“I think of street food as the antidote to fast food; it is the clear alternative to the king, the clown, and the colonel.” –Anthony Bourdain
The longer you stay, the more you get to know about the country. And what better way to know and familiarize oneself with a country’s culture but through its food. After all, your life in a foreign country would not be complete unless you have tried local delicacies during your stay.
The Philippines prides itself with its very diverse cuisines, offering tourists an extensive gastronomic experience. Appetizers? There’s a myriad of choices. A full course Filipino meal? Of course! Desserts? There’s a lot to love. But besides that, you should not turn your gaze away from the number one favorite snack of Filipinos: street food!
So here are some of the popular street foods that Filipinos love to eat and tourists should try:
#1. Dirty ice-cream
‘Dirty’ because the ice cream is homemade, not because it is actually dirty! Like ice cream sellers the the world over, street vendors will ding their bell as they walk down the street. You might not stop at one, they’re so good.
#2. Fruit chiller
You’ll see humongous plastic containers filled with this refreshing drink at fruit stalls. It’s a mixture of milk, sugar and juicy chunks of watermelon, papaya and banana. A great way to beat the heat!
#3. Lechon Manok
It’s impossible not to stop and be mesmerised by lechon manok (roast chicken) as it rotates on the spit. The manok is often stuffed with herbs and the meat juicy and tender.
Suckling pig is a must eat when you’re in the Philippines, especially Cebu where it’s particularly famous. It’s hard not to like the crispy shards of crackling and the succulent pork- wash it all down with a San Miguel and you’ve got yourself a cracker of a meal!
#5. Grills, grills, grills
As the day draws to a close you’ll see wafts of smoke and smell that sticky, charred, sweet scent of meat on the grill. Filipinos love anything on the grill and we have to agree with them- our favourites include chicken wings and pork belly.
#6. Ube in any form
Ube, a purple yam used in desserts and baking in the Philippines. It tastes like a cross between taro and sweet potato and it’s GOOD. Try ube ice cream for an easy introduction to this vegetable.
#7. Pork Sisig
A classic Filipino dish of chopped liver and pig’s cheek which is served on a hot plate with an egg and rice. It’s simple comfort food at its finest.
#8. Halo halo
This delightful Filipino dessert will satisfy all sweet tooths. The concoction can vary but you’ll often find a mixture of jelly, mung beans, coconut strands, ube, evaporated milk and shaved ice. This is one dessert you’ll keep ordering over and over again.
#9. Silog (especially tosilog)
Usually eaten for breakfast this dish of rice (sometimes garlic rice) and an accompaniment of protein either beef tapa, pork tocino, sweet sausage or dried fish plus a gooey fried egg will have you rearing to go. Pork tocino is candied pork and it’s spectacular- think of tosilog as a Filipino bacon and eggs!
#10. Beef stew
For a real burst of flavour track down a bowl of beef stew. Chaolong is Vietnamese in origin so you’ll find this dish loaded with basil, rice noodles and tender beef shank. Add a dollop of chilli to the sweet broth for a spicy kick. We ate an especially delicious version at Beef Stew Hauz in El Nido.
These are just a few in the long list of scrumptious street food you can try in the Philippines. As soon as you have the chance, grab your family or friends and enjoy a food trip along the metro. You’re sure to discover something your tummy will love!