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Exotic Filipino Foods

Updated on May 5, 2019

There's always a first time for everything for everyone. With over 7,107 islands waiting to be a part of your big Philippine adventure, don't let your taste buds gets left behind. Challenge your sense of taste with these odd, strange, bizarre foods no matter what you prefer calling it. They may taste odd with the strangest appearance but who knows, you might find something that your taste buds will crave for.

Intrigued what exotic foods Philippines has to offer? Here's 10 weird Filipino foods that will challenge your guts.

1. Balut

The exotic, popular boiled duck egg which dares both locals and tourists. Balut is made from boiled duck egg with a 90 days old embryo sold by balut vendors often in baskets. A perfect way to awaken your senses and warm yourself up on rainy days, holidays or whenever you crave for it. Your choice of either spiced-vinegar or salt. Balut is sold hot and is best eaten that way by cracking open one end of the egg, making a small hole to suck the juice out with some salt if you choose to before continuously peeling the shell and consuming the rest.

Balut | Source

2. Delicious Dinuguan

Known as chocolate meat, dinuguan may be something you'll consider if you can't take the 90 days old duck embryo and don't have the guts for the rest here on the list, specially number 10. Dinuguan is made from meat and innards of pork and cooked in blood. The dish is stirred continuously until it has the consistency and color of a chocolate. Thus acquiring the name blood stew or chocolate meat. Some also add pork snouts to make this dish. Chocolate meat is lightly sour as it is cooked in vinegar, with green pepper added and whole peppercorns.

Chocolate meat.
Chocolate meat. | Source

3. That Yummy Frog

Not all that ribbits can be eaten. These are rice field frogs (palakang bukid). Skinned and either fried or cooked as adobo, it sure is something odd that is worth a try. If either one isn't your kind of a frog dish, stuff the bellies with ground meat of your choice if you don't prefer pork and deep fry it, a dish called batute. Batute is one of Philippine's deliciously strange dishes from Pampanga.

Cooked farm frogs.
Cooked farm frogs. | Source

4. Chicken Blood on Skewers

One of the favorites amongst Philippine street foods. Betamax is made from coagulated chicken blood. Seasoned with salt and ground pepper and grilled using bamboo skewers. Betamax is a street food that is making a hit. Betamax got its name from resembling the betamax tape. Eat it as it is or dip it in spiced-vinegar if you prefer it to be spicy or catsup of you choose that.

Betamax | Source

5. Snails For A Treat

Another odd but delicious treat awaits but you need to suck them out of their shells - suso. Known as agurong by the Ilocanos and suso in Filipino. These river snails are left in a basin with water for three days after being caught, letting the snails cleanse themselves by getting rid of what they consumed in the river. The water are changed as it clouds up with the snails dirt. The pointer end of the snail is then cut off before cooking. It is usually cooked in coconut milk with green pepper or bird's eye chili known as labuyo for a spicy dish.

Snails cooked in coconut milk.
Snails cooked in coconut milk. | Source

6. Bayawak

Another bizarre food to add on your list of foods to try is monitor lizard or known as bayawak. Impress the locals and challenge your taste buds if offered by locals to try. Monitor lizard is cooked in few different ways - cooked as adobo, sautéed or cooked in coconut milk. It's not that bad and some will say it tastes like chicken. Talk something over with a can of beer with bayawak as pulutan or finger food. It is a favorite to go with beer and considered a treat in provinces during drinking session.


7. Crickets

Yes, you read it right, crickets. Kamaru (mole crickets) is another delicacy, specially in the province of Pampanga. Kamaru is deep fried, hmnn..... crunchy. If you like trying out exotic foods, kamaru is one of Pampanga's popular dish. And not only mole crickets, other insects such as beetles and grasshoppers are eaten as well.

mole crickets
mole crickets | Source

8. Balatan

Balatan, as it is called in the Philippines are no other than the sea cucumbers. The stomach are cut open to take out the innards, boiled and soaked in salt. The process of boiling is usually done repeatedly before drying the balatan or sea cucumbers. The sea cucumbers are exported in other Asian countries such as in Korea and Singapore and is worth up to P17,000 per kilo. It is fried and braised.

Kalabaw-kalabawan is another kind of sea cucumber found in Camarines Sur cooked as adobo (vinegar and soy sauce).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sea cucumbers. Dare to eat this sea floor crawlers?
Sea cucumbers. Dare to eat this sea floor crawlers?
Sea cucumbers. Dare to eat this sea floor crawlers? | Source

9. Farm Rats

Yes, rats. But not every kind of rats are eaten. We're talking about the farmer's enemy - rats. Farm rats or rats from the rice field known as dagang bukid in Filipino makes it on the list of our 10 bizarre Filipino foods. Considered as dishes in provinces, these farm rats are skinned, head cut off, innards taken out and is grilled. Also cooked in coconut milk or cooked just like adobo (dish cooked in vinegar and soy sauce, with bay leaf and peppercorns). And it can also be fried, your choice.

Farm rats (dagang bukid)
Farm rats (dagang bukid) | Source

10. Tamilok

What is tamilok you asked? Tamilok is probably one of Philippines exotic foods that will test your guts. That is because tamilok is no other than, woodworms. Yes, woodworms, and it is eaten alive. Palawan's local delicacy, tamilok can be found in decaying mangroves or other soaked wooden materials on seawater. Some eat it straight from the driftwoods and some, garnish these woodworms with onions, garlic, pepper and either vinegar or Philippine lime calamansi.

Also known as "termites of the sea," woodworms or shipworms are in fact saltwater clams. They have small shells that they use to burrow into wooded structures that are soaked in saltwater, destroying them the same way termites do.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tamilok | Source

Which one is your most exotic food?

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    • Gregory Probst profile image

      Gregory Probst 

      2 years ago

      I like dinuguan. Masarap naman!

    • dredcuan profile image

      Travel Chef 

      2 years ago from Manila

      I love eating exotic foods! I almost tried everything except for rats, sea cucumber and tamilok. Though I heard these are all delicious as well. Looking forward to try these exotic foods!

    • Gregory Probst profile image

      Gregory Probst 

      2 years ago

      Dinuguan - I eat that at every party I go to. Also, there is a joke. I turned on the light but, it dinuguan.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      @ Avian:

      Yup, I agree on that Deb :) But there's some on the list I couldn't eat, the woodworms for example. But I go for the chocolate meat anytime! :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      If I still ate meat, I'd eat these. Nothing is bad when one is hungry.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      @ DDE:

      I can't blame you :) I'll eat chocolate meat and I would only eat the egg yolk of the balut, but the woodworms and crickets, nope I won't either. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      These foods are so different and not for me. An interesting insight to such foods.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      @ Hackslap:

      Hi Harry, I haven't really tried much of Vietnamese foods, except the soups which I like. Yup, the betamax looks like chocolate, don't remember trying it thou, but I love the chocolate meat. :)

    • Hackslap profile image


      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      OMG! ... And I used to think Vietnamese food was outrageous ... But this list will certainly take out tiara! ... I do wish to trythe Balut though ..and lol the Betamax looks like chocolate


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