The Ultimate Filipino Exotic Food Must Try

by - Monday, June 01, 2015

They say that the best way to know the culture of the place you are visiting is through food there is.  
Anna Magtibay


The Philippine cuisine, though it’s not quite well-known in other parts of the world, mostly consist of tasty and colorful fare made with fish, meat, and vegetables. The history behind this rich culture of Filipino dishes is somewhat an issue of survival while ethnic groups do it in the name of their age-old traditions.   


Here’s a checklist of Filipino exotic dishes that are worth a try.


 Adobong Kamaru (Pampanga)


Kamaru, or mole crickets, which are plentiful in Pampanga, are considered a Kapampangan delicacy. But for non-Kapampangan, it’s harder to muster the courage to feast on this exotic dish, especially when the image of dirty, crawling insects keeps on popping up. It is served as adobo or deep-fried.

Adobong Salagubang (Nueva Ecija)


The salagubang or june bug, is a common treat in Nueva Ecija, where many of these beetles thrive. It usually served as appetizer or pulutan (beer match).

Adobong Uok (Rizal)


Beetle larvae may not sound very appetizing at first, but uok cooked as adobo served with rice and tomatoes is considered an exotic delicacy.

Abuos (Ilocos)


Also known as ant-egg caviar, this Ilocano delicacy is one that is tasty, but a little bit pricey.  Usually served as adobo, sautéed with garlic or eaten raw. You can buy abuos in public markets around the Ilocos region.

Balut (All over the Philippines)


Though considered common eats among many Filipinos, there are still those who have yet to pluck up the courage to try balut. Balut has long been known as El Dorado of bizarre edible items, a torture of an item, a bizarrely-conceived if not abjectly demonic dish. Balut is an eleven day old fertilized duck egg, containing the partially formed embryo of a duck, surrounded by egg.

Betute Tugak (stuffed frogs) – (Pampanga)


I have also tried eating frogs in Estero Fastfood in Binondo but there is a dish that is a common delicacy in Pampanga called betute tugak, which are deep-fried field frogs stuffed with minced pork.

Etag (Cordillera Region)



Etag is salted pork (binurong baboy) that is kept underground in earthenware jars to age. This is known as Sagada’s official ham. It is not a dish in itself, as it is most often used as an ingredient in other viands, but it adds a very distinct flavor to meat or vegetable dishes. However, the process of Etag is somewhat a faint at heart due to its foul-smelling, dark, and rotting with maggots. Yet, Cordillera traditions won’t be complete without this local meat favorite.

 Tamilok (Palawan)


One of the famous delicacy in our province is the “Tamilok”, a shipworm or woodworm which can be found in mangrove trees.  It’s slimy and salty and is really worth a try to make your Palawan adventure memorable. It is dipped in salt and vinegar and eaten raw.

Pinikpikan (Cordillera Region)


Though similar to the traditional tinolang manok (chicken in broth with vegetables), pinikpikan is a chicken dish where the process of preparing the chicken is considered a tribal ritual which helps the people determine their tribe’s fate regarding a particular course of action. The native chicken beaten to death through a process called “pikpik” from which the dish got its name.

Soup No. 5 (Manila and Cebu)


This is something I want to try, the aphrodisiac dish called “Soup no. 5” --- made from Bull’s testes and penis. The testicles are sometimes referred to as this animal’s 5th leg, which is where the soup’s name is believed to have come from. Some restaurants in Binondo serve this dish, and it can also be found in Cebu, where it is known as Lanciao.    

Tuslob-Buwa (Cebu)


As I was searching for this kind of dish, I can’t help it but closed my eyes as it is a yucky factor for me as tuslob-buwa is made from pig’s brains. In Pasil, Cebu, pork brain and liver are cooked thoroughly with spices until the sauce thickens. It is best eaten with rice cooked inside banana leaves.

There is nothing wrong in to try different things and if you’re brave enough there is also nothing wrong in eating exotic foods.

Write your comment if you have already tried one of these exotic foods and how’s your experience? Don’t forget to follow.





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