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Philippines Exotic Foods

Updated on May 11, 2014

There's always an adventure while visiting the Pearl of The Orient Seas, the Philippines. The country is rich in fresh, delicious tropical fruits and lots of new breathtaking places to visit. But wait, there's something else you might be interested in for the love of adventure, challenging your taste buds. The people's creativity, and resourcefulness, created a way for these bizarre foods to be born in this tropical country with 7,107 islands.

What are Philippines exotic foods? These 10 weird Filipino foods are serve across the country. Which one you would be brave enough to try?


(Boiled duck egg)

This is a popular Filipino exotic food, balut. Balut is a boiled duck egg with the embryo in it grown to be 90 days old. Sold by balut vendors in baskets, with spiced-vinegar and 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 before continuously peeling the shell and consuming the rest.

Balut | Source


(Sea cucumber)

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 and another kind found in Camarines Sur called kalabaw-kalabawan is 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


(Mole crickets)

Yes, you read it right, crickets. Mole crickets is another delicacy, specially in the province of Pampanga, kamaru are 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



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, have small shells that they use to burrow into wooded structures that are soaked in saltwater, destroying them, the same way termites does.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tamilok | Source


(Coagulated Chicken blood)

What is betamax? One of the favorites street foods in the country, betamax is coagulated, grilled chicken blood. And it is skewered and grilled. Betamax got its name from resembling the betamax tape. It is dipped in spiced-vinegar with hot chili, one's choice, if preferred to be spicy.

Betamax | Source

Dagang Bukid

(Farm Rats)

Yes, rats. And these rice field rats or farm rats. They only eat rice that's why they are farmers enemy. Considered as viands in provinces, these farm rats are skinned, head cut off, innards taken out and is grilled, cooked in coconut milk, cooked as adobo (dish cooked in vinegar and soy sauce, with bay leaf and peppercorns.) And it can also be fried.

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


(Monitor Lizard)

Another bizarre eat is the monitor lizard, or bayawak. First is creating a trap, and once caught, bayawak is skinned and cooked in few different ways. It can be cooked with coconut milk, adobo, or sautéed. Such is a favorite Filipino pulutan or a snack accompanied with alcohol drinks amongst friends.

Cooked bayawak or monitor lizard.
Cooked bayawak or monitor lizard. | Source


(Chocolate meat)

What is dinuguan? Also known as chocolate meat, dinuguan is a dish made from meat and innards of pork, and cooked in blood, having the consistency and color of a chocolate, thus acquiring the name blood stew or chocolate meat. Some also add pork snouts to make the dinuguan. Chocolate meat is lightly sour as it is cooked in vinegar and green pepper and whole peppercorns.

Chocolate meat.
Chocolate meat. | Source

Palakang Bukid

(Rice Field Frog)

They're not just frogs, they are rice field frogs, or "palakang bukid." These frogs are caught on rainy days and is made into a delicious meal. Palaka are skinned, and is fried, and cooked as adobo, a Filipino dish where meat is cooked in vinegar and soy sauce, with peppercorns, bay leaf and your choice to add potatoes or chives.

How does it taste? It taste like chicken. Also sometimes deep-fried frogs are stuffed with ground meat such as ground pork, making their stomach looks like an air-filled balloon before frying, and this is called batute, one of Philippines exotic dishes from Pampanga.

Cooked farm frogs.
Cooked farm frogs. | Source



Suso, or snails are also eaten, Ilocano's call these snails as "agurong." I had my share of experiences picking up these snails in rivers with my parents. The snails are then left in a basin with water for until the third day they were caught, letting the snails cleanse themselves, getting rid of what they had 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. Suso, or these river snails are usually cooked in coconut milk with green pepper, or bird'y eye chili (labuyo) for a spicy dish.

How is it eaten? The inside of the snail has to be suck out.

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

Which one is your most exotic food?

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    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 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 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 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 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 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

      Harry 3 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