In our little archipelago lies one of the most varied and interesting food cravings this side of Asia has to offer. Sweets from rice and goat's milk, condiments made from an abundance of fish, coconuts and bananas, and of course, our never-ending relationship with the chicken and how we have proved to the world that its spare parts need not be thrown away! Purple food has also always been a point of contention for people who don't know what the ube
is, or even worse, ice cream with corn! Go ahead and explore our selection of mouth-watering treats, and see if you don't head to U.P. Diliman
to find the best isaw and kwek-kwek stand!
Appetizing Aphrodisiacs of the Slimy Variety1. Tamilok - Wood worm
A local delicacy in the beautiful island of Palawan, the wood worm is eaten as tanigue, or raw while being soaked in a mixture of cane vinegar, sili, garlic, onions and kalamansi.
2. Diwal - Angel Wing Clams
In Iloilo, the Diwal is a seasonal shell fish known for its succulent taste and aphrodisiac properties. Its harvest was almost banned a few years back, but several vendors in the Capiz area have been spotted selling these savory and slimy clams as of late!
My Precious Cock
A chicken is a prized possession in anyone's household, and us Pinoys have made it a point to make use of its spare parts even after its death. Some well-loved chicken parts are as follows!1. Adidas - Fried chicken feet
Nope, not those...
But these!2. Betamax - Coagulated chicken blood
Probably the nastiest of the bunch, Betamax (deriving its name from the video player and recording system back in the day) is roasted and dried chicken's blood that's served into little cubes speared through with a barbecue stick.
3. Kurbata - Fried chicken neck
4. PAL - Chicken wings
So, the first and oldest airline in Asia even has a dish named after it! Yeah, everyone else in the world eats chicken wings but trust one of us to come up with a nifty tagline for it.
6. Balut - Duck embryo
Filipinos all over the globe laughed when Fear Factor contestants lurched at having to eat this chick embryo. For us, it's nothing! Traditionally wrapped in newspaper and sold with rock salt, this treat has been a tried and tested Filipino snack favorite for ages.
7. Isaw - Chicken intestine
The Curious Case of Purple Food
The ube is a purple yam that grows in abundance in tropical countries. Despite its presence elsewhere, like in India and Vietnam, perhaps its only in the Philippines where we've gone completely nuts with its bright purple hue! Look at what we've come up with over the years.
1. Halayang Ube
Purple yam jam! Now doesn't that sound good? Our lovely yam was cooked with evaporated and condensed milk to give it a soft sweetness that's good enough to eat by the spoon fulls for dessert.
2. Ube Ice Cream
In a tropical country, we lean towards our frozen treats to cool us down on hot days. Ube ice cream is one definite favorite.
Puto bumbong is not made out of ube- but, it's purple, so where else would we have gotten the idea to color it this way if not for our yams? It's actually steamed glutinous rice cooked in a bamboo tube (hence, bumbong)
and served with a generous helping of muscovado sugar, shaved coconut and hot butter- all on top of a nice green banana leaf. Juice recommends puto bumbong from Via Mare
: tastes like perfection!
Other Sweet-Tooth Cravings1. Queso Real and the Rest of the Dirty Ice Cream Gang - Cheese ice cream
Mamang sorbetero will live on, I tell you. Even when they started upgrading their cones to accommodate the waffle variety, people of all ages flock to this little cart for a good helping of dirty ice cream. Queso, a wonder bestowed upon us by our Hispanic conquerors faced the same fate as the ube: it would forever be immortalized in countless dishes, one being, ice cream.
A new take on classic Pinoy ice cream? Juice recommends Sebastian's Ice Cream Studio
's newfangled frozen offerings. Their flavors include puto bumbong, polvoron, banana cue, champorado, barako, sapin-sapin and frozen taho!
Will sell ice cream to build battle ship2. Suman
As a rice-abundant nation, it's no surprise what we've done with our number one produce. Suman is glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and steamed in banana leaves. Often eaten warm with sugar, try it with a hefty serving of coconut jam for a better kick!
From the mountainous region of Baguio comes this little wonder that's just too fun to eat! Literally meaning poke the snot, Sundot Kulangot is made out of sweet coconut jam and enclosed in tiny wooden orbs that are sealed with its signature red paper.
We love carabaos so much, that we decided to do everything with its milk! Pastillas are soft candies made from carabao's milk, butter and sugar. No one can ever beat this Pampanga delicacy!
From Negros comes another gunky delicacy that's just way too good to pass up. Dulce gatas, dulce de leche or sweet milk is made from fresh carabao's milk and sugar, boiled together. The best ones aren't wet and runny, but rather thick from all the dairy fat that goes in it!
A breakfast of champions, champorado has been around for the past 400 years or so when our Spanish friends needed to do something with all our rice and their chocolate tableas! It's really just rice pudding with powdered cacao, but we love eating this stuff with a good serving of tuyo!
An Obsession With Balls
1. Squid Balls
2. Kwek-Kwek - Quail eggs
Main Course All Stars1. Pinoy Spaghetti
A lot of people got offended when a foreigner blogged about the menu items in a Jollibee
outlet abroad, commenting that it was "alien food". Despite what anyone else might think, the Pinoy spaghetti is simply our own little twist on an Italian dish! Who cares if we put hot dogs, ketchup and even a teaspoonful of sugar in it?! It tastes amazing!!
What happens when you mix peanut butter, ox tail, eggplant, bagoong and pechay?? Only the wonderful dish that is kare-kare! Juice recommends Romulo Cafe
for some of the best kare-kare in town.
Best kare-kare so far, from Romulo Cafe!
3. Dinuguan - Pork blood stew
What normally looks like regurgitated innards of something is in reality not that much better off, description wise. Since we love our blood, dinuguan is a dish that's cooked entirely in it. Pig's blood, garlic, chili and vinegar has never tasted this good!
Red Ribbon's dinuguan is probably world famous by now.
1. Banana Ketchup
We love our food swimming in sauce, so it's only natural that we've come up with a few of our own unique condiments that don't revolve around mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise!
Batang Star ka ba? Margarine, like MSG, tastes good on anything. It's also amazing how the bright yellow hue, the sweet smell and taste of this condiment has not changed at all for the past few decades! Even the packaging remains the same!
3. Bagoong - Shrimp paste
When raw, bagoong looks sort of like lumpy ube jam-- it can either be bright pink or ube purple. Once cooked however, it becomes brownish and is then used for awesome treats like dipping green mango or with kare-kare.
the bottled bagoong from Kamayan
Kamayan Restaurant's own bottled bagoong tastes just like it was made fresh!4. Talangka - Crab fat
Talangka, aligue or crab fat is tedious and time-consuming to prepare. In Pampanga, it could take up to days to scrape out this orange stuff, but it's all worth it. Eat it with rice, paella style and with a dash of kalamansi,or with a good serving of pasta!
The Aligue Pasta from Fat Michael's Gastro Pub is superb!
Claude 9 Talangka from Chef Claude Tayag's Pampanga restaurant, Bale Dutung 4. Coconut Jam
6. Condensada - Condensed milk
7. Mang Tomas
Since lechon, or roasted pig and all its variants
(crispy pata, lechon kawali and the like) are the end all and be all of ALL Filipino celebrations that involve food (I can't think of any that don't), the sauce that goes with it must be perfect. The only thing that comes close to the liver-paste sauce, is of course, Mang Tomas' All Around Sarsa!