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Filipinos’ Love For Baboy, Balut And Bagoong
Now if you haven’t the faintest idea what the terms “baboy”, “balut” or “bagoong” mean then after reading this, at least you would have learned something new today. Hooray!
All the rest of you guys, who are familiar with them, you should probably stick around as well, so as to at least whet your appetite or suppress it all together, depending on your mood.
This is the seventh in this continuing series I have titled Filipinos Love For Bs.
And in case you still do not know the three terms above which all start with the letter B, they are food that most Filipinos love to eat. Also in case you didn’t get the memo, Filipinos are notorious for eating and snacking all day long.
As an example, when I was younger I used to eat a minimum of six times a day, a number that can shoot up to over nine times in any 24 hour period and some days I still felt like I could eat a lot more. And yes for a long long time, I was as thin as a reed.
Now I should tell you that the top killer of Filipinos is heart disease, followed by circulatory diseases, certain cancers, a number of accidents and infectious and other diseases, in that order.
And this information should tell us that maybe, just maybe the food that Filipinos eat, how it is prepared and how much they eat and how often would probably give you some of the clues, on why Filipinos die and many do die young.
1. Baboy (Pork)
Killing Me Softly
Filipinos love pork! And that is an understatement.
But that is not the issue. The issue is on how it is prepared, what parts of the pig are eaten, how they are cooked and how often they are eaten. And then you’d see what I mean.
Here are a few of the Filipino dishes that are made from various pork parts and the ones that I eat myself. It is not uncommon to eat anyone of these pork dishes at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner time and snack times, as a midnight snack and even in all five or more times that they eat every day. Yes, everyday.
- Pork Menudo, Pork Afritada, Pork Mechado, Pork Asado, Pork Pochero, Pork Paksiw, Pata Tim, Pork Binagoongan and many other Pork dishes (These are only a few of the various types of Philippine Pork Stews)
- Pork Adobo (Most well-known of the Filipino Pork Stews, simply prepared and cooked in garlic, vinegar and soy sauce)
- Pork Giniling (Ground Pork normally sautéed and mixed with potatoes and vegetables)
- Pork Torta (Omelette made from ground pork)
- Tortang Talong (Omelette on a grilled eggplant)
Filipinos have a special ketchup that is made from mashed bananas instead of tomatoes, and I guess they are called Banana Catsup or Banana Ketchup). And Tortas are normally served with this special ketchup) Yes ketchup made from bananas.
- Bopis (A spicy pork parts dish)
- Bicol Express (Spicy Pork Stew with lots of chile. Did I say spicy?)
- Lechon (The entire pig roasted over an open pit. Crunchy in the outside, juicy in the inside)
- Lechon Kawali (Crunchy Deep Fried Pork)
- Crispy Pata (Pig’s legs including the knuckles, deep fried in fatty oil)
These roasted and fried Cardiac Delights are served with a vinegar dip or with a special lechon sauce made with chicken liver.
- Chicharon or Tsitsaron (Fried, dried and salted pork rinds or various parts of the pig, served with a vinegar dip)
- Sisig (Multi-cooked pig's cheek skin, ears and/or liver, initially boiled, grilled, garnished and served in a sizzling hot plate)
- Longganisa, Embotido (Chorizo or Filipino Pork Sausage)
- Tocino (Cured [Preserved] Pork meat)
- Hamonado (Pork sweetened in pineapple juice and pineapples)
- Nilagang Baboy (Pork tenderized and brought to a boil in a sour soup base)
- Batchoy (Various pig parts, other meat and noodles in a soup base)
- Pancit Molo (Filipino Wonton Soup made from ground pork) (One of my favorites).
- Tokwa’t Baboy (Fried Tofu [soybean curd] and Pork marinating in vinegar and soy sauce)
- Pork Chop (A piece/slice of pork, normally breaded and fried, or just plain old fried, best served hot)
- Pork Bola-bola (Filipino Pork Meatballs)
- Filipino Pork Spaghetti (Spaghetti noodles topped with a slightly sweetened and thin tomato sauce with ground pork and hotdog)
Pork Street Fare (Normally marinated, skewered and barbecued)
- Pork Barbeque, Pig’s Ears, Pork Isaw (Gizzards), Betamax (Solidified Pork and Chicken Blood)
- Dinuguan (Various pig parts cooked and boiled in liquid and solidified Pork Blood. Dark and mysterious, normally served with a local pastry, locally known as “puto”) (Yummy).
- Pork Siopao (Steamed Bun with Pork Asado or Pork Bola-Bola as filling)
- Pork Siomai (Pork Dumpling or Steamed Pork in Molo Wrapper)
2. Balut or Balot (Fertilized Duck Egg)
Fear Factor Fare Anyone?
“Balut” is a fertilized duck egg with an undeveloped embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.
It is truly a delicacy in that part of the world. Filipinos consider "balut" as an aphrodisiac (watch video below).
It is considered an exotic food, high-protein and a hearty snack “pampatigas ng tuhod”.
“Baluts” are bought mostly sold through street vendors who sell them normally at night. Just listen to the particular “Baluuuuut!” that “balut” vendors yell.
“Baluts” are normally consumed during nighttime drinking sessions.
“Balut” literally means "wrapped".
And this is perhaps because “baluts” are safely cradled in baskets wrapped in layers upon layers of cloth.
“Baluts” are eaten gently and slowly and with a pinch of salt or with vinegar and chili per bite.
Once you crack the shell of the “balut”, a distinctive aroma will permeate the air and you may now sip the warm broth or 'juice' where the embryo of the duck has been brewing since its conception.
Now having sipped enough of the juice so as not to drip out, you can now peel off the shell slowly but surely, revealing the young chick inside, which if I may say is best eaten whole. Don’t even try to look at it or open it up. Normally the entire contents of the egg are consumed.
Although considered as street food, baluts have recently entered higher cuisine by being served as appetizers in restaurants, cooked adobo style or prepared in a variety of ways.
Note: I have only tried to eat the actual duck embryo, which is inside the “balut” only twice in my life. But I have eaten many “baluts” when I was a lot younger and also a lot of “penoys”. A “penoy”is a type of “balut” with no duck embryos in them. Funny, how the nickname of the current President of the Philippines today, President Noynoy Aguino is PNoy. Go figure, Onli In Da Pelipins.
Watch At Your Risk
The Philippines have so many other kinds of exotic food and now Manny Pacquiao doubters are probably scratching their heads and telling themselves, "And he grew up with that kind of food? He does not need performance enhancing drugs".
3. Bagoong (Fish Sauce)
And You Wouldn’t Believe The Smell
There are many different kinds of “bagoong”. It is primarily a Philippine condiment. And the same with the local “patis” another Filipino condiment, both have that distinctive pungent odor. It’s hard to describe it, especially if you haven’t smelled it yourself.
“Bagoongs” come from the Ilocos Region, from Pangasinan and other provinces of Northern and Central Luzon. Batangas and other areas in Southern Luzon also have their own kind of “bagoong”.
It is made by mixing measured amounts of fish and brine, which are left to ferment for a considerable amount of time. Some, up to a year long, or until it produces bubbles and acquires its characteristic smell. “Patis” is made the same way.
One popular Filipino dish we haven’t mentioned but is best eaten with “Bagoong Alamang” (a kind of bagoong) is Kare-kare. Kare-kare, a Philippine stew is normally made from peanuts and peanut sauce (peanut butter) with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal and tripe. Bona petit! (I love kare-kare).
Baboy, Balut And Bagoong
Anyway, these three aren’t mutually exclusive you know.
Most times pork is cooked in bagoong alamang, to make “binagoongan”. Sometimes bagoong alamang is cooked or recooked with slices of left-over pork making pork bagoong or bagoong with pork.
Now bagoong by itself can be eaten not as a condiment or a dip but a main dish as well as it can be eaten straight with rice. Now balut has been prepared adobo style and some other modern way and it too can be eaten as a main dish and eaten with rice.
Okay any which way, still rice is the common denominator. We should rename the Philippines, the Rice Capital of the World.
Are You Still Hungry Or Have You Lost Your Appetite?
Now we haven’t mentioned other Filipino food made with other meat products, seafood and vegetables. And we wouldn’t.
We also haven’t even touched on Filipino desserts and pastries, some of which start with the letter B as well, Belekoy, Bibingka, Biko, Buchi, Bukayo, Buko Pie (my favorite), Biscocho, Barquillos and Barquiron, among others.
But then again, eating just these pork dishes, baluts and bagoong many Filipinos would probably survive their whole lifetimes, that is if you don’t forget the piping hot steamed white rice, which most Filipinos eat morning, noon and nighttime (and most times in between, everyday and all day). And also don’t forget the ice-cold San Miguel Beer (ice-cold may mean beer in a glass on the rocks) to wash it down, every once in a while.
Footnote: Since the 1970s, American Fast food chains have also started invading the Philippine restaurant scene and is now normal fixtures all over the archipelago. Yes, another contributing factor to the health problems of this island nation.
Heart Attack Grill
Philippines' Top Ten Causes of Mortality
- Top 10 Causes of Death in the Philippines
Of the top ten causes of death in the country, nine are diseases that could have been prevented with a healthy lifestyle.
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