SEA food ranked: Lumpiang shanghai, tortang talong ‘best’; balut ‘worst’

March 10, 2022 - 12:45 PM
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Composite photo of lumpiang shanghai, tortang talong and balut from TasteAtlas website

Three Filipino dishes were ranked as the best and worst food in Southeast Asia, according to an online map of food in the world.

TasteAtlas, an interactive global map of flavors, released its ranking for Southeast Asian food on social media on March 7.

The list was based on reviews and ratings from users of the site. Some of them are notable food critics.

Based on its website, Southeast Asian food was scored under the following classifications:

  • Best (with a score of 4.5 and above)
  • Great (with a score of 4.0 and above)
  • OK (with a score of 3.5 and above)
  • Worst (with a score less than 3.5)

The Filipino food dishes hailed as the best are as follows:

Lumpiang Shanghai (4.8)

It was also previously recognized as among the best dish in the Philippines, according to TasteAtlas’ users.

READ: Ranked: Lumpiang shanghai, sinigang na baboy, tocino hailed best Filipino dishes by TasteAtlas

The platform described lumpiang shanghai as “the most popular variety of lumpia, the crispy deep-fried Filipino snack that evolved from Chinese spring rolls.”

“Even though lumpia appears in numerous variations, the Shanghai version is characterized by a savory filling which combines ground pork or beef with carrots, onions, various seasonings, and (occasionally) shrimps,” the website reads.

Tortang Talong (4.8)

TasteAtlas said that even though the tortang talong is “simple,” its recipe can easily be modified with additional ingredients for a tastier meal.

“This versatile delicacy is easily adapted with additional ingredients such as ground meat and vegetables, and it is traditionally served accompanied by steamed rice and tomato or banana ketchup. Inexpensive and quickly prepared, tortang talong can be enjoyed at any time of day as a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner,” the website says.

The Filipino dish that fell as the worst is Balut (2.7).

TasteAtlas critics recognized the popularity of the street food as an aphrodisiac, filling for pastries or a mere snack that can be bought in street stalls.

The description, however, did not fully explain the reason for the poor rating.

“Although balut is closely associated with Filipino cuisine and has achieved popularity throughout the world, it is still considered a poor man’s meal in the Philippines,” it said.

Slander vs balut?

While some Filipinos agreed with the poll, others criticized the score for balut.

“Next time critics, kung kakain kayo nang balut, samahan niyo nang suka, asin tsaka red horse. Tingan natin kung di yan sumarap, baka 100/10 rating niyo diyan,” a Facebook user said.

“Pinoy food is the best, and Balut is great,” another Facebook user commented.

The popular boiled duck egg caught the attention of international food critics, enthusiasts and even foreign travelers due to the “Balut Eating Challenge” on YouTube and other food shows.

Despite being a staple snack among Filipinos, some foreigners perceived the street food as disgusting to eat and look at.