Sidewalk adventures: Isaw and Hotdogs

By JoSeLLE - October 12, 2008

I have always liked to eat at sidewalk food stalls. There's something unique and exciting about eating isaw (chicken intestines) and adidas (chicken feet) that you just cannot find in the cleanest and safest of restaurants and fast food chains. A friend and I were planning to reward ourselves with a really delicious dinner in one of Dumaguete's chicken barbecue houses, but as soon as we emerged from the gates of the hospital the delicious aroma of sizzling sisig, chicken innards and grilled cheap hotdogs greeted us and we couldn't resist. It was going to be chicken butt for the night.

Streetfood vendor across NOPH

We sat down on one of the dingy plastic tables and waited for the lady owner to clean it up. It still had the remnants of the previous diners' meal. We took the time to order our dinner, three pieces of isul ( chicken butt)for me, 3 pieces of puso (cooked rice) and two pieces of isul and one piece of grilled hotdog for Tonton.

Isul tastes just like your average chicken, if you don't stop and think that you're biting into a piece of plump, fatty, chicken rear end. What makes it so tasty is the sauce, which I think the best street vendors have perfected into an art. We were particularly lucky with our vendor for the night, since our orders came well-done and dripping with sweet and sour sauce (streetfood style) , which I think is a mix of ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, a little bit of sugar, flour, and a bunch of other stuff that I do not know about. We allowed our vendor ample time to cook our food, since we didn't want to eat anything raw, chicken butts pa naman.

Chicken butts on sticks---yum!

"Puso"---rice cooked in coconut leaves

Tonton and I got into a little discussion about why street food tastes better when eaten on the sidewalk, and not so much when you eat it at home. It's probably because of the unknown ingredient, which could be anything from dust and automobile exhaust to sweat. The same is true for puso or rice cooked in coconut leaves. I have tried cooking rice in coconut leaves at home, but the result could never compare to the taste of streetfood puso. Go figure. Tonton laced his rice with soy sauce, while I was content with the barbecue sauce that came with my isul. I was tempted to make another order, but Tonton, who diets in his sleep, gave me a shocked look and so I passed.

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