kropeck / kropek
seafood crackers, fish crackers, prawn crackers

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BALUT: Filipino duck egg


duck egg with a developed embryo

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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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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.


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.

Paning's Butong Pakwan

Butong 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 brands include Captain Sid’sPaning’sAling Conching and Tropics.


Outside the Philippines, pumpkin seeds have become a common snack food and are even sold already shelled. Filipinos refer to them as buto ng kalabasa although the calabaza squash is a different variety of gourd from the American pumpkin.

The kalabasa popularly grown in the Philippines is Cucurbita moschata, a species that likely originated in Central America and was brought over to the islands during the Spanish colonial period. The pumpkin more commonly seen in the United States is the species known as Cucurbita pepo.

The shape of squash seeds, particularly those of larger sizes, makes them ideal to be fed into a mechanical seed dehuller. That is why squash seeds are not infrequently sold already shelled. The only other seasoning usually added to buto ng kalabasa during processing is plain salt.

Aling Conching brand of Buto ng Kalabasa

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from the Spanish sorbete, meaning sorbet or sherbet

local ice cream


a man who sells ice cream


Mamang Sorbetero (Mister Ice-Cream Man) is the title of a popular Tagalog song in the Philippines.

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Combination of two words: chicharon + bulaklak

crispy pork rinds


Chicharon is traditionally pork rinds (skin). For this “flower” chicharon, the intestinal parts of a pig are deep fried. In particular, it’s the peritoneum that is used. The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal cavity.

Omentum is a fold of the peritoneum. Great omentum is the fat-filled sac covering the small intestines. Lesser omentum is the omentum joining the stomach and liver.

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Uraro are common giveaway treats in the Philippines. These cookies are made from arrowroot flour, which gives them their delicate and powdery texture.

arrowroot cookies

Uraro - Filipino Cookies

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Bukayo (spelling variations: bocayo, bucayo, bucaio, bokayo) is dried-coconut candy.

Its color is light to dark brown and its chewiness can range from soft to hard enough to give your jaws a tough workout.

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