Are you an adventurous foodie? If you’re someone who loves exploring the world through your taste buds, then you’re in for a treat. The Philippines, which is known for its paradise-like beaches, is also a haven for delicious dishes, including exotic dishes that will tantalize your palate.
While you might be familiar with the popular Filipino dishes like adobo and sinigang, there’s a hidden world of unusual and scrumptious eats waiting to be discovered. In this article, we have listed down some of the most unusual and delicious Filipino dishes that every adventurous eater should try.
- Adobong Kamaru
- Adidas or Chicken Feet
- Helmet or Chicken Head
- Soup Number 5
- Tuslob Buwa
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Balut is not your typical hard-boiled egg. This Filipino delicacy is made of fertilized duck eggs that are incubated for a specific period before being cooked. You might be taken aback by the sight of the duck embryo inside, but it’s a popular street food enjoyed by many. Balut is traditionally seasoned with a pinch of salt and sometimes dipped in vinegar. The combination of textures and flavors, from the tender broth to the rich, creamy yolk and the chewy embryo, makes it an unforgettable culinary experience.
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For those who appreciate the freshness and tangy flavors of ceviche, Kilawin should be on your must-try list. This Filipino dish features raw seafood, often fish or shrimp, marinated in a mixture of vinegar, calamansi (Filipino lime), onions, garlic, and chili. The acid in the vinegar effectively “cooks” the seafood, resulting in a refreshing and slightly tangy taste. Kilawin is a delightful balance of textures and flavors, with the crunch of onions and the heat of chili pepper, making it an exciting dish for adventurous eaters.
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Dinuguan, often referred to as “chocolate meat” due to its dark color, is a unique Filipino stew made of diced pork and flavored with pig’s blood. While it may sound unusual, the blood serves as a thickening agent, giving the dish its distinctive consistency. Dinuguan is seasoned with garlic, vinegar, and chili, creating a bold and savory flavor profile. It’s typically served with white rice or puto (steamed rice cakes), making it a hearty and comforting meal that pushes culinary boundaries.
@gutomforever2016 Betamax (Grilled Chicken Blood) 🍢😋 #StreetFood #SupportVentor #Betamax #GutomForever ♬ one direction strong speed up – senja🥀
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Betamax isn’t a reference to old video tapes but a Filipino street food delicacy. These small, rectangular skewers are made from coagulated chicken or pig’s blood. They are marinated, skewered, and then grilled to perfection. The name comes from their resemblance to the size and shape of old Betamax tapes, hence the quirky moniker. Betamax is often seasoned with a blend of spices, so it’s a tasty and unique treat for those who love trying unconventional dishes.
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If you’re seeking a dish that is both bitter and sweet in its own unique way, you should try Pinapaitan. It’s a soup-based Filipino dish that originated from the Ilocos region and is made of goat or beef, as well as various organs, and bile, which is what gives the soup its signature bitterness Despite the initial shock of its taste, the combination of spices and herbs adds depth to the flavor, creating a rich and aromatic experience.
6. Adobong Kamaru
Photo Source: Kapampangan Ku, Pagmaragal Ku!
Adobong Kamaru is an exotic Filipino dish, originating from the province of Pampanga. It’s made with crispy, deep-fried field crickets or mole crickets, marinated in a savory blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. The result is a crunchy, flavorful snack that may make you rethink your perception of insects as food. Locals and visitors alike are drawn to this unique dish, often served as a bar chow with a cold beer.
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Tamilok is a dish that might challenge your sense of adventure. It’s a slimy and softwood worm found in dead mangrove logs, often harvested in the Palawan region. Although its appearance might not be the most appealing, it is eaten raw and dipped in coconut vinegar or sukang tuba with salt and chili. Don’t worry, they clean the Tamilok before serving it! The taste can also be described as a blend of oysters and clams with a touch of brininess. For those who love seafood and are not afraid to venture into the unknown, this is a must-try.
8. Adidas or Chicken Feet
Photo Source: Yummy Kitchen
Adidas is not about shoes or sportswear; it’s about chicken feet. The name “Adidas” humorously refers to the shape of chicken feet, resembling the iconic three-stripe logo of the popular sportswear brand. Chicken feet can be cooked in various methods and is one of the most popular street foods in the Philippines.
9. Helmet or Chicken Head
Helmet is another unusual street food in the Philippines. It consists of grilled chicken heads, which may sound bizarre to some, but are beloved by adventurous eaters. These seasoned, skewered delights are both crunchy and savory, challenging your taste buds in the most delightful way.
10. Soup Number 5
Photo Source: TasteAtlas
If you’re up for a more bizarre dish than the ones mentioned previously, Soup Number 5, also known as “Soup No. 5,” is your best bet. This unusual soup gets its name from its main ingredient: bull’s testicles. Yes, you read that right! While it may not be for the faint of heart, it’s considered an aphrodisiac in some cultures and believed to have health benefits. The soup is cooked with a mix of herbs and spices to create a flavorful broth. It’s also not as widely available as other Filipino dishes, but it’s worth a try for the fearless food enthusiast.
11. Tuslob Buwa
Photo Source: Bring Me
Tuslob Buwa is a popular street food in Cebu City that means “to dip in bubbles.” This unique dish consists of pig’s brain and minced chicken liver that’s sautéed in a flavorful sauce made of soy sauce, shrimp paste, and spices. What makes Tuslob Buwa truly distinctive is how it’s eaten. Instead of using utensils, diners dip Puso, a steamed rice wrapped in palm leaves. It’s a hands-on experience that’s both delicious and interactive, making it highly-recommended for those seeking a truly immersive culinary adventure.
Exploring the exotic Filipino dishes mentioned above might seem like a daring endeavor, but the flavors and experiences they offer are worth every bite. The key here is to not think too much about what these dishes are made of, and try to enjoy their flavors as it is!