8 Weird Filipino Food You Should Dare Yourself To Try
No, this is not an episode of Fear Factor. This is an actual list of bizarre food that you can find in the Philippines. And no, we will not include balut on this list guys, sorry (way too mainstream). But these dishes will either make you go “Yum!” or “Yuck!” depending on how adventurous of a foodie you are. To break it down for you, let’s have a little fun and provide you a four-course meal, from appetizers straight down to dessert! Here are eight kinds of weird Filipino food you should dare yourself to try:
First, on the menu, let’s start you off with something light. Coming straight from the culinary capital of the Philippines, Pampanga, these are crickets (yes, you read that right)! They can be simmered in soy sauce and vinegar, fried, or made into adobo! If you can get past the fact that you’re eating insects, well, this is a crunchy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the- inside delight!
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Or how about something slimy? Another weird Filipino food is the tamilok, a woodworm that can be found in the rotting mangroves of Palawan. Marinated in vinegar, chili, and onions, and served raw, it tastes just like oysters (at least that’s what they say)! Now isn’t that an appetizing aphrodisiac?
3Soup No. 5
Next, on the menu, let’s try bull’s genitals. Yes, genitals. Also considered an aphrodisiac, Soup No. 5 coyly gets its name from being the fifth “leg” of the bull. Its testes and penis are cooked in a warm broth. If you’re brave enough to take a sip, rumor is, you might just acquire its physical attributes too. This obviously makes it a hot pick among men and with no pun intended, you have to have some serious balls to try this exotic dish.
Now, this may make your stomach turn a little, but that’s exactly what this next famous Ilocano soup dish is. Made from either goat or cow innards, papaitan is a stew that uses the bile (digestive juices) in preparation to give it its distinctive bitter taste. The name itself translates directly to bitter in English; Pait = bitter. Don’t be fooled by its greenish hue, though. This dish is also flavored with onions, garlic, and chili powder, and can be found on roadside eateries making it a common, weird Filipino food in the Ilocos region.
And now for the main course, would you prefer pork or chicken? Let’s go with pork first. Tuslob buwa takes the crown for being a weird Filipino food simply because its main ingredients are pig’s brain and liver. It’s the process though that makes this dish a winner. In Cebu, the dish is cooked with spices, chili, and salt until the sauce is thick enough that you see bubbles on the surface. Thus tuslob buwa, which literally means “dipping in bubbles.” Pair this with some puso (hanging rice), and you’ve got yourself a mean meal.
Speaking of mean, this next meal might have you cringing at its manner of preparation. Pinikpikan is a traditional chicken dish wherein a live chicken is beaten to death with a stick so that the blood clotting tenderizes the meat and enhances the flavor. Cruel, yes, but ideally the chicken should stay intact so that when boiled with etag (Sagada’s version of cured pork) in a salt broth, it comes out looking like a whole grilled chicken. It’s a dramatic way to have your lunch or dinner but done correctly, you can experience a perfected and rich-tasting pinikpikan.
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Since you’d be pretty full by now, it’s about time to have a drink. An alcoholic beverage, perhaps? Tapuy or rice wine is harvested and its residue, the lepeg, is extracted and then served with fresh chicken blood. Although a bit time-consuming to make such a lavish drink, its use in the intricate ceremonies of the locals of Mountain Province makes it a rarity and rightly so. Furthermore, lepeg is considerably a very weird Filipino food not because of its taste, but because of its repulsive smell caused by the lengthy storing process. Salud!
It’s always best to leave room for dessert, and finishing our list of weird Filipino food in the country is the sundot kulangot. Although, there’s only a limited supply being sold in Baguio City and neighboring Northern Luzon provinces due to its tedious preparation. This dessert is gelatinous rice cooked with brown sugar and coconut milk. The name means, “pick a booger.” To eat it, tear the red wrapping paper, and use your finger to dig in and taste the sweet delicacy—kinda similar to picking your nose except you get food instead of booger. Sundot kulangot is basically a bite-sized, coconut jam-like piece of candy!
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If you plan on trying any or all of these weird Filipino food, then you are definitely a foodie daredevil! Almost anywhere in the Philippines, you’re bound to find a native or traditional dish that the locals will tell you is just part of their everyday cuisine. So go ahead and dare yourself to try all eight of these and who knows? You may find even more hidden, weird ingredients!