A lot of buzz surrounds Filipino food after Andrew Zimmern, Travel Channel foodie and host of Bizarre Foods predicted that it will be the next big thing in the US. He might be right or wrong but this time around I want to talk about Filipino street food and recipes that are truly interesting to know and certainly yummy for the tummy… at least most of the time.
Filipino street food has a unique character and flair. It’s quirky, fun, and sometimes weird. Usually this comes fried or grilled. When I was still attending university, there is a street food lane near the campus. I have gone there a handful of times but not too often since Mother Goose often warned me of sanitation. I’d reply by saying sometimes, the flavor is in the germs!
My favorite Filipino street food is pork barbecue, hands down. I remember stopping by a lot of times in a house that grilled them in front of their gate back in high school before heading home. Filipino pork barbecue is sweet, spicy, and tangy all at the same time. Just thinking about it makes me hungry!
I also like kwek-kwek a lot. Kwek-kwek is made from boiled quail egg hidden inside a ball of flour, colored yellow, and dipped on vinegar with onions and chili or a sweet sauce. This is popular in Filipino street food stands, the size ranging from quail eggs to chopped chicken eggs, even whole ones! These ones are made by Mother Goose.
Usually the flour coating has no flavor and the fun comes when you get the piece of egg inside and it melds with the delicious sauce or gravy…touchdown!
Balat ng manok is another one I truly enjoy. I don’t eat it a lot though because of the cholesterol but every once in awhile it is nice to indulge. It is deep friend chicken skin that is salty, crunchy, and totally heart attack inducing in all its goodness. Don Domeng loves these. It is every bit similar to crispy pork rind. It’s so unfair how the most tasty food aren’t always healthy!
Isaw is next. How can you talk about Filipino street food without mentioning isaw? To be honest, I don’t eat isaw but my sisters do. Isaw is grilled intestines of pork or chicken. It can either be large or small intestine and for many, this is the cheap barbecue. Crunchy, salty, and smoky, isaw fits the bill if you want to eat a lot and spend little on the street food stands.
Another favorite is siomai or pork dumplings. There are many carts in the streets selling these, but I must admit I only eat the ones I make at home. But siomai is a nice street food because it cuts the grease that is usually found in most Filipino street food.
Adidas. The Philippines is probably the only place where Adidas is more than a shoe. Why is this street food named after a shoe? Because it is chicken foot. Eating this requires sucking at the toes individually and getting stuck in to take off what little skin and cartilage there is. I don’t know what it is called but the head of the chicken is also grilled and eaten here.
For those looking for sweets, the Filipino street food lane will not let you down. Bananacue and kamotecue are here to the rescue. Bananacue is caramelized banana with a crunchy sugar coating on a stick. Kamotecue is the same, just that instead of banana, sweet potato is used. I like kamotecue better than bananacue because of the texture.
Are you hungry now? There are tons and tons of more Filipino street food out there and this is just a bit to get your tummy stirring, in which direction, it’s totally up to you! But life’s too short to not try things so look for these Filipino street food around and log more experiences to your gastronomy journal today.