Blood and Guts: 7 Honolulu Dishes Made From Innards, Gizzards and Other Surprising Organs
Hawai‘i folks can eat an impressive array of ethnic foods containing blood, liver or other gutsy dishes.
If you really want to get into the full spirit of Halloween, the blood and guts don’t have to stop at your yard decorations—they can be on your plate, too! Many ethnic cuisines use blood and offal as ingredients, and the resulting dishes are often delicious. We found restaurants around town where you can get visceral. Bone appétit!
Pig’s Blood Soup, Vietnamese Style
Photo: Robbie Dingeman
Kim An Vietnamese Restaurant offers a large menu that includes pho, other soups, noodles, BBQ meat and seafood. One of their signature dishes is Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup that includes chunks of pig’s blood as well as brisket, cartilage, bouncy round white noodles, fresh herbs, bean sprouts and lemon.
174 N. King St., 599-3881
Pig’s Blood Soup, Thai Style
Photo: Michael Keany
Malee Thai Cuisine offers goy jup soup with blood patties in it as well as noodles, veggies, and a hard-cooked egg. The little restaurant in Maunakea Marketplace serves up various Thai rice, curry and noodle dishes along a more popular tom yum soup. If you order the goy jup to go (like we did), the blood patties turn the broth a pinkish hue.
1120 Maunakea St., 599-4635
Photo: Natalie Schack
As foodies, we totally appreciate the stomach. So it stands to reason that we’d be all about gizzards, an organ similar to human stomachs used to grind up food in birds. These benign-looking little morsels are a delicacy in many cultures, appearing on menus in Izakayas and chopped up with liver in Cajun dirty rice. Here on the Islands, you can even find gizzards in a chain like Gyu-Kaku, where the crunchy, chewy dish is served deep-fried.
1221 Kapiolani Blvd. #105, 589-2989
Photos: Courtesy Natalie Schack, Wikipedia
The most infamous gutsy dish on our list has got to be the Filipino delicacy balut, the not-yet-mature duck embryo street food, purportedly delicious with beer. The curled up little creatures are boiled alive in their shells at varying times in the development process according to tastes and customs, and sold with a packet of salt. The eating routine goes something like this: Poke a little puka in the shell, shotgun the embryotic broth inside, peel the rest of the casing and enjoy the remaining (slightly crunchy) chick and yolk—a multi-course meal all in one.
Tamashiro Market, 802 N. King St., 841-8047
Liver, Heart, Gizzard, Tongue and Cartilage, Yakitori Style
Chicken hearts and chicken liver.
Photos: Michael Keany
Just about anything tastes good when you put it on a skewer and throw it on a smoking hot grill. At Kohnotori, a cozy yakitori-ya next to Imanas Tei in Mo‘ili‘ili, you can take your pick of meat, vegetables, mushrooms, eggs and more, all grilled to order right in front of the hungry patrons lined up at the bar. Sure, you could play it safe with enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon, or quail eggs wrapped in bacon, but you can also explore their wide selection of offal—chicken liver, heart, gizzard, skin, cartilage—each with its own unique texture and flavor. Wash all that yakimono down with an Asahi draft or two, and you’ll be stuffed and happy before you know it.
2626 S. King St. #1, 941-7255
Photo: Michael Keany
Many cultures cook with blood, whether it’s a British black pudding or a Polish czernina soup. In the Philippines, one such traditional dish is a blood pudding stew called dinuguan, aka chocolate meat. At its simplest, dinuguan is simply prime cuts of pork, sautéed in pork blood, vinegar and spices, but it’s often prepared with additional offal cuts including pork lung, intestine and heart. At Mabuhay Café and Restaurant, which bills itself as “home style” Filipino cooking, you can order a generous serving of dinuguan that features pork sautéed with pork blood, stomach and liver with a taste of vinegar.
1049 River St., 545-1956
Chicken and Duck Mousse
Photo: Michael Keany
If you’re assembling a cheeseboard for your Halloween party, don’t forget the bird organs. We found this peppercorn chicken and duck mousse by Fabrique Delices in the cheese section of Whole Foods. Its top ingredients are chicken liver and chicken fat, and it’s topped with clear aspic for an added bit of texture. If you’re wondering what exactly a mousse is, it’s similar to paté, except instead of being coarse and sliceable, it’s smoother and creamier, so you can spread it easily on a cracker. Pair it with a blood-red red merlot for the full experience.
Whole Foods Kāhala, 4211 Wai‘alae Ave., 738.0820