Philippines is not only abundant in breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality, when it comes to exotic foods, it is also a treasure trove of unique flavors that are guaranteed to excite even the most adventurous food lover. From bizarre-looking fruits, fresh seafood delicacies to interesting combinations of ingredients, Filipino cuisine offers a fascinating gastronomic journey unlike any other.

Below are just some of the exotic foods that make the Philippines a remarkable destination for culinary exploration.

1. Tamilok

For the adventurous foodie, Tamilok is an absolute must-try. Found in the mangrove forests of Palawan, Tamilok is a type of shipworm that is collected, cleaned, and then served raw with vinegar and lime as a dipping sauce. Despite its slender, worm-like appearance, Tamilok is surprisingly soft and tender with a subtle briny taste. This exotic dish may not be for the faint-hearted, but it is a culinary adventure worth embarking on.

Tamilok is one of the strangest food in the Philippines. It lives in a dead mangrove tress in Palawan.
Photo Credit to Glesor Moreno | Facebook

2. Durian

Known as the “king of fruits,” durian is a spiky and pungent fruit that divides people’s opinions. Its strong odor is often described as a mix of rotten onions and gym socks, leading some establishments to ban it from public spaces. It’s also the reason why it one of the exotic foods in the Philippines. However, those brave enough to give it a try are rewarded with a creamy and custard-like flesh that has a unique sweet and savory taste. Durian is often used in desserts, ice creams, and even in savory dishes, leaving a lasting impression on those adventurous enough to embrace its distinctiveness.

An image of a durian that you can smell. 😅
Photo from Facebook | Mae Dela Costa

3. Balut

Balut, a dish that might raise a few eyebrows, is a fertilized duck egg that is incubated for around two weeks and then boiled before being consumed. While it may sound intimidating, balut is a popular street food and a delicacy in the Philippines. The partially developed bird embryo inside is enjoyed by cracking the shell and sipping the scrumptious broth before indulging in the tender and flavorful meat. For locals, it is not just a culinary experience but also considered an aphrodisiac and a good source of energy.

Balut is one of the well-known street foods in the Philippines often serves during the night time.
Photo from Facebook Page | Jennefer Labadan Page

4. Kamaru (Mole Crickets)

For the truly adventurous food enthusiasts, Kamaru, or mole crickets, offers a unique culinary experience. Found in Pampanga and other regions, these insects are seasoned with spices and then fried until they become crispy and crunchy. While tackling a plate of mole crickets may be daunting for some, they are enjoyed as a crunchy snack or as a flavorful addition to rice dishes. Kamaru is a perfect example of how the Philippines embraces its natural resources and transforms them into an intriguing and authentic delicacy.

Who have thought that this kind of insects can be food?🙄
Photo from Facebook Page| Simpleng Buhay atbp.

5. Dinuguan

Dinuguan, often referred to as “chocolate meat,” is a unique Filipino dish that may challenge your culinary perceptions. This savory stew is made from pork meat and offal, simmered in a rich and flavorful sauce made of pig’s blood, vinegar, and spices. While it may sound unusual, dinuguan offers a delightfully balanced taste that is often enjoyed with rice or puto (steamed rice cakes).

Dinuguan is best partnered with steamed rice cake or puto.
Photo from Instagram| nathanielsph

6. Kinilaw

If you’re a fan of ceviche, then kinilaw will be a culinary delight for you. Kinilaw is a raw seafood dish where fresh fish, squid, or shrimp is marinated in vinegar, citrus juice, and an array of aromatic spices. The tangy and refreshing flavors combined with the delicate texture of the seafood make kinilaw an irresistible treat. Be sure to give it a try at one of the seafood markets or beachfront restaurants for an authentic experience.

Kinilaw na dilis is just an example of many kinilaw recipes in the Philippines.
Photo from Facebook | RaNz TV

7. Adobong Palaka (Frog Adobo)

Adobong Palaka is prepared similar to traditional adobo. It becomes tender and succulent, resembling the texture of chicken. The flavor of the meat is often likened to a mild combination of chicken and fish, with a slight earthy undertone. The marinade helps to enhance the taste, ensuring a mouthwatering dish that keeps you coming back for more.

Trying an adobong palaka is like stepping out of your comfort zone. 😊
Photo from Instagram | probinsyano_ng_norte

The exotic foods in the Philippines is as diverse as its rich culture and picturesque landscapes. Whether you find yourself exploring the vibrant street food scene or indulging in high-end restaurants, be prepared to embark on a culinary adventure where unique ingredients and bold flavors come together to create unforgettable dining experiences. So, dare to try these exotic delicacies and savor the bold flavors that the Philippines has to offer.

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