CNN Metro Manila unique dishes
With unique ingredients and cookery, these unique Filipino dishes caught the attention of CNN Travel. Credits to CNN Travel.

CNN Travel recommended 7 unique dishes found in Metro Manila restaurants that actually trace their origins to the diverse offerings of the archipelago.

In the CNN report titled “7 Filipino dishes you’ve probably never heard of (and where to find them in Manila)” published on September 3, the popular travel site highlighted a soup made from leftover meats, mole crickets, tiny rice field birds, liver, stuffed crabs, blackened coconut, and black stew.

Veering away from the infamous “balut” (duck embryo), the popular travel site notes how “Interest in Filipino cuisine has risen tremendously over the past couple of years. But with over 7,000 islands divided into 82 provinces and 22 regions, there’s plenty more to discover.”

Here are the 7 CNN picks from Filipino dishes:

1. Linagpang na isda/na manok

“There’s no such thing as leftovers for the Hiligaynon or Ilonggo people of the Western Visayas region.”

CNN Travel writer Cheryl Tiu describes the ingredients of Linagpang as uneaten fish or chicken boiled into a soup. Recommended at Gallery by Chele, Clipp Center, 11th corner 39th Sts., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

2. Kamaru

“Mole crickets that burrow on wet rice fields and are quite difficult to catch.”

The delicacy is traced to Pampanga in Central Luzon, usually cooked adobo style or fried. Recommended at Abe Restaurant, G/F Serendra, Retail Area, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

3. Pitaw

“Often prepared fried, the birds are so tiny you can eat the bones as well.”

The tiny rice field birds found in sugarcane plantations are a delicacy in Bacolod, a city in Negros Occidental province. Recommended at Asia’s Best Chef Margarita Fores’ Grace Park, G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Makati.

4. Igado

“Pork belly and liver cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onion, bay leaves, bell peppers, and green peas make up igado, a popular dish in the Ilocos region of the Philippines (it’s also found in Bicol, in Albay province).”

Igado takes its name from higado, the Spanish word for liver, and is often described as a cousin of adobo and menudo (tomato-based pork stew). Recommended: Top Meal Food Haus, 5994 J. D. Villena Corner Mabini Street, Poblacion, Makati.

5. Buntaa

“Do crabs stuffed with fresh coconut and their own aligue (fat) and cooked in coconut milk sound delicious or what?”

Buntaa is a popular dish in Butuan City in Agusan del Norte in Mindanao. It takes its name from Binuntaan, which means ‘pull out’ — which is what they do with the meat from female crabs. Recommended: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants-listed Toyo Eatery, 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Makati.

6. Pyanggang

“Pyanggang, blackened coconut curry usually served with chicken, is a festive dish that hails from the Tausug tribe of Sulu province in Southern Mindanao.”

The black curry-like sauce is made by burning coconut on charcoal, then grinding and blending it with spices. At Tausug weddings it is not uncommon to find a whole chicken prepared in this manner and served over yellow rice as the centerpiece. Recommended: Gourmand Cookbook Award-winning Celebrity Chef Tatung Sarthou’s Talisay, The Garden Cafe, 44 Maginhawa Street, Barangay UP village, Quezon City.

7. Tiyula Itum

“It is considered “food for royalty” and is served on special occasions like weddings and Hari Raya (festival of the breaking of the fast).”

Literally translating to “black stew,” tiyula itum is a braised beef soup dish that originated from the Tausug people of the Philippines’ Sulu archipelago. Recommended: Lampara, 5883 Enriquez St., Poblacion, Makati

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