Saturday, July 11, 2009
BIZARRE FOODS PHILIPPINES
Andrew Zimmern is off to the island nation of The Philippines - where he chows down on local favorites like Balut, Crickets, Stuffed Frogs and even live worms!
Andrew is in Manila on the largest island of Luzon in the Philippines whose cuisine is a mix of the Chinese, the Spanish who brought crispy patz, a pork dish, and American food such as hamburgers, but he's in the country looking for its most unusual native dishes. One of which is balut or fertilized duck eggs, which is a favorite Filipino snack and their number one industry. The dish is cheap to produce. They are produced in balutan markets where Andrew is shown how to tell the eggs ready to eat from the eggs not ready to eat by holding them up to a light to find the embryo. Andrew tries one and compares it to an American hard-boiled egg but for the meat of the embryo.
Andrew is then off to explore the Central Market near the three-hundred-year-old Quiapo Church. The open market is a good place to find fresh produce such as calamansi as well as bamboo shoots, smoked fish or filets, dessert tastes such coconut and rice paste in a banana leaf and shrimp pancakes. The market also sells pulutan or finger food for eating on the go. Andrew finds deep-fried duck eggs and marinated baby chickens which he tries bones and all. He even discovers ice cream in a bun. He is so curious about it that he tries it himself. The flavor he gets is purple yam and cheese, but he compares it to eating frozen butter.
Andrew next reaches the Balaw-Balaw Museum and Restaurant in Angona, which promotes Filipino dishes to preserve their culture. Sauces are made from fermented shrimp. His hostess, the location owner, serves him a soup known only as Soup #5 which is made from cow butt and balls. Andrew also tries crispy alagu leaves, which cures what ails you and then oowak or giant coconut worms, a great source for protein, a bit harder to eat. For dessert, he has ginataang bilo-bilo, a sweet rice dish with tapioca beads and sweet potatoes.
Andrew notices that one of the public forms of transportation is the jeepney that is ridden like a bus. He takes one to the Everybody's Café, which has a blend of Spanish and Chinese cuisine. Andrew tries adobo, a squid dish, and dinugan, a blood stew from pork pancreas as well as kari-kari beef from a cow and blood cake. The most interesting dish the restaurant has is betute tugak which is frog stuffed with pork and garnished with crickets served with onions, garlic, tomato, vinegar and soy sauce.
It's then off to the Puerto Prinseca Market in the city of the same name on the island of Palawan. Andrew looks over fresh fruit and vegetables sold alongside seafood such as mud crabs, but he's also sampling the street food from the peddlers, such as deep-fried bananas with a caramelized sugar crust. The market also has chicken intestines on a stick, raw pig converted into cuts, edible snails and tuna steak. Onward to the Kinabuch Restaurant, Andrew samples two separate types of caviar, mussels on the half-shell and grilled tuna belly.
Andrew takes a ferry to Sebang Beach to accompany guides through an underground river to watch men collecting the nests of swiftlets that are converted into bird's nest soup, a dish he experienced in a previous visit to Asia. It's then back to the beach to try mangrove worms, which are pulled out of the wood of dead mangrove trees. They're up to a foot long and eaten raw after dipped in calamansi juice. Andrew is reticent to the experience at first, but finally tries it and loves it, declaring them to be a good source of protein.
Over the closing credits, Andrew experiences starch worms with melon juice.