Pinikpikan is a controversial yet a famous native dish from the highlands of Cordillera, northern region of the Philippines. For some, it is an extreme eating, but looking closely to the end product, it looks pretty simple and delicious. If it intrigues you and want to try it, make sure you see how it is prepared. The flavors of the dish come from the coagulated blood, the burned feathers and skin, plus the special ingredient Etag, which is a cured and smoked meat, aged and kept underground in earthen jars.
And what makes Pinikpikan controversial? It is how the chicken is slaughtered. It is said that the preparation of the chicken violates the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998. The preparation involves a live chicken beaten up with a stick before cooking. But before you get totally freaked out, in reality, the preparation is a ritual performed by the Cordillera tribes to decide the right courses of action and their fate. It takes hours of careful work to prepare an authentic Pinikpikan. The chicken is “battered” to keep the blood inside and if it is properly “battered”, it will not be bloody when it is cut. Also, none of the bones should be broken during the process of beating or even in slicing. The process of light beating or “pikpik” is where Pinikpikan gets its name.
So the next time you visit the northern region of the Philippines, makes sure you include in your itinerary, to visit the Cordillera tribes and see for yourself how they do the ritual, to understand the story and the culture behind the dish. Most importantly, to taste the controversial dish Pinikpikan.
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