A cuisine that brings together the best of Spanish, Malay and Chinese food, has purple tuber ice cream for dessert and semi fertilized duck eggs as a common snack – is bound to make headlines sooner or later. If you call yourself an adventurous eater, it is about time you planned a visit to the culinary paradise that Philippines is. Here are the 5 things you MUST try!
Au Natural Purple Ice Cream
UBE - The creamy silky naturally purple coloured ice cream has the food fraternity of the world going gaga! The delicious purple tuber which is a type of yam that is native to the Philippines is mixed with coconut and condensed milk to make the creamy dessert. One of the best ways to try this out is in a halo halo – a Filipino version of a falooda which comes loaded with all types of condiments like shaved ice, sweet red beans (another Filipino specialty), coconut milk, rice noodles etc and topped with a dollop of the delicious ube!
Semi fertilized duck eggs, anyone?
For some of us, eating this could be a task fit for reality TV but for Filipinos it is just everyday street food. Eating this semi fertilized duck egg is an entire elaborate process which starts with peeling a hole in the boiled egg, drinking the ‘soup’ flowed by the boiled eggy part and finally the half formed fetus – feathers et all! While chicken eggs are common – duck eggs are the traditional choice and you can find them as easily as you can find vadapav stalls in Mumbai. It is something you definitely have to acquire a taste for but going by what the locals say ‘it’s just a boiled egg!
Bloody meat stew
The Filipinos love their pork and how! They use it in literally everything and don’t differentiate between the parts of the animal while at it – every part from the snout to the tail is used. This particular dish called dinuguan or chocolate stew is made by simmering pig offal along with a classic Filipino combination of spices - vinegar, garlic, chilli and one extra ingredient – a little bit of the pig’s blood! Yes you read it right – pig’s blood, which is what gives this stew the rich chocolaty colour and name! It is a delicacy in the Philippines – the only way to find out why is to try it.
Calamansi – Filipino lemons
A cross between a kumquat and a lime, calamansi is a citrus fruit native to the Philippines. Rich in vitamin, phosphorus and several other nutrients, the Filipinos use this fruit in a number of ways. From flavouring ice creams and noodles to mixing it with soy to make a delicious dipping sauce that is eaten with just about anything from stews to spring rolls. They also use the juice of the lemons to make the Pilipino version of lemonade – Calamansi juice!
Ketchup made with tomatoes is to mainstream for the Pilipino so they went ahead and made their own version – using bananas. The sweetness form mashed bananas is balanced out by a whole lot of spices to make this super hit sweet-spicy condiment. It is not just great to dunk fries in but also makes a great marinade for grilling meats and veggies alike. The actual colour of banana ketchup varies between dark yellow and brown but it often has food colour added to make it look like commercial tomato ketchup.
These and many more such exciting delicious food make the Philippines a perfect place for your next culinary adventure!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.