Lungs, Ears and Brains: Exotic Filipino Foods


The meat on the plate is actually pig lungs, boiled and fried.  My wife and her brother enjoy it and convinced me to try some.  It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t think it was all that good either.  I probably won’t eat that again.  The meat on the stick, however is a grilled pig ear.  It was served with a brown gravy.  I thought about it after some of the stuff I’ve eaten, a pig ear really isn’t that weird.  I mean, I’ve eaten chicken feet and snails before, so why not an ear?  It wasn’t that bad.  It had a decent taste to it, though I didn’t care too much for the crunchy cartilage parts.  I finished it off.

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This is pork sisig.  This is a short order type of dish that’s sometimes served as lunch and often served while drinking.  Up until recently, I believed it was just pieces of pork.  I didn’t really question it or think about it.  Turns out this is made from pig brains though.  Well, partly pig brains.  This dish became a popular part of Filipino cuisine as a result of the US establishing an air base in Pampanga province, called Clark Air Base.  Filipinos would buy the unused pig heads from the base commissary and this is the dish they developed from trying to make use of them.  I’ve actually tried this.  I didn’t know it was made from pig brains at the time.  No one thought to tell me either.  Sisig is such a common dish here, now found pre-packaged and branded in grocery stores even, that my wife and relatives likely don’t give it a second thought.  Now that I know, I don’t think I’ll ever look at it the same way again.  I’m still not sure if I’ll eat it again.

Filipinos are pretty creative about making sure no part of an animal goes to waste.  I’m sure you’ll see that as I post about, and perhaps try, more of the unusual ‘delicacies’ found here.