Ginabot: Cebu’s Exotic and Budget-Friendly Pork Rinds

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Ginabot refers to the fatty pork rinds sold at several streetside eateries in Cebu.

Cebuano foodies will tell you that nothing is more authentic about the island’s culinary culture than the pungko-pungko: roadside eateries with tupperwares full of greasy and delicious fried food. 

Among the many fried foods inside these tupperwares are flower-shaped pork rinds that are a perennial favorite among locals: ginabot

They make for a simple but satisfying meal when paired with rice and a cold drink. It’s a beloved Filipino street food that locals crave and adore, something that even foreigners eagerly seek out to try.  

WHAT IS GINABOT

This Filipino street food is famous for its flower-like shape.

Ginabot is often referred to as “Chicharon Bulaklak” because of its flower-like shape. It’s made up of what some call “pork flower fat,” which is a pig’s mesentery. 

Healthline (2023) describes the mesentery as a continuous set of tissues which connects the intestines with the wall of the abdomen, holding them together. It houses lymph nodes that fight off infections and produces proteins that cause inflammation. 

The mesentery is not a common ingredient for a pork dish, but Cebuanos found a way to make a filling dish out of a rather exotic part of the pig, by coating it in a rich batter and then deep frying it for a crunchy texture. 

There is little known about how this exotic dish came to be, but most will agree that Cebu is the best place to try it. There are dozens of spots that sell ginabot, from small streetside stalls to various food parks around the city.

Enjoy a filling meal by pairing ginabot with puso.

It is the most well-known dish offered at a typical “turo turo” eatery. A popular ginabot meal is served with several pieces of puso (hanging rice) and soft drinks. 

The meal could cost around Php100 to Php200, depending on how many pieces you eat. 

It is crunchy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. Vendors cut the ginabot into small bite-sized pieces. You can dip it in sauce made with vinegar, chili, and garlic for extra flavor. 

This compactness along with the hanging rice make it extremely easy to eat, and you can even enjoy eating it while standing up. 

Many ginabot stalls encourage eating with your hands, with the cooks offering you plastic gloves to keep your hands from getting too greasy. 

EATING GINABOT IN CEBU 

The most famous spot to try ginabot in Cebu has to be the Pungko Pungko sa Fuente, which is only a few minutes away from Fuente Circle. 

It is a popular local eatery that has been featured by several international food content creators. 

There are all kinds of food and beverage stalls in food parks like the Carbon Sunday Market and the Barracks at Freedom Park, so consider adding this to the list of places you want to go for a memorable food trip.

Some restaurants also serve ginabot as an appetizer for other street food dishes like tuslob buwa. Some examples are Big Brain in Kasambagan and 8Flix, which has several branches around the city. 

If you travel with a local, you can ask them to take you to more low-key locations that serve the famous ginabot. This could be a memorable activity since you get to experience the local lifestyle and street food scene.

While tusok-tusok street food and exotic dishes like balut can be worthwhile snacks, ginabot and puso can be a filling meal tha you will never get tired of. 

It is really easy to eat and perfect for a quick bite while exploring the busy streets of Cebu City. As many Cebuanos say, this street food dish is simply irresistible. 

Once you’ve tried it, you’ll find yourself craving it whenever you’re in Cebu.

Drive down to the nearest ginabot joint and enjoy a cultural phenomenon that is proudly and authentically Cebuano!

REFERENCES:

Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. (Medically reviewed by Angelica Balingit, MD). 2023. “Introducing the Mesentery: Your Newest Organ.” Healthline. 
https://www.healthline.com/health/mesentery

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