Exotic Food in the Philippines

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The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country made up of more than 7,000 islands, so it’s no wonder that the food here is as diverse as its landscape. From chicken heads to raw woodworms, there’s no shortage of exotic food in the Philippines.

So if you’re feeling adventurous, here are some of the most unique and weird Filipino food this country has to offer.

Exotic Filipino Food: 15 Dishes for Adventurous Eaters


Balut is an exotic food in the Philippines. It is a duck embryo.
photo by jay y.n

Balut is a developing duck embryo that is incubated for 14-21 days before it is boiled alive and eaten straight from the shell. It’s a popular street food in the Philippines, with some describing the taste as a hard-boiled egg with a little bit of chicken soup thrown in. 

My first experience with balut was in Vietnam, where they are called Trứng vịt lộn. 

While the taste of these duck eggs may not be for everyone, the experience of eating balut is definitely one you won’t forget any time soon.

Balut is considered to be a delicacy in the Philippines and is often found wherever Filipinos settle throughout the world.


Exotic Filipino Food
photo by onmyd

Betamax is a popular street food dish in the Philippines that consists of pig’s blood (or sometimes chicken blood) that has been coagulated and then grilled.

Eating coagulated blood is an acquired taste, and while I have eaten my share of pig’s blood in Vietnamese soups, the Filipino grilled version is tastier and an excellent way to start eating this type of exotic Filipino food.

The dish is often served with vinegar and chili peppers, and it can be found at street food stalls and markets throughout the country.

Betamax is a cheap and easy-to-eat dish that is popular with both locals and tourists.

These barbecue sticks of pig’s blood provide a rich flavor and hearty texture, while the vinegar and chili peppers add a touch of acidity and heat.

Chicken Feet

Grilled Chicken feet

If you’re looking for a truly unique culinary experience, you’ll want to try chicken feet. This popular Filipino street food dish is both crunchy and chewy and full of flavor.

The skin is deep-fried to perfection, and the meat inside is tender and juicy. Chicken feet can be served plain or with a dipping sauce.

Crispy Pata

Exotic Philippines Food

Anyone who’s ever been to the Philippines knows that street food is a way of life there. And one of the most popular dishes is Crispy Pata.

This dish consists of a deep-fried pig’s trotter, and it is usually served with a dipping sauce on the side. The skin is first removed, and then the leg is boiled until it is tender.

Next, it is coated in a flour and egg mixture, and finally, it is fried until it is crisp and golden brown.

The result is a dish that is both crunchy and juicy, and it’s no wonder that Crispy Pata is a favorite in Filipino cuisine.


Dinuguan is a Filipino street food dish that is definitely not for the faint of heart. The main ingredients are pork blood and intestine, which are cooked in a vinegar-based sauce.

The result is a savory, rich Filipino stew that is often served with rice or bread. While it may not sound appetizing to some, Dinuguan is actually a delicious and popular dish in the Philippines.

Chicharon Bulaklak

Chicharon bulaklak is a popular Filipino snack made from deep-fried pig intestines. 

The intestines are first cleaned and then boiled until they are soft. They are then cut into small pieces and fried in hot oil. 

The resulting snacks are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with a slightly spicy flavor. 

Chicharon bulaklak is often served with spiced vinegar dipping sauce, and it is a popular finger food to eat while drinking an ice-cold beer. It can also be found in many Filipino supermarkets, making it a convenient snack to have on hand.

Adobong Kamaru

Yvette Tan, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons: Processed in Lightroom

Adobong kamaru is a Filipino dish made from kamaru, a type of mole cricket that is popular in the Philippines. The mole crickets are cooked Adobo style.

Adobong kamaru is a popular dish among Filipinos because it is a delicacy.

Grasshoppers are not commonly eaten in other parts of the world, so they are considered a special treat in the Philippines.

If you’ve never eaten bugs before, Adobong kamaru could be the perfect introduction as it is a delicious and unique dish that is worth trying if you ever have the chance.

What is Adobo style?

The dish and cooking process native to the Philippines, adobo refers  to a method of marinating meat or seafood in soy sauce mixed with vinegar. This mixture also contains other herbs like garlic cloves as well!


Next on the exotic Filipino food list, Tamilok is a type of mollusc that is commonly found in the Philippines and is one of the more unappetizing exotic foods I’ve come across.

It has a long, white, worm-like body and can reach up to a foot in length and is typically found living in mangrove trees, where it feeds on decomposing wood.

The woodworm is edible and is often served as a delicacy in the Philippines. It is also used as an ingredient in some traditional medicines.

Tamilok is harvested by simply cutting open the tree trunk and removing the woodworm.

The most popular way to consume Tamilok is to eat raw with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce. For the more squeamish, a fried version is usually available, which removes much of the unique taste and makes it one of the more accessible exotic Filipino dishes.

Ant Eggs

Exotic Filipino Food
More weird Filipino food

In the Philippines, Abuos is a popular delicacy. These are ant eggs that are harvested from the wild and then cooked.

They have a creamy texture and a slightly nutty taste. Many people enjoy eating Abuos as a snack or side dish.

I first tried ant eggs while living in Mexico, where I had them mixed into an omelette (Huevos con escamoles) where the ants provided an interesting bite and ‘pop’ to the eggs.

Tuslob Buwa

The dish is often found in the streets of Cebu City and its chief ingredients are pork liver and brain, which get sautéed with garlic, onion, shrimp paste, and chilis.

The cook usually fries everything up using either oil or lard for a greasy consistency.

The name roughly translates to “dip in bubbles,” where diners use their hands or fork to dip pusô or hanging rice into the thick and bubbly stew, before popping the greasy goodness into their mouths.

While some people find tuslob buwa to be too greasy, others enjoy its rich flavor and unique texture of this exotic Filipino food. Soy sauce can be added to enhance the flavor.


Isaw is an exotic Filipino food that is made from grilled chicken intestines. While this may sound off-putting to some, Isaw is actually a delicious and popular snack in the Philippines. 

The chicken intestines are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, then grilled over hot coals until crispy. 

Isaw is typically served on a stick, making it easy to eat on the go. Many Filipinos enjoy Isaw as an afternoon snack or late-night treat. 

While it may not be for everyone, those who are adventurous enough to try it are often pleasantly surprised by its flavor.

Helmet (Grilled Chicken Heads)

The first time I heard of someone eating Helmet, or grilled chicken heads, it came as quite a surprise.

I mean, just trying to work through the mechanics of eating a chicken’s head had me intrigued. It’s certainly one of the most bizarre Filipino foods.

The chicken heads, with the beaks and comb removed, are thoroughly cleaned and then deep-fried until the skin is crispy and the meat, including the brain, is cooked through.

They are generally served with a dipping sauce or covered in a sweet and spicy sauce.

They are a popular snack in the Philippines, so definitely an exotic Filipino food to try once.

Soup Number Five

Filipino soup number five is a dish that is not for the faint of heart. It is made with bull’s penis and testes, as well as a variety of other ingredients including garlic, onion, ginger, chili, fish sauce, green peppers, and other spices.

This exotic dish is said to be an aphrodisiac, and it is also believed to have numerous health benefits. 

According to Atlas Obscura, how the dish got its name is uncertain, with one explanation being that restaurants explicitly labeled their first four soups: chicken, pork, beef, and seafood, with the fifth option being left cryptically unelaborated upon—perhaps to intrigue the customer, perhaps to avoid getting into details.

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Filipino soup number five is certainly a unique and interesting dish.

Ginataang Kuhol

Our next exotic food in the Philippines is Ginataang kuhol, a popular dish that is made with snails cooked in coconut milk. 

This flavorful dish is typically served with rice, and it can also be garnished with green onions or chili peppers. While it might sound like a strange combination, the rich flavors of the coconut milk perfectly complement the natural sweetness of the snails. 

Kamote Cue

weird Filipino Food

Another popular exotic food, Kamote Cue is a dish consisting of sweetened boiled sweet potatoes that are skewered on a stick and then fried.

This is one exotic food in the Philippines that is simple yet deliciously sweet and satisfying. It is often served as an afternoon snack or dessert, but can also be enjoyed for breakfast or as a late-night treat.

The sweet potatoes are peeled and then boiled until they are soft. They are then skewered on a stick and fried until they are golden brown and slightly charred. The finished skewers are then drizzled with caramelized sugar syrup and served warm.

Summary of Exotic Filipino Dishes

The Philippines is a truly unique country with a cuisine to match. So if you find yourself traveling to this archipelego and feeling adventurous, it may not be easy to choose just one exotic food the Philippines to try. From bull’s testicals to balut, there’s something for everyone and your taste buds will thank you – maybe. Bon appetit!

FAQ for Filipino Exotic Foods

What is an Exotic Food?

When most people think of exotic food, they think of dishes from far-flung corners of the world that are strange and unusual. 

For example, balut, or developing duck embryo, is one of the Filipino foods that would be considered an exotic food in many parts of the world, as it is not a traditional dish in most cultures. 

Exotic foods often have an element of novelty or adventure associated with them and can provide a new culinary experience. However, some people may be hesitant to try exotic foods because they are unfamiliar with them or are unsure of how they will taste. Ultimately, whether or not to eat exotic foods is a personal decision.

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