Have you ever tried tasting food from the Philippines? It has no guarantee that you’d deem them “delicious” because a person’s judgment of food is culturally relative. Nevertheless, it would still be worth trying some exotic delicacies most Filipinos enjoy.

The unique taste of Philippine delicacies is one unique flavor that both natives and foreigners fully appreciate. It would surely be an extraordinary experience one most probably wouldn’t be able to find in other countries. More importantly, experiencing food around the Philippines will give one the privilege to be able interact with community people and to grasp a deeper understanding of Filipino culture.

It is always a good experience to try new things, adding colors to the usual dull meal. One famous exotic food is called Soup No. 5 which is a kind of delicacy made of bulls or cow’s testes or penis and is known as an effective aphrodisiac though this is not scientifically proven. The genitals are boiled and then mixed with other ingredients like pig or chicken meat, ginger, and various vegetables. Soup No. 5 would be an exciting food to try because it originated in the Philippines, so it might be difficult to find it elsewhere.

Soup No. 5 is also known as Lanciao. It is a well-known dish in the Visayas island of the Philippines. Photo credit: http://aphrodisiaclist.blogspot.com/2014/10/soup-no5-aphrodisiac.html

Soup No. 5 is also known as Lanciao. It is a well-known dish in the Visayas island of the Philippines.
Photo credit: http://aphrodisiaclist.blogspot.com/2014/10/soup-no5-aphrodisiac.html

Because Philippine exotic foods are usually served in roadside eateries, foreign tourists get the privilege to interact with community people. And actually the best tour is getting to live with the ordinary people and immersing in their daily lives. Eating in luxurious restaurants, I would guarantee, would isolate foreigners from the “real” world out there.

Another must-try Filipino food is the balut, an 18-day-old fertilized egg which reveals an underdeveloped bird beak, veins, and wings. Balut is one of the most common street foods foreigners never fail to try when they come to Philippines. However, upon hearing “balut”, foreigners immediately burst out of disgust but I must say these weird-looking food is mouth-watering to most Filipinos. Not only that, it costs at a very cheap price of $0.25. Balut plus vinegar or salt make a mouthful dessert for Filipinos.

This photo accurately describes the parts of a balut. Photo credit: Watch Appetite, http://watchappetite.ph/balut/

This photo accurately describes the parts of a balut.
Photo credit: Watch Appetite, http://watchappetite.ph/balut/

Balut eggs are usually put on mobile carts and sold on street corners. Photo credit: https://upvarrons.org/wp_tudla/a-nation-of-smiling-faces/

Balut eggs are usually put on mobile carts and sold on street corners.
Photo credit: https://upvarrons.org/wp_tudla/a-nation-of-smiling-faces/

Exotic foods in my country speak a lot about Filipino culture. Embedded in the food itself—the type of food, the manner of cooking and even eating behavior—is the Filipino’s way of life. By trying these foods, foreigners can understand the natives more.

Another famous dish is the betute tugak which is a kind of meal which directly translates to stuffed frog in English. Pampanga is renowned for this dish of appetizing ground pork stuffed in a fat frog. Mixed with local herbs and spices, this boosts Filipino appetite.

Odd-looking yet tasty dish, Butete Tugak. Photo credit: Philippine Food Illustrated,  http://pinoyfoodillustrated.blogspot.com/2013/10/betute.html

Odd-looking yet tasty dish, Butete Tugak.
Photo credit: Philippine Food Illustrated, http://pinoyfoodillustrated.blogspot.com/2013/10/betute.html

It will surely be travel-worthy for foreigners to come to Philippines and savor these food. Soup No. 5,balut and betute tugak are only some of the exotic foods that foreign tourists could try in order to be able to experience a new flavor that may be hard to find elsewhere, to be able to mingle and understand the community people, and lastly, to grasp a deeper understanding of Filipino culture. Carlo Petrini once said, “Food history is as important as a baroque church. Governments should recognize cultural heritage and protect traditional foods. A cheese is as worthy of preserving as a sixteenth-century building.” This signifies how important the role of food is in defining the national identity. Therefore, if foreign tourists want to have an authentic Philippine experience, they should try these foods and make the most out of this experience.

 

 

By Loren Daryl R. Sarenas, ASEAN Correspondent from Philippines

 

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