7 Unique Dishes You Can Find in the Philippines

The Philippines is not just rich in beaches, mountains, and other natural wonders. We also have a unique food culture that makes any trip to its cities and provinces memorable. If you’re planning to visit any of the cities and provinces below, make sure to add these dishes to your itinerary. They will be worth it.

Arobung kamaru (Pampanga)

Pampanga is known as the culinary capital of the Philippines and it’s no wonder when you consider the delicacies available all over the province. Take, for example, kamaru. These are crickets that have been deep-fried or cooked adobo-style. According to those who’ve eaten this, the cricket has a good flavor and texture.

If you’re curious to try this, we recommend booking a table at Abe’s Farm. They serve Arobung Kamaru, where the crickets are sautéed in tomatoes and onions.

Betuteng tugak (Pampanga)

Another delicacy to try when in Pampanga is the betuteng tugak or stuffed frog. The amphibian plays a part in Kapampangan tradition and culinary culture so it makes sense that locals would turn it into a delicacy. Betuteng tugak is a deep-fried frog stuffed with minced frog meat and pork, and finely chopped ingredients. People say it tastes like chicken.

You can head over to Everybody’s Cafe if you want to try this unique dish and have a little adventure.

Pinapaitang kambing (La Union)

As the name suggests, pinapaitan is known for its bitter taste. The dish is made from goat innards, while the taste comes from bile (a type of fluid extracted by the liver). It is enhanced by garlic, onion, ginger, and vinegar. Pinapaitan can be an acquired taste but once you get used to it, it’s good! 

Kilawing isda (La Union)

Another must-try dish in La Union is kilawin, or fish ceviche. This delicacy is made up of fresh tuna chilled in vinegar and lemon or calamansi until it is cooked by the vinegar or juices. Kilawin is best enjoyed when the fish is fresh and with ice-cold bottles of beer.

Aureo’s Coast Bar and Restaurant serves both pinapaitan and kilawin, so make sure to drop by when you head to the north.

Feeling fancy? Why not order a plate of golden tilapia when you’re in La Union? You won’t need millions to enjoy this fish, though. There are many ways to eat golden tilapia. You can have it steamed or served as sinigang, or as an ingredient of dinengdeng. A popular way to have it is as sweet and sour with tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, cucumber, pineapple chunks, and salt. 

Golden tilapia (La Union)

Feeling fancy? Why not order a plate of golden tilapia when you’re in La Union? You won’t need millions to enjoy this fish, though. There are many ways to eat golden tilapia. You can have it steamed or served as sinigang, or as an ingredient of dinengdeng. A popular way to have it is as sweet and sour with tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, cucumber, pineapple chunks, and salt. 

Its orange and gold colors make it unique and attractive. LU Riverfarm Seafood Restaurant in Bacnotan has their own fish farm so the freshness of their golden tilapia is guaranteed!

Curacha with alavar sauce (Zamboanga City)

Fans of seafood will love Zamboanga’s curacha with alavar sauce. The spanner crab is enjoyed with alavar, made from coconut milk, crab fat, and an assortment of spices. This is a must-try when in Zamboanga so make sure to order this (along with extra rice) at least once.

Craving to try fresh seafood with this special sauce? There’s only one place to go – Alavar Seafood Restaurant.

Tausug delicacies (Zamboanga City)

Tausug dishes are usually served on a platter called a dulang or latal, and are meant to be enjoyed communally. Some standouts include the tiyula itum, a soup seasoned with burnt coconut; beef kulma, which is cooked in coconut milk, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemongrass; and piyassak, made from beef liver.

For desserts there’s the daral, a crepe with sweet coconut filling; panggih-panggih, a soft and chewy flour ring; and wadjit, or glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. In Zamboanga, Dennis Coffee Garden is the first to promote Tausug native pastries.

The Philippines’ wide variety of dishes and delicacies make it an ultimate destination for a gastronomic adventure! More food awaits you in My Hometown Is G.O.A.T., new episodes every Thursday and Friday at 8:30PM, only on AXN!

Full episodes are uploaded on AXN Asia’s YouTube channel every Wednesday at 8:30PM.

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