Quail eggs have been a hawker’s staple in the Philippines. You usually find several vendors offering them on provincial bus trips. Sometimes the floors of the buses would be a mess of boiled peanut shells and eggshells. Plain hard-boiled quail egg dipped in rock salt is a cheap snack for commuters going on a 2-hour trip.
Several years ago, street food vendors began offering battered duck eggs and quail eggs. It’s unclear when or who started this trend but it has picked up over the years and “kwek-kwek” has become standard street fare in Metro Manila.
The addition of orange food coloring was probably done to distinguish it from other fried foods like squid balls and fish balls, which are cheaper than quail eggs.
Aside from this tasty snack, hard-boiled quail eggs are also used as garnish in some noodle and stir fried vegetable dishes.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Good for: 1 – 2 people
Boil quail eggs until hard. Use a gentle boil only. It shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes to cook the eggs once the water starts to simmer.
Remove quail eggs from water and set aside to cool.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda, food color and pepper with a little bit of water until you get a mixture that has a very thick, pasty consistency.
Peel quail eggs carefully and then dust with some flour.
Drop quail eggs in to the flour batter mixture. Make sure that each egg is coated with batter.
Heat cooking oil in a frying pan. The oil should be deep enough to submerge 1 quail egg.
Drop each batter coated quail egg individually into the hot oil. Fry for about 1 minute or until the batter is cooked.
Set the fried eggs aside and drain excess oil.
You may skewer the eggs with bamboo sticks or use a metal barbecue skewer.
Mix vinegar, garlic and onion. Adjust taste with salt and pepper. You may add chili peppers if preferred.
Serve fried quail eggs with the spicy vinegar dip.