You have to give it to the puso. For decades, it has been a dependable companion to our beloved chibogs like the barbecue, siomai, chicharong-bulaklak, sha-e and just about every other internal organ we bisaya’s can think of deep-frying.
And just when I thought I have tasted every puso tandem there is, I came across tuslob-buwa. The name itself had an exotic allure to it so I was more than intrigued. I was a bit disappointed though when I discovered that the tuslob-buwa in itself has been cooking in the streets of Pasil for a while now and that I wasn’t a pioneer tastee of this supposedly “new fad”. My friends weren’t really that generous in explaining as to why it was bestowed with such name so somehow all I can think of was detergent and soap suds (buwa means bubbles, tuslob means to dip).
When we got to Azul, a walking distance from Asylo, I immediately got it. For Php 99.00 you get your own table with a tray set of onions, pig liver, shrimp and pig brain chunks suspended in a soup. You also get to cook it in your own butane stove and a small wok. The idea is you cook everything in the tiny wok and let it simmer until what is left is brownish slurry. You dip your puso into the boiling mixture and eat at your heart’s content, hence, tuslob buwa.
TRIVIA: This might be unnecessary but hey, my blog, my rules. Speaking of bubbles, any packet of gas wrapped in a film is called a bubble, right? WRONG! Technically, this is a common misconception and there are two categories to describe such systems. If a spherical film separates similar phases then it’s a bubble (e.g. a bubble floating in air). If, however, a film separates two different phases then its properly called a cavity. So those tiny spheres on your softdrink bottle? Cavities. Those things that come out of your butt when you fart underwater? Yep, cavities as well.
Back to that boiling wok. Once you have received the set, the stove and the wok, you’re only a simmer away from making your own tuslob-buwa.
It’s fairly simple, even a decapitated shark can do it. First, you sautee the onion until translucent.
Then, you add the liver, followed by the shrimp. Add some soy sauce and oil if you like. When it has browned, add the soup with brain chunks and let the whole thing reduce to a slurry.
Or you can throw everything into that wok, who cares, you paid for it. Do as you wish.
THE VERDICT. If you are Bisaya, there isn’t really anything much in the surprise department here. You have probably consumed liver and shrimp before. The potential shock factor is the pig brain which isn’t really that shocking either since there are only a few floating in the soup which renders it unrecognizable. Still, the overall taste is good and there is siomai and pork belly available if you like. But I commend Azul for providing a cleaner alternative than what you get in the streets of Pasil. Ninety nine pesos seems fair, but at the same price I’d still prefer the two-piece chicken from KFC or the Burger steak from Orange Brutus. I suggest that each set is shared only by two people if you’re determined at getting full.
For now, the puso-barbecue is still the Brangelina of Cebuano street food but the tuslob-buwa is a good alternative for those who want to try something new. Only time can tell if this new tandem can take the crown and dominate the streets of Cebu or if it is just a fad that will soon die out like bubbles bursting in the air.
Shout out to my bud Nathaniel for his ever dependable 4s and for taking these shots.