From the inasal of Negros to the seafood of Roxas City, the islands of Visayas have a little bit of everything.
Whether you want sweet treats like Piaya or if you’re on the daring side with food like Buriring, Visayan food is here to take you on an adventure. With a mix of indigenous cooking techniques and those derived from trade and colonization, Visayan cuisine has taken culinary clues from various sources and tweaked them to what is available in the region.
Here’s a quick crash on the various dishes from the islands of Visayas:
Chicken Binakol (Aklan)
Originating from Aklan, this dish similar to tinola but uses coconut water for its stock instead of water.
To make this, a base similar to most Filipino soups is needed. You start by sautéing aromatics like garlic, onion, lemongrass, and ginger. After putting the coconut water, you put in patis (fish sauce), chili leaves, and the meat of the coconut to give the Binakol a distinctive taste.
Another delicacy from Visayas is the popular braised pork dish Humba, whose name directly translates to tender pork.
While similar to adobo, which uses ingredients such as soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onions, peppercorns, and laurel, Humba differentiates itself with the addition of pineapple juice and or sugar.
It has since evolved to more closely resemble adobo; however, restricts itself to only using pork as its main meat component.
A literal “to die for” dish, buriring is a species of puffer fish found in Negros during the months of July and August. Often found in multitudes during these months, these puffer fish strangely lose their toxicity and have since gained popularity in the region as a native delicacy.
However, every catch has to be inspected carefully, because there is a poisonous variety of the pufferfish that can also be found in the area.
When people think of what pasalubong to bring home, piaya often comes to mind. This popular delicacy that originates from Negros is a flaky unleavened bread filled with sweet muscovado sugar.
To make it, one only needs 5 ingredients: cold butter, flour, ice water, salt, and muscovado sugar. By combining the cold butter, flour, and ice water, one can easily create a dough that is similar to that of pie and use that to envelop a muscovado sugar filling.
Essentially chicharon bulaklak but better, this Cebuano street food is not for the faint of heart. Sold by pungko-pungko (sidewalk vendors) all over Cebu, this finger food is made by chopping up pork intestines and deep-frying them until they are golden brown.
Similar to chicharon, they are best paired with a spicy vinegar sauce and a cold drink.
Also known as the infamous Soup No. 5, lansiao is an aphrodisiac soup made from bull’s testes. A dish inherited from Chinese immigrants, this Cebuano delicacy derived its name from the Hokkien translation of the phrase “male’s genitals.”
Similar to many Filipino soups, it involves cooking the aforementioned main ingredient in a broth and filling it with aromatics, such as tanglad (lemongrass), onions, garlic, ginger, and more.
This popular Illongo dish is a beef soup made of beef shank and bone marrow that is cooked with sour fruits like batuan (a mangosteen specie) or bilimbi.
If you’ve never tried kansi, think of it as a cross between sinigang and bulalo, this dish uses a variety of local flavors, such as jackfruit, tanglad (lemongrass), tomatoes, garlic, patis (fish sauce), and atsuete (annatto seeds).
With a festival to its name, this specialty of Cabatuan is a soup whose name literally means “binalot” or wrapped. To make this dish, locals place wilted banana leaves in a bowl that they then fill with various ingredients, such as native chicken, banana leaves, garlic, onion, tanglad, ginger, tomatoes, and water.
After placing all the ingredients in the bowl, they then tie the banana leaves up to seal everything in a pouch-like container that they then steam in a clay pot. The result is a lightly flavored broth with sumptuous cooked native chicken that many in the region enjoy.
Inubaran manok (Aklan)
This delicacy from Aklan is but another example of the resourcefulness of the Visayan people, as it uses ubad (banana pith).
Not to be confused with ubod (heart of palm), this dish is a ginataan that traditionally stews chicken with the various aromatics, like lemongrass, ginger, onion, and garlic to create a hearty dish everyone can enjoy.
Leyte takes flavor to the next level with Morón, a suman (rice cake) that is mixed with tablea (native chocolate tablets). To make it, one has to steep glutinous rice overnight and grind into a powder.
Served in a banana leaf wrapper, it is popularly eaten with hot coffee or sikwate (hot chocolate).
An inexpensive and simple medley of vegetables, this Ilonggo dish is a garden in a bowl. Cooked with a variety of vegetables, Laswa is a soup similar to dinengdeng in Ilocos.
However, while the latter is flavored with bagoong (shrimp paste), this dish relies solely on the flavor of the vegetables and shrimp. Popular ingredients to include in laswa are saluyot (jute leaves), kalabasa (squash), okra, patola (silk squash), and more.
Reportedly invented in Barangay Pasil of Cebu City, this exotic street food is a combination of pig’s brains and liver sauteed in a series of aromatics and spices.
With a name that roughly translates to “dip in bubbles,, this dish is typically eaten by dipping puso (hanging rice) into the bubbling gravy-like sauce of the Taslob-buwa.
Usually found hanging in dozens, this geometric delicacy is rice cooked inside palm leaves.
Like other wrapped dishes, such as Pastil and Binalot, Pusô is a convenient form of packing rice for journeys, where it is eaten with a variety of different ulam (viand), such as Taslob-buwa. However, unlike other packed dishes, pusô has historical and religious significance as it was created as a form of offering to diwatas (spirits) in pre-hispanic times. – Rappler.com