The ultimate showdown of North versus South!
One of our staple street food here in the Philippines is Isaw or pig and chicken intestines. These are then cleaned, skewered and grilled topped with barbecue sauce then dipped in vinegar. There are many street food vendors selling isaw in the late afternoon but none are more popular than Mang Raul’s and Mang Larry’s.
Mang Larry’s started in 1983 as the first one who sold isaw in the UP Campus, two decades later he is still doing it. Known for his isaw manok and cheap prices. Now he is armed with a staff and several branches around the UP Diliman campus and the UP Village area. He even inspired other street vendors to also sell around the campus.
In contrast, Mang Raul’s started as a small barbecue stall inside a village in Las Pinas City. He started selling in the 1970’s and while his business grew with loyal customers coming back for his signature 4 sauces and grilled meats. The local neighborhood eventually was able to upgrade all the surrounding stalls all because they sold rice to his loyal customers. This area is now known as Happy Place.
Round 1: Taste
Let’s start with Mang Larry:
The first thing I noticed in his isaw and other barbecued meats is that they are small in size, it’s around 4 inches long on the barbecue stick. The taste of their isaw is a lightly brined and seasoned with salt and pepper. They cook their isaw well done and torch a little so the outside skin layer will be crispy. When you dip it into the spicy vinegar with a hint of the sweet sauce, the flavors come together in unison.
On the other hand, Mang Raul’s:
The isaw is also around 5 inches long, although his pork barbecue is around 8 inches. The taste is very sweet, you can tell that their isaw is well coated with their barbecue sauce, it is also a little charred on the outside, and the sauce is really sticking to the meat. Now when you want to use the dipping sauce, there are 4 choices, what I usually do is first to dip the isaw in the sweet barbecue sauce and then to the spicy vinegar so I have a bit of a kick at the end.
If you compare the two, they’re really polar opposites. While Mang Larry is very simple in his sauce and marinade, Mang Raul uses his rich barbecue sauce to cover his isaw and his many dips. Although it’s nice to note that both of them have clean tasting Isaw. Round 1 goes to Mang Raul.
Round 2: Dipping Sauce
Mang Larry uses the classic sweet sauce similar to those in fish ball food carts and a spicy vinegar as dipping sauces for his simple isaw. As oppose to the many choices, of Mang Raul, he provides you with 4 flavors of the sauce “Tamis Anghang”, “Sweet”, “Mild Vinegar”, and “Spicy Vinegar”.
For variety, Mang Raul wins this round.
Round 3: Price
In terms of price, there are very small differences here, as well as, menu choices. Both are similar.
Round 3 goes to Mang Larry.
This battle is going to come down to the taste.
VERDICT: MANG RAULS BBQ HAUS
While the isaw in both places are exceptional. I have to go with Mang Raul’s based on:
- Taste: meat is perfectly brined that oozes out succulent flavor with every bite
- Dipping sauce: the ratio of spice, vinegar is perfect, variety of sauces available
- Price: although there’s a 2-3php difference, the size per serving is bigger.
The char taste together with that sweet tangy sauce with a hint of spice is just addicting. The meat is perfectly marinated, flavorful with every bite. I recommend you order a side of hot steaming rice.
So if you are one of those foodie warriors in search for the beast isaw. Head down to Las Pinas and taste this isaw sorcery.
Mang Larry’s Isawan
- Address: Magiting, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mang-Larrys-Isawan-The-Famous-Isawan-in-UP-155375931160899/
- Operating Hours: 3pm- 9pm
Mang Rauls BBQ Haus
- Address: CRM Avenue, BF Homes, Almanza, Las Pinas City
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangRaulsBBQHaus/
- Operating Hours: 2pm – 9:30 pm
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