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Archive for the ‘Exotic Foods’ Category

Top 5 Foods to Try in the Philippines

In Exotic Foods, The Philippines on November 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Honestly, can you name any typically Filipino dish? Why does the mention of Asian food only brings to mind Kong Bao Chicken, Chinese Fried Rice and Pad Thai?

Filipino dishes have been under the shadows of its Asian cousins for way too long. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, they are gaining some well-deserved attention of their own these days.

Barbecued meat - Photo by petitochips.

The Philippines undoubtedly has the best barbecued street food and satiable meat. At every corner of the Philippines, you will find locals gathered around a barbecue grill, enjoying skewered meat with a San Miguel beer in hand. These are 5 of the best Filipino foods to dip your hands in to taste culture at its best.

1. Isaw Manok

One of the most popular local favs is the unique Isaw Manok (grilled chicken intestines on a skewer)- grilled to crispy perfection and glazed with sweet and spicy sauce. Besides the Isaw, there are many other barbecued organs you can choose from – chicken gizzards, liver and goose tongue. They might sound exotic, but give it go and you’ll find them better than any other grilled foods around.

Isaw Manok

2. Tapsilog

A typical Filipino breakfast, this platter is made up of rice with dried cured meat and a fried egg cooked sunnyside up. Simple as it is,  the Filipinos can’t live without it. Despite its huge portion, especially for a breakfast, you’ll be asking for more.

Tapsilog - Photo by Miggy

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The Smelliest Fruit in the World

In Exotic Foods, Singapore, Smelliest Foods on October 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

Durians

The South East Asians worship the durian like a miracle, and even name it ‘the King of Fruits’. So much so that it’s almost like a mascot of our culinary world. Despite its glorious reputation, many visitors to this part of the world often find the strong and strange aroma rather, unpleasant.

In Singapore, it is even against the law to bring durians into taxis, the subway system and hotels, due to the powerful smell they give off. From blocks away, you could smell if a family is having a durian feast. Oh yeh, it’s almost an enigma on its own. How could a fruit or anything edible smell this bad?

The locals however, beg to differ. To us, this heavenly smell is unique and not to mention, fragrant and sinful. A delightful weekend treat always includes opening up a durian and savouring its pure texture and flavour.

The interior of a durianWith a prickly obscurely green outer shell, the inside of a durian usually contains up to 6 seeds engulfed in yellow thick meat. The taste of it is hard to describe, it’s almost a mixture of sour and sweet, with a thick and soft mango-like texture.

How to eat it?

It usually takes some strength to chop it in half, then dig your fingers in to the yellow meat and start chewing away.

Where to get it?

The best place to get top quality durians in Singapore, is Geylang Road.  An entire street dedicated to good food, local eats and prostitution (what a strange combination, get there and you’ll know what I mean), it’s a must for any food-lover and traveler interested in seeing a different side of the country. Rows of durian stalls line the street and are brightly lit with fluorescent lamp, you won’t miss it! Remember to choose the D24 durians, best species ever!

Durians for sale

Sheep Brains for you, mademoiselle?

In Exotic Foods, Morocco on October 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

Sheep's head

Of the many exotic food in the world, I’d say this has quite the taste. For some, sheep brains just taste like tofu. For the uninitiated, it could just about taste like… well, brains.

The Moroccans have managed to pull it off rather well,  la cervelle d’agneau (sheep brains in french) is  grilled slightly, retaining the internal soft and brainy texture.

Sheep brains

At Djemma el Fna, the bustling food epicenter of Marrakech ( a must-see for all foodies), almost every other store has a whole row of sheep heads on display.

Besides the brains, there are other parts of the head that the Moroccans eat. Sheep head soup is also a popular one.

Morocco is one place I love for food and ambiance. Marrakech is blessed with a myriad of unworldly aroma and mystifying Arabic lights. I’ll be writing more on Moroccan gastronomy, so tune in!

Andean Delicacy – Roasted Cuy (Guinea Pig)

In Exotic Foods, Peru on October 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Roasted cuyDon’t cringe, because this, I tell you, is one of the best roasted meat you can find. Crispy on the outside, meat sparse though tender and fragrant on the inside.

To the ancient Incas (mostly in Peru and Ecuador), the cuy was a sacred animal only eaten by the nobles. Highly worshipped by the Incas, it was used in rituals and sacrifices. These days, the Andean people still keep them as pets and eat them at home.

The minute we were in Peru, we had to try some. Restaurante Tradiciones de Lago in Puno served up a tantalizing platter of perfectly roasted cuy that came straight off the grill.

There are several ways of cooking the cuy, from baking it,  stewing it with a spicy sauce, to frying with onions. Different regions in Peru specialize in different style of preparing the cuy. You can easily get skinned cuy in the markets, bring it home and clear its organs before cooking it.

Cuy

Check out Recipe Wiki for some recipes on how to prepare a roasted  cuy from scratch.