Every culinary culture has a dark black sheep aka food choices and habits that, while may skim the ‘questionable’ category, are just too good to quit. For the Philippines, this comes in the form of our love for high-cholesterol, putok batok food.
Call it a curse or a blessing, but there’s no doubt that us Filipinos know and love our fatty food. While we don’t really advocate making this food group a regular part of our diets, treating yourself to a fatty dish or two every now and then (emphasis on it being occasional, please) is not so bad, too. Craving for some oily, lip-smacking goodness? These ten dishes will definitely seal the deal for you.
1. Boneless Lechon Belly from Zubuchon
When a culinary rock star like Anthony Bourdain calls a dish “the best pig ever”, you have no other choice but to agree. Lechon is definitely one of the crowning glories of our country when it comes to food, and Zubuchon, a Cebu original brand, is definitely one of those that gives justice to this quintessential Pinoy favorite. Their Boneless Lechon Belly is everything you will expect from a roast pig—it’s tender, flavorful, juicy, at the same time perfectly crispy. Pair a plate of it with an order of their Adobong Kangkong to curb your food-binge guilt a bit with some greens.
2. Pancit Bagnet from Bagnet 8065
The bagnet from this Makati hole-in-the-wall may have already been relegated to iconic status, but Bagnet 8065 deserves a standing ovation for its other dishes, too. Their Pancit Bagnet is the perfect dish to order if you’re craving for the oily, umami taste of this deep-fried pork dish, while wanting some variety at the same time. Their pancit is flavored just enough to balance the juicy and savory pieces of bagnet toppings served on every plate. We do recommend that you pair it with soda for the ultimate Pinoy feels—and also to wash down the grease and oil after you finish your meal.
3. House Crispy Sisig from Manam Comfort Filipino
Will a putok batok list really be complete without any sisig dish on it? There’s not really a shortage of food spots offering great versions of this dish here, but we do have to give the House Crispy Sisig from Filipino restaurant Manam a special shoutout. Their sizzling version will definitely appeal to those who like their sisig crispy and creamy. Every plate of it promises some crunch, savoriness, and zest with its perfect combination of creamy sauce, chicharon, chili, scallions, and calamansi juice. Some may find its mix of flavors overwhelming, but we do believe you can easily avoid the umay factor by squeezing some extra calamansi on it.
4. Roasted Bone Marrow and Italian Beef Stew from Gourmet Gypsy
This art cafe takes the term comfort food into a whole new level with its range of dishes inspired by different cultures. As varied as Gourmet Gypsy’s plates of food are, however, they are all bound by one concept: all of them are hearty and comforting—the same type of food you would expect on a visit to grandmas, for example. One of our favorites from their menu is their Roasted Bone Marrow which is served with crunchy pieces of ciabatta for easy dipping. It’s the perfect appetizer to share if you want some oily, savory goodness to set the pace of the first few bites of your meal. Want something heavier? Get their Italian Beef Stew, a perfect bowl of hearty tender beef soaked in their flavorful tomato-based sauce dashed with red wine. It even comes with its own roasted bone marrow cut!
5. Rockefeller Oysters and Oyster Boursin from Via Mare
To be fair, oysters are not exactly that bad in cholesterol levels as compared to other foods on this list. In fact, they are one of those that contain the good kind of fat! It’s a different case, however, once they are paired with other ingredients like cheese and butter. The problem is that this combination is the exact type that is so hard to say no to. Just give Via Mare’s Rockefeller Oysters and Oyster Boursin a try and try tell us we’re wrong. Each plate comes with juicy, large pieces of oysters baked to perfection with your choice of cheese. We recommend you invite a friend to share your order with just to make sure you don’t go overboard with them!
6. Lemon Garlic Butter Crab from Gringo-Chicken Ribs Friends
This Tex-Mex food spot may have already become synonymous with its chicken and ribs, but it actually does a pretty good job with its Fisherman’s menu, too. Its Lemon Garlic Butter Crab is especially sinful with its savory sauce that perfectly balances out the light flavor of the crab meat. The touch of tanginess from the lemon is just enough to make the plate not too overwhelming to the palate as well. Prepare to scoop some of the leftover sauce from the plate after your meal. Yes, it’s THAT good.
7. Chef Pat’s Ultimate Bacon and Cheese Dip and Hot Pork Poppers from Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse
We’re gonna say it now: Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse may not be the best place to visit if you’re trying to eat healthy but it is the RIGHT PLACE TO BE if you want to treat yourself to good smoked meats and quality guilt good. Falling perfectly in the putok batok food group is their Chef Pat’s Ultimate Bacon and Cheese Dip, an appetizer of melted gooey cheese and bacon dip served with crunchy ciabatta. It’s savory, cheesy, and very easy to demolish in one seating because of how good it is. Another smart choice is their Hot Pork Poppers, deep-fried pork pieces that are perfect to be paired with some ice-cold beer.
8. Balut and Chicharon from Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen
Think street food but make it hip. Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen may kill it with their drinks and cocktails, but they’re also geniuses when it comes to their bar chows. Their Balut and Chicharon is an appetizer that is definitely worth the risk—an order of one comes with three flavorful pieces of balut and a serving of crispy pork cracklings on the side that you can dip in the creamy egg servings. Pair them with cocktails for the perfect night out.
9. Chicharron Bulaklak and Crispy Pata Paksiw from Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
Sarsa Kitchen + Bar is one of those food spots that does a great job of taking local, usually uncomplicated dishes into a whole new level. This fusion Filipino restaurant has a reputation for serving simple local offerings with twists that can make even the most discerning eaters pay attention. Their Chicharron Bulaklak is the perfect appetizer if you mean business with your starters—they are fluffy, savory, but not so salty. Their Crispy Pata Paksiw, meanwhile, is the perfect main dish for those who want to go all out on their cheat day with its tender pork and paksiw sauce mixed with huge crispy slabs of pork skin.
10. Crispy Pata from Gerry’s Grill
Can you really end this list without the legendary Crispy Pata? And can you really consider yourself a true-blue Pinoy if you haven’t tried or at least heard of Gerry’s Grill’s version? Gerry’s Crispy Pata may be simple and uncomplicated, but it is still superb when it comes to flavor, crisp, and fat content. Extra points go to their dipping sauce, too, which adds an extra dash of lip-smacking punch to it.