How to guide to eat Balot

I know the feeling of looking at a new cuisine and you don’t want to look like a newbie. If you follow this guide on how to eat Balot. You more than likely to make new friends and much deserved respect.How to Eat Balut

  1. Pick the heaviest from the bunch. That means you will have more of the savory soup inside that taste just like chicken. (The Darker the Egg. The bigger the Chick.)2605059-Balut-Eggs-0
  2. Find the airpocket in the egg and start cracking.cda395ac_image1
  3. Once you have a crater to this volcanic treat. Add the condiments either rock salt or a vinegar concoction with hot peppers and all kinds of secret stuff. (Available at the site of purchase)how_to_eat_balut_3_MMM80003387
  4. Start slurping the soupy, savory chicken juice.dsc_0468
  5. After all the juice is gone. Peel the egg all the way down almost the other end. Have a little bit of shell left so you can hold onto it. Add more of the salt or vinegar mix at this time. (Optional)Eating-Balut-a-developing-duck-embryo
  6. Say your prayers and take a big biteAmerican-expat-eating-balut-in-the-Philippines
  7. The Beer to flush down all your sins. Amen.san-miguel-beer

Must Have Gear When Traveling to the Philippines

  1. Omorc Snorkel Sea Mask Sea View 180° Go Pro Compatible diving mask.
  2. Pacsafe Metrosafe 150 GII Anti-Theft Cross Body Sling Bag
  3. JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom. Flexible Tripod for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras Up To 3kg. (6.6lbs).

4. Anker PowerCore 5000, Ultra-Compact 5000mAh External Battery with Fast-Charging Technology, Power Bank for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy and more.

5. Huadoo H3 IP68 Military Rugged Outdoor Sports Waterproof Shockproof Dustproof 3G Cell Phone With Physical Keypad Unlocked Smartphone 2.4 Inch Quad Core Long Standby Dual SIM Mobile.

6. Solar Charger,Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank Waterproof/Shockproof/Dustproof Dual USB Battery Bank for cell phone,iPhone,Samsung,Android phones,Windows phones,GoPro Camera,GPS and More

7. Kensington International Travel Adapter with 2.4 Amp Dual USB Ports (K33998WW)

8. BESTEK Voltage Converter 220V to 110V Converter with 6A 4 USB Ports and UK/AU/US/EU Travel Adapter

9. Travel Document Organizer – Nylon Wallet with Rfid Blocking to Protect your Cards and Passports

10. UsEasy Bendable Neck Supporter,Ergonomic Design O-Shape Pillow with Memory Foam-Travel Pillow for Airplane,Car,Office Napping and Home Relaxing (Khaki)

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Top 10 Sweet Street Foods in the Philippines

  1. Banana Cue– Its fried banana with sugar glaze on a stick. Eat it with Coke or Pepsi and you are good to go.

    banana-cue

    Banana Cue

  2. Turon– Fried banana in a rice wrap with Jackfruit or Ube inside and sugar glaze. Its good eaten in room temperature with ice cream.

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    Turon

  3. Carioca– Its fried glutenous rice with sugar glaze. Eat it warm. Its not good when it get’s cold.

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    Carioca

  4. Puto– Is made of steamed rice with cheese on top. Puto is good to eat with Dinuguan or by itself.
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    Puto

    5. Bibingka– Is made by grilling a mixture of rice flour and coconut juice in a mold over banana leaves over hot coal. Bibingka is best eaten warm with a cold soda.

    Bibingka

    Bibingka

    6. Palitaw– Is made by placing a dough made of rice flour and coconut juice in boiling water and later sprinkled with sugar and ground coconut. Best eaten cold by itself.

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    Palitaw

    7. Kutsinta-Is made using a mixture of Tapioca Flour, Flour and sugar with Atsuete for coloring. Best eaten cold with freshly ground coconut and little sprinkle of sugar on top.

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    Kutsinta

    8. Puto Bumbong-Is made with sweet glutenous rice, Black Rice and regular rice cooked inside a bamboo stick and steamed. Must be eaten right away with brown sugar and freshly ground coconut with coffee or hot chocolate.

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    Puto Bumbong

    9. Taho-Is made from silken tofu with Arnibal sweetener and sago. Best eaten warm by itself.

    Taho

    Taho

    10. Dirty Ice Cream– Ok, first off. It’s not dirty, I believe the term was coined due to the fact that back in the day. The local vendors would make the ice cream in their outdoor kitchens which we call dirty kitchen hence the name dirty ice cream. We also call it “Sorbetes” but its mostly known for the other name. Beside’s the controversial name. This ice cream is my favorite. You can eat it with the burger bun. Yes! In a burger bun! Or the typical boring cone. Enjoy.

     

Isaw

Isaw– is the small intestines of a chicken.

Isaw

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.

Day Old Chick

 

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.

Etag

etag

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.

 

 

Tamilok

Tamilok– is a wood worm that is commonly found among rotting logs along intercoastal zones mostly in mangrove flats. This Philippine delicacy is highly sought. It is hard to come by and its a task to get it but according to the locals. Its all worth the effort. Tamilok or shipworms are marine bivalve molluscs and are closely related to your saltwater clams than to an actual worm. They are very good at boring into untreated wood immersed in sea water. Tamilok can grow to a couple centimeters to a meter in length depending on the species. So, yes they’re scary looking and not really very visually appetizing, but the locals swear by it. I actually had the courage to try this savory, wormy and slimy delicacy just to appease my friends who introduced me to the creature and low and behold. It actually tasted good. So if you eat mussels or any type of shellfish. You’re going to like the taste. Its very similar except for the occasional taste of wood when its not properly cleaned.

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Tamilok Ceviche

There’s different ways to eat the thing. The most common way is prepare it like Ceviche and soak it in vinegar and lemon juice then add a red pepper and bon apetit. Oh, make sure you have immodium with you before you try it. You might get the $#?T$. Now if you decided that eating wood worm is going to be a habit and you want to quantify the serving for a more satisfying lunch. This wood worm have a big cousin that might be able to satisfy your needs.

There is this Giant Tamilok that can be found in Kalamansig Sultan Kudarat. The local fishermen accidentaly discovered this giant specimen when they were spearfishing. The area where he was fishing used to be in front of a big lumber operation that was no longer in business but during its operational days. Some of the big lumber it processes sunk in the ocean in front of the plant that later on attracted these giants. They tried eating it and found that it tasted just like shellfish. That’s how this local delicacy started in Kalamansig. Just like Andrew Zimmern said. If it doesn’t kill you. Eat it.

Lukot

 

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Lukot – This weird food was a mystery to me for decades. I’ve eaten it time and time again but could not figure out what species of ocean dwelling plant or creature it came from. My first impression was that it was some sort of sea weed. That’s how the locals are advertising it as.  I really don’t think they know where it came from either. They just know that its edible.

I finally had it when I could not get the answer I was looking for from the vendors as to where its origins came from so I started my research and found out that this delicacy actually came from a sea slug called “Dunsol” in the local  dialect. Its scientific name is (Dolabella Auricularia) that lives in sea grass beds and the reef. You can find the eggs during low tide or you can dive in the grass beds to gather them or just do what I do. I get them from the Market. They’re mostly available year round but there are times where you will have to revert to the gathering part. The egg sacs will come in different colors

lukot

Lukot with varying colors

due to the macro algae (sea weeds) that the Sea Hare eats. Although the eggs are edible. The actual animal is actually quite toxic. Just like the puffer fish “Fugu” in Japan. You can eat Dunsol as long as you know how to clean it. Most of the toxins are in the innards. The sea slug does not have the ability to produce the toxins themselves so the toxins it has in its body comes from the food it consumes. In Fiji, the villagers eat sea hares regularly and have not had any reported casualties. They clean the animal thoroughly and remove innards. If you want to dive into tasting this wonderful animal, make sure you clean it well or give the task to the locals who knows the process of cleaning it. I would probably stick to the eggs. They taste wonderful in soups, salads and ceviche’s.

lukot for sale in the market

Lukot in the Market

 

 

Must know Filipino Customs before visiting the Philippines

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Filipino’s are known for humility and hospitality and therefore respects foreigners who embody the same traits when visiting the Philippines. The things I will mention here will help you break the ice and will gain you friends and will help you get your way around town without garnering suspicion typical of a new visitor and new face in town. The numbers don’t mean anything, you can apply these traits in any order depending on the circumstance.

  • Smile. I know it sounds silly. And you’re probably expect something like bow your head, remove your shoes etc, but a simple smile signifies humility and filipino’s will radiate from this gesture of good will and will readily open up to help you with anything you need. Specially right off the airport when things don’t go your way.
  • Take it to go. Many Filipino’s embodied the tradition of always giving even during times of need. I believe this trait came during wartime where everything is hard to come by and to survive. Filipino’s came together and shared what they had between families. No, we are not in survival anymore but there are those really good addicting foods like lumpia, pancit and adobe that we just want more off after a party that we want to take home. Its ok. Take a plate to go. That means the food was good and most family’s will probably insist that you take some home with you.
  • Always say thank you. The simplest of things that we take for granted means a lot to Filipino’s. This humble gesture will encourage whomever you’re dealing to do more for you. Now, you are not going to get the same positive response all the time but this is a good guide to start with specially if you’re a visitor in town.
  • Bless. No you’re not going to offer a prayer. Grab an elderly’s hand and put it in your forehead then say. “Bless Po”. Asians hold their elderly with a lot of respect. This gesture will ensure instant positive feed back to whomever you applied this to and to the people seeing you doing it. Just like in the portrayal of the image in the painting above.
  • Bring Gifts. Its a tradition that is known to all from time immemorial. Most Filipino’s travel outside of the country to find good opportunities so they can support their family’s. Most times the family left behind is usually holding for dear times where basic needs is mostly important than wants. When the breadwinner comes home. The little “Pasalubongs” or gifts brought back for the family brings a lot of joy and promise to the coming future.  It doesn’t have to be fancy. You just have to do the act.
  • Buy Groceries. If you’re living on someone’s house for the duration of the visit. Bringing food to the table on your first day gives a very str