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Photo: Adequate Travel

Although the Philippines is usually not on the radar for food in South East Asia, the exotic country has some of the most unique and extraordinary dishes to offer. Experiencing the local genuine culture through food is obviously commendable. Walk the streets to try the unique dishes the vendors have on display.

Here are the 7 best and unique Filipino dishes to consider:

Warning: this article is not vegetarian-friendly. Cooking all animal parts from brains to feet, using some odd preparation techniques and eating some unusual animals, these Filipino dishes are certainly not for the faint-stomached.

1. Betamax

Betamax is one of the tastiest dishes, made of congealed chicken’s blood, as well as pig. The rectangular shape and reddish-brown color are indeed mouth-watering. It’s often grilled and served with spicy Filipino vinegar. Once you taste the texture, you will find it thick and gelatinous. The street food can be found in barbecue stands across the country.

2. Tamilok

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Photo: Adequate Travel

Tamilok is a dish that shines because of its star ingredient, the woodworm. This is one of the most polarising dishes on the magnificent island of Palawan. Brave souls describe this dish to have an oyster-like taste. But the thought of having a slimy worm sliding down your throat is definitely cringe-worthy. Tamilok is not a common dish in Palawan because these worms are quite hard to come by, but they do sell like hotcakes, especially among foreigners who would like to have their share of the exotic.

3. Soup Number 5

If you’re looking to bring some heat into the bedroom, mischievous Filipinos will probably tell you to include Soup Number 5 in your diet. The soup is made from a bull's testicles and penis and is considered an aphrodisiac. While there’s no study confirming this, it hasn’t stopped people from trying out this dish.

4. Balut

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Photo: STSTW Media

One of the most-enjoyed, and definitely unique, dishes in the Philippines is balut-fertilized duck egg, eaten with chili and garlic vinegar. Break the shell a bit off the top, season it, then sip the broth. After, peel off the rest of the shell and eat the egg. You can choose not to eat the egg white since it might be too rubbery.

5. Papaitan

Papaitan is a famous soup dish from the Ilocos Region that is made from either goat or cow innards. ‘Papaitan’ comes from the Filipino root word ‘pait’, which literally translates as ‘bitter’. The bitter taste of this dish comes from the bile used in its preparation. Despite being one of the more popular dishes on this list, papaitan may require an acquired taste. This can be ordered in the many roadside eateries that line the provinces, along with bulalo and the next dish on our list.

6. Kamaru

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Photo: Pinterest - Phillipines

Kamaru is a crunchy dish, and why not? The odd crunch and the subsequent oozing juice come from taking a large bite of a fried rice field cricket. You read that right, a cricket, which makes it one of the most bizarre food choices in Luzon. Aside from being fried, there are also other preparation options, like adobong kamaru, or crickets simmered with soy sauce and vinegar. The brave souls who have tried the dish say that it tastes like stir-fried shrimp with a unique combination of saltiness and bitterness.

7. Pinikpikan

Pinikpikan is a traditional chicken dish among tribes in Northern Luzon. Many people are averse to trying this dish because of the manner of preparation. Meal preparation starts by beating a native chicken with a stick because it is believed that the beating and consequent blood clotting improves the flavour dramatically. The ideal beaten chicken for pinikpikan should not have any broken bones, and the skin should not break as a result of the beating. The chicken is then boiled in a salt broth with etag, which is cured pork. Pinikpikan tastes like a traditional grilled chicken, and the formed blood around the muscles adds a unique richness that makes the meat flavourful.

For more top weirdest dishes in other countries, check out our KnowInsider!

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