Have You Tried Pampanga’s Version Of Chicharon?

This isn't your typical chicharon.

IMAGE Lyvette TIamzon Tongol

As sinful as chicharon (fried pork rinds) is, it's admittedly one of the many Filipino dishes that's difficult to eat it in moderation. It's hard not to go for a second or third bite of this porky snack, especially when it's served with a spicy vinegar dip.

We all know how the classic, crunchy chicharon tastes like, but just like adobo, sinigang, and other Filipino dishes, the chicharon has different variations in certain regions of the Philippines. In the city of Pampanga, the locals are more accustomed to pititian or pitichan.

Photo by Ruston Banal
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According to Robby Tantingco, the director of the Center for Kapampangan Studies, the etymology of the term pititian was derived from the old Kapampangan word "titi," which means "to fry." The process of cooking pititian is that small bits of fatty pork belly are deep fried until all the fat is extracted from the skin, which makes it shrivel up and reduce in size. The pititian, which is dry and hard (almost like a rock), is usually re-fried to make it chicharon-like.

What sets pititian apart from other pork rinds is that instead of getting the usual airy texture of chicharon, you get a mouthful of crispy skin and rendered fat. A local in Pampanga, who gets his pititian fix from Guagua-a municipality in Pampanga, describes pititian to have the "look of bagnet, but the texture and taste of chicharon."

Pititian, just like chicharon, is best dipped in vinegar with lots of chilies. If you're dining in Pampanga, some locals pair pititian with atsara (pickled vegetables)-which is also a good source for a combination of sweet and tart flavors.

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Jun 10, 2016

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