I haven't talked about exotic foreign food for a while, mainly because in Australia I was eating complete shit to save money. But then I went back to a country where it's almost offensively cheap to get people to cook all my meals for me. A country which, I realised in surprise, I had next to no idea what the local cuisine is, despite having spent three weeks there before in 2011.
I must have been eating something, surely? Come to think of it, have I ever seen a Filipino restaurant abroad? What do they eat in this multicultural archipelago that's seen Spanish and American colonisation and a melting pot of immigration? Man cannot survive on balut alone. Thank god.
Depressing chickens stared at me everywhere I went,
so I didn't eat any of their feathered brethren this time
Only the ones that were still foetuses. I was curious about balut the first time I came here, and finally got to tick the fertilised embryo off my list of Horrifying International Delicacies.
I didn't make it very far before giving up. I can never drink soup again for fear of Proustian recall of the warm fluid I had to suck out before taking a single chew of whatever it is that yolk grows into and deciding balut isn't really for me.
Always trust your instincts. I clearly learned nothing from the bugs
I saw goat stew advertised outside a local eating place in Angeles and was intrigued, as I didn't think I'd ever eaten goat before. It wasn't as traumatic as the time I ate pigeon in Egypt out of similar curiosity, but it didn't make a great impression. I haven't eaten goat since
You may know Jolibee as the McDonaldsesque fast food chain that caused controversy about 10 years ago when it was discovered they were bulking out their beef patties with worm meat, but the one time I braved the joint I was treated to a different type of worms - inexplicably free spaghetti with every hamburger meal! That beats a plastic toy
Suman Nilumbiran with Latik and Tsokolate in a slightly more upmarket Cebu cafe. Looks like someone's started taking notes with view to a blog by this point
Pritchon, which is apparently 'The Best Pork Ever' according to a sign in the restaurant, and they wouldn't lie. The Iba shake wasn't entirely unpleasant, only mostly
Not that this has anything to do with the Philippines, but Kenny Rogers' 'protein meal' has become a routine at Manila's NAIA airport. I like how it takes all the effort out of deciding which food and drink are good for me on a gruelling day of flight connections
Pork Adobo in Davao, as close as you get to a national dish and possibly the last pork I'll ever intentionally eat now I'm honourary Jewish
Cashew nut gift shop insanity on Palawan
Highland areas like Sagada are keen to push their strawberries to tourists. I'm not a fan of fruit, so a slightly too authentic strawberry milkshake is the best I can do
Daing na bangus. Fish for breakfast took some getting used to
Kinilaw, for when cooking the fish is too much effort. This was probably my favourite of all Filipino foods. Can you guess which one was my least favourite?