9 Exotic Filipino Food That Will Surprise Your Taste Buds & Will Make You An Adventurous Eater

Exotic Filipino food

Filipinos are no strangers to strange foods. As a country with thousands of islands, every city, town, and village has its own exotic delicacies. And it’s no surprise – Filipino cuisine is a bundle of unique flavors and ingredients that work well together. No matter how weird the ingredients may be.

So tantalize, and challenge, your taste buds with these 9 exotic Filipino food that will have you thanking us later.

1. Balut (fertilized duck egg)

Image credit: Asian Inspirations

Balut is a known Filipino delicacy in the country and in other parts of the world. It’s a fertilized duck embryo that’s boiled and eaten straight from its shell. While it’s considered a rite of passage for many Filipinos, it’s not for the faint of heart either, given its caloric value.

It may be intimidating for some, but if you’re an adventurist foodie, this is definitely a must-try. Once you get over the initial shock, you’ll be hooked with the balut‘s rich flavors and unique texture.

2. Isaw (pig or chicken intestines)

Image credit: So Sarap NYC via Facebook

Isaw, or grilled chicken or pork intestines, is another popular street food in the Philippines. They’re skewered on barbecue sticks, well-grilled, and served with a tangy vinegar dipping sauce.

While it may seem off-putting to some, the smoky flavor and chewy texture will have you going for seconds. What’s more, it’s a perfect snack to enjoy as you stroll through the streets of Manila.

3. Tamilok (woodworms)

Image credit: Puerto Princesa Tourism 

Tamilok, also known as woodworms, is a bizarre seafood delicacy found in the mangrove forests of the Philippines. It might resemble a slimy tube, but don’t let its appearance fool you.

Primarily found in Palawan and Aklan, tamilok is surprisingly delicious, with a briny flavor that pairs perfectly with a squeeze of kalamansi (Filipino lime) and a dash of chili. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a shot. You might just end up loving it. 

4. Dinuguan (pork blood stew)

Image credit: Ang Sarap

Also known as “chocolate meat” due to its dark pigment, Dinuguan is a savory Filipino stew made with pork blood, vinegar, and various spices.

Despite its intimidating name and appearance, dinuguan is a flavorful dish that’s often paired with white rice or a few pieces of puto (Filipino steamed rice cakes). It’s the ultimate comfort food with a unique twist that’ll have you sweeping your plate clean.

5. Adobong uok (coconut beetle larvae)

Image credit: Pinasgram

Adobong uok, or coconut worm or beetle larvae, is a crunchy delicacy that’s popular in the northern part of the Philippines, particularly Rizal. These critters are found in dead coconut logs, hence the name “coconut worm”. While you’re free to eat them as is, they can also be cooked adobo-style. The uok are seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar, then deep-fried to a crispy texture.

Yes, it’s quite exotic, but don’t knock it till you try it. You’ll find that it’s surprisingly tasty and addictive, making it a fan favorite among adventurous eaters.

6. Kamaru (mole crickets)

Image credit: Will Explore Philippines and World

Kamaru or Camaru, or mole crickets, may not be the most conventional choice for dinner, but they’re worth a try, if nothing else. As a dish, these crunchy critters are sauteed with garlic, onions, and tomatoes until crispy and golden brown in color.

Their distinctive appearance aside, kamaru is a delicious and savory dish that’s sure to amaze your taste buds.

7. Chicharon bulaklak (deep-fried pig mesentery)

Image credit: The Backyard via Facebook

Chicharon bulaklak, or deep-fried pig mesentery, is a crunchy and indulgent Filipino snack that’s best to be shared among friends. ICYDK, the mesentery is what keeps the intestines in place inside an animal’s body. In this case, the mesentery of a pig is the main ingredient.

They’re seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper, then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. This snack is often paired with spicy vinegar for an added kick and flavor. Every bite will leave you with a satisfying crunch.

8. Soup no. 5 (bull’s reproductive organ)

Image credit: Ang Sarap

Ever wonder how or why Soup no. 5 got its name? The most common reasoning is that the soup types were numbered on the menu, the first four being chicken, pork, beef, and seafood. And here’s the kicker – the fifth soup is made with a bull’s testicles and penis. Aside from discretion, it was believed that the owner used this tactic to intrigue and reel customers in.

Apart from the main ingredients, soup number 5 is prepared just like any other soup. Aromatics are sauteed and the bull’s reproductive parts are boiled till soft. It’s served as a snack while drinking (pulutan) or as a hangover cure. Believe it or not, it’s popular among men as the soup is also meant to be an aphrodisiac that enhances virility.

So whether you’re a believer or just curious, Soup no. 5 is a unique culinary experience that’ll surely leave a lasting impression.

9. Ube cheese pandesal (flavored Filipino bread roll)

Image credit: Kawaling Pinoy 

Ube cheese pandesal is a creative twist on a classic pandesal, or what’s known to the world as Filipino bread rolls. These soft and fluffy buns are made with sweet purple yam (ube) and stuffed with a complementary cheese of choice, making a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors.

Whether eaten as a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack, the ube cheese pandesal is definitely worth a try for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Exotic Filipino food for the brave

These exotic Filipino food will take your taste buds on a wild ride through the flavors of the Philippines.

From balut to Soup No. 5, Filipino cuisine is as diverse and adventurous as the islands themselves. So next time you’re craving something out of the ordinary, give one of these exotic dishes a try.

Who knows, you might just discover your new favorite food.

Also, check out traditional Filipino drinks and Pinoy ulam recipes. For more food recommendations, head to The Smart Local Philippines.

Cover image adapted from: Asian Inspirations, Will Explore Philippines and World, Ang Sarap







Jaya Fanoga

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