Pastries, cakes, cold beverages, and prime meat. Yum! Favorite food material, aren’t they? And where do you find them? Classy restos, chic food stalls, and fancy diners.
But in the Philippines, there is a multitude of “favorites” that oh-so-many people enjoy. To the point of being citizenship-indicator. Meaning, “you’re not Filipino if you haven’t eaten [dot, dot, dot]”.
What are these, you ask? Well, to name a few, we have:
No, not the shoes. These are grilled chicken feet with barbecue sauce. Sadly, I cannot share personal thoughts over its taste because I haven’t had one. But according to trusted people who have tried it, there really is nothing disgusting about it. Mainly, it tastes just like any other chicken part. 🙂
Betamax or simply, dugo
These are accumulated pig’s blood clots. And no, they’re not as bad as they sound to be. They are under the same category, and thus cooked in the same manner, as Adidas. Meaning, they’re grilled with barbecue sauce, too. Now, this one I’ve tried and it doesn’t really taste funny. I think it depends on the sauce that they use and how long it’s grilled, nevertheless the one I’ve had isn’t even halfway bad. Especially with vinegar or (in my case) ketchup.
Incidentally, dugo is also used in other delicacies/soups like misua and dinuguan.
This is a real favorite street food. As a matter of fact, isaw is even sold by known stores in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Also, should you discuss Filipino street foods, there can never be no mention of beloved isaw. What is it, in any way?
Intestines. Yes. Either of a chicken or of a pig. Chicken isaw is thinner and longer. Pig’s are usually cut into bite sizes because they’re wider and bigger. I’ve had both, yeah. They’re not really bad, unless of course you think that you’re eating intestines and therefore may be subjected to whatever particles or foods these animals had in their life. But hey, vendors make quite certain that they clean their products well, don’t worry.
Fish Balls, Squid Balls, Kikiam
Usually sold via wheeled carts equipped with the local version of gas range and a pan of generous oil, fish balls, squid balls, and kikiam are among the many street foods that people enjoy. They are deep fried, unlike the first ones I’ve mentioned. And they come with a variety of sauces for dipping.
Fish balls, as many say, are actually made from fishes. They are said to be crushed and formed into the flattened round pieces that they are sold out. Squid balls, however, are not assured to be made of real squid. Some actually believe they are made with fishes, too. They are rounder and fuller in form than fish balls, but they pretty much taste the same. Kikiam, on the other hand, is originally of the Chinese cuisine.
All three are also added to another Chinese-original, the pansit.
Squid balls (round ones), fish balls (on stick), kikiam (brown, elongated ones)
Boiled quail eggs covered with flour-based, orange-colored batter. These are sold either on its own or with other fried street foods like fish balls. Usually, they come with vinegar with chopped cucumber and onion as dip. Definitely in vogue among street food lovers, the kwek-kwek has gained popularity now even exceeding that of the fish balls. They are also being sold in many food stands in malls.
The kwek-kwek also comes in bigger versions. These are made with boiled chicken eggs already. The same dip is used, nonetheless.
The ultimate challenge of being a street food enthusiast. The balut is the one food that even most of non-choosy street food eaters cannot bear to taste. Why so? For the simple reason that it comes with half-formed chicks. These are duck or chicken eggs that have not totally developed into real chicks and are then boiled to be eaten. Such may explain occasional head forms that may be inside your balut.
Balut is sold usually at night, with trusty chicharon and penoy, eggs like the balut but with no embryo. But at present, even cool restaurants sell them as appetizers or even as main courses. This street food is also very much known amongst Filipino overseas workers, such that there are New York restaurants that offer it as part of their prime menu.
These are only a few, compared to many others that Filipinos equally adore. We also have pig’s fat, lungs, and skin. On the ever savory chicken, we have the head, the skin, and even cut up necks. On a more “normal” side, we also have hotdogs (a peso per piece), peanuts, and cashews. Not to mention the meringue, kropek, and banana chips sold in buses. There is also the banana cue (bananas fried with caramelized sugar), camote cue (sweet potatoes with caramelized sugar), and turon (wrapped bananas).
Truly, the Filipino culture is not only rich in its stories and traditional events. We have a variety of foods that are not only tasty, but definitely unique.
Take on the streets, people, and enjoy. ❤
Credits: Zoom in, Philippines!, Tourism-Philippines, Table for Three, Please.