Where to eat Isaw Baboy in Cebu?

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isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall


I was looking at my old videos and I stumbled upon this song by Baihana titled "Isawan".  Listening to the song took me back to my freshman year in college when I first discovered isaw.  One of the most popular isawan in UP Diliman then was just a few steps away from the Freshman Dorm (Kalayaan Residence Hall).  I fell in love with isaw ever since my early days of college.  When I moved to Cebu, I cannot seem to find a barbecue stall selling this sinfully good offal dish.  Recently, I discovered that there is a restaurant near our house that is selling isaw.



For the Love of Isaw

isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall, Kalami Cebu, Carlo Andrew Olano, Cebu Food Blogger

Isaw is a street food made with pork and chicken intestines.  While the chicken version is fairly common in  Cebu, I cannot seem to find the pork version being sold in the streets.   I do not know why nobody sells it here but I think one reason is that Cebuanos might have better ways of cooking the pig's intestines.  Still, there are times that I craved for isaw baboy.

The year was 1993 when I first encountered this dish.  Even way back when I was a little boy, I have always been adventurous with food.  When my newfound friends invited me for isaw, I immediately said yes even if I do not know what it meant. 

isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall, Kalami Cebu, Carlo Andrew Olano, Cebu Food Blogger

Just a few steps away from Kalayaan Residence Hall, there was Mang Larry's Isawan that opens around 5:30 pm every day.  They were selling isaw baboy, isaw manok, tenga (ears), balun-balunan (gizzard), atay (liver) and other interesting animal parts.  I liked it immediately the first time I tasted it but coming from Cebu, I was puzzled why they do not offer puso (hanging rice).   The people were treating it like it was fishball.  Once the barbecue is cooked we either dip it in a spicy vinegar jar or the sweet sauce jar or both.  It was fun but I would have wanted it with rice.

Over the months and years, I got accustomed to eating isaw without rice. Even after college, I still visit Mang Larry's from time to time. 


The Search for Isaw


I moved back to Cebu a decade ago. I am really happy with the food here.  In fact, I have become a food blogger.  Isaw is actually far from my mind until somebody reminds me of college.  Once food intersects with college memories then I remember isaw.  Isaw is definitely on the top of my list of what food I missed from school.  Another one would probably be the Tapsilog from Rodic's.

isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall, Kalami Cebu, Carlo Andrew Olano, Cebu Food Blogger


I tried looking for isaw in Cebu and I cannot seem to find some stall with pork intestines barbecue.  The closest thing that I've got was when we ate last year at Yakimix where they have pork intestines in their Yakiniku selection. I practically cooked isaw on their grill.

I normally sneak a trip to UP just to eat my old time favorites when I visit Manila.  The last time I ate at Mang Larry's was December last year when I went to Manila with my fellow Bisaya Youtubers.  I did not know that Mang Larry's stall has moved to the Parish/International Center area.  I went to the old spot but it was gone good thing Google told me where it relocated.  After having my fill, I thought that it will take me another year to eat isaw.  Good thing, I was wrong.


Quest Complete


isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall, Kalami Cebu, Carlo Andrew Olano, Cebu Food Blogger

Last weekend, my blogger friends from The Lifeaholics invited me to sample the food of Tol!.  I said yes because the restaurant was just a 3-minute drive from our house.  Well, Tol! specializes in goat  dishes but they have so many offal dishes and pulutan.  When I checked their barbecue line-up, I was pleasantly surprised to see an all-time favorite there. They have Isaw Baboy!

isaw, isaw babol, tol!, offal, pork intestines, Mang Larry's Isawan, UP Diliman, Kalayaan Residence Hall, Kalami Cebu, Carlo Andrew Olano, Cebu Food Blogger

I immediately ordered for our group. It was served with vinegar and is sold at 25 pesos a piece.  It is a bit expensive but it is cheap to satisfy a craving.  I am happy that I have the place to go to cure all those isaw cravings.  I now can enjoy it with some ice cold beer and most of all with RICE. 

Tol! is located at F. Cabahug Street, Cebu City beside Rainforest Park. It is open 24 hours a day.

Is there a food that you are looking for in Cebu? Hit me up with a comment and maybe I can help you find it. ;)