Food

Where to Find the Best Ox Brain in Metro Manila

This dish is not for the faint-hearted.
IMAGE courtesy of Jaclyn Clemente Koppe
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It's 2020 and we're still eating ox brain because no documentary will deter us from this amazing delicacy. Ox brain in the Philippines is normally associated with Middle-Eastern restaurants, but it's also used widely in French, Spanish, Mexican, and Italian cuisines. Animal brain can be cooked in a variety of waysboiled, pan-fried, sauteed then put in a taco. At the last Madrid Fusion Manila, one chef even created a mousse using the revered ingredient and topped it over dinakdakan.  

According to a Livestrong article, ox brain has some health benefits. This rich dish contains healthy fat, protein, and has high vitamin and mineral content. It cautions, however, that ox brain is extremely loaded with cholesterol, with one serving having 3,401 milligrams of cholesterol (that's more than 10 times the daily required intake). But that's why you have to share.

Ox brain fan? Try some of these options. Not a fan? We have a list of the best shawarma rice in Manila.

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Fried Brain at Hosseins Persian Kebab

Photo by courtesy of Jaclyn Clemente Koppe.

For a little over P500, this fried ox brain stretches your money's worth with a platter that can be shared between three or four people (or one, if you're that big of a risk taker). The rich and creamy brain is seasoned with Arabic spices then brightened with a squeeze of lemon. 

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7857 LKV Building, Makati Avenue, Makati; Greenbelt 3, Makati Avenue, Makati; 2/F Serendra, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig; www.hosseins.com 

Ox Brain at Uncle Moe's

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Ever the reliable Middle-Eastern joint, Uncle Moe's has an easily accessible, easily affordable ox brain dish (it's P180). It's listed as a starter on the menu, but you can mix it with other Uncle Moe's dishes. The keema shawarma, perhaps?

Uncle Moe's branches

Ox Brain at Shawarma Snack Center

Photo by courtesy of Jaclyn Clemente Koppe.
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Consider yourself lucky if the ox brain is available during your visit to the Shawarma Snack Center. Rare as a blue moon these days, it's cooked to an impressively velvety texture, almost like slightly chunkier foie gras or a creamy fried egg dish, with a jolt of flavor from garlic. 

484 White Palace Condotel, R. Salas Street, Ermita, Manila; President's Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque; El Grande Arcade, 316 El Grande Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque

Ox Brain at Mister Kabab

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Ox brain comes in two forms in this Persian chain: in a sandwich and as is. The kitchen cooks it almost like a scrambled egg. On the side, it comes with calamansi because a heavy dish like ox brain needs a little lift from a hint of acid. Try adding a bit of garlic and hot sauces in there too, to really make things interesting.

Mister Kabab branches

Sizzling Ox Brain at Persia Grill

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Photo by courtesy of Decker Gokioco.

Persia Grill serves up something extra with ox brain on a sizzling plate, making it look and feel like the ultimate pulutan. The entire dish is bolstered by onions and tomatoes and a delicious savory sauce. All it needs is a squeeze of calamansi and some carbs, and you're good to go.

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Persia Grill branches 

Ox Brain (Not for the Faint-Hearted) at Kite Kebab Bar

Photo by FACEBOOK/ @persiagrill.

Owned by the same folks behind Persia Grill, Kite Kebab Bar offers a slightly more upscale solution to your Middle Eastern cravings. The chopped-up fried brain gets a facelift here, looking more like the popular chicharon bituka than the pale, scrambled visage of the usual beef brain. Add a hint of salt and pepper and enjoy it with some pita bread. 

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4898 Durban Corner Polaris Street, Poblacion, Makati; Bautista Corner Tordesillas Street, Salcedo Village, Makati

Ox Brain at Little Persia

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Make sure to grab a bottle (or three) of beer to go with this dish. This aphrodisiac is loaded with onions, lime, turmeric, and a few extra confidential spices to make your Friday night drinking unforgettable.

Podium 3, Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati

Ox Brain with Pita at Mike's Chef Restaurant

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This tiny, inconspicuous restaurant is Makati is run by an actual self-taught Iranian cook and his wife. (The Iranian basketball team even stopped over for a snack in 2018). The prices are incredible (nothing is over P200) and the flavors more so. The ox brain here is presented almost like a celebration: in a sizzling platter and peppered with colorful spices and aromatics.

G-09, Tower 3, Cityland Dela Rosa, Dela Rosa Street., Buendia Avenue, Makati

Ox Brain at Ababu Persian Kitchen

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Another one of those trusty restaurants that you can rely on for a random Persian food craving, Ababu's P70 ox brain comes extra saucy, with calamansi to give it that touch of tang.

Ababu branches

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
View Other Articles From Sasha
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