Warning: Contains Pork, Brains and Intestines. If you’re Vegan or have a heart condition, I suggest you simply turn your attention to my other posts ^^
Dedicated to foodies out there with a lust for adventure. Yeah sure, you’ve been to the Philippines, lazed around its fine beaches, seen some of its exotic animals and partied in its hottest night spots but may I be bold enough to say that you haven’t really had a taste of real Filipino culture unless you’ve actually eaten like one. So next time you visit the Philippines or maybe if it’s you’re first time, then I challenge you to leave some space in your list of “safe places to eat” and try some if not all of the following. I made absolutely no effort to glam up the pix
coz i’m lazy so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t worry, this is nothing too crazy, matter of fact, I would describe this list as “typical Filipino foods” so you may rest assured that I’m not gonna urge you to eat anything that I wouldn’t… (like fertilized duck embryo) ^^
1) Lechon – the Philippines’ national dish is a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal. Preparation time takes several hours and this results to pork skin that’s crisp to perfection. This dish is commonly seen during Fiesta and on special occasions but can also be purchased in restaurants. Prior to cooking, its entrails are removed and replaced with special herbs… So where’d the intestines go? This brings us to the next dish… 🙂
2) Dinuguan – (dugo = blood) yep, it’s a savory stew of meat and offal cooked in rich pig blood. It consists of vinegar, garlic and chili and while I understand that this might seem a little scary particularly to foreigners, it’s a typical everyday Filipino dish. I got to warn you though, be wise in choosing the places that you order this dish from. Having said that, I’ve only eaten Dinuguan once and it was cooked by my grandma. This dish is best eaten with Puto.
3) Native Rice Cakes – Puto is a steamed rice cake that’s usually eaten with butter or cheese. Kutchinta is another type of glutinous rice cake that is usually eaten with grated coconut. Bibingka is made from sticky rice and coconut milk; they are cooked in clay molds and charcoal and is slathered with a little bit of margarine and sprinkled with sugar before eating. Kalamay is another sweet and sticky delicacy from ground rice and can be considered as a form of dessert.
the whole damn process ^^
4) Buko/ Coconuts and coconut dishes/desserts – ahhh I really don’t know where to begin with coconuts. I mean I absolutely LOVE it. I literally have one refrigerator at home which I use purely for storing coconuts. Matter of fact, I hardly ever drink water anymore.. Coconut water is my H2O! For some weird reason, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like water; I hate the fact that it’s tasteless.. such is the reason why for years, I never drank water unless it’s flavored (iced tea/ powdered juices, etc) There was even a time in my life when I’d only drink soda, mostly from fast foods. Horrifying! It’s a damn miracle that I’m still alive. Anyway, I’ve realized the error of my ways and have learned to drink at least a few glasses of water mixed with apple cider vinegar plus a big jar of coconut water per day. Back to coconuts, mmnn I understand that not everybody loves coconut water but
what are you nuts? if you’re a coconut lover, you’ll go gaga over Buko Salad. It’s a dessert made from young coconut strips mixed with condensed milk, cream, as well as other coconut products like nata de coco (coconut jelly), kaong (sugar palm) and preserved fruits. Boyfie prefers plain old coconuts though; he says it’s great on its own, why ruin it? Oh well, there are like a million things you can do with coconuts. The point is, we have PLENTY of them so you best take advantage of it while you’re here. ^^
5) Tropical Fruits – While we’re talking fruit, why not try other delicious fruits that grow in the Philippines like my personal favorites: Guyabano (w/c has mazing anti-cancer properties), Langka or Jackfruit, Carabao Mangoes, Rambutan/ Tickleberry (Hello Vitamin C!) and boyfie’s favorite which I absolutely hate, Durian. ^^
a medley of squid, baked shellfish, pork barbecue, salted eggs and garlic rice with tomatoes
6) Fresh Seafood – if you happen to visit places in the Philippines that are near the sea, you have got to be cray cray if you don’t pounce on the opportunity to feast on fresh seafood! Just sayin’…
inihaw na pusit / grilled squid
menudo – yeah like the old boyband ^^
7) Filipino viands such as: Sinigang – a tamarind-based soup that has several possible versions: shrimp, fish, pork, or beef. My favorites are shrimp and beef—preferably grass-fed 🙂 It’s such a shame though that most restaurants, even households, nowadays make use of bouillon cubes or powdered soup base instead of the real thing. The same goes with my other favorites, Beef Caldereta (a stew of tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper) and Beef Kare-Kare (a stew made of peanut sauce and a variety of veggies). I prefer making these at home rather than ordering them from restaurants; that way I can be sure that 1)it’s freshly cooked and not microwaved 2)the beef is grass-fed 3)the ingredients are complete 4)no powdered/liquid fake ass foiled/canned flavorings are used. I might post a recipe of Beef Kare Kare made from scratch as well as a recipe of Beef Caldereta using real fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomato sauce.
salted fish and salted eggs wrapped in Thai wraps
bagoong rice and beef tapa w/ eggs
8) Breakfast: Smoked/ Dried/ Salted Fish – I’m very picky when it comes to smoked and dried fish. Also, I rarely eat them coz personally, I’d rather have fresh, cooked fish; I mean seriously why settle for less? But somehow, it seems ok if you eat them for breakfast. ^^ Tinapa, Danggit, Dilis are a favorite breakfast in many Filipino households, eaten alongside garlic rice, salted eggs and raw tomatoes. Yum! Don’t eat too much of these, though… not a very healthy choice considering the preservatives and the high purine content. Or you could make up some sort of excuse like my boyfie’s mom; whenever he starts scolding her about eating stuff like this every morning for breakfast, all she’d say is: “Once in a while…” 🙂 and we all know it ain’t true ^^
Not for you? How about some beef tapa (cured beef) and bagoong rice. Bagoong is a Pinoy condiment made up for fermented fish/ shrimp
kesong puti cheesecake
9) Kesong Puti / White Cheese – a white cheese that’s soft and slightly salty made from unskimmed carabao’s milk, salt and rennet that’s popular in Philippine provinces like Laguna. Be sure you get the real thing though and not the commercial version. It’s best when eaten with bread but is sometimes also used to create delightful desserts.
crispy pata boneless
my grandma’s pork knuckles
10) Pulutan (food usually eaten while drinking alcohol)- Eat like a Pinoy, Drink like a Pinoy. The Sizzling Sisig is a favorite Filipino pulutan made from finely chopped parts of a pig’s face (maskara), and liver and is seasoned with chili and calamansi; sometimes, it’s topped with raw egg that is left to cook while the plate is still hot. Chicharon Bulaklak is a Filipino delicacy made of deep fried pig’s intestines; OMG these are so crunchy and so addictive and soooo not for people with heart conditions ^^ … then we go to my fave: Crispy Pata or Pork Knuckles – deep fried pork trotter with a soy vinegar dish. Cooked the wrong way, it could be rubbish; cooked right, it could be
like sex in your mouth just awesome. I swear I would’ve given up all pork if not for this dish. ^^
natong with porkchop
my granny’s laing
11) “Natong”/ Taro cooked in coconut milk – If you ever find yourself in the Bicol region, then this you gotta try. This is actually my grandma’s specialty and we often eat it with barbecued pork chops. This used to be my all-time favorite combo before I decided to eat healthier ^^ It’s also one of the reasons why I sometimes hide from my grandma… Every time she suspects that I’m on a reducing diet, she’d always attempt to fatten me up. She always says I look better when I’m a little chubby.. Sorry gran, but I draw the line on size 2. ^^
Going wakeboarding at the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex? They have this unique pizza topped w/ cheese and chili taro leaves known as Laing Pizza.
12) Kinalas – If happen to visit Naga City, why not snack on this popular noodle dish? (Kalas = remove –> as in stripping off the meat from a pig’s boiled head, brains included). No, that wasn’t a typo. ^^ The pig’s bones are boiled and seasoned to create the tasty broth; it comes with a thick brown gravy and the soup is topped with crunchy pork rinds (chicharon). Some people prefer eating it with a boiled egg. ^^
Gross? Maybe you’ll like Goto instead (rice porridge with beef tripe).
I gotta say some of these foods aren’t for everyone… and yep, most of them, I admit, are quite unhealthy choices. I only indulge in foods like lechon during special occasions/ festivities, which in my family, are many.lol Here’s the thing about Pinoy food, whatever they lack for in presentation, they usually make up for with taste. I’ll end this with my grandma’s famous excuse “Tiwi kung Tiwi” ( Heart Attack, Schmeart Attack) ^^
P.S. PART II to follow