Tito Mark's Chocolate Meat

              I've mentioned my dear Tita Issa Cusi in one of my old posts here on the blog, specifically about Cafe Elysa. Tita Issa is the wife of Tito Mark, my dad's best friend. This couple is dear to my heart because they're like my second parents and they're the most adventurous foodie couple I know! We could talk on and on about food and such (if you wanna strike a conversation with me, you'd figure the best topic -- FOOD). :D

              Both partners love to cook and eat. Tito Mark rocks the hot kitchen while Tita Issa can play both hot and cold sides of the kitchen though she's more of a baker. Whenever they invite us to their home for a meal, it's always an amazing gastronomic experience. 

          Last Sunday, I visited them at their welcoming home and Tito Mark immediately invited me to try a dinuguan he just made. He said I'd say it's the best in the whole of Cebu. Of course, I was more than willing. :D

          Dinuguan is a Filipino savory stew of meat and/or offal (typically lungs, kidneys, intestines, ears, heart and snout) simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar. The term dinuguan comes from the Filipino word dugo meaning 
"blood". It is also sometimes jokingly called chocolate meat. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinuguan)

          It is usually eaten as a main course with rice (the way I love having it) but it can also be enjoyed as a snack with puto. Some lechon proprietors even give this away for free when you order a whole pig. When cooked the right way, at par excellence, it is something you could actually crave for. There is no trace of unpleasant smell from offal or the blood. 

          I'd already had quite a heavy lunch (a Cebu Secret... posting about it soon!) before visiting them but I can never resist any of their cooking. So this was an unusually heavy snack for me. It may not look like much, unappetizing even, but looks can be deceiving. Just dig in. No buts, no ifs, no questions. :D 

           This version was made with excess lechon pork belly that Kuya Carlo (Tito Mark's son) had made and  a special red wine vinegar, along with lemongrass (one of my favorite herbs) and some finger chili. 

           The first spoonful had me. It was just bursting with flavor from the lechon pork belly and the lemongrass which was excellently infused into the dish and the heat from the chili was just right for me. The sweet red wine vinegar played a key role in completing the dish as well. Oh my... You'd forget your name if you tried this. Undoubtedly the BEST dinuguan I've ever had in Cebu so far. WOW. Those flavors were just spot on. Sorry, only available at Tito Mark's house for now. But I think he's planning to sell this and some of their newly developed specialty dishes soon. I'll definitely let you know when they do. Everything they make is a must try! :D

Okay, so this post was just something for you to drool on. ;)

To know Cebu, eat Cebu! :D

oink oink,

Babe for Food
- your BFF in Cebu dining! :)

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