Saturday, 25 March 2017

6. Day Old Chick

Day Old Chick
6. Day Old Chick. I'm sure the picture is very self-explanatory. In the 16 years that I lived in the Philippines. I only saw this one time in Manila and I was scared to try it. I ended up trying it in my classmates birthday party and I couldn't turn them down. So here's the jizz of this little chickens life story. It's a baby chicken, nothing special there. Its marinated in the same marinade they use for the big chickens. The marinade they use is really really good. I had to pay my favorite barbecue vendor to get the recipe which i'll talk about later in another blog. You'll usually see the big chicken thighs, chicken feet or chicken intestines displayed stuck on a banana stem in most barbecue stands. It's not a usual fare and its not very common in the provinces but readily available in big cities all over the Philippines. In my moment of truth, I was surprised to find out how good it actually tasted. This is comes in various offerings. They come fried, grilled, barbecued, adobo'ed etc... However you cook a chicken, you can cook this little'un the same way. The big difference is the texture of the meat. It soft and very tasty. If not for the beastly appearance. This is actually good eating. If you're visiting and want to be a little adventurous. Try this delicacy. Hey, its bragging rights. Take a bite and take a selfie.

5. Isaw

Isaw- is the small intestines of a chicken.
uncooked Isaw on a stick
No, it's not a worm. It's the first 4.5 feet of the chicken's bowels that is highly popular and sought for in the barbecue scene all over the Philippines. However gruesome this might be to you. Barbecue stands often run out of this long chewy but savory piece of chicken innards call Isaw. The small intestines is the first level of absorption of grounded food from the stomach of the chicken. It is where corn, rice, pellet feed are all mixed up and is ready to be absorved into the chicken's body. When vendors prepare Isaw. They do not remove grounded food in the intestine. They clean the intestines externally really well, but they won't drain the inside of it. Growing up. I have eaten this delicacy and still continue to do so whenever I have the chance. Back then, it was just starting to be a fad and it was always available in any barbecue stand we had in town. Now a days, its gotten very popular that sometimes. It's no longer available in the mix. If you're going to try Isaw. Make sure that it's fresh and properly marinated with the local barbecue sauce and the most important thing is that make sure that its cooked thoroughly. Order it with rice and the dipping sauce with vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper and calamansi and its nirvana.Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 1.53.53 AM It's actually really good if you're into that kind of stuff. But if you're just a curious eater. I think you will like it as long as you stop thinking about what it is.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

4. Etag

4. Etag

 Is the term used by the Igorot tribes for preserving meat. Just like Ham, Pork meat or venison is salted and hanged to dry or smoke for a couple of days until its ready to be consumed. This process has been used by the Igorot tribes and has been passed down from one generation to the next. The process will have slight variations from tribe to tribe but in General its smoked or dried in the sun or both. When they smoke the meat, they will use wood or aromatic leaves to enhance the flavor and the smell of the meat. When sun-dried, etag will sometimes have maggots in the meat because when they dry it in open air.
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Etag with maggots
Flies will come in and lay their eggs. Some of the ones I've seen are covered in fungus.  According to the local tribes in the Benguet, Baguio and Mountain Province. Etag is more valuable if it's preserved for a long time. The meat turns a little darker brown in color and the flavors are deeper and more subtle therefore its more expensive in the market. The meat in general is served grilled over rice or it can be accompanied in soups and other vegetable dishes.
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Etag in Chicken soup called Pinikpikan
Due to the salt on the surface of the meat. Etag is sometimes washed and soaked in water to reduces the brininess of the meat. Nowadays, Etag is sold in the markets of Manila. If the description is a little scary to you. Don't worry. Most of the meat in Manila are done in a controlled environment. They are not made in the mountains of the Cordilleras or in the Mountain Provinces where the local tribes have to resort to what they have available to process the meat. There are some that make it in the Markets.
Grilled Etag
Grilled Etag

So when you are interested in diving in this cuisine make sure you ask questions and cook the meat well to avoid any gastric complications.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

3. Tamilok (Giant)

Giant Tamilok

In my youtube travels. I encountered another weird delicacy that was shown in the Andrew Zimmern show "Bizzare Foods" but this time with a little twist. This creature was accidentally found in the waters of Sultan Kudarat. In the southern Island of the Philippines. This sea creature has many names. Wood worm, ship worm etc... The Giant Tamilok is quite different from the common wood worms found on the rotten mangrove trunks. So far they have been found in the waters of Sultan Kudarat and nowhere else in the country. The locals in the area told us that the Giant Tamiloks started to come out around the time when the local lumber yard closed down and dumped a lot of unused timber in the ocean. The Tamiloks live in the sunken timber. The Tamiloks are Giant tube worms, Riftia pachyptila, are marine invertebrates in the phylum Annelida (formerly grouped in phylum Pogonophora and Vestimentifera) related to tube worms commonly found in the intertidal and pelagic zones. Riftia pachyptila lives over a mile deep and up to several miles deep on the floor of the Pacific Ocean near black smokers and can tolerate extremely high temperatures and sulfur levels.
Giant Tamilok (Sultan Kudarat)

From the looks of things. Its nasty, gruesome and you will ask yourself a question as to why would people eat this in the first place. I haven't figured out the history as to when people started eating tamilok, the only thing I found is how it is to the palate. Finally I had my chance to personally taste the beast when I went home for vacation. The giant tamilok is more like a tube worm than the wood worm they find in the mangrove forest. Its dark in color and has chisel like teeth. Prepping the worm was more of a science experiment to me than preparing a meal. First impression was scary but towards the end. When I started smelling the familiar smells of garlic and onion. I started to relax. They made a dish called adobo. A popular way of cooking in the Philippines. As the Tamilok was simmering in the dish. It started to smell like a shellfish.

Time for the taste test. The first bite was a little challenging due to the texture of the worm. Its not anything different from a shellfish but since mentally. My thought process was i'm eating a giant sea worm. To my surprise, tamilok tasted just like oysters cooked. The taste broke the ice. I got some more and mixed it with rice. It was actually good eating. I persuaded some of my friends to go ahead and try it. They had the same impression as I did and started to eat like it was another seafood were used to eating. If it won't kill you. Eat it. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

1. Balot


The very first thing a foreigner will come up with when you ask him about the eccentric food he encountered in the Philippines would be the famous savory unborn chicken or duck still in its egg called Balut. You eat it with the feathers, beak, legs etc... This could be a very scary experience to a lot of people like its from some horror flick. Now foreigners are not the only one that feels eating this food as Taboo. Some of the younger Filipino generation is staying away from this stuff, specially those that grew up in cities. But to those that haven't tried one yet, you should. Its not as bad as it looks, its full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Now, I don't want to sound like your eating this as if your survival depends on it, i'm just saying from experience that if you ignore the appearance barrier, its actually good for  you. Filipinos don't eat balut everyday like some  people think. Its mostly eaten as a form of a snack, before they go out drinking or while your drinking. I recommend that you do the same. Alcohol helps clean your taste buds just in case you didn't like it. I can offer you some tips on how to eat this mouth watering delicacy. First would be, do not look inside the egg. Have the salesman open it but if you're daring enough, you can always give it a try. The usual would be adding rock salt, put your mouth in the opening of the egg then quickly put it in your mouth, chew then swallow. You'll find out the first time if you will like balut or not, expect the texture to be weirder than the taste. The other way would be, place a teaspoon of vinegar (ask for the ones with spices) add a little rocksalt then down it quickly and as safely as possible. Also, if you are in country and you want to bond with the locals, show them that you can eat this stuff. Its a very good ice breaker specially if you're a foreign national bonding with your girl friend's parents and relatives. It works every time, its almost like they're watching you doing a slam dunk in slowmotion.  If you're in the Philippines just on a vacation, you should try this at least once. It completes the whole Filipino experience.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

2. Lukot

I'm a curious eater and is usually not afraid to put anything in my mouth that won't kill me. After watching Andrew Zimmern of Bizzare Foods. I decided to start this blog for anything weird or not so common good eating delicacies that I encounter in my country (Philippines), just for kicks. I will start it with the a local favorite seaweed salad consisting of a stringy, greenish or brownish noodle looking slimy textured delicacy. I have eaten this thing for years without knowing what it really is. Some say its a local seaweed, and others claim that its a native clam species poop. So out of boredom. I did some digging and googled to see if from what and where it actually came from. Here's what I found. This thing we call (Lukot or Lokot) is actually the eggs of a sea slug called (Dolabella auricularia) Sea Hares or Donsol in bisaya (pictured left) commonly found on lagoons and intertidal pools. The color of the eggs sacs are determined by the color of the macro algae the mother ate (the slugs are actually hermaphrodites) at the time of laying the eggs. The most common colors I see in the market are olive green, brownish red, purplish brown, aquamarine, and rarely in yellow. I'm not going to go in depth with the animal. You can read about them in Wikipedia now that you know what they are. The earliest that I can remember having this is when my father prepared some for lunch in a simple concoction of patis (fish sauce), onions, tomatoes, and calamansi. It tasted weird in a good way specially when you have fried fish and rice to go with it. Since then i developed a taste for it and every time I go home for vacation, this is the first thing I look for in the sea food market. I have read some blogs about the actual sea hare being toxic if eaten, the only recorded poisoning they found was when a couple brought some home and fried it without getting rid of the innards. They both started vomiting and was brought to the hospital. They both survived. Villagers in Fiji also eat the sea hare but does not suffer the toxic symptoms of the animal because they clean it and remove the intestines before eating. Some studies found that the actual animal itself does not produce the toxins but are getting it from some of the macro algae that they eat. They retain the toxins to serve as a deterrent for predators. I'm sticking to the eggs. Some more pics below. (The bean shaped cartilage looking stuff) is the shell of the sea hare. Next time you see one of these shells lying around, maybe you'll find some eggs for your pickings. The eggs are usually laid in Eel grass beds and big pools during low tide.

On my later visits to the Philippines. I had Lukot mixed in soups, inside grilled fish, and mixed in tuna ceviche. All of them tasted good. More pics below. If you see this in the menu, don't be scared. You might like it. Bonn Appetit!

Pics below shows how the eggs are sold in the markets.