Gutom? Then get ready as we dive into the exotic world of Cebuano cuisine, where bold flavors and daring delicacies await to excite your taste buds like never before!

In the vibrant streets of the Queen City of the South, Cebuanos serve up more than just your ordinary fare. From the infamous Filipino balut to savory soups with surprising ingredients, let’s embark on a culinary journey that promises to challenge your palate and ignite your senses.

1. Lansiao

Also known as “Soup #5”, Lansiao is a dish best served with rice. This soup is famed for its aphrodisiac effects on men. Why? Because it is believed that its main ingredient helps men in their sexual prowess. And that ingredient is a bull’s testes and penis; sometimes a horse’s will do too! Sliced and diced into biteable pieces, then mixed with umami and stock to make everything palatable.


You can buy lansiao in carenderias or food corners since most locals love pairing it with rice during meals. There are even specialty places if soup’s all that you want to have, such as Yancy’s Balbacuahan in Naga, Cebu, which serves all sorts of Filipino dishes, including lansiao, or at the Kamagayan Food Park, where street foods and barbecue meals are served with Soup #5!

2. Tuslob-Buwa

As lansiao is to the rear ends of a bull, tuslob-buwa is from the other end: the brains! But this time, it’s not from a bull or horse; it’s from Filipinos’ favorite meat source: pigs. Don’t worry if the thought of eating brains icks you out because we Sugboanons have a way of making things tasty with our savory seasonings. The ingredients for a tuslob-buwa include pork liver and the brain with sautéed garlic, onions, shrimp paste, and chili powder.


Tuslob Buwa stalls are now placed almost everywhere around Cebu! Most of them are in the Colon area, such as in Kamagayan Food Park. There’s also the Tuslob Buwa ni Uncle J in Gorordo Ave, Loy’s Tuslob Buwa in Duljo, and some Unli Tuslob Buwa options in Mercado de Mactan.

3. Baki

In English, the word “baki” means “frog”. So, in the culinary field, we have deep-fried frogs as one of our exotic Filipino delicacies. The frogs are mainly those that can be found on farms or farm-raised, so they’re safe to eat and not poisonous. According to most, frog meat tastes similar to chicken, and if you’re blindfolded, the crispy fried frog can seem like your ordinary chicken wing!


Unfortunately, this dish is not sold anywhere else within Cebu City except at the Manggahan Restaurant in Lahug. But in the province, there are households, especially those who own farms, who still delight in it. It can be served with rice as a snack or paired with a bottle of beer as a pulutan.

4. Bakasi

Now we’re diving into Cebu’s seafood options that could make your taste buds explode, and we’re starting with the tasty “Bakasi.” The sea witch of the Little Mermaid, Ursula, will not be happy with this dish as it is her eels, Flotsam and Jetsam.

Along with the lansiao, the bakasi is also known for its aphrodisiac properties, which makes it a best-seller in the seafood community. It is also versatile as it can be served fried or in a soup.


Cordova, Mactan, is the best place to try bakasi dishes. You can find it in restaurants and carenderias anywhere in Mactan, especially those near the marketplace.

5. Swaki

Soft and has a unique taste, “Swaki” is a seafood that locals often sell near beaches. It is usually served on its own or paired with spicy vinegar. When translated to English, “swaki” means “sea urchin”. So, if you want to get your omega-3 fatty acid fix aside from your regular fish source, swaki is for you!


Swaki is best served fresh from the sea, usually sold near beaches or seafood marketplaces. Locals even offer to dive for fresh swaki when you book a boat for island-hopping in Mactan, Cebu.

6. Bat

No, we don’t mean the alter-ego of vampires; we meant “sea slugs” that had a phallic form and were best served with chili vinegar! Just like swaki, bats are preferably consumed raw and fresh. But if you’re not up for that kind of sensation, then you can also have it fried, grilled, or sun-dried! Then add it to your pancit and many other Filipino dishes.


While island-hopping in Mactan, Cebu, you can dive into the sea and take some bats. If you’re not up to the task, you can hire local divers to do that, and they’ll bring the bats to you in a net.

7. Ginamos

Ginamos is a type of preserved fish in a jar. Because it is preserved in table salt, its taste leans more toward saltiness. It is best served with saba bananas or spicy vinegar for an exciting kick. Some ginamos jars have tiny anchovies, while others have 1-inch-long ones, so you can choose the texture you want to bite into.


Luckily, ginamos are not hard to find since they are also considered the “poor man’s viand.” Jars of ginamos are lined up in grocery stores, such as Metro Colon or even Ayala Malls.

Whether you’re indulging in the aphrodisiac effects of Lansiao or savoring the unique taste of Swaki, each dish tells a story of Cebu’s rich culinary heritage. So, gather your appetite and savor the exotic foods of Cebu today!

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