Archive for July, 2012

MY POMERANIAN SPITZ’S

Yeah, they’re a cross between a Pomeranian and a Japanese spitz, but I couldn’t care less. Pom-pom (the bigger one, male) and Chibi (female) are just two of  the four dogs I own. They both know a few commands. This time, I asked them to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ before I gave them a treat.

“We look good together, don’t we?”

Eagerly waiting for me to give them their favorite treat 🙂

Well behaved Pomeranian spitz’s. They sit and stay for as long as I want to.

Stay…training them myself really pays off.

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World’s Most Expensive Dog

This is the world’s most expensive dog, a 180lb, 11-month old, rare, red Tibetan Mastiff named Hong Dong (Big Splash in English) purchased by a coal industrialist in China for a whopping $1.5M! This breed is thought to be among the oldest in the world.

How’d you get so expensive?

Okay, so I guess the ‘desire’ to have this dog breed is OUT of the question. This is also a rare breed here and sadly, not everyone is familiar with it. I checked online (there are really a few) if there are any for sale here and the highest price I found was for P295,000 (around $7,024)  – a  female, rare ‘golden red’ color Tibetan Mastiff. The other prices? They don’t go below P150,000 (around $3572). All the sellers claim the dogs were imported from China. Even so, I am not willing to spend that big amount of money even if I do have it.

Just imagine – $1.5M could have been used to save other dogs in need; those in shelters and especially the ones in the puppy mills.

WEIRD FOODS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Well, it’s actually a common sight for me, but to some it is weird. These are the ‘few’ that made it to my list, which foreigners often find, most often than not weird.

STREET FOODS – most of the items that I will mention here are grilled. You can find these being sold cheap anywhere in the streets, and comes with different dipping sauces, such as vinegar with soy sauce, chopped onions and bird’s eye chili, sweet and sour sauce and the spicy red sauce. Most people eat this as a snack, but to some, it is eaten with rice during dinner.

Almost every part of the chicken is eaten here:

  1. HELMET – quite a catchy name for a grilled chicken head on a stick, huh? Sorry, but the comb is not included. Although I think Andrew Zimmern had chicken combs in one of the famous restaurants in the US.
  2. ISAW – is pronounced as ‘ee-sau’, just like the sau in sauerkraut. This is  grilled chicken or pork intestines.
  3. ADIDAS – again, another catchy name for something that’s quite weird. This is grilled chicken feet. Yep, you read that right. Chicken feet with claws, tips of toes and the tough layer of the skin is removed before it is grilled to perfection. Hmm, they could have named it Nike, or Reebok or…whatever. I still haven’t figured out why it was called Adidas.
  4. BETAMAX – no kidding here. Dried chicken blood shaped into cubes then grilled is called betamax. See? I told you almost every part of the chicken is used here.
  5. ONE DAY OLD CHICK – Andrew Zimmern loved this. When you say one day old chicks, these are male chicks that are discarded in preference to female chicks to be raised for egg production. These male chicks are coated in batter, deep fried and is to be eaten whole with the bones included. Don’t worry, the bones are still soft so you can chew away with the sauce of your choice.
  6. BALUT – is fertilized duck’s egg. I’ve written about this before. Now, this one I can eat, except for the fertilized duck egg inside. I usually eat only the yellow part, and I eat it with a bit of salt.
  7. WALKMAN – simply put, is grilled pig’s ears. Enough said…

These kinds of foods are foods to be eaten at your own risk. I tried eating isaw once (the chicken instestines), just a few bites and I gave up. Well, balut is fairly safe to eat, I’ve eaten this since I was a kid and I did not experience getting sick because of it. Just don’t eat too many – it’s high in cholesterol. But with the other items above, I’m not so sure. There is no certainty that street foods are cleanly prepared, the streets aren’t the cleanest places to prepare, cook and eat foods that’s why it’s ‘eat at our own risk’.

Helmet

Isaw

Adidas

Betamax

One day old chick

Balut

Walkman

FRESH FROM THE FARM

Yeah, I’ve known a few people who eat this, I’ve seen a few kids and elderly men go hunting for these unusual foods.

  1. FROGS – now, these are frogs that are often found in the rice fields, and are often eaten fried or cooked adobo style. Frogs are often hunted at night, elderly men with flashlights attached to their heads, holding wires that are connected to a mini battery pack around their waist. They will walk into the rice field and electrocute the water and a poor frog will, more often than not, get paralyzed and is more easily caught.  They say frogs taste like chicken. Would you be adventurous to try one?
  2. RAT – NOT the sewer rats you already have in mind. These are rice field rats. They are brown in color and are often found in rice fields, where else?
  3. CRICKETS – field crickets. These are a delicacy in one of the provinces here in the Philippines and is cooked in soy sauce and vinegar. They say crickets are crunchy and is slightly sweet.

DID YOU SAY STEW?

          There are a lot of stew recipes here, some I eat,  but these two…hmmm…

  1. PAPAITAN – is a stew of goat or ox tripes and innards flavored with bile (which makes it bitter) and sampalok (tamarind) and siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili). The name came from the word ‘pait’ (pa-eet) which means bitter.
  2. DINUGUAN – My grandmother used to make this, and I can only eat a little – this is a stew pork meat with garlic, chili’s and vinegar simmered in pig’s blood. I could probably eat this IF I can recognize what part of the meat I’m eating. But usually, store bought dinuguan is made of pork’s ears and some other part of the pork I don’t know. Difficult to recognize because of the color, but a lot of people love this. It is often served with rice or puto, a white Filipino rice cake.

Papaitan

Dinuguan and puto (rice cake)

VIOLENT FOODS

          I shall explain no more…

  1. ASOCENA – or Azucena…whatever. When you say this, it means dog meat. Yeah, dog meat is eaten here, (just like any other Asian country) often as pulutan – a dish that goes well with beer or any alcoholic beverage. It is often cooked caldereta. Although there’s already a law that prohibits people from killing dogs for its meat, this practice still goes on. I’m a dog lover, I have four dogs, so I am against this >_<
  2. PINIKPIKAN NA MANOK – A live chicken is beaten to death with a stick to bruise the skin and bring the blood to the surface. This is done to tenderise the meat, making it tastier. Such an inhumane way to kill a chicken for its meat…its feathers are removed by burning and it is then boiled with salt and cured pork.

EXPENSIVELY WEIRD OR WEIRDLY EXPENSIVE?

A civet and one of its fave foods

You choose – I’m talking about CIVET COFFEE. Philippines is not the only one producing this but to define this coffee: it is one of the world’s most expensive and coveted kind of coffee.

But if you knew where it came from, you’d wonder why it is so expensive. It’s unusual source? The droppings of a nocturnal, cat-like animal called the palm civet. These are carnivorous animals that are considered as pests in the Philippines (not anymore, I think, haha!) but also eat red coffee cherries that contain the beans. The beans pass through the civet whole after fermenting in the stomach and that’s what gives the coffee its unique taste and aroma.

They say this coffee tastes like choco.

But is it really worth it? A pound averages $100 and can reach $600. A single cup can cost you between $30 to $80. That’s a lot of Starbucks lattes and fraps! So, expensively weird or weirdly expensive?

Which of these foods would you like to try if given the chance?  I don’t think I listed everything here, if you have anything in mind, feel free to comment and add more to the list 🙂

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