CARLO’S KITCHEN: It’s Crunchy Belly Time! (OAP)

(This feature was published in and Mercato Centrale last March 20, 2013)

Singapore has its Hainanese chicken, Thailand has its Pad Thai, Vietnam has its Pho, and the Philippines has its… Well, how about some Crunchy Belly?

Carnivores would crave for this unique creation by Carlo’s Kitchen. It’s a pork concoction that’s a cross between chicharon and lechon kawali, except it’s not made out of pork rind but the belly part of the pig. The only thing that it has in common with chicharon is the way it looks, and maybe the way it sounds once you get a bite of it. The crunchy belly is actually more of a bagnet—a finger food version of it.

Initially, I was hesitant of tasting this sinful treat because I know that just one bite wouldn’t be enough. And when I sampled it, I proved myself right. I just had to take another piece, and another, and another. After a while, I realized I was eating it like potato chips out of a bag. I know I went overboard the daily calorie allowance but it was worth it. (In Mercato Centrale, the crunchy belly may be ordered by itself or with a cup of rice.)

I had a chance to chat with Kat Reantazo, one of the creators of crunchy belly. She mentioned that she and her husband, Carlo, got inspired to do this business from their travels abroad. In their trips, they would always go to hawker places since they love to eat. They realized that the stalls with the longest lines are those that sell unique creations. Since they’re pork eaters, they thought of a product that would suit them best, and thus, the birth of crunchy belly.

Although they don’t have culinary degrees, both of them are simply passionate about food. Carlo, for instance, was exposed to his family’s restaurant business at an early age. He also worked his way up in restaurants—starting from a dishwasher to a kitchen helper, and finally being a head cook.

The duo joined Mercato Centrale in 2011, and has since then, been feeding foodies with their bestselling crunchy belly, as well as other specialties such as Rib-Eye Steak ,T-bone Steak, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Hungarian Sausage. They husband-and-wife team dreams of eventually opening up their own restaurant and reaching more people. In the meantime, they are happy to serve their newest creation, Chocobelly, which is chocolate-covered crunchy belly.

Telephone number
: (+632) 399-2715
Mobile number: (+63 916) 403-3495
Email: [email protected]

Available at Midnight Mercato and Cucina Andare Market

Address: Corner of 34th & 8th avenue (near MC Home Depot), BGC Taguig
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Operating hours: Every Friday and Saturday, 10pm-3am

Address: Glorietta 3 Park, Makati (in front of Makati Shangri-La)
Mobile number: (+63 917) 840-1152
Email: [email protected]
Operating hours: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4pm-3am