I know, I know, It‘s weird to make a review of a small stall selling animal’s intestines as an afternoon snack. I don’t usually do this but I’m making Mang Larry’s Isawan an exception because first, it’s part of our foodtrip series (Check out the other restaurants we visited here). Second, it’s been a part of my life in UP, they say you’re never truly a UP student until you’ve tried Mang Larry’s isaw. Lastly, this isawan is not just another isawan – it’s so popular it even got its own Facebook page.
I used to dread the idea of eating any internal organ of any animal. I still do right now I mean, these are intestines, and liver, and brains we are talking about. If you think about it though, we sometimes have liver in our adobo, or you may have unknowingly eaten some pork intestines and brains when you had that oh so yummy sisig for lunch. And of course, that longganisa you’ve been craving for to have for breakfast? Yep, those could be ground pork innards wrapped in the animal’s own skin from its stomach. We Filipinos are so creative we even apply it to the food we eat.
Brains and liver could still pass, but intestines are always a different story. Seriously, this is where those land mines we’ve been avoiding to step on come from! Just the thought of it makes me squirm but you know how it is in college, peer pressure dictates what you do and do not…so I ate that Mang Larry’s isaw….wait that doesn’t sound right.
I wasn’t surprised when I actually liked the taste. It wouldn’t be so popular if it tasted horrible, right? Just try to ignore that persistent voice at the back of your mind yelling “those are storehouses for crap you’re eating, dammit!” and you’re good to go.
Mang Larry’s Isawan’s popularity goes beyond UP, as evidenced by my foodtrip buddies from other universities knowing about it. When you visit it in the afternoons you’d usually see a lot of cars parked around the stall with the students and foodies holding their cups of vinegar, dipping and munching on their intestine-on-a-stick. The most popular (and the one I often order) is the Isaw-manok. This one’s different from the usual isaw we see being sold in the streets as this one is pale-white to dark brown in color, instead of the usual orange. Here is the rest of their “menu”:
Goto: Php 6.00 per stick
Botsi: Php 6.00 per stick (we asked what this is and Mang Larry himself told us this is non-fatty part of the pork’s skin. They also sell a fried, crispy version.)
Tainga: Php 6.00 per stick
Balun-balunan: Php 6.00 per stick
Barbecue: Php 10.00 per stick
Atay ng Baboy: Php 6.00 per stick
Isaw Manok: Php 3.00 per stick
Isaw Baboy: Php 3.00 per stick
Special Isaw Baboy: Php 6.00 per stick (special because this is what you make chicharong bulaklak with.)
In case you’re feeling adventurous and wanting to try Mang Larry’s isaw, here is what you do:
1. First, you fall in line (yes, there is a line, this is UP remember?) and wait for your orders to be taken. The order-taker would also get your name.
2. Once you’ve given your orders, you pay then wait for your name to be called (just like in Starbucks).
3. When your name is called, get up from that stone slab you’ve been sitting on and get what you ordered.
4. Get a small plastic cup also provided in the stall, then choose which dip you like – the usual vinegar / suka, or the sweeter one. No Bleu Cheese here, sorry.
That’s Mang Larry on the counter
The regular and the “matamis” suka
5. Ignore that small voice at the back of your mind.
6. Eat…just eat! Then enjoy J
Mang Larry’s Isawan used to be located in front of the Kalayaan Dormitory in UP Diliman. Now it’s location is on that empty lot right behind the Law building. Have your isaw with some soda and eat it while watching the sunset in the Sunken Garden and you’ll have a perfect Iskolar ng Bayan afternoon.