Let's be honest: "Delicious" is subjective. But then again, so is "disgusting." If you're a non-Filipino, you might think Philippine dishes are, at best, strange and, at worst, things you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.
Be that as it may, you'd want to sample said foods at the very least. After all, if Filipinos can eat these dishes for centuries without any ill effects, why can't foreigners? In case that's not enough reason for you, perhaps learning more about these "bizarre" foods will make you think twice about avoiding them.
If this food reminds you of those digestive systems in Biology class, you're not far off the mark. Isaw is made of chicken/pork intestines shaped into a zigzag pattern, skewered onto a stick and topped with other internal organs. It's one of the most iconic street foods in the Philippines, and the most famous version is sold at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Considering its main ingredient, you might think there's a risk of ingesting fecal matter after consuming this dish. Actually, the intestines are cleaned and turned inside out several times before they're cooked and served. They also come with special sauces like spicy vinegar, and are perfect complements to beverages like beer.
True to its name, dinuguan is made of pork organs cooked in pork blood. (Dinuguan is a Tagalog word that means "the blooded one.") It has a strong, rich flavor, so it's often accompanied by puto (steamed rice cake) as shown in the picture above, or white rice to even out the taste.
If you're from Europe, you can think of dinuguan as the Philippine version of the blood sausage, black pudding, black soup and Czernina. You can also choose to cook it with more palatable pork bits, in case offal isn't your cup of tea. At any rate, dinuguan is a food you can find almost anywhere in the Philippines, whether you're up north in the Ilocos Region (where it's called dinardaraan) or down south in Mindanao (where it's called champayna or sampayna).
Filipinos are quite creative when it comes to naming their dishes. For example, since Adidas is a famous footwear brand, they decided to name a food made of chicken feet after said brand.
Contrary to what you'd expect, Adidas isn't as inedible as it sounds. It's basically like chicken wings, except with more tendon than meat. You can eat it as a standalone dish, and decide for yourself which parts you'd like to consume, and which ones you'd like to throw away.
Remember those pocketbook-sized, rectangular black tapes that your parents (or grandparents) used to store videos in? In the Philippines, they're also known as "Betamax," and although you can hardly find said tapes these days, they've managed to survive by lending their name to yet another "disgusting" street food.
See, Betamax is cooked from coagulated chicken/pork blood sliced into rectangular shapes and skewered on a stick. Despite this, it doesn't taste anything at all like blood, and goes great with the sauces street vendors provide. You can also think of it as a liver substitute, since the two have a similar texture.
If you read that name and thought "Wait, is this made of ears?," you're right. Named after the famous 80's Sony gadget, Walkman is essentially grilled pork ears. Talk about maximizing every part of the meat!
As you might've guessed, this dish has something to do with heads — specifically, chicken heads. Since Filipinos don't like to waste any part of what they eat, they grill these heads and put them on a stick like a BBQ. To eat Helmet, gently break open the skull and suck out everything from within.
Also known as simply "chicharon," this food is available wherever street dishes are sold. Made from deep fried cow intestines, it's a must-eat when you're out drinking beer with friends. Don't let the main ingredient and presentation fool you, though: It's absolute heaven when dipped in spicy vinegar!
The only thing you really need to worry about is eating too much of it. Chicharon bulaklak has extremely high cholesterol content, and if you try to down more than a cupful at a time, you might just "buy" yourself a ticket to the emergency room!
At first glance, sisig looks like tiny, chopped pork bits clumped together. It's often served "sizzling," and topped with egg, a sour marinade and calamansi. Once you sink your teeth into this savory creation, you'd never guess that it's actually made from pork innards.
Sometimes, cooks use other types of ingredients for sisig, such as chicken, fish, squid and tofu. Many Filipino chefs love to come up with their own versions of this dish, but people from Pampanga province will argue that their sisig is the best.
What do you think of Filipino dishes? Is there literally more to them than meets the eye, or is there no way you'd ever try them in your lifetime? Let's debate in the comments!