If there's anything in this world that I'd gladly eat despite being so rich in cholesterol, it has got to be my mom's papaitan. I got introduced to it at a very young age and I had been in love with it ever since.
Hearing from my mom's stories, I discovered that she learned how to make papaitan from her mom and aunts. My mom's side of the family is typically Ilocano-Pangasinense with a mix of other races, as with most Filipinos. She grew up toiling days and nights to get her through high school and college, which has earned her the comfortable life that she has now.
My mom's papaitan!
What I love about my mom the most, aside from her usual antics, is her cooking. She may have long stopped preparing food for us but the recipes and personal touches still run deep in her system. Of all her dishes, her papaitan tops the list!
Friends who had the chance to try my mom's papaitan would have mixed feelings while being served the popular Filipino dish. "Tita, masyadong mapait!" (Auntie, it's too bitter!) is the usual reaction to her version of the dish. As a reply, my mom would jokingly say, "Anak, alam mo naman dito sa'min, gusto ng mga bata eh punong-puno ng pait!" (Child, you know very well that the kids like it really bitter!) True enough, my mom usually uses a whole sac of bile or more to get the full bitter flavor that is distinct to her papaitan.
A typical papaitan dish would be comprised of a thick soup stock, with generous servings of cow, pig, or goat intestines. We're Asian too, so expect some of our dishes to make use of innards. They're quite chewy, you'd be surprised at how delectable our dishes are!