Adventures in Food and Drink: Pinikpikan

Fair Warning: This post will offend some of our readership with delicate and/or vegetarian sensibilities. It’ll offend people with normal sensibilities. Hell, this post offends me. The immoral fourth edition of Adventures in Food and Drink continues after the jump. Enter at your own risk. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

OK, so I was traveling in the mountainous northern Luzon and I heard about this dish called “pinikpikan,” a local Igorot traditional chicken dish. No, it doesn’t involve fertilized eggs. In defense of the following, I would say that I would never actually order this dish, it was foisted upon me. Then, rather than waste chicken meat, which would serve no purpose, I ate it. I wouldn’t recommend eating this for two reasons: it’s not humane in the least and it really didn’t taste a whole lot different from chicken prepared in a normal way.

While out spelunking with some friends and our terrific guides, I asked whether this cave was rumored to have any spirits — the entrance to the cave, after all, was stacked with coffins. Upon hearing the disappointing answer, I created my own spirits that would haunt our voyage through the cave. The scariest of them all was Pinikpikan, an eight-foot-tall chicken, without feathers and angry as hell. He would hunt down humans and bang them against the walls of the cave as punishment for preparing chicken the Igorot way.

You know those 20/20 or 60 Minutes or whatever videos of some workers beating chickens in a factory farm? Well, maybe they weren’t just being inhumane jerks. Maybe they were just preparing chicken in the Igorot way. So here’s how it’s prepared: you take a chicken, beat it so that it’s blood coagulates (but so that bones don’t break), and then kill it. This is done so that the wing and neck are thicker, more full of meat than usual. Also, it keeps the butchering from being a messy proposition. Here’s a rather unconvincing defense of the practice. YouTube has a video, but I can’t embed it because you have to be 18 to view it. if you haven’t had enough, or my description isn’t lucid enough for you, you can see it here.

Then you take a torch (think creme brulée) and burn off all the feathers. Then you cut up the chicken in to smaller pieces, throw in some herbs and spices, and put it in a container and throw it over the fire. Video here.

I don’t know what else to say. We ate this meal outside at a long table near our evening’s bonfire. We ate with our hands off of banana leaves covered in rice and pinikpikan meat. It really wasn’t all that good, and I needed plenty of Matador and Ginebra San Miguel to forget what had just happened. I think I’m going to donate some money to PETA to purify myself before Pinikpikan decides to hunt me down in Manila.


6 responses to “Adventures in Food and Drink: Pinikpikan

  1. Pinikpikan has been a dish enjoyed for centuries. Its supposed to be cooked with “etag” / smoked meat. And, the blood in the meat gives a very distinct flavor. The procedure is offensive to most (my children included), but having grown up liking it, its hard not appreciating the tradition and uniqueness of this dish.

  2. Pingback: Hike from Pingew to Sagada « No Record Press: The Blog

  3. I never got the chance to try pinikpikan, but I wouldn’t order it if it’s on the menu. There are more humane ways to prepare food/meat, this is one of the worst. I’ve heard people claim that beating the bird makes the meat extra tasty. Good thing you’ve disclaimed this.

  4. hmm..well,the way pinikpikan is prepared may be inhumane to others but for us who are indigenous people cook it in our own way..i really wouldn’t call it inhumane for the chicken would be dead anyway. humane or “inhumane”, people do love and eat chicken..bow!

  5. Очень полезно

  6. Definition of “humane” and “inhumane” is relative to cultures. It’s the same as polygamy vs monogamy in Islam and Christianity. Same goes with how Arabs and Westerners treat women. In Saudi Arabia, women gets punished if they drive. The problem with society is that one tries to impose its morals on other cultures.

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