My Beloved Mang Larry's

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Whenever I'm tired, down, or weary. There is only one answer to any problem, and that is Mang Larry's 

To be honest, prior to entering university, I had no idea what isaw was, how it was prepared, what it tasted like, or even the mere idea of even wanting to try it. The only mental image I had back then related to isaw was hepatitis, so yeah, you kinda get the picture. 

But well, things kinda changed when there was this day when I just wanted to try isaw and find out for myself. I tried the fried isaw at Mang Ramon's stall in UP (yes their fried isaw is also very good, especially during dusk as that's when they prepare fresh batches of them). I ended up getting smitten. It was a gamey, sweet, but umami-full taste that I knew that it was definitely not going to be my last time to get isaw for myself. 

 I initially did not try Mang Larry's as I was really content with eating fried isaw. The idea to try it came up when I treated some friends to fried isaw, and one good friend of mine told me that while she liked the concept of fried isaw, she preferred the taste of grilled isaw at Mang Larry's. I thought that I should give the place a try.

After all, Mang Larry is Mang Larry. He is an institution. His isaw stall is a bastion of hope for those who are tired and weary (or at least in my view). People gossip that he moved his stall near law because a competitor was opening shop there and he wanted to piss the competitor off. There is also gossip that all his kids are attending the Ateneo because of his isaw business. And well if you meet him yourself he also knows a lot of gossip about the UP community.

He's not really there all the time. Most of the time it's his staff. Usually you will see him whenever there are deliveries of bags of isaw, or in general, when there aren't a lot of staff in the area.

The line can get hectic at times, but they do give priority for people with smaller orders, or at least on my part. I'm not sure if they give priority to everyone who puts small orders hahaha. Maybe I'm just friendly. 

The happiest scene in life is to see a bag full of Mang Larry's isaw. I used to order chicken and pork, but I realized that pork tastes even better than chicken so I decided to order the pork-based stuff in their menu. 

And the other greatest thing in the world is their vinegar. They have their pown blend of vinergar and it is is heavenly. It's sweet-spicy, packs a strong punch, but without a strong wine-ey odor that more stronger vinegars have. This is why I love it so much. I also know that they have a sweet sauce, but I have no idea if it's a fish ball sauce or a sweet vinegar. 

In this specific trip, I got 6 pork isaw and 2 goto isaw, but well I can't really tell between the two as I'm not yet that good in deciphering. If I'm not mistaken, the fattier one is goto, while the less fatty one is the pork isaw one. 

I feel safe with Mang Larry's isaw because for one, from the taste itself, it's more of sweet and flavorful, and not gamey in a bad way. I also asked Mang Larry and he explained that before they send these babies to the grill, these morsels of pork intestine have already been boiled. I'm not sure if other isaw vendors boil their isaw prior to serving, but if ever they don't, it's great if they started to do so. 

And unfortunately, the saddest sight in the world is to see the paper bag with already emptied sticks, and empty cups previously holding what is the best vinegar in the world. Whenever I see this sight I can only but hope for the next time I get to go to Mang Larry's again. 

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