HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure

Pig Rectum poses as calamari

trolley Jan 18, 2013 01:49 PM

Please say it's not true


But then there's this


Really? Can this just be another one of those made up stories?

  1. mcf Jan 18, 2013 01:54 PM

    I'm going to stick to tentacles from now on, my favorite part. I feel a case of heebie jeebies coming on, THANKS!

    3 Replies
    1. re: mcf
      bobbert Jan 18, 2013 02:02 PM

      After reading the thread name I misread your post as sticking to testicles. I refuse to even click on the link.

      1. re: bobbert
        mcf Jan 18, 2013 04:29 PM


        1. re: bobbert
          EM23 Jan 22, 2013 02:19 PM

          Hysterical - me too!

      2. c
        ChiliDude Jan 18, 2013 02:04 PM

        What is being served is chittlin's (chitterlings). I suggest if you wish to have calamari that you patronize a reputable seafood store.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ChiliDude
          mcf Jan 18, 2013 04:29 PM

          I thought chittlins were intestine, not rectum?

          1. re: mcf
            tcamp Jan 18, 2013 04:34 PM

            Rectum = intestine + time + gravity

            1. re: mcf
              ChiliDude Jan 20, 2013 10:36 AM

              It's all part of the gastrointestinal system. Just ask your doctor next time you visit him.

          2. s
            Sal Vanilla Jan 18, 2013 02:08 PM

            I would not be surprised if the rectums are eaten in Asia. As calamari? Maybe.

            I will choose to believe it is happening here so I can have a good laugh and wonder what manufacturers are using to create that... authentic fishy smell you get with purchased frozen calamari rings.

            I heard a decade or so ago about restaurants subbing punched out skate wing for scallops. That did not surprise me. There have been a handful of times where I have ordered grouper and not received grouper. Then they try to deny it. But I have caught and cooked more grouper than the average person. Grouper looks like... GROUPER. So who knows what some are doing. Best not to think to much about it if you are delicate.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sal Vanilla
              Caroline1 Jan 18, 2013 06:50 PM

              Though I've never ordered it, I've seen it on the menus of several Chinese restaurants. It's listed as "pork bung," and is usually stewed in some way. Since I don't like tripe, I figured there wasn't much chance I'd like pork bung.

              1. re: Caroline1
                Sal Vanilla Jan 24, 2013 10:51 AM

                I like that they did not try to mince words. We eat intestines, why not the bung hole?

                1. re: Sal Vanilla
                  sunshine842 Jan 24, 2013 12:58 PM

                  although it does make me think of the supposed list of ingredients for hot dogs: lips and assholes....

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    Sal Vanilla Jan 24, 2013 11:50 PM

                    Laughs~ I am so mad that I did not think to go there.

            2. paulj Jan 18, 2013 02:11 PM

              The 2 links are just reporting on the same radio story, and make it clear that the story teller doubts if it is true. No one went record to say it is true.

              Traditionally some of the larger sausages use bung as the casing. I've had Mexican blood sausage (moronga) which was probably stuffed into the larger end of the pig's intestines. I've also seen bung sold at a large Asian grocery.


              1. r
                redfish62 Jan 18, 2013 02:18 PM

                So long as they don't use the pig rectums in sushi I'm okay with it

                1. EricMM Jan 18, 2013 03:06 PM

                  I once bought some barbecue cuttlefish from a Chinese place, and by accident a small piece of intestine was included. I liked it just as much as the cuttlefish. The old "skate for scallop" substitution is a myth, as are most cases of substituting fish for shellfish. (Not counting surimi instead of crab.) Not only are the textures and flavor of skate and scallop radically different, the fibers run in different directions- horizontally in skate, vertical in scallop. But fish for fish substitutions are a big problem, and grouper is one of the most notorious.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: EricMM
                    hotoynoodle Jan 18, 2013 07:46 PM

                    having a la carte sushi a few years back, i was served something white that was most definitely NOT the scallop i had ordered. at this point, i will not say it was skate since skate is no longer considered a "garbage fish" and is not cheap. but it was no way no how scallop.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      EricMM Jan 19, 2013 09:16 AM

                      Sushi places are also notorious for substitutions. (Witness the latest study showing 100% of "white tuna" being escolar or something else. Not surprising given that there is no such thing as "white tuna" beyond canned albacore.) My favorite sushi place sells surf clam adductor muscle as "scallop", but they will tell you that. I love it too. There is also a scallop -like shellfish I have seen imported from Japan that is great, but it is not like American sea scallop. However the substitutions seem to always be fish for fish, or shellfish for shellfish, rather than fish for shellfish.

                      1. re: EricMM
                        hotoynoodle Jan 20, 2013 08:12 AM

                        i always thought "white tuna" was simply another, supposedly "better", name for escolar -- like chilean seabass actually being patagonian toothfish.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          EricMM Jan 20, 2013 08:27 AM

                          To me, escolar sounds more interesting than white tuna...but the name change probably has more to do with what people will find out if they choose to look up escolar...and discover that it can give you diarrhea if you eat too much of it.

                          1. re: EricMM
                            mcf Jan 20, 2013 01:53 PM

                            Yabbut, that amount is way more than you're likely to get from a few pieces of sushi. I love escolar and have had it as my entree in the past with no difficulties.

                            1. re: mcf
                              EricMM Jan 21, 2013 08:28 AM

                              I doubt anyone would have any problems from eating the amount of escolar sold at sushi places, unless you're at one of those "all you can eat" cheapie places and really have a jones for white tuna. The one time I saw escolar sold at a fish market, it clearly had a warning posted. But I think that you need to eat about 6 oz to get ill effects, ( I'm a glutton, so I'll never eat a piece of fish less than 6 oz if I can get more.) So as long as you're careful the average person should have no problem. (Of course, if a person gets diarrhea after eating sushi, you know what they are going to blame! And I don't think they will blame white tuna alone....) Still, if you are a business selling food, would you want your customers to see a name associated with a tasty fish like tuna, or a tasty fish associated with greasy diarrhea and anal leakage?

                  2. k
                    knucklesandwich Jan 18, 2013 03:28 PM

                    What's horrifying about this "story" is that some of you are taking it seriously. Shame on you.

                    1. s
                      SomeRandomIdiot Jan 18, 2013 05:58 PM

                      I like fried pig intestines as much as I like calamari. I'm not sure how anyone would confuse the texture of intestine with that of calamari.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                        paulj Jan 18, 2013 06:01 PM

                        Only a person who has eaten neither would start this kind of rumor.

                      2. Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2013 06:22 PM

                        So I won't care one way or the other. That being said, pig rectum which I know of will have a difficult time to imitate calamari. Frankly, I think PaulJ is correct. If you have indeed eaten these items, you won't think one can be confused with the other.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          sal_acid Jan 18, 2013 06:29 PM

                          Not so fast everybody.

                          The rectum is a hole. It isn't a thing. Just as the nostril is a space surrounded by nose, the rectum is space surrounded by a voluntary muscle, the rectal sphincter, to be exact. There are two per pig, one internal and one external.

                          Assuming that we are really talking about that muscle here, it is not anything like intestine. It would have the texture of red meat (though perhaps with a brownish hue on one surface..just kidding).

                          1. re: sal_acid
                            Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2013 06:39 PM

                            I agree with you that the pig rectum and the pig intestine do not taste the same, but I believe I have had both before.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              sal_acid Jan 18, 2013 06:46 PM


                              1. re: sal_acid
                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2013 06:47 PM

                                :) It is unfortunate... it is not where, it is who. My mom fed me those things when I was young.

                            2. re: sal_acid
                              SomeRandomIdiot Jan 18, 2013 06:51 PM

                              If only the two end pieces are to be considered then wouldn't the limited supply make it even less likely that it is being used a substitute? Now I'm also curious what the difference in taste would be between regular fried intestines and fried pig rectums.

                              1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2013 06:56 PM

                                Believe it or not, these pig rectum or pig intestine dishes are not cheap -- not cheaper than regular pork dishes.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  paulj Jan 18, 2013 07:35 PM

                                  From the menu of a Chinese restaurant in the Seattle area (next door to a 99Ranch grocery)

                                  CRISPY SPRING ROLL (EACH) $1.55
                                  COLD JELLY FISH $6.95
                                  B.B.Q PORK $5.25
                                  PORK HOCK $7.25
                                  POT STICKERS (8) $6.95
                                  COLD JELLY FISH WITH PORK HOCK $8.80
                                  DEEP FRIED BUNG UNBPLIT $8.25

                                  Economic Dish
                                  SALT & PEPPER FRESH SQUID $7.28
                                  DEEP FRIED SQUID $7.28
                                  DEEP FRIED OYSTERS $7.28
                                  SAUTEED SQUID WITH GARLIC SAUCE $7.28

                                  1. re: paulj
                                    Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2013 07:40 PM

                                    <DEEP FRIED BUNG UNBPLIT $8.25

                                    DEEP FRIED SQUID $7.28>

                                    :) In other words, you are trading up if someone substitute calamari with fried pork intestines. You may not like it, but they are definitely not "cheaping" you out.

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    trolley Jan 18, 2013 07:56 PM

                                    see, this is where i turn into a skeptic. bc i thought squid was much more pedestrian and an easier catch than pig rectum. seems more of a chore to get pig rectum. for crying out loud they serve squid to marine mammals at the aquarium. it relatively cheap too.

                                  3. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                    paulj Jan 18, 2013 07:37 PM


                                    Cooking: Generally these are simmered for an hour, then sliced diagonally about 1 inch wide. They may be deep fried, often wrapped around a scallion, or stir fried. If fried crisp they are usually served with a dip. In Mexico also they are served with beans and tortillas if still chewy, on there own (perhaps with hot sauce) if crisp.

                                    Speaking of usual parts, I was shopping at a Halal market, and noticed a variety of lamb and goat parts in the meat case. Kidneys, liver and heart were labeled, but there some nameless packages with these egg shaped items:

                              2. j
                                jaykayen Jan 18, 2013 08:05 PM

                                So fake. They don't taste anything alike. :D

                                1. s
                                  seamunky Jan 19, 2013 03:29 PM

                                  The labor involved in processing the bung would not make this an economically smart move. In the radio program, he admits there never was a product labeled as "imitation calamari". I listened to the radio program. It is silly.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: seamunky
                                    paulj Jan 19, 2013 03:44 PM

                                    That program's strength is telling interesting stories. I don't think they make things up, but neither do they practice serious investigative journalism. I often listen to bits and pieces of it on Saturdays, since it follows a serious news show (Wait Wait...).

                                    Cooking got a mention on this week's Wait Wait. They were giving Mo Rocha's credentials, which include My Grandmother's Ravioli.

                                    1. re: paulj
                                      sunshine842 Jan 20, 2013 02:59 AM

                                      I LOVE Wait Wait.

                                      Mo Rocha was a frequent judge on the the early seasons of Iron Chef, by the way. He picked on Jeffrey Steingarten mercilessly (who deserved every word of it).

                                    2. re: seamunky
                                      magic Jan 24, 2013 07:54 AM

                                      While I don't believe this story, would high labor make pig rectum expensive?? I'm not sure about that.

                                      Wouldn't the fact that there is not much of a market for pig rectum make it cheap regardless of the labour involved in processing it?

                                      1. re: magic
                                        Veggo Jan 24, 2013 08:07 AM

                                        Some folks don't know their squid from a hole in the ground...

                                    3. hill food Jan 20, 2013 03:42 AM

                                      made up - if one has ever dealt with tripe, or chitlins or the intestines of any mammal, one knows that would be so labor intensive to masquerade that as squid to be prohibitive, if even possible.

                                      but it is good for a larf.

                                      1. law_doc89 Jan 20, 2013 09:01 AM

                                        Don't know about this scam (nothing about it on Snopes) but it is common in many over rated restaurants to pass off all sorts of things that are not as billed. But too many people are undiscerning, so it is easy for the unscrupulous to get away with the switch. Pork and calimari do not taste the same, and with good calimari, fried right in properly hot fresh oil, no one should be fooled even if you douse in "cocktail sauce" which is a mistake anyway.

                                        1. Uncle Bob Jan 20, 2013 10:19 AM

                                          I was shown a 40# box full of frozen PORK ANUS once. ~ If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would have said, No Way! ~~
                                          I figured they found their way into sausage, wieners, bologna, etc, but not as a stand alone product. So they are out there.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: Uncle Bob
                                            hotoynoodle Jan 20, 2013 06:07 PM

                                            my local southeast asian markets sell bung and anus.

                                            uterus too, for that matter.

                                            clearly rectum is a misnomer for whatever is freaking out the writer, but in poor cultures no part of the animal goes to waste. just because a westerner may not eat it doesn't mean it's unpalatable or strange to somebody else.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                              law_doc89 Jan 20, 2013 07:44 PM

                                              And my local Chinese market has pig snout, too.

                                              1. re: law_doc89
                                                hill food Jan 20, 2013 11:03 PM

                                                and bull penis even. (hey Zimmern! over here)

                                                1. re: hill food
                                                  hotoynoodle Jan 21, 2013 06:39 AM

                                                  +1 on both of these, plus uterus, pig ears, duck tongue, etc.

                                                  intestines are traditional sausage casings in all cultures.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    paulj Jan 21, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                    I've bought 'marrow gut' a couple times. This turned out to be rather labor intensive. It's the small intestine with the 'ruffle fat' still attached

                                                    So I had to snip off the ruffle (which is quite fatty), and then flush out the intestine itself. Simmered till tender and then fried a bit to crisp, it's pretty good. But the preparation time isn't worth it.

                                                    When I've had intestines at a Korean restaurant, I don't think they cleaned them as well as I did. That does add a taste element that's a borderline dislike.

                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                      Uncle Bob Jan 21, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                      What you have done at home is kinda like the "Creek Run" process. ~ While the Korean restaurant sounds like the "Stump Slung" process. ~ 'Creek Run' is cleaner than Stump Slung. ~~ The cleanest have been stump slung, and creek ran. :)

                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                        sunshine842 Jan 21, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                        sounds like andouillette in France. I can appreciate the heritage of the dish, and I can appreciate the skill it takes to roll it perfectly so the rings are perfectly concentric.

                                                        But gah. Anything that smells like that is not food.

                                                        (I know *you're* acquainted with it.)

                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                          paulj Jan 21, 2013 02:21 PM


                                                          There's a lot of reference to the smell in this Wiki article. In the talk section there's this:
                                                          "There is in France a repeated quote of the politician Edouard Herriot saying that La politique, c'est comme l'andouillette, ça doit sentir un peu la merde, mais pas trop"

                                                          A while back I had tripitas burrito that seem to fit that dictum, just enough taste to it tell wasn't just chewy bits of pork.

                                                  2. re: law_doc89
                                                    2roadsdiverge Jan 23, 2013 02:26 PM

                                                    Pig snout sandwiches are a delicacy in St. Louis (they call em "snoots"). Either braised and fried or just barbecued.

                                                    1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                                      hill food Jan 24, 2013 01:07 AM

                                                      I keep meaning to hit Smoki-O's but it seems all my STL friends have gone vegetarian.

                                                  3. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    Veggo Jan 21, 2013 07:23 AM

                                                    I suppose we can supplement the phrase "everything but the squeal" about eating all parts of a pig , with "everything but the fart" and cover the subject at both ends.

                                                2. Pat Hammond Jan 21, 2013 02:56 PM

                                                  Has anyone listened to link to the "This American Life" piece? I sat in my car in the driveway until it ended. It's definitely worth a listen.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Pat Hammond
                                                    HillJ Jan 21, 2013 04:20 PM


                                                    here's the link to the airing Pat H mentioned.

                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                      Pat Hammond Jan 22, 2013 12:57 PM


                                                  2. 4
                                                    4X4 Jan 24, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                    "Pig Rectum" would be a great name for a punk rock band.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: 4X4
                                                      HillJ Jan 24, 2013 10:42 AM


                                                      already exists, and it isn't 'pretty'

                                                    Show Hidden Posts