A Slightly Different Perspective on Easter

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Many of us are familiar with the TV show Iron Chef where celebrity chefs try to outwit each other in a culinary skills contest inside a kitchen stadium – live and under time pressure. I always marvel at these people, how they can concoct recipes that seem to blend the most unlikely combinations of ingredients and come up with the most exquisite tastes that get the nod and praise of the panel of select judges and consequently win the prestigious Iron Chef award.

The Iron Chefs cook food that we all know and eat but Nelson Mendez , a 43 year old chef from Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela is of a different breed. He is attempting to bring the Yanomami Indian’s unusual diet – ants, termites, spiders , smoked monkey and alligator – to the rest of the world. The mere sight of a headless smoked monkey resembling a human carcass would be enough for most people to shudder in disgust I think. These Yanomami dishes would easily qualify in the “extreme cuisine” category. But then again, our very own balut and dinuguan ( pork blood stew) can cause those who are strangers to the dish to vomit ! (Caribbean folks seem to delight in the dinuguan’s vinegary flavor, calling it “chocolate pork. They love dinuguan). Unknown to many of us, our very ordinary champorado and tuyo is listed in the weird breakfast food category πŸ™‚ I’m not quite sure if I can peel off and savor a piece of meat from a smoked monkey’s arm or an alligator’s leg. I’m quite adventurous with food and can step out of my comfort zone when dared. Before I can muster enough guts to eat a seal’s eyes raw ( a delicacy amongst the Innuits of the Near Arctic), I should be able to eat smoked monkey meat first. Now I’m doubting if I can, probably after 8 cans of beer, when the monkey would begin to look like roasted turkey πŸ™‚ Could I eat the eye of a seal raw ? I probably can if my other choice was to be pushed off a cliff πŸ™‚

Experiences on extreme cuisine, anyone ?


47 Responses

  1. “Unknown to many of us, our very ordinary champorado and tuyo is listed in the weird breakfast food category”

    – WTF. This entry made my day. Promise. =)

  2. Beside being emancipated the old man may be thinking about the big Life Insurance Policy the wife carry..dirty old man..

    Monkey do, not even when I’m starving,(but then again, who knows) champorado and tuyo, weird but I could have one for breakfast, lunch,and except for its salt and sugar (not good for dieters) it’s great appetizer.

  3. Jeff- LOL! πŸ™‚ and it follows that eating champorado and tuyo makes one weird too hehe πŸ™‚

  4. Vic – emancipation I think is the right word hehe. At 85, money doesn’t seem to have much purpose anymore πŸ™‚ Agree, tuyo salt contents is diabolical – but again you said you have your water pills so that may help πŸ™‚

  5. The old man story just made my morning, that is really funny!

    Wow! smoked monkey? If I was hanging out with the Yanomani Indians and they stare me down to share their smoked monkey meal with them?…I’ll ask them for patis, sibuyas and kamatis on the side.

    There’s a new food show on the Travel Channel called “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern”. The chef goes around the world and savor the different exotic menus. There was an episode on the Philippines. I love this show! Check it out.

  6. Noypetes – same here. I cracked up when I got the joke on email πŸ™‚

    You forgot the sinamak bro.. LOL πŸ™‚

    Yes – that Andrew guy is the same guy who ate the seal’s eye raw ! Yuck πŸ™‚ I would love to watch the episode about Pinas πŸ™‚

  7. Some rather extreme foods I’ve tried:
    1. blowfish (fugu in Japanese) – cooked in various forms: fried, sashimi (yes, raw!), and stewed. It was thrilling. It was one of those rare foods that make you think – this might be my last meal. lol
    2. raw seafood – I guess this isn’t such a big deal if you’re Japanese. But if you’re a Filipino, it is always a big deal to eat raw octopus, shrimp, or fish eggs that pop in your mouth.

    Gimme that smoked monkey anytime. At least it’s cooked. πŸ˜‰

  8. What a funny story about the old man and dead wife. I read that before and yet I laughed again. good humour for Easter for sure.

    Exotic food…if tuyo is in the category, that’ll be the only exotic food I’ve eaten. I wont touch chicken feet nor frog legs. Just looking at the cookies above, makes me go eee-yew. My stomach wont handle such no matter how well its presented.

  9. Yea,yeah…save the sinamak for the smoked genitalias and crispy ears and tails.

  10. Haha… salbahe yang lolo na yan ha. πŸ™‚

    Lots of exotic food here in Cambodia too… rats, mice, locusts, poisonous snails, etc… but that monkey takes the cake. πŸ™‚

  11. cruelty to animal yan ah, pero kung ipis, daga, at lamok oks lang na iluto, hehehe. just to cheer you up.

  12. Kathy – isn’t the blowfish the “butete” we know in Pinas LOL,,? I am a fan of Japanese food but dont particulary like the large raw fish slices in the sashimi. I’m fine with raw if they’re small as in the sushi.

    As for the monkey, I could probably eat the meat in a plate but not peeling it off the carcass!

  13. Noypetes – baka pati genitals ginawang chicaron na rin,, lol πŸ™‚

  14. Iskoo – walang exempted yata.. baka pati butiki at langaw isasama pa..lol ! πŸ™‚

  15. bakit kaya most of the stories ang bida ay ang mga lalaki o lolo? kung pagbaligtarin kaya ang characters sa kwento? he he

    ‘no way, Jose. i aint gonna eat that primate. over my dead bodie!’

    but i love chocolate pork, champorado and tuyo, and balut most specially? am i a weird eater, too?

  16. When they are chooped into chunks, I assure you bro that the smoked monkey’s meat would just look like chicken and could also taste just like it. Actually, it would be a cross between chicken and beef’s tasty meat. Once when I was a child, a monkey had escaped a cage from a neighbor who was exporting them to places like Taiwan and Hongkong and when the neighborhood guys caught it, they cooked it and as a child, they made me taste a small chunk of it and that was it, it was palatable but I didn’t really eat that much seeing how the hands of the monkey, when all its hairs have already been burned, look just that of humans.

  17. lol…I love that picture of a couple. Too much to bear huh? πŸ™‚

    There are some exotic food in Asia too – rare animals, creepy crawlies, etc.

    I only started eating the combination of champorado and tuyo when I studied in Manila. In the province I love my champorado with lots of milk!

  18. Bing – lalaki yung bida kasi most likely lalaki young gumawa ng joke πŸ™‚

    Hindi mo kayang kumain ng smoked monkey ha.. it’s all in the mind. masarap daw. LOL πŸ™‚

    Yep, if you eat those, in the eyes of non-Pinoys, weird ka πŸ™‚

  19. Major Tom – you got a piece of its meat which is quite OK but to have a smoked carcass on the plate is a little too much for me ! When I was a young lad back home I tasted meat of a mountain bat and I swear I thought it was chicken πŸ™‚

  20. Ipanema – way tooo much to bear I guess, LOL πŸ™‚

    Champorado and tuyo are truly opposites in that one looks like dessert and the other is salted fish ! It is indeed an odd or weird combination. Same here, only found out about champorado and tuyo in Manila πŸ™‚

  21. Hahahahaha! Oh man, that joke is a good one. Good enough to pass it on to friends… πŸ˜€

    Savoring simian meat isn’t unique to the South American Indians. Eating the brain of a still-breathing monkey is a rare delicacy in some parts of China, very similar to the movie, “Hannibal”… it’s really disgusting.

  22. Sngl – sure, pass it on to your buddies. What a way to celebrate Easter eh? LOL !

    Heard about that monkey brain being eaten raw. Wooo ! That’s ulta-extreme cuisine in my book man 😦 Also heard that AIDS originated from some monkeys in Africa.. now the thought of eating monkeys becomes even more scary 😦

  23. once had kilawin in baguio. it’s raw goat that’s been marinated in vinegar (?) and other spices for a day. It wasn’t bad, I suppose. I also had kangaroo at the garlic festival in gilroy, california.

  24. LOL at the first picture.

    I don’t think I can eat the ant cookies, much more so the smoked monkey and alligator. Hindi ko nga makain yung ibon dun sa balut, eh. πŸ™‚

  25. Wil – I had kilawin goat also but skin naman ( cleaned of fur) and cut in small pieces and marinated in spices and vinegar. I thought it was OK, esp with beer πŸ™‚

    Kangaroos were once hurting the Aussie farmers because of their overpopulation, and were eating/damaging the crops. The govt ordered a harvest of the roos and authorized the sale of meat. Hunters were shooting the roos from helicopeters πŸ™‚ I supposed roo meat is just OK to eat. I once had ostrich meat at a Thai restaurant in Vancouver πŸ™‚

  26. Niceheart – LOL.. so you’re also one who couldn’t eat balut eh? Some can eat the balut fetus basta patay ang ilaw πŸ™‚ I have no problem eating balut myself but my wife can’t. She says the fetus loos like a rat.LOL.. and she has big time phobia of rats πŸ™‚

    I once thought of putting a rubber rat in our bed to play a prank on her but on second thought I backed out baka himatayin sya hehe πŸ™‚

  27. I’m not an adventurous eater, BW. I don’t even eat “dinuguan” and “balut.” Smoked monkey meat? Yikes!

    BTW, I love “champorado” but I never ate it with “tuyo.” It’s a weird combination, in my opinion.


    What a funny news story about the couple in Jerusalem. Is that for real?

  28. BTW, BW, do you eat dogs? Just curious.

  29. Where is it where they break open the skull of a monkey and then eat its brain raw?

    Up in the southern tip mountains of Laguna is an exotic restaurant,which I wouldn’t dare enter. The balut is about it for me; however, not sure about my own tolerance level when it comes to survival under extreme conditions so, I wouldn’t discount anything … hehehe.

  30. Jayred – the old couple story is just a joke hehehe. It’s quite dandy though. You’ll only really laugh at it when you’ve experienced being married ..LOL πŸ™‚

    Nope, the province where I come from people don’t eat dogs for weddings and banquets πŸ™‚ I only sampled dog meat when I came to Manila. Dog meat has to be cooked in spices to taste normal in my opinion πŸ™‚

  31. Eric – the raw monkey’s brain is reportedly being eaten in China πŸ™‚

    If you just stop right at balut you’re a pretty safe eater hehehe. I’m a little adventurous myself and one of the things I want to experience is “seeing” the Innuits and Eskimos eat the whole seal raw. I always wondered how these folks could live for years without getting sick eating raw fish all the time πŸ™‚

  32. I love to eat the eyes of any fish as well as the brain. That’s how similar me and Hannibal Lecter are lolz But I remember that when I was still a toddler, I stick the eye of one fish (you familiar with the fish “bukaw-bukaw”?) inside my nose. Mama went flip when she knew about it. I had to blow my nose several times to get rid of it lolz

    Uhhhmm I don’t know if I have the guts to eat a monkey. Ang mga amo ya para lang na mag kuha kuto sa ulo sang damo kuto ewww hehehe πŸ™‚

  33. Verns – you were quite maligalig when you were a kid eh? Siguro hanggang ngayon hehe. Fish brains and eyes are OK provided they are cooked, unlike the Artic folks who eat seal’s eyes raw πŸ™‚ and they’re big, almost a like golf ball!

    If you were presented with monkey meat on a plate, pwede pa siguro but whole, as in smoked or bbq is a bit intimidating 😦

  34. what?!?!?! champorado and tuyo is a weird breakfast food? but it’s just made of ordinary food. and tuyo is just a fried fish. waaah! gusto ko tuloy ng champorado. or tuyo with sinangag and kamatis πŸ™‚

  35. Tin – hahaha… ordinary sa atin but for the un-unitiated non-Pinoys champorado and tuyo are classified weird by the folks in this part of the world πŸ™‚ Tuyo, sinangag with ginisang kamatis are great but take it easy on the salt dear. I’d go for tinapa instead of tuyo πŸ™‚ Lam mo na, conscious raw sa healthy food πŸ™‚

  36. Mahina ang bituka sa mga pagkaing bago o hindi nakasanayan lalo na pag hindi luto ni kumander.

    Kakatawa ano, hangga sa pagkain kontrolado ni kumander ang tyan ko.

  37. MyePinoy – ibig lang sabihin nyan masarap talagang magluto si kumander πŸ™‚ By now siguro sanay na sanay ka na sa shawarma at hummus na may kasama pang laban ( yogurt drink) heheh πŸ™‚

  38. Para namang “Fear Factor” yan.. haha! All I could eat is balut.. e, minsan, pag sinusumpong pa ako ng kaartehan, ayaw ko pang kainin yung sisiw.. hehehe…

  39. Rhodora – hindi lang Fear Factor, in fact Scare Factor pa nga eh πŸ™‚ My non-Pinoy friends are always intrigued by balut that they all keep quiet listening to me when I talk about it.. One pal quipped – I thought you guys don’t cook it ! Yikes.

    But with beer, balut is quite tasty and as they say in your dialect “masamit met” πŸ™‚ tama ba, siren? hahaha ..

  40. I would try the ant cookies anytime. When a couple of ants somehow get into my coffee… I drink the coffee with no hesitation, extra protein is my thought. I know, gross huh. LOL

    I wouldn’t be able to muster to strength to eat monkeys and gators though. *vomit*… I could understand balut (a staple in Fear Factor) and dinuguan, but champorado and tuyo? hehehe… I guess they’re just too common here in the PI.

  41. BW, ginulat mo ako, a! Marunong kang magsalita ng Pangasinan? Saan mo napulot yan? haha!

  42. Alternati – when I went to China, folks there were selling roasted black ants, supposedly good for the body πŸ™‚ I’m with you – I’d eat ant cookies too πŸ™‚

    Yep champorado and tuyo can’t be understood by non-Pinoys . Somehow it doesn’t seem right – culinary theory-wise hehe.

  43. Rhodora – I made friends with Pangasinans in Manila and learnt about your unique and interesting dialect. So I can speak a bit – kaya lang “daisut labat” kuno πŸ™‚

  44. Got here through Alternati’s blog. Spain has it’s own version of dinuguan but I think dinuguan actually originated there.

    I dont find champorado as a weird bfast since it is just like a normal porridge that is chocolate flavoured. Tuyo and champorado…hmmm I havent tried that

  45. Chase – did dinuguan originate from Spain? Very interesting. I always thought that the vinegary taste reflects the Malay type flavor πŸ™‚ BTW the now defunct cooking show The Frugal Gourmet actually featured the dinuguan on one of its episodes when they did the bit on Hawaii πŸ™‚

    Tuyo and champorado – I only tasted this in Manila πŸ™‚ Thanks for the visit πŸ™‚

  46. Smoked monkey! Ang sarap! πŸ˜‰

  47. Sidney – hahaha.. now that makes me think you’ve acquired that exotic food tongue in view of the adventures you did making that wonderful Pinoy extreme cuisine photo-documentary of yours πŸ™‚

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