(Vegetarian) Chicharon Anyone?

Light, crunchy, flavorful, addicting! I'm talking about my snack of the hour -- Marty's Cracklin' vegetarian chicharon.

Allow me a short intermission from my Tagaytay album series. For today, I thought I'd let you in on what I've been munching on lately, in between meals, errands and chores. Yes, this is junk food. But can we not indulge in such guilty pleasures once in a while? (",)  Wait, let me back-track...look, it said "Guilt-Free" on the label.

Chicharon -- pork rind crackling, can be considered a Filipino delicacy, which was made popular in the province of Cebu.  It is best eaten with a vinegar dip. Very addicting and artery-clogging! With Marty's Cracklin', manufactured by Oishi, it claims to be vegetarian, "old-fashioned style", "guilt-free", and with zero trans fat. Made from dehydrated green peas, vegetable oil, tapioca starch, dehydrated potatoes, salt, spices, and other flavorings, it comes in Plain Salted and Salt & Vinegar flavors.
I discovered Marty's a few months back at the supermarket, at less than P20 for the 90g bag, and it is now a regular in our snack cabinet. It also comes in a 26g snack pack. I've tried both flavors at different times and savored every piece, every bite, down to the crumbs stuck on the inside of the foil pouch. The color and flavor can pass for an authentic all-rind crispy chicharon. But the texture and bite of Marty's is finer, whereas the real one is a little more rough and tends to stick to your teeth and gums as you chew. The shape is also obviously different as the real thing comes in irregular curly shapes and cuts as compared with this uniformly molded copy-cat. The verdict? 2 thumbs up!

I would still consider Marty's Crackling a worthy alternative to the real thing. And I do share a few bites with the kids from time to time, although I can eat the whole bag on my own.  But if luck is on your side, and you can get a hold of a few pouches of Chicharritos, then you may have just hit the jackpot.

Chicharritos IS the real thing. Made with real imported pork rind, manufactured and packed by a company in Cebu, this is the first chicharon brand I know of that is foil-packed, with limited distribution in select stores. It's been a long time since my last Chicharritos as I rarely find it in my regular supermarket visits. I believe they still have a free-standing cart at Shangri-la Plaza mall where I bought my first pack some years back. I missed it. Then just recently, my mother gave me a pack, yay!!!  She bought it at P35, or 3 packs for P100, for a 35 gram pack from a food stall in Unimart (supermarket). This is more expensive than your ordinary chips in a bag, but it is super crispy, without the sometimes hard bits of meat still hanging on the rind. And with just the right amount of salt and flavor, it is pure all-rind goodness!

There is no comparison between Chicharritos and Marty's. It's like comparing apples from oranges. If you crave for the real pork rind crunch, Chicharritos is my bet. For a more "wholesome" alternative, try Marty's.

I'm not yet on the healthy wagon, so any "junk food" discoveries you care to share are still welcome here (",)


  1. Ahhh...chicharon! My fave guilty snack! We just had some chicharon last weekend. We went to a Filipino store here in Toronto and they fry fresh pork rinds / skin with a bit of fat included. Yep, definitely heart-clogging!

  2. Aha, temptation! Good thing I'm not hungry but chicharon is really good and the best in the whole world. :)

  3. Ayayay! Now you made me want some of that... tsk! :)

  4. Hey, you got nice photos. What camera do you use?

    BTW, Marty's is one of my favorites.. :)

  5. i love marty's too!!! it's addictive, i have to control myself or i'd be eating a bag everyday! haha :D

  6. Ladies, I see we're all fans of the crackling! :)

    Blasting Mind - thanks for visiting, and glad you appreciate my photos ;) I use Canon 500D (Rebel T1i), but for earlier posts before Christmas I was using Panasonic Lumix TZ3

  7. hi michelle :D i sent you an email :)

  8. That sounds pretty interesting. Buy may I ask, have you ever tried the 2 other Chicharon brands: Nunie's Chicharon and Chilens. They are both a Cebu made delicay. Pls giv me your opinion.

  9. Anon - Sorry haven't tried them, but would love to, though I can't recall seeing them in local stores in Metro Manila. I'll take note of Nunies and Chilens and maybe ask friends going to Cebu to buy some :) R.Lapids chicharon is also an old favorite which I missed including in this post. Thanks for the suggestions.


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