8 of the Most Bizarre,
in the Philippines
By Kyzia Maramara
We all know balut is one of the most bizarre food we have in the Metro, but what about in other parts of the country? This list will either make your cringe and say ‘NOPE,’ or make you want to be adventurous and want to satisfy your taste buds. Most of these are definitely acquired taste, but worthy enough to be added to your bucket list!
Find it in: Pampanga
This exotic dish from Pampanga consists of rice field crickets which are pests that farmers harvest to save their crops. The best way to cook these crickets is by cooking it adobo style but locals also fry it. A bite will produce a crunch and then comes the mushy insides of the cricket. The people brave enough to have tried this has likened the taste to that of a shrimp.
Find it in: Cebu
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a zombie just for one meal? Tsulob-buwa in Cebu is an exotic dish that is made of pig’s brain and liver best served with rice balls (puso). The brain and the liver are boiled until they’re reduced to a simmering pool of.. exoticness. Tsulob buwa literally means “to dip into bubbles”. They say it tastes better than it looks and that you wouldn’t even guess the ingredients if you weren’t aware. Ignorance is bliss, after all.
Find it in: Palawan
Tamilok is a dish with the main ingredient being woodworms found in mangroves in Palawan. If your taste buds are brave enough, look for a place cooking it in Palawan or, like a local, eat it raw dipped in vinegar. Locals say the taste of the worms is similar to oysters and you can keep it like a mantra in your head as they slide down your throat. It sounds cringe-worthy but it’s something worth trying in Palawan!
Find it in: Pangasinan, Bohol
Our parents would tell us to avoid sea urchins while swimming out at sea because they could prick you and the spines would be pretty hard to remove. In Pangasinan, Bohol, and a lot of other places, sea urchins are food. The yellow/orange insides can be eaten raw or kinilaw and they taste like oysters. Sea urchins are considered aphrodisiacs by the way, that might convince you to try one.
Find it in: Pampanga
The only rats you’re probably familiar with are the city rats who take up residence in the dark and dirty corners of your house and in sewers. Those are not the kinds of rats that are being cooked and eaten. The ones being cooked are from farms where the rats only eat rice from the rice field. It’s skinned with the innards disposed of and the tail and feet cut. It’s often cooked adobo style (the favorite cooking style of Filipinos) and apparently it tastes like chicken.
Find it in: Ilocos
Who knew that the small insect that is an ant can be turned into a dish? In Ilocos they have Abuos or ant egg caviar which is a dish made from ant eggs. They cook it sautéed with garlic and tomatoes. Creating a dish out of ants is not new to the world, even Mexico and Thailand have dishes of their own created from ants.
Find it in: Rizal
Adobong Uok is an exotic food courtesy of Rizal province that is beetle larvae found on dead coconut logs. Natives could eat them raw or would often cook them (yep, you guessed it) adobo style.
Find it in: Nueva Ecija
Who would’ve thought that the insect that Filipino kids in Manila play with is actually food in another part of the country? Adobong Salagubang is a favorite of the people from Nueva Ecija. Much like Kamaru (rice field cricket), they’re crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside and is popular for being pulutan.
Which of these have you tried or will try? Share it with us in the comments below!