Cover Photo: Kusinette Official Facebook Page

What used to be a holiday or special occasion dish is now just an order-for-delivery away.

Callos ala Madrileña may be a Spanish dish with humble origins, but growing up in Metro Manila it was something I would usually find on the dining table in the centre of a big celebration. The stew of beef or pork tripe is cooked low and slow for hours, allowing the accompanying trotters or oxtail to soften and thicken the sauce with collagen. The traditional callos must have tripe and I stand firm by this dictum, as I am sure many fans of the dish do. Chickpeas, too, and a good quality, flavourful chorizo or morcilla (Spanish blood sausage). Paprika to season, and then cooks are free to apply their own twist to this classic.

What should one look for in good callos? Tender, clean-tasting tripe. Sauce flavoured richly with paprika and made gelatinous by slow-cooked, tendon-rich meat. Everything else is a matter of preference. Perhaps we have the pandemic to thank since these professional chefs and talented home cooks suddenly have enough time on their hands to prepare this dish that is too tedious to make for most. When in the past I would have to wait for Christmas to come around before I can have my favourite callos at noche buena, I can now just order from one of these experts.

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1. Chef Lauro’s Cuisine

When he’s not busy as sous chef of one of the most popular fine dining destinations in Makati, Lauro Orosa is serving up hearty European style stews that he has conveniently packed in a single serving, ready-to-heat sous vide bags. His callos is something he replicated from memory based on languid lunches with his Spanish-Kapampangan maternal grandmother. Refined and true to tradition, the only personal indulgence is the chef’s use of chorizo Pamplona that adds a salty, meaty bite to this nostalgic dish. 

2. V Kitchen

Nica Neri-Uy used to just cook her mom’s callos recipe for the Christmas family potluck, but now it is on heavy rotation at her home-based business, V Kitchen. Her version is robust with the richness of picnic bacon, chorizo Bilbao, and ox trotters, enhanced by that sultry slow burn from hot peppers and salty pops of green olives. This is so decadent that it will have you constantly reaching for the bread basket or the rice cooker. Either way, prepare to overeat.

For orders, send them a message on Instagram or Viber +63917 824 6422


3. Chef Gino’s Kitchen

What one can appreciate about celebrity chef Gino Gonzalez’s cooking is that everything on your plate is there for a reason. His Quatro Callos, busy as it may sound, is packed with all the essentials for what is his vision of the perfect tripe stew. The ox tripe cooked until soft but with a pleasant bite; chorizo for flavour; the most tender beef cheeks; plus the indulgent stickiness of beef tendon which has the sauce teetering on obscene. There is good reason why it is one of the most popular callos in the city, even amongst his fellow chefs. 

4. Kusinette

Based on the heirloom recipe of one of Manila’s oldest Spanish families, Nannette Morato’s callos is easily an ideal representation of the classic. Slow-cooking ensures a sauce so thick and gelatinous that your lips will literally stick together, with tender chunks of beef making it a hearty dish. She uses the chorizo that sister-in-law Evelyn Morato makes in small batches and it just melts into the stew, infusing it with a rich, smoky flavour.

For pre-orders or inquiries, send them a message on Instagram or text +63917 810 7852

5. Manolo’s

Manny Torrejon might now be more known as one of our local coffee gurus, but his circle has always known him to be a highly-proficient cook. His callos is prepared the old-school way— simmering in a pot over charcoal for ten hours until the ox tripe, face, and feet are tender and gelatinous. Despite the long cooking, all components remain taught and distinct in that thick sauce that is more jus than tomato, just as they do it in Madrid.

For orders, text +63917 874 6793

6. Tita Jovy

Growing up in Tarlac, cooking-mama Jovy Quiambao Aquino’s father would have a whole cow slaughtered during big celebrations and the entire animal will be utilised for different dishes. The ox face, feet, and tripe go into the callos, giving the sauce its desired sticky texture. Jovy prefers chorizo Pamplona in her stew, and dried chilis give it just enough heat to make your mouth water. Along with their beef lengua and chocolate chip cookies, this was a favourite at the now-defunct Scout area cult favourite, Heirloom Kitchen.

To order, message through SMS or Viber +63998 853 9142

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