Which include balut, intestines, and liver. Find out why a street food tour in Cebu with Backstreet Academy is a must.
I love food and I love experiencing new things, so when a friend told me about Backstreet Academy tour company, I knew what I was going to do in Cebu City. I was traveling with fellow bloggers Tianna of The Passport Chronicles and Veronika of Travel Geekery, and we all signed up for the street food tour.
The appointment with Ann and Joy, our guides for the day, was at Metro Colon, right in the middle of (busy) Cebu City’s downtown. It didn’t take long for the guides to find us because, well, three foreign girls, we probably stood out quite a bit 🙂
Our first stop was nearby, at a food stall that sells ginabot, deep fried pork intestines served with soup and corn rice, which is a cheaper alternative to rice and quite popular in Cebu.
Have you ever tried intestines? I had not, and I must admit that the thought of it didn’t particularly attract me…but heck, I gotta try all these Filipino delicacies, and so I did.
It actually wasn’t bad at all! Crispy on the outside and a little chewy, but it tasted yummy.
Another stall not far away is specialized in barbecue, and we all love barbecue. Chicken, pork, and liver (atay) were on the menu, and we tried them all. I had liver before so it wasn’t something new for me, but barbecued liver? Another level.
It was a ten-minute walk to reach our next stop, and this allowed us to look around and ask questions to our awesome guides. This is what makes this tour special: yes, it’s a food tour, but it’s not just that.
The food is just a means to discover the culture and traditions, to interact with the locals, and to find an answer to those questions you have been wondering about. With Ann we talked about what’s going on with President Duterte, about the social issues of the country, and the system that doesn’t find a way to rescue all those homeless children from the streets. It was an insightful conversation that left me with more knowledge and understanding.
Backstreet Academy was born as a social enterprise in Kathmandu, and it is deeply committed to creating tours and experiences that bring a positive social impact to the local communities. You know that this is something I specifically look for when I book a hotel or a tour operator, and it’s one more reason to go with this company. But back to the food. It was time for some
But back to the food. It was time for some nilarang, a fish soup with spices that somehow resembles TomYam, if you had Thai food before.
The next stop was… interesting. Back in Europe, when you say you are going to have a snack it means something like a cereal bar, or a yogurt, or bread with ham and cheese. Here in Cebu sometimes it means puso (hanging rice) dipped into (sure you wanna know?) tuslob buwa, bubbling sauteed pig’s brain.
Ann told us that Filipinos from Manila come here and are eager to try this, as this is something that you only find in Cebu. So, how was it, you must be wondering. Actually, it tasted very good, and I can see why there is always a crowd around the vendor. For 3 pesos (approximately $0,2) per packet of puso (dipping into the brain is free), this snack is a steal.
Kids love it, but they might like us more. If I earnt a penny for each time children excitedly yelled us “hello!” on this trip, I would be a billionaire by now!
At this point I was starting to be quite full, but a girl shall never say no to dessert. Turon (caramelized banana), bring it on! This is definitely some street food I’ll try again 😀
This was supposed to be our last stop, but when we told Ann that we still hadn’t tried lechon, she said that we had to try it and brought us to the Robinson’s mall at Fuente Osmena. In the food court by the grocery store you will find a stall that specializes in lechon. It was good, but definitely not as strange as the other foods we tried, and it reminded me of the porchetta we have back in Italy.
The great tour with BackStreet Academy finished here, but I wasn’t done with my personal food tour. There was one thing I needed to try before leaving the country, so after dinner I dragged my friend Veronika to the one stall in the Fuente Osmena roundabout that sells the most renowned Filipino delicacy: balut.
For those of you who have never heard of it, balut is a boiled duck embryo. It looks like a normal egg from the outside, but when you crack it open you can definitely see there’s something growing in it. I was told that if you choose a 21-day old, you can see the formed beak and everything…eeek, a little bit too much for me! I debated about trying balut or not, but all my hosts and guides kept telling me I just HAD to try it, so I did. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Just… don’t think about what you are eating and you will be fine. It was a hilarious experience, and apparently, it was hilarious for locals too to see a girl trying one for the first time, as they surrounded me and started taking videos too. I ATE IT ALL, and I have a video that proves it. Coming soon!
The food tour with Backstreet Academy was the highlight of our days in Cebu City, and I would recommend to add it to your Philippines itinerary.
Would you try pig’s brain, intestines, and balut? Let me know in the comments!
I was a guest of Backstreet Academy on this tour, but I honestly had a great time while stepping out of the box and trying all these wierd foods. Don’t chicken out and do it too!