Top 10 Unusual Filipino Dishes You Have To Try

unusual filipino dishes

Although the Philippines is usually not in the radar for food in South East Asia, the exotic country has some of the most unique and extraordinary dishes to offer. Experiencing the local genuine culture through food is obviously commendable. Walk the streets to try the unique dishes the vendors have on display.

Here are the 10 best and unique Filipino dishes to consider:

1. Betamax

Betamax (congealed blood) isaw (chicken intestines), and pork barbeque. Yummy street food eats at Jessica's Ihaw Ihaw. #baler #food #foodporn #aurora #philippines #streetfood #travel
Source: Photo by Flickr user Yvette Tan used under CC BY 2.0

Betamax is one of the tastiest dishes, made of congealed chicken’s blood, as well as pig. The rectangular shape and reddish-brown color are indeed mouth-watering. It’s often grilled and served with the spicy Filipino vinegar. Once you taste the texture, you will find it thick and gelatinous. The street food can be found in barbecue stands across the country.


Price: 4 PHP (0.08 USD)

2. Adidas

Fried Chicken Feet
Source: Photo by Flickr user missbossy used under CC BY 2.0

Adidas is actually the name for a shoe brand. However, when you travel in the Philippines, it refers to “grilled chicken feet”. As we know, Asia has varied types of chicken feet dishes, but the islands have a different way of making them. Before the grilling process, this delicious street food is marinated in acidic sauce made of calamansi juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and some spices. The texture is between tough and crunchy.


Estimated Price: 5 PHP (0.1 USD)

3. Tamilok

Oyster snack
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If Japan has sashimi as a national dish, then the Philippines owns tamilok. It’s a type of mollusk living inside dead mangrove trees. Instead of using cutlery, grab the fresh long oyster-looking snack with your hand. Add fresh lime juice or dip it in kilawin vinegar to enhance the flavor.

Kinabuchs Grill and Bar

Address: 369, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Price: from 5 USD

4. Isaw

Obet's Isaw Special
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user FroyAgta used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Isaw is another popular Filipino street food, made of the intestines of both chicken and pig. It’s often boiled, skewed on a wooden stick, grilled like satay and served with sukang pinakurat sauce (Filipino vinegar, mixed with peppers, spices, and onions). The blend of spicy, savory, and sour is incredibly good and worth trying. The vendors usually sell this food in the afternoon.


Price: 5 PHP (0.1 USD) per skewer

5. Tuslob Buwa (from USD 17.0)

This typical simmering food comprises of ingredients such as pig’s liver and brain. Most of the food enthusiasts admit that it deserves a try. Tasting the piquant hog organs might be something challenging yet you will never know the unique flavors unless you try. Rice balls are the best companions while gorging on the dish.

Cebu Street Half Day Food Tour

Duration: 3 Hrs Duration

6. Dinuguan

Source: Photo by Flickr user Shubert Ciencia used under CC BY 2.0

Another must-try unique delicacy is the Dinuguan. It’s a typical Filipino casserole, made of pork organs – they would be ears, heart, kidneys, lungs, snout, and intestines, all simmered with flavorful spices, chili, vinegar and fresh pig blood. The tender texture, as well as the lovely taste, is heaven.

Kamay Kainan

Address: Metro Manila, Philippines

Price: 115 PHP (2.3 USD)

7. Balut

Source: Photo by Flickr user Charles Haynes used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most-enjoyed, and definitely unique, dishes in the Philippines is balut - fertilized duck egg, eaten with chili and garlic vinegar. Break the shell a bit off the top, season it, then sip the broth. After, peel off the rest of the shell and eat the egg. You can choose not to eat the egg white since it might be too rubbery.

Sta Martha's Balut Industry

Address: 953 P. Herrera Street, Pateros, Metro Manila

Price: from 8.5 PHP (0.17 USD)

8. Kamaru

Fely J's Fried Crickets (Adobong Kamaru)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Yvette Tan used under CC BY 2.0

Kamaru or the fried paddy field cricket is actually a high-protein and healthy food. The unique street food has a crunchy and juicy texture – it seems that you take a bite on a fried prawn instead of cricket. To eat it, be sure to add spicy vinegar and soy sauce for an amazing taste. Try the other version of the dish, called Adobong Kamaru, (it’s cooked along with tomatoes and garlic).


Estimated Price: 50 PHP (1 USD)

9. Etag

Smoked pork ribs1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Plasticboob used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Etag is a special traditional food from the mountainous region named Sagada, often served as an offering in the local festival. It’s basically made of smoked and cured pork. To prepare the food, the pig meat is salted, smoked, then stored in an earthen jar for a couple of weeks. You can eat it raw or by combining with dried beans and lepeg (the fermented left-over rice).

E-care Organic Product

Address: On the grounds of the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John, Metro Manila

10. Lepeg

Balatinaw (or Balatinao) black rice from the Philippines 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Obsidian Soul used under CC0

Lepeg is a sort of fermented rice, originally from Mountain Province. The staple food, usually served in big festival and eaten with etag, has a long process. The steamed red rice is stored inside a jar for about 20 days. It results in additional alcoholic liquid, called balatinaw. The drink is uniquely served with chicken blood. It’s a favorite with the locals and a must-try.


Estimated Price: 50 PHP (1 USD)

There is no excuse for not trying the extraordinary Filipino cuisine

Orient Valley Filipino Cuisine - 4
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user RightCowLeftCoast used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Journeying to the Philippines is nothing without trying new things like their unique delicacies. There are plenty of ways out of your mainstream habits by enjoying authentic Filipino life, like learning the ways of the local food habits and trying something new and extraordinary.

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I am Rofiq from East Java, Indonesia. I am passionate about exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new languages and cultures. I always do solo traveling and backpacking since they are...Read more

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