The Intricate Process Behind Rare ‘Dinosaur Egg’ Salt

Insider Food visited the dedicated Filipino family who has kept up the decades old tradition of making asin tibuok, a rare salt which is known as “The Dinosaur Egg”.

Asin tibuok, nicknamed the dinosaur egg, is one of the rarest salts in the world. In the 1960s, salt-making families in the Philippine island of Bohol would trade it for food and other goods. But the craft nearly disappeared in the late 20th century when younger people left the trade for more profitable careers.

The family was happy to take the viewer through the intricate process, which involves burning coconut husks, packing the ashes to filter the briny water that goes into clay pots, and heating them high temperatures to evaporate the water, leaving the salt. The clay pot gives the salt an egg shape, hence the name. The process takes time and the result is very valuable, unfortunately, Philippine law is prohibitive when it comes to the salt trade within the country.

A national law passed in 1995 requires all salt sold in the Philippines to be iodized. The ASIN law was meant to combat malnutrition and prevent goiters, which were often caused by iodine deficiency. But the law devastated small-scale salt producers who couldn’t afford the expensive machinery required to add iodine to their salt.