Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Philippine Noms

One of the few things I was really excited about on the trip to the Philippines was the food.

Balut is a Filipino delicacy that has spread to other Asian countries. I've been told they're available in Asian supermarkets in Canada but those are not as good as the ones from the Philippines. Balut vendors roam the residential streets at night shouting "balut" in a deep voice with the "u" extended, similar to the familiar sound of an incoming ice cream truck. Except of course, instead of ice cream, it's fertilized duck embryo. I ate about 3 of these every night while I was there. Yes, I ate an unborn baby duck. It was delicious and I'd do it again!
Fun fact: seems to think it's one of The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World

Taho is significantly less terrifying than the balut. Taho is a dessert made with tofu, brown sugar and vanilla syrup, and "sago," similar to tapioca pearls. Similar to balut vendors, taho vendors roam the street, but instead of at night, taho is sold in the mornings.

Again, variations are sold in Asian supermarkets but they don't taste quite as good as a street-bought cup of taho.

Sisig, according to Wikipedia is a term meaning "to snack on something sour." More commonly, sisig refers to a Filipino dish made from a pig's ears and liver. Mmm!

Jollibee is a fast food restaurant chain even bigger than McDonald's in the Philippines. Their flagship burger has a mayo-ketchup sauce. They have an entry called burger steak which was a burger patty soaked in gravy and mushrooms, served with rice. I used to eat this all the time when I was in elementary and although it was much less filling than I remember, it was just as good.

I also had dinuguan, which is pork blood soup. It's available in Filipino stores and restaurants in Canada but doesn't quite taste the same. My mom and aunts say it's because of the vinegar. Pata tim was another dish that tasted better than the version served in Canada. Hot dogs in the Philippines are colored red, which I had completely forgotten until I had it for breakfast. Last but not least, Pure Foods canned corned beef. I don't know what it is, but this corned beef brand tastes better than Canadian corned beef, which I assume is from Alberta cows. Cows in the Philippines are skinnier and probably not as healthy as Alberta cows so I doubt it's the source. Perhaps there's something in its preparation that makes it taste better.

Of course I had plenty of other Filipino and non-Filipino dishes, but a lot of them are available in Canada and generally taste the same.