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10 Best Offal Dishes in Metro Phoenix

There's plenty of awesome offal to be discovered in Phoenix, including this pork intestine appetizer from Lucky's King Wah in Glendale.
There's plenty of awesome offal to be discovered in Phoenix, including this pork intestine appetizer from Lucky's King Wah in Glendale.
All photos by Lauren Saria

Offal often gets a bad rap for being the odds and ends of animals that no one wants to eat. The term, a British one, refers to non-muscle parts of a butchered animal. It covers all sorts of tasty bits like intestine, liver, kidneys, feet, head, brain, tongue and more. And we'll admit, these aren't exactly the sexiest of ingredients. But these days, thanks to inventive chefs and a rising interest in culinary adventure, offal is on the rise.

Of course you've never had to look any farther that your favorite ethnic joint to find these often flavorful but overlooked protein sources. But now they're also making their way onto upscale, New American menus too. So move over, pâté, and make room, foie gras, because you're not the coolest cuts on the butcher block any more. Here's our list of the ten best offal dishes in metro Phoenix.

The pho dac biet at Pho Thahn come with all the usual garnishes and a not-so-usual beef bits inside.
The pho dac biet at Pho Thahn come with all the usual garnishes and a not-so-usual beef bits inside.
Lauren Saria

Pho Dac Biet Pho Thanh Restaurant 1702 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix 602-242-1979

At Pho Thanh you can count on finding super-cheap and authentic Vietnamese eats, and that description includes this bowl of brimming beef parts. In Pho Dac Biet, or "special" pho, you'll find slices of beef meat mixed in with chewy chunks of tripe and soft, rich sections of tendon. If the idea of noshing on connective tissue seems offputting, don't fret. In fact, the gelatinous texture and beefy, fatty flavor of tendon might just remind you of pork belly. Dressed up with bright bites of cilantro and crunchy bean sprouts, you're in for an offal treat with this dish.

This creamy pâté is even on the happy hour menu.
This creamy pâté is even on the happy hour menu.
Lauren Saria

Chicken Liver Pâté The Gladly 2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix 602-759-8132 www.thegladly.com

There's a simple pleasure that comes with eating pâté, assuming you're not grossed out by the idea of eating liver. To us, at least, this dish feels rustic and traditional. At The Gladly the pâté appetizer comes with Dijon mustard, pickled onions and capers, all of which can be piled or spread atop toasted bread. If you're not a regular offal eater this pâté is a great place to start since the mild flavor won't leave you feeling like you're eating anything strange. It's wonderfully smooth -- actually downright creamy -- and complemented well by the crisp, buttery bread sourced from north Phoenix's Panini Bakery.

 

These bright red bits will likely be the most colorful thing on your table.
These bright red bits will likely be the most colorful thing on your table.
Lauren Saria

Crispy fatty fried pork intestine Lucky's King Wah 4306 W. Northern Ave., Glendale 623-937-3960

Pork intestines might be our favorite type of offal, particularly the way they're served at Glendale's Lucky's King Wah restaurant. There's a trick to getting them, though, and the key word is persistence. You won't find this appetizer on the English menu, so unless you know Chinese you'll have to ask for it by describing it. Your server will probably try to offer you something else, but insistence will get you a plate of bright red fatty, pork intestines. Dip each deep fried piece in the vinegar sauce and sprinkle a pinch of salt for a whole new level of flavor. And eat up, because sadly they don't reheat well.

Though they're a pretty common snack, chicharrones are considered offal.
Though they're a pretty common snack, chicharrones are considered offal.
Lauren Saria

Chicharron Prensado La Merced 855 W. University Drive, Mesa 480-343-6363

At Mesa's La Merced restaurant you can have your choice between two types of chicharron, either of which can be wrapped just about any way you like, as a quesadilla, gordita, sope and more. The familiar chicharron will be crispy pigskins but here you'll also find chicharron prensado, or pressed pigskin. These skins get compressed into brick form with bits of meat and fat still attached. And when folded into an oversized quesadilla, they offer a whole lot of flavor bang for your buck. The deep red meat is smoky and sweet, complemented by just the right amount of grease.

Chicken feet are a dim sum staple.
Chicken feet are a dim sum staple.
Lauren Saria

Chicken feet Great Wall Cuisine 3446 W. Camelback Road #155, Phoenix 602-973-1112

There are plenty of ways to eat offal without having to feel like you're, you know, eating offal. Chicken feet are definitely not one of them. On Sunday mornings Great Wall Cuisine serves up an impressive dim sum spread that draws quite a crowd so be prepared to wait. Once you've landed a seat don't let the steaming bowl of chicken feet go by without nabbing a dish. These gelatinous treats come smothered in faintly spicy red sauce. Provided you don't mind bones, you'll gnaw your way through layers of skin, fat, bones, tendon and maybe a bit of meat, though never much. Navigating the inedible bits is half the fun.

 

This west Valley joint serves up Filipino comfort food by day and karaokee parties at night.
This west Valley joint serves up Filipino comfort food by day and karaokee parties at night.
Lauren Saria

Dinuguan Halo Halo Kitchen 3553 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix 602-324-9670 www.gothalohalo.com

Dinuguan comes from the Filipino word dugo, which means "blood". So, as you might have already guessed, this savory stew does in fact feature pork blood. And if that's not offal-y enough, traditionally dinuguan can also be chock full of other tasty tidbits such as lungs, kidneys, intestines, ears, heart and snout, though these days that's not always the case. The rich stew at Halo Halo Kitchen comes packed with the garlic and vinegary flavor that's typical of Filipino food and offers a mild iron-y taste thanks, of course, to the blood. This West Valley joint has a great selection of other Filipino dishes too, including crispy slabs of lechon, or whole roasted pig, and slow-cooked chicken adobo.

El Rinconcito brings unfussy Mexican street food to Sunnyslope.
El Rinconcito brings unfussy Mexican street food to Sunnyslope.
Lauren Saria

Tostadas Pata El Rinconcito del D.F. 8901 N. 12th Street, Phoenix 602-943-5933

El Rinconcito in Sunnyslope does Mexican street food in a seriously straightforward setting. And if you're looking to go full out dining daredevil while you're here, there's no better way than by ordering up their toastadas pata. Perched atop a fried tortilla and buried under a mountain of lettuce and cheese you'll find gelatinous cubes of pig trotter. The grey chunks will be slightly chewy, in a good way, and make for a perfect lunch on a hot summer day. With cool avocado and touch of white crema this dish wants to transport you to an exotic locale.

During happy hour get your fix for just $5.
During happy hour get your fix for just $5.
Lauren Saria

Crispy Pig Ears Crudo 3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 602-358-8666 www.crudoaz.com

If you've never had pig ears, you've been missing out on some really delicious cartilage. Like chicharrones, pig ears are crunchy, except that thanks to an inner layer of cartilage, they're also slightly chewy. At Crudo, the upscale restaurant in Central Phoenix, pig ears come as a bar snack, appetizer or side -- and we suggest them in all forms. It could be because chef Cullen Campbell uses Niman Ranch ears, or because he's achieved a perfect balance of heat and sweet, but either way we dare you not to finish the whole bowl. Thanks to a generous dose of olive oil the Fresno chiles won't burn your mouth off, but pack just enough heat to ensure that these aren't for your dog.

 

Asadero Norte de Sonora offers a variety of tacos and one of the best is the beef head.
Asadero Norte de Sonora offers a variety of tacos and one of the best is the beef head.
Lauren Saria

Cabeza tacos Asadero Norte de Sonora 122 N. 16th St., Phoenix 602-253-4010

There's virtually no part of a cow's head that doesn't make an appearance in tacos de cabeza. From brains to cheeks, lips and tongue it's all fair game in this dish. At central Phoenix's Asadero Norte de Sonora the cabeza taco means a heap of juicy head meats sprinkled with a healthy layer of onions and cilantro. Like the no-frills surroundings, when it comes to this taco what you see is what you get, but thanks to the low prices, what you see is usually a lot. The shredded beef parts make for a succulent meal when wrapped in a warm corn tortilla. It's worth noting that the lengua tacos are delectable too, though you'll have to get over the idea of tastebuds tasting you as you eat.

This dish will be more than enought to share with the whole table.
This dish will be more than enought to share with the whole table.
Lauren Saria

Pork stomach clay pot New Hong Kong Restaurant 2328 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 602-954-9118

New Hong Kong restaurant in Phoenix specializes in authentic Cantonese-style cuisine. And there are plenty of great dishes to choose from on the standard menu, but for the more interesting offerings you'll need the Chinese edition. On it you'll find this delicious hot pot that arrives at your table bubbling and overflowing with bits of offal. Chewy spirals of pork stomach get mixed in with scallions and, best of all, biting black peppercorns. Our advice: Have a bowl of rice at the ready to clear your palate after sinking your teeth into one. Then go back for another round of rich, rubbery goodness.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Pho Thanh Restaurant

1702 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85015

602-242-1979

miles
The Gladly

2201 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016

602-759-8132

www.thegladly.com

miles
Lucky's King Wah

4306 W. Northern Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301

623-937-3960

miles
La Merced

855 W. University Drive
Mesa, AZ 85201-5556

480-343-6363

miles
Great Wall Hong Kong Cuisine

3446 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017

602-973-1112

miles
Halo-Halo Kitchen

3553 W. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85051

602-324-9670

www.gothalohalo.com

miles
El Rinconcito del D.F.

8901 N. 12th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85020-3070

602-943-5933

miles
Crudo

3603 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

602-358-8666

www.crudoaz.com

miles
Asadero Norte De Sonora

122 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

602-253-4010

miles
New Hong Kong Restaurant

2328 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016

602-954-9118


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