Filipino food is as diverse as it gets—what more can you expect from a country with over 7,000 islands? There are hundreds of recipes, including several versions of these specific recipes, that make Filipino cuisine unique and exciting.
The best way to enjoy Filipino food is to dig into those plates with lots of steamed rice on the side, no matter how strange-sounding the dish can be. Poqui poqui? Betamax? Adidas? Here is a round-up of some of our favorite Filipino dishes and street food snacks and how they got their names.
1 Poqui Poqui
This Ilocano dish is made up of eggplants that are grilled, peeled, mashed, then sauteed with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and a beaten egg. The dish’s name may make you giggle, but according to Chita Sanculi of Divine Word College in Ilocos Sur, poqui poqui’s name origin can be traced back to the ’80s. Around that time, many Filipinos migrated to Hawaii to plant pineapples. The word “poki” in Hawaii means “to cut up” or “mash.”
This is also how the famous poke bowl got its name!
Yes, this famous marinated chicken feet street food dish got its name from the sports brand. Think about it: Adidas (the brand) is well-known for its three-striped logo. How many toes are there on a chicken’s foot? Three!
Betamax is grilled coagulated pig or chicken blood. You’ll see them being grilled under open flame in the streets of Manila. They are black in color and either square or rectangular in shape, which resemble Betamax tapes that were used to hold video and audio tapes several decades ago.
4 Kwek Kwek
This famous street food is best enjoyed with a tart vinegar dipping sauce. Kwek kwek, aptly said to be named after a bird’s chirping sounds, are quail eggs coated in batter and deep fried until light and crisp on the outside.
Pampanga has many signature dishes, and kamaru is one of them! Kamaru is, simply put, what a mole cricket is called in Pampanga. This dish kamaru often pertains to adobong kamaru, where crickets are braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics.
Etag means to preserve in Ilocano and Cordilleran dialects. Etag often pertains to a cured piece of pork which is salt-cured and either sun-dried or smoked after. It has a characteristic blackness to its meat and strong saltiness that adds flavor to soups, vegetable dishes, and grilled dishes.