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Not only do Filipinos skewer and grill chicken intestine, they also do the same to chicken gizzard. In Filipino cuisine, nothing goes to waste. Balunbalunan has a chewier, more rubbery texture than isaw, slightly resembling that of squid. But like isaw, it gets much of its flavor from the sauce it is brushed with during grilling, or its dipping sauce after.
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These brightly colored treats could be quite deceiving to the unaware foodie. They are round and a vibrant shade of orange, but they aren’t sweet, nor do they taste like the Cheetos they match in color. They are actually quail eggs, coated in an orange batter and then deep fried. Most of its goodness relies on the sauce the street food cart has to pair it with.
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Kikiam was originally taken from Chinese cuisine, and authentically consists of minced meat and vegetables. The kikiam used by street food vendors in the Philippines however, are a more scrimped version, sometimes containing fish meat instead and a lot of fillers. They are brown in color and about the size of a finger.
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This is one that’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. Betamax, named after the black tapes of the 70’s it resembles, is grilled coagulated pork or chicken blood. Yes, you read that right. But in fact, grilled animal blood is not as repulsive as it may sound. It doesn’t possess any foul or robust taste or smell. Aside from the variety in texture, many of these grilled animal innards depend on sauces for taste.
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Sorbetes or “dirty ice cream” (dubbed as such for being sold in the streets, and not necessarily meaning a lack in cleanliness), is Filipino ice cream sold from colorful wooden carts. Though there’s still the usual chocolate, mostly Filipino flavors are available such as ube (purple yam), queso (cheese), mango, and coconut. Have it the Filipino way and opt to have it served in a burger bun instead of a regular cone or cup.
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The “cue” in these two street food sweets is derived from “barbecue”, because just like Filipino pork barbecue, they are also served on skewers. Both are made by taking the banana and kamote (sweet potato) and deep frying them with brown sugar, giving them a glistening gold finish.
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Halo-Halo is a food frenzy in a glass. It’s the kind of dish that will make you think it was probably invented by a mother who was trying to empty out her pantry one day. It’s layers upon layers of crushed ice, beans, jelly, tapioca pearls, sweetened fruits, milk, ice cream, flan, toasted rice, and purple yam, that’s meant to be mixed up and then enjoyed. And enjoy you will, a nice tall glass of cold halo-halo is perfect on a scorching Philippine day.