The Most Bizarre Filipino Foods
Have you tasted any of the popular yet bizarre Filipino foods? The Filipino cuisine is known for its diversity, but more than its ingredients, what is even more fascinating is the way the people apply both creativity and resourcefulness to come up with their dishes. In fact, considering the many issues plaguing the country, these dishes could be a way for survival, while others consider them part of tradition.
The Filipino culture is so rich that it comes as no surprise that tourists are coming to the country to experience the bizarre Filipino foods themselves. Here are some of the weirdest one could ever come across.
Must-Try Bizarre Filipino Foods
See video in the end
Gross factor: boiled egg of duck embryo
It’s probably the most popular among bizarre Filipino foods. If you ever watched Fear Factor or Survivor, then you would know most people would rather skydive without a parachute than eat one of these. Despite its unpalatable appearance because of the half-formed duck inside, balut is actually delicious, feathers and all. Try it! It tastes like chicken.
Soup No. 5
Gross factor: a soup made with cow’s sex organs
Cebuanos call it lanciao. Many believed that eating it will give them the physical strength close to that of the cow. In other words, it has an aphrodisiac effect though we are not exactly sure if it’s really true. It’s a popular pulutan among Pinoys. Others are brave enough to try it for the sake of adventure.
Gross factor: mole or rice field crickets
As the country’s culinary capital, it’s no surprise that this kind of exotic food originated from Pampanga. There are plenty of insects that are edible, including this type of crickets. By being found in the rice field means these little insects live off leaves and rice grains. Once you taste its crunchiness and the juices that may come out when you start to munch them, just think that these insects are vegetarian. It would make eating them less revolting.
Gross factor: sundot kulangot means picking booger in English
This delicacy’s gross name has nothing to do with its ingredients. Sundot kulangot is actually a traditional Filipino candy made from cooking glutinous rice with coconut milk and brown sugar. It is then sealed inside a small coconut shell. To eat it, you have to break the orb and use your finger to pick the candy which has a sticky texture. It’s because of the way it’s cooked that the food is named sundot kulangot.
Crispy Chicken Nails
Gross factor: nails, regardless if it’s human or animal nails, are part of the body that are considered the dirtiest by many
While many don’t mind eating chicken’s feet, eating chicken’s nails is a different story. But understand that Filipinos don’t want to waste food. If it’s any consolation, the dish tastes good.
Gross factor: it’s the process that’s gross and stomach churning too. The native chicken is beaten to death with a stick.
The dish is from Cordillera region, a mountainous province in the country. This method of preparing a dish may be abhorred by many particularly by various animal welfare groups, but it’s acceptable from the tribe’s point of view as they have unique customs and traditions. Apparently, the purpose of the pikpikan process is to make the meat more tender and flavorful. If you’re really curious how it tastes, we suggest, don’t go torturing any chicken to death.
Gross factor: pork brain and liver cooked with chili, salt, and spices
Filipinos are known to be frugal especially when it comes to food. They don’t want to waste any part. Tuslob-buwa (dip into bubbles) is a popular exotic street food in Cebu made of pig’s brain and liver cooked until it bubbles. That’s how the name was coined. The dish is free as long as you buy a puso (hanging rice). The pair can already fill an empty stomach.
Gross factor: raw tamilok (shipworm) marinated in vinegar, chili, and onions
If you think eating adobong kamaro is your limit, wait until you have the extreme experience of eating raw tamilok. It looks slimy, salty, and unappetizing, but it actually tastes like an oyster. It is one of the lesser but nevertheless known bizarre Filipino foods abundant in Palawan as delicacy. They are also called termites of the sea as they destroy the wood where they can be usually found.
Gross factor: fermented rice, the residue from which rice wine (tapuy) is extracted
Celebrations in the Mountain Province won’t be complete without traditional rice wine; however, making the alcoholic drink can be complex and time-consuming. A special kind of rice is used, the balatinaw, which is left fermenting inside a jar for 20 days. Once the tapuy is harvested, the residue, called the lepeg, is then used. After all, there is no way Filipinos can waste that much rice. The lepeg is served with fresh chicken blood. It tastes a bit sour, but it does give the lepeg a distinct smell.
Gross factor: native pork that cured by either smoking or storing them in earthen jars for weeks (binurong baboy)
The official ham of Sagada, this patent-pending meat delicacy is so popular, there’s a festival named after it. The etag is prepared by salting pork and curing it by smoking or by storing in earthen jars for weeks. It smells foul, it’s dark, and by then, rotting with maggots—but that’s what you get, and it’s clearly not for the faint of heart.
Still, the Cordillera traditions won’t be complete without this local favorite. There are also current plans of standardizing its preparation and improving its culinary taste. Once this is done, it won’t be too long before the etag becomes a staple in Filipino cuisine.