonous “Try Every” series: (i) TERRP (…Restaurant in Robinsons Place) (see completed 5.247 TERRP 85 KFC : Original Recipe Fried Chicken…);  (ii) TEITY (..Item at Tao Yuan) (see most recently 6.031 Fried Fish Skin); (iii) TERNWPPD (…Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond) (see most recently 6.052 Omurice); (iv) TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) (see completed 5.339 Roasted Squid); (v) TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 6.050 Battle Jjamjja); (vi) TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) (see most recently 6.014 Kare Karentang Butot Baka).

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BLUE: highly recommended / GREEN: respectable / YELLOW: mediocre / ORANGE: better avoided / RED: never again

Chicharon is a Filipino pork dish.  Consists of skin, plus a layer of subcutaneous fat and flesh, cut into bite-sized pieces, deep-fried, typically served with a sharp sauce (e.g., patis or vinegar).  Widely available as a snack from street vendors or an appetizer in fancy restaurants.  Though widely assumed to be descendent from the Spanish dish of the same name*, chicharon is so beloved in the Philippines, generally regarded as an essential part of the national cuisine, that some here would question whether the history weren’t inverted–of course, many food cultures around the world have something similar (e.g., American cracklins).

*Whereas the dish is referred to in Spanish as “chicharones,” the Filipino language doesn’t really use standalone plural nouns, so “chicharon” represents a mass noun.

The Spanish term is used on the menu here, which is odd in light of the restaurant’s strong traditional vibe.

Bicol Express (3.0)–starting to get the hang of ampalaya (see generally 5.007 Fried Chicken + Ampalaya with Rice).
Picnic Adobo Rice (2.5)–also known as “binalot” or “farmer’s rice,” wrapped in banana leaf…
…a self-contained full meal on the go; it was okay but somewhat bland.
Atcharang Kangkong (2.5)–tastes like the free pickles served at any non Korean/Chinese/Japanese restaurant in Korea.
Pancit Bihon Guisado (3.0)

The chicharones were excellent.  Perfectly crunchy.  Not at all greasy.  What I tend not to like about chicharon–ordinarily, I would never think to order it, but the whole point of TEIBR is to strengthen my appeciation of Filipino cuisine–is the overwhelming pork flavor, and sometimes off-flavor of the typically cheap/overused oil.  But here, likely with high quality pork and high quality oil, frequently changed, the chicharon tasted clean.  The tangy vinegar chili garlic sauce provided a bright touch.  Good stuff–not that I would ever order it again.

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