Food Vacation

17 Exotic foods in the Philippines

Exotic food in a particular place may be on a traveler’s wish list. And when you whiff of it? Irresistible! Especially the exotic foods in the Philippines, where the waves, sceneries, and wildlife perfectly match the atmosphere of the cuisine. In this blog, I will share the exotic foods in the Philippines that make me want to eat more. No matter which Philippine island you visit, you’ll almost definitely encounter at least one of these odd dishes, so prepare yourself!

1. Balut

Exotic Food in the Philippines

A fertilized chicken egg Asian delicacy.


You’ve heard about balut if you’ve traveled to the Philippines. Served in hot wicker baskets, it is a popular street dish. Balut is a cooked egg of a growing duck embryo eaten from the shell. Its lid must open to suck the soupy stuff within. Peel the cover to expose a partially developed duck embryo with a yolk. Each mouthful of balut must contain a little of the embryo and the yolk to appreciate the experience properly.

It is your opportunity to meet a baby duck. 

One of the more controversial foods available in the Philippines is balut, which consists of eggs ready to boil. One may watch as a duck embryo grows a beak and feathers if one doesn’t move it soon enough. Think about how wildly popular balut is in the Philippines, and now think about how trendy hot dogs are in America. Then eat the whole egg and its contents at once. Tasty.

2. Roasted Crocodile

The roasted crocodile is one of the strangest foods, and visitors desire to taste unusual meals in Davao City. 

Locals cook crocodile meat in various ways, including Sisig, steak, Kare-Kare, and roasted crocodile, prepared by barbecuing the entire crocodile. They claimed it tasted like fish or chicken! That’s intriguing and tasty.

Instead of the customary roasted pig (Lechon), Filipino families may choose roasted crocodile for their Christmas Eve supper this year without an apple in its mouth.

The crocodile’s luscious white flesh is flavorful and aromatic. It’s low in fat, calories, and protein. The meat is aphrodisiac and healthy for the heart and lungs. Tastier than roasted pork. Its whitish flesh compared to roasted chicken.

Why is it okay to roast crocodiles? The government allows the killing and consumption of farm-bred crocodiles but not wild ones.

3. Tamilok

Photo Credits: Joshua Orozco

Tamilok, it’s a bivalve mollusk, not a woodworm—it lives in the wood and is more fish-like than insect-like. It is a species of snail that dwells in mangrove trees. They are sold at the market in Puerto Princesa City’s provincial capital and are similar to worms in appearance, being thick and long. Many restaurants have it.

So, if it’s a bivalve, why is it named tamilok? During WWII, two American GIs observed the natives collecting the creatures and once remarked, “Tommy Look,” which became tamilok. Tommy, look at what they’re doing. Surely they’re not going to eat it. But they eat it!

It is widely available in the province, both locally and as a “speciality” at high-end restaurants.

Then the flavor! Many say it tastes like milk or oysters. It was fishy and slimy in texture.

4. Cooked Field Rats (Dagang Bukid)

Photo Credit: Scott Berlin

Yes, you read it—field rats. I don’t mean the rodents you encounter in your house like sewer rats. I am talking about wild rats, not farm rats. They are naturally clean foods and are prevalent in rural areas. They also taste like chicken. The term field rat refers to at least four species: the rice field rat, the smaller rice field rat. While other rat species may visit vast plains, these are the only ones that nest and live in fields.

This tasty Dagang bukid only eats rice from rice farms. Pests to farmers, they consume them to get rid of them. In the provinces, these farm rats are no longer have skins, decapitated, grilled, and cooked in coconut milk or adobo style (dish cooked in vinegar and soy sauce, with bay leaf and peppercorns). You may also fry it.

5. Chicharon Bulaklak

Photo Credits: Mariefaye Gonzales

Chicharon Bulaklak is a famous beer match typically given at festivities.

It’s also good as an afternoon snack or a side dish for lunch. It is best to have with hot vinegar, onions, and chiles.

The Philippines loves deep-frying practically everything. Chicharron bulaklak is a popular food in the nation. In a flower-shaped dish, intestines are sliced into bite-sized pieces and called “bulaklak” in Filipino. Chicharron bulaklak is usually pair with spicy vinegar.

The Filipinos have grilled them, and now they have fried them. Some of these Filipino dishes also utilize mesentery. It is unusual. Filipinos do not squander any portion of their pork. I believe, is part of the Filipino character. They don’t waste food or anything else. I must say, Filipino cuisine is still a brilliant concept that is wonderful and delectable.

6. Dinuguan

Exotic Food in the Philippines

Photo Credits: Cindy Domingo

Dinuguan. Pork is the second most popular meat in the Philippines after the chicken. Dinuguan is a stew prepared from pig’s blood. This thick, dark gravy is mix with garlic, onion, and vinegar.

This traditional Filipino meal is available in restaurants. Dinuguan is a delicious blood stew prepared with pig’s blood and pork offals (dugo means ‘blood’). This thick, delightful stew will make daring diners forget they’re eating pig ears, intestines, and snout cooked in their blood. The Filipinos’ version of haggis is dinuguan.

7. Salawaki (Fresh Sea Urchin) Bohol

Exotic Food in the Philippines

Photo Credits: Jemma Brooking

Who hasn’t heard of sea urchin? They are famous aphrodisiacs found along the sea, particularly in Bohol, Bolinao, and La Union.

Sea animals have yellow or orange interiors. They have the feel of oysters and are best to eat raw and fresh. The most popular method to consume sea urchins is raw, like oysters or sushi. Enhance the natural flavor with butter or lemon juice.

Chefs all around the globe use sea urchins to spice up traditional meals. In the Mediterranean, it complements spaghetti. Some restaurants offer them bread and butter.

You may use seafood like lobster, shrimp, and other popular seafood. Bad sea urchins may ruin your trip. Sea urchin should taste like the sea but not fishy. If so, it isn’t gone well.

How to Eat Sea Urchin

Exotic Food in the Philippines

Photo Credits: Mike Hakeem

The most common sea urchin is green. Sea urchin stings are unpleasant but not harmful. If stung, keep the wound clean to avoid infection. Raw sea urchin and sea urchin recipes go well with white wines and Japanese sake.

Sea urchins, like oysters, are aphrodisiacs. Sea urchin sushi is the freshest sea urchin. Enjoy sea urchin fresh from the ocean for optimum flavor. The freshest sea urchins are eaten alive.

8. Ginataang Kuhol

Photo Credits: Cristina Flores

You would enjoy the Filipinos since they are adventurous with their food. They like tasting new cuisines. One is ginataang kohol. At first glance, this meal is unappealing. But, if you try it, you will be surprised at how tasty it is.

Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and chopped chile give the Ginataang Kuhol or Snail in Coconut Milk flavor.

I’m sure the creamy taste will soothe your stomach. The rich flavor of this unusual recipe is something you will desire, much like other meals using gata or coconut milk. It takes a while to cook since it contains gata or coconut milk, but it is worth waiting.

9. Bat Stew

You would enjoy the Filipinos since they are adventurous with their food. They like tasting new cuisines. One is ginataang kohol. At first glance, this meal is unappealing. But, if you try it, you will be surprised at how tasty it is.

Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and chopped chile give the Ginataang Kuhol or Snail in Coconut Milk flavor.

I’m sure the creamy taste will soothe your stomach. The rich taste of this unusual recipe is something you will desire, much like other meals using gata or coconut milk. It takes a while to cook since it contains gata or coconut milk, but it is worth waiting.

10. Soup Number 5

Photo Credits: Teresa Gatell

Soup No. 5 may draw puzzled glances from some, but it is notorious among others. Many are acquainted with the unique and genuine Filipino cuisine because of its primary ingredient’s claimed aphrodisiac and healing qualities. It is a soup prepared from bull’s testes or penis. It looks and tastes like regular beef soup, except it uses bull, ox, or cow genitals. It’s also said to boost libido since it is from an animal’s loins.

11. Abuos (Ant Eggs)

The stinging stings of Hantik or Antik weaver ants are the main recipe. Their eggs (itlog) are a delicacy in the Philippines. The ant’s delicate white larvae are abuos. Abuos are weaver ants that construct leaf nests on trees. They nest on mango trees in Abra. It is sauteed in garlic or as adobo, but others eat it raw. This food will serve on the table together with leaves.

12. Pork Sisig

Photo of freshly cooked Filipino food called Pork Sisig.

Filipinos love pork sisig, and it is the main meal or an appetizer. Pork sisig is from the ingredients of minced hog flesh, ears, and a pig’s face. Add chicken liver, onions, and chili peppers. As stated, Sisig is also an excellent main meal with a cup of warm white rice. Sisig is “pulutan.” It is a phrase used to describe food and alcohol combinations. It goes well with beer or wine.

Snout and ears are traditionally part of Sisig. Then, mix the Calamansi, chicken liver, pig brain, and onion. Sisig comes in many forms. A healthier seafood combination replaces the traditional pig’s face such as examples include Squid, Tuna, Bangus, and Tahong Sisig.

Chicken sisig is a newer variation that is gaining popularity. It is suitable for vegetarians.

13. Isaw (Chicken Intestines)

Isaw is a Filipino street dish made from grilled pig or chicken intestines famous throughout the country.

To clean the intestines, you need to flip it inside out and clean it again. They are then either cooked and subsequently grilled or grilled on sticks directly after being boiled. The grilled chicken intestine on a bamboo stick added a sweet, salty, and spicy marinade.

The marinade, which is banana ketchup and soy sauce, contributes the majority of the flavor. The Isaw has a little crunch and a texture that is characteristic of organ meats. In combination with spicy vinegar, it’s a winner.

14. Durian Coffee

Durian coffee blends durian preservation with coffee, resulting in a moderate flavor coffee without any durian scent. The drink introduces durian for people who have not yet acquired a taste for the fruit.

Durian enthusiasts describe it as having a sweet, custardy flavor and the texture of creamy cheesecake. Caramel and vanilla are two flavors that are often associated with durian fruits. Some fruits have a slightly bitter taste to them, which complements by a tiny sweetness.

In addition to providing about 80 percent of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C, drinking durian coffee helps to promote the synthesis of collagen in your skin. 

You can have skin elasticity and a youthful look via collagen, a protein required for healthy skin. The protein also has essential functions in maintaining the bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels and promoting injury healing after an accident.

Durian is also an effective natural therapy for migraines, owing to riboflavin, which belongs to another group of vitamin B. Drinking the fruit or consuming the beverage reduces the severity of headaches and the severe pain associated with migraines in a short period. Another benefit of this food is that its high iron content helps avoid anemia, a recognized secondary cause of headaches.

15. Seaweeds

Photo Credits: Sarah Lohry

Caulerpa lentillifera is known by many names, including Lato, Sea Grapes, Latok, and Green Caviar, to mention a few. It is a kind of edible seaweed that is abundant in the Philippines and neighboring countries. This seaweed is the primary component of a famous Filipino salad known as “Ensaladang Lato,” which translates as Seaweed Salad in English.

The seaweed salad preparation is as simple as preparing a dip for your crispy pata:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the lato) in a large mixing bowl, well mix, and then add the lato.
  2. Toss.
  3. Before you enjoy it, let it soak for a few minutes.

In the Philippines, this edible seaweed is readily available.

Seaweeds are not only very delicious (when cooked correctly), but they are also relatively healthy. The closest thing you can get to a “quick food” restaurant while you’re out in the wilderness is probably this.

As a whole, seaweeds can have various purposes such as food preparation, food flavoring, medicine, nutritional supplementation, and other practical applications.

Seaweeds with a rubbery texture and a stiff structure are unpleasant to some people. However, this can generally remedy this by drying and powdering them or using various cooking techniques. What works for one kind of seaweed may not work for another type of seaweed. If at all feasible, speak to the people who live in the area and who utilize seaweeds. Learn some seaweeds are more pleasant than others via trial and error rather than by reading about them. When experimenting, don’t only depend on your taste senses’ first response; instead, think of creative methods to include seaweeds into your dishes. 

Listed below are some basic measures you should follow if you plan on experimenting with seaweed consumption: 

  • Seaweed left on the beach to decay and attract flies is not allowed to eat under any circumstances. If you consume seaweed that has already started to degrade, you will get germs that make you sick. Before eating your seaweed, be sure you properly wash it in cold water. It gets rid of any sand or other possibly hazardous particles that may have adhered to the surface. You must pass the seaweed in your bathtub or sink, mainly if the cleanliness of the ocean water is dubious. After washing in hot water with a bit of quantity of biodegradable soap, draining is necessary. Rinse your hands three times in the most scalding tap water you can find and repeat the procedure three times. Finally, rinse thoroughly with non-soapy water at least once. Afterward, you may either dry the seaweed or prepare it into a variety of dishes.
  • Any seaweeds growing near a sewage effluent or at the mouths of rivers, bays are not allowed to eat because they are highly likely to absorb the poisons. 

16. Charcoal Ice Cream

Right now, black ice cream is quickly becoming one of the most popular and perplexing new culinary fads on social media, and with good reason. On Instagram alone, there are almost 5,000 public posts with the hashtag “blackicecream.”

As its worldwide popularity grows, more and more businesses are starting to offer it in places like the United Kingdom, Miami, Japan, the Philippines, Japan, France, Germany, Russia, and other sites. In response to this trend, ice cream stores are stocking their shelves with black ice cream, which continues to amaze and fascinate dessert enthusiasts as they wonder, “What the heck is black ice cream?”

Adding activated charcoal to ice cream or pizza crust is mainly done to produce a deep, Instagram-worthy black hue. Because the component itself didn’t have a strong flavor, it made for an excellent foundation to build from when developing new tastes and utilizing that color as our signature.

In addition to coloring food black, charcoal is also in cuisine for its purported health advantages. Activated charcoal adsorbs molecules, and as a result, it may bind to both poisons and essential nutrients such as vitamins, thus impairing the effectiveness of prescription medicines.

17. Coconut Crab Exotic Delicacy Batanes, Philippines

The coconut crab (Birgus latro), commonly known as the robber crab or palm thief, is a terrestrial hermit crab that lives in the tropics. It is the giant terrestrial arthropod on the planet, weighing up to 4.1 kg at its heaviest (9.0 lb). 

The coconut crab (Birgus latro) is a delicacy globally, and it is trendy in the Philippines. The name of the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod, which is limited to small islands and is rare in more significant numbers, comes from its primary diet of coconut.

It has progressed in the appropriate direction. In addition to breaking coconuts open and hoist items weighing up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds), a coconut crab can also lift objects that are more than six times its body weight. With its high-fat content, delectable flavor, and critically low survival rate, the coconut crab is a desirable capture in various ways.

You may find coconut crabs in several locations across the Philippines, notably Batanes, a collection of islands near the archipelago’s northernmost point. Long before the beautiful seascapes and rolling hills of the province drew the attention of tourists, people were collecting, selling, and eating giant crabs with little regard for the repercussions. They would prepare them for special occasions such as birthdays and festivities and the occasional guest.

Final Words

When eating the traditional cuisine of a country, you might get a sense of the culture. Look into why it’s an excellent area to explore because, in the Philippines, you can experience several delicious ethnic dishes. You may also try the Best Fast Food Restaurants in the Philippines. How do you like your Filipino food adventures? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

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