Filipino Seed Snacks

Among many Filipinos’ fondest memories is gathering around a bowl of dried watermelon seeds with a piece of old newspaper on hand ready to be piled with discarded shells. Ahhh… butong pakwan!!

Filipino Seed Snacks

Dried seeds are old-time favorite Filipino snacks. Fun and addictive to snack on, satisfying one’s oral fixations, unshelled seeds boast a fairly low “calorie to bite” ratio — what with the amount of effort involved in carefully extracting each seed’s kernel from out of the shell. In terms of nutritional value, seeds run a close second to traditional nuts as a source of potassium, manganese and zinc.


WATERMELON SEEDS (BUTONG PAKWAN)

Among many Filipinos’ fondest memories is gathering around a bowl of dried watermelon seeds with a piece of old newspaper on hand ready to be piled with discarded shells. Parents and older relatives take on the task of cracking open the buto (“seed”) for young children who have yet to develop the skill of extracting the kernels as whole as possible.

Snacking on butong pakwan happens when family and friends are just hanging out, chatting or watching television. It’s a great “busy food” to give bored hands something to do. The ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia are known to do this type of snacking over the Lunar New Year or during a funeral wake. The seed-eating session usually only ends once you’ve run out of seeds or your lips and tongue have become too painfully sore from the salt.

Watermelon SeedsButong pakwan does have a distinctive flavor beyond mere saltiness, brought about by the addition of sanque, which is star anise (Illicium verum), and it is not uncommon to find one or two of the beautifully desiccated anise flowers still mixed in among the black seeds, providing a subtly sweet enhancement. Watermelon seeds come in packets that are sometimes labeled simply as “melon” seeds.

Popular Filipino and Fil-American brands include Captain Sid’sPaning’sAling Conching and Tropics.

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TSITSIRYA

Chichirya? Yes! Spelled tsitsirya in Tagalog orthography, with Filipino language variations such as chichiria, tsitsiriya and sitsirya, among others.

Tsitsirya are snacks that are munched or grazed on. They are thought of as junk food in the Philippines.

Examples of favorite Filipino tsitsirya: corn chips and cheese curls
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PULBURON

pulburon

 
Fondly known as “Filipino crack” to young FilAms, polvoron is a sweet molded treat whose basic ingredients are toasted flour, margarine or butter, sugar and powdered milk. Continue reading “PULBURON”

KORNIK

Kornic, Kornix, Cornic, Kornics, Cornicks

Korniks

buto ng mais 
“seed of corn”

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ADIDAS

adidas
chicken feet

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Chicharon

Deep-fried pork rinds of the Philippines… That’s chicharon!

Munch, munch, munch… dip in vinegar spiked with chili peppers and pray you don’t get a heart attack later in the day.

Did you know that there are many different kinds of chicharon in the Philippines?

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BALUT

BALUT: Filipino duck egg

 

balut
duck egg with a developed embryo

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KROPEK

kropeck / kropek: seafood crackers, fish crackers, prawn crackers

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