Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Oct 10, 2000 02:44 PM

Where's the liver?

  • j

This has been rolling around in my head for some time:
Why does one never see liver on an Asian menu (Chinese, Thai, Malay, etc.).

I recently ate at the Malaysian restaurant in the arcade between Bowery and Elizabeth (where I had previously had wonderful food). Not this time. We ordered "chicken offal and celery" and other dishes.

I asked the young lady just what part of the inside of the chicken was the offal. She brightly replied "liver". And I said whatelse and prompted her with "gizzard". Oh, yes, gizzard too, she said.

This broke a major rule: Never ask the young thing smiling at you about the ingredients. Needless to say the offal was inconnu to me and group and I was the only one who would eat it. Tasteless blobs of some extremely rubbery innard (impossible to totally chew).

Would anyone hazard a guess as to what I ate? And, oh yeah, just what has happened to all that liver? Foie cant be verboten in all Asian cooking.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. l
    Leslie Brenner

    Ever tried ankimo at a sushi bar? That's monkfish liver.

    1. I think a lot of that liver gets made into sausage. Chinese liver sausage: a wonderful thing.

      As to your awful offal...tripe, maybe?

      1. r
        Robert Sietsema

        Where's the liver? The Filipinos are eating it all up. Look on most Philippine menus and you'll find 10 or so liver dishes, mainly in soups and stir fries with other offal. Recently had a great liver and heart soup in a pleasantly sour lemon broth, and a sizzling platter of liver and pig ears at Ihawan, 40-06 70th Street, Woodside, Queens, 718-205-1480. They even make mondongo with liver instead of tripe. It's liveriscious.

        1. Have you eaten gizzard before? They are a couple inches across, unlike chicken hearts which are a little less tough, a little more red and about an inch long. Tough blobs describes gizzards pretty well. We happen to love gizzards but they have to be braised for a fairly long time to be tasty. Sometimes Ive seen them served in chinese places stir fried, and the effect is rubbery. They are a bit gamy, and, finely chopped, make a great pasta sauce as per one of Giuliano Bugialli's tuscan cookbooks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jen kalb

            Thanks for the replies.
            Yes, I did consider gizzards which I like as in Grandma's fried chicken. The bits of spongy material in the Malay dish showed no signs of muscle tissue which is the great part of the gizzard (which does for a bird what teeth do for mammals).

            Someone suggested tripe which got me thinking. Perhaps it was chicken lungs - no need to go there.

            Another question : oxtails in Asian cooking.
            Working in midtown about 1997 I found a modest Chinese eatery with about six shared tables. It had a name like Ruby's Quick Chinese (?). It was between 6 and 7 aves on 45/46 sts. Anyhow Ruby served an oxtail ragout unparalleled - plus several other dishes with her stamp on them. One day I showed and Ruby and co. were gone - replaced by a video game parlor.

            Does anyone have info on any Asian restaurants serving oxtails? A riend said she thought Mongolian-chinese cooking might use oxtails.

            Also does anyone remember this Ruby and know what might have happened to her group?