10 Unique Takes on Chicharon
Baked or smoked, duck or bacon-yummy twists to this classic snack.
(SPOT.ph) There’s something so heartwarming about chicharon-that bubbling, crispy comfort, with vinegar giving it a delicious tanginess. Then there’s the salty-savory chicharon bulaklak, the bitter wonders of chicharon bituka. This beer match favorite and classic afternoon snack has come a long way from the traditional pork rind. A number of restaurants have put their own spin on the chicharon, along with non-pork, but equally crunchy, varieties, and we feel it our duty to compile it for our beloved readers. We've rounded up 10 novel takes on this Filipino snack time staple. They’re not as "heartwarming," but sometimes, that’s a good thing.
This list is not ranked.
All SPOT.ph Top 10 lists are researched, paid for, tested, and selected by the writers and editors. They are discreetly conducted without any notice made to the restaurants or their owners.
1. Bacon Chicharon (P315) at 2nd’s
This version of the chicharon utilizes a different part of the pig, the part that’s considered a universal favorite. Thicker-than-usual bacon slices are made triply sinful: battered, deep fried, and served with a dipping sauce of muscovado mustard and spiced vinegar. Consider it a gift to yourself-even if it’s not the kindest kind to your arterist. Would you be able to resist deep-fried bacon strips?
2nd’s is at 2/F Wumaco Building, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
2. Crunchy Belly (P120/cup without rice, P130/cup with rice; P1,440/one kilo) at Carlo's Kitchen
Carlo’s Kitchen is in dire need of a warning sign: "ridiculously addictive." Take your first bite and trust us, a cup will never be enough and you’ll find yourself constantly craving-and dreaming-about these deep-fried, thinly sliced strips of pork belly. They’re not technically chicharon, but they have a similar effect: crunchy, sinful, habit-forming. Carlo’s Kitchen is available at weekend markets so you have five days every time to build up your Crunchy Belly pangs.
Carlo’s Kitchen is at Midnight Mercato in BGC and Cucina Andare in Makati.
3. Baked Chicharon 2-ways (P225) at Grace Park
We would like to believe that this baked, farm-to-table version is healthier-well, quasi-healthy, anyway. Chicharon is baked and filled with a cloud of cream cheese then topped with a luxurious crown of salmon roe for a tacky brine and prosciutto for a salty edge. You can’t get any fancier than that.
Grace Park is at G/F One Rockwell Building, Rockwell Drive, Makati City.
4. Chocolate Chicharon (P150) at Gino's Brick Oven Pizza
Chocolate is one of those lucky things that go well with everything except our thighs. It’s only natural that Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza dared to experiment by folding warm chocolate over large pieces of crunchy chicharon. The result is the perfect combination of salty and sweet with a extra bonus of a crackle. It’s not the neatest thing to eat, but licking melted chocolate off your hands is part of the deal.
Gino’s Brick Oven is at Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
Photo from Backyard Burger’s Facebook page
5. Buffalo Chicken Skins (P165) at Backyard Burgers
Backyard Burgers has some of the best wings in town, but they also have Buffalo Chicken Skins to spice up your meal further. The skins are served crisped up and doused in hot sauce, with none of the suddenly needless chicken meat to obstruct their delicious crunch. Who knows? They might actually be good enough to make serious pork-crackling lovers to convert.
Backyard Burgers is at 52 Sgt. Esguerra Street, Quezon City.
6. Duck You (P185) at Green Pastures
Sometimes you won’t know whether this is a blessing or a curse. If you could ask your taste buds, it would definitely be the former-your heart might disagree. Not only are you getting crispy duck skin chicharon and duck confit, but a pile of potato fries plunged in hot duck fat. Is your doctor on speed dial yet?
Green Pastures is at 4/F of Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, Mandaluyong City.
7. Fish Chicharon at Kanzhu
These are free. FREE. You get them when you wait for y0ur hand-pulled noodles, but sometimes you’ll feel like going to Kanzhu simply for these briny munchies. They’re not the prettiest things, but they’re close in texture to the chicken skin variety. This appetizer features an extra saltiness that makes it super lip-smacking, enough just to whet your appetite for the meal ahead.
Kanzhu has branches at Prince Jun Condominium, Timog Avenue, Quezon City; Citiplace, J. Abad Santos Street, San Juan; 104 Nodison Center, Marcos Highway Marikina; SM Super Center, Pasig City.
8. Chicken Skin (P45/three sticks) at Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
These sinful fete brings out the flavor of chicken skin with sweet barbecue sauce and sesame seeds. It’s a flavor that Filipinos won’t find a hard time warming up to. In fact, we’re diving into this Taiwanese franchise right now.
Hot Star Large Fried Chicken is at Blue Bay Walk, Macapagal Avenue, corner EDSA, Pasay City.
Photo from Sentro 1771 Facebook page
9. Garlic Mushrooms with Chicharon (P320) at Sentro 1771
Sizzling button mushrooms in a bath of olive oil and garlic are crowned with golden pork cracklings. The soft mushrooms contrast wonderfully against the crunch of the sinful chicharon. No need for vinegar sauce-the oils give the chicharon enough of a kick.
Sentro 1771 is at 2/L, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati and Serendra, Bonifacio Global City.
Photo from Madeca’s Facebook page
10. Chicken Chicharon (P175) at Madeca
Madeca serves their chicken cracklings with salsa--it’s like a metaphor to their Filipino-Mexican theme. The tomato-ey sauce works perfectly against the salty chicken chips. Make it better with with an ice-cold beer and a fish taco.
Madeca is at 5/F Podium Mall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.