This Small Shop's Crackly-Tender Crispy Pata Is QC's Best Kept Secret

If you haven't tried it, you're missing out pig time.

crispy pata
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

(SPOT.ph) There are different kinds of pork people—by which we mean different preferences as far as favorite pork dishes go. Some go for the fat-forward character of lechon kawali; some prefer the relative leanness and versatility of a roasted pork loin; some like the cartilage-y chewiness of the barbecued pork ears. But when it's tender meat that's got relatively deeper flavors (similar to red meat) and crunchy skin that you seek, your best bet is to go for a huge hunk of crispy pata. This Filipino dish involves pork knuckle or leg that's boiled and deep-fried, so when done right, you get the best of both worlds: a crispy, crackly layer of skin and tender, plus lots of flavor.

It's not like there's any shortage of crispy pata in these parts; You can get it at just about any Filipino restaurant locally, as it's a staple for beer-drinking sessions and parties. But you can get one of the best versions in town from a lesser-known shop with branches in Quezon City. That shop, of course, is no other than Ana Lisa's.

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crispy pata
This under-the-radar QC shop makes a stellar crispy pata.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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Check out the great-tasting crispy pata at Ana Lisa's in QC:

Ana Lisa's also goes by the name Ana Lisa's Take Home Crispy, and as you can tell from that moniker, they're a takeout spot—you won't find any dine-in area at any of their branches. If you're planning to order for delivery, like we did, keep in mind that they're not on any delivery apps; you'll have to call them and book your preferred courier, then pay using the courier's purchase service (you can't pay online). Their packaging is nothing fancy, either; our order came packaged in a simple eco bag, with the meat simply wrapped with wax paper, plus a small plastic bag of sawsawan you'll have to empty into your own tray.

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These minor inconveniences aside, the star of the show here is really their Crispy Pata (P400/small, P600/large) and you'll see why they manage to do without frills once you dig in. This is the kind that truly lives up to the "crispy" part of its name, with well-browned skin that shatters at the prodding of a fork and makes a distinctive crackling sound as you take a bite. It's crunchy for sure, but not tough; and there's little to no oiliness, so it feels deceptively light.

crispy pata
This is a no-frill, well-made crispy pata with crispy, crackly skin.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

The meat within is just as impressive, being of the well-seasoned (but not overwhelmingly salty) sort that's succulent and easy to pull apart with a fork. And while there's a fair amount of fat as you'd expect, it's not so abundant that you'd feel queasy after eating. And though it's best consumed fresh (as with any crispy pata or fried dish for that matter, really), it manages to stay crispy on the outside and soft on the inside even a few hours after purchase.

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crispy pata
No bland bits here.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

For the sauce, you're given what the server on the line calls "timplado na toyo na may halong suka," a.k.a. a seasoned Filipino soy-sauce and vinegar mix with what seems to be a couple of minced onions in the mix. We do wish it were a little more on the sour side (the vinegar is there, just not as strong as we'd like), and a bit more chili wouldn't hurt—but it still does a great job of contributing a piquant profile that balances out the richness and saltiness of the pork.

crispy pata
We'd like a more vinegary dip, but their version still does a good job of balancing out the richness of the pork.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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It's been years since Ana Lisa's finished third in our 2014 Top 10 Crispy Pata in Manila list, and it remains consistently well-made to this day. When your flagship product is this good, who needs all those extra frills, really? We're fans, and our fingers are crossed they stay open in the years to come.

Ana Lisa's Take Home Crispy has branches at 24 Maamo Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City and 41 A Luna corner Lakandula Street, Project 4, Quezon City. See a list of branches and their contact numbers. For more information, check out Ana Lisa's Take Home Crispy's Faceook page.

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