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Fiddlehead Fern Salad (Ensaladang Pako)

Try something new! This ‘Ensaladang Pako’ or Fiddlehead Fern Salad has a crunchy bite to it with salted eggs giving it the creamy, savory notes while the sweet-vinegar dressing gives it a holistic flavor. 

Ensaladang pako

Definitely not your ordinary salad! Have you ever thought that ferns can be eaten? No? Well, in my hometown, Pampanga, this is a common salad dish served in local restaurants.  However, not all fern can be eaten, so before you think of making a feast out of your decorative ferns, learn first if they are the edible fiddleheads.

Some fiddlehead fern needs to be cooked before you can safely consume them because they may contain toxins. In the Philippines though and other parts of Asia, we have the vegetable fern. Locally it is known as “Pako”.  Here it is common to eat is raw. Just make sure that you wash them thoroughly or better yet, soak them in cold or iced water for some minutes, then wash them. You can also blanch them in boiling water and then soak them in iced water if want to be sure.

Fiddlehead Fern Salad with tomatoes, onions, salted egg and sweet vinegar dressing.

Although it is common to find vegetable fern in the local marketplaces, you have to go early as they are only available in the mornings. They are sold in bundles and are normally just freshly picked. That ensures freshness and that they are still quite crisp.

This Ensaladang Pako is very simple. Usually prepared with fresh onions and tomatoes that add flavors to the rather mild taste of the vegetable fern. It is mostly added for its crispy texture that is quite refreshing.

But vegetable fern is not without health benefits. It is said to be rich in minerals such as potassium and zinc. And also, high in antioxidant and an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B complex.

Fiddlehead Fern Salad with tomatoes, onions, salted egg and sweet vinegar dressing.

Other quick Salad recipes to try:

Fiddlehead Fern Salad with tomatoes, onions, salted egg and sweet vinegar dressing.

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Fiddlehead Fern Salad with tomatoes, onions, salted egg and sweet vinegar dressing.

Fiddlehead fern Salad (Ensaladang Pako)

A crisp and refreshing salad with fiddlehead fern (vegetable fern) as the main ingredient, made tangy and flavorful with white vinegar, sugar and salted eggs.
Print Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: ensaladang pako,fiddlehead fern salad,pako salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 67kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 cups fiddlehead fern - - young fronds
  • 3 medium tomatoes - - sliced thinly
  • 1 large onion - - sliced thinly
  • 2 salted egg - - cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • fresh ground pepper


  • Soak the collected tips of vegetable fern young fronds in cold water for some minutes and rinse well. You may also blanch them in boiling water beforehand.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in vinegar and add fresh ground pepper. Set aside.
  • In a big bowl, mix the fern, tomatoes and onions.
  • Pour in vinegar mixture and toss until well mixed.
  • Add the salted eggs and toss one last time.


Vinegar may be replaced with lemon juice, sugar with honey.
Regular boiled eggs instead of salted eggs may be used.
Nutrition Facts
Fiddlehead fern Salad (Ensaladang Pako)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 67 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 34mg1%
Potassium 269mg8%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 1580IU32%
Vitamin C 15.3mg19%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

This post was originally published in January 2015. Updated to include new photos and improvement to the recipe. 



Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

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    1. Hmmmnnn, a bit difficult to answer since I am not from Manila. But in Pampanga, I see them being sold at big supermarkets (SM, Robinsons, Walter) you might also want to ask in the vegetable section in your local market where to get some, maybe if they know a supplier and they can get you some. In our local market, they are only available in the morning…

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