Philippine cuisine is very much diverse and adventurously interesting to the palate. Much like other races around the world, Filipinos have a penchant for the bizarre and the unusual. There are quite many outlandishly weird food items in the Philippines, and here are ten of them.
#10. Pinikpikang Manok
This is a traditional way of cooking chicken up in the mountains of the Cordillera where a chicken is beaten to death (pikpik) with a stick, its feathers burned and removed, cleaned and made into a peculiar stew or stir-fry of bruised chicken meat.
#9. Assorted Chicken Parts
Adidas, Helmet, Isaw, and Betamax are weird sounding as they are, and they get weirder still once you find out they actually refer to the various parts of the chicken, which are otherwise discarded or turned into animal food. Adidas refers to chicken feet, helmet to the foul’s head, isaw is the intestine and betamax the square shaped curdled chicken blood skewered and grilled over burning coals. These are all mainstays in Pinoy street food menu.
Pinoys eat frogs whole or just the legs. Edible frogs are hunted in rice paddies and farms at night, skinned and cleaned, and then sautéed with garlic and other spices. Other variants include fried frog, frog soup (tinola), stuffed frog, and ginataan (with coconut milk).
Dinuguan is pork blood stew usually tangy and spicy, and mixed with various pork innards like liver, gizzard and intestines, detestable by some religious groups but loved by many Pinoys. Lechoneros (those who market whole pork roast) often offer customers free dinuguan.
Papaitan is an Ilocano soup dish made with beef or goat internal organs and added with bile to make it “pait” or bitter. Modernized papaitan recipe replaces bile with lemon peel to come up with the bitter taste.
#5. Asocena / Dog meat
“Aso” means dog and “cena” means dinner in Tagalog, so Asocena is a dogmeat dish in the Philippines. Clean dog meat is cured with strong vinegar, salted and boiled until tender without stirring. Potatoes, tomato sauce and other stew ingredients are added until ready. Asocena is served hot and commonly used as “pulutan” or beer match.
#4. Camaro / Cricket
Pampangeños are known for cooking crunchy, salty field crickets. The insects are cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and a little salt in adobo fashion, or sometimes seasoned and deep-fried.
Slimy, oyster-like tamilok or mangrove worms are usually eaten raw with or without the accompaniment of vinegar, salt and spices. It is a delicacy in Palawan where one of the largest mangrove forests of the Philippines is found.
#2. Bibingkang Abnoy
The usual Pinoy bibingka is a traditional rice cake baked with hot coals above and under a makeshift oven to get two sides crusted. But bibingkang abnoy (“abnoy” means abnormal in Tagalog) in Pateros is an egg cake made with spoiled, undeveloped duck eggs hence its rancid smell. To make it more palatable or tolerable, it is eaten dipped in spiced vinegar.
Balut is still our number one weirdest Pinoy food for all the right reasons. Why, eating boiled undeveloped duck or chicken embryo complete with feathers, bones and all can be really disgusting. Again, to make this street food tolerable, accompany it with a pinch of salt and a squirt of spiced vinegar. Today, there are food variants of the infamous balut including ice cream, stew, deep-fried balut, breaded balut, and roulade.
Did we miss anything? What weird Pinoy food have you eaten or would like to try out?