One of the best ways to explore a country is to eat like a local! In the Philippines, there are tons of dishes that every visitor should try, but let’s veer away from the restaurants and take it to the streets.
Here’s a quick guide on street food in the Philippines that you’re sure to enjoy:
A childhood favorite for many Filipinos, fish balls are deep-fried treats made up of fish meat and flour.
The usual way of getting a serving is by taking a skewer and poking them out of the oil. You can dip them into a chili, vinegar and onion sauce or a sweet sauce that the vendor usually has on hand.
Similar to fish balls but made with squid meat, are rounder, whiter and bigger in shape.
Kwek-kwek is easy to spot because of its bright orange color. Basically, its quail egg that’s been dipped in an orange batter and deep fried.
Like squid and fish balls, its best enjoyed by dipping into a chili, vinegar and onion sauce.
Made up of either pork or chicken intestines, these barbecued street side treats are a go-to for many locals.
The intestines are coiled onto skewers, barbecued and are eaten after being dipped in a vinegar mixture. The pig intestines are a bit chewier and have more flavor when compared to its chicken counterpart.
Filipinos aren’t one to waste food, meaning they can make a dish out of any animal part! Case in point? Balunbalunan which is chicken gizzard.
Compared to Isaw, Balunbalunan is more rubbery and chewier though both the dishes require being brushed with a flavorful sauce while grilling.
Not for the faint of heart, Betamax is grilled coagulated pork or chicken blood. Brushed with sauce while grilled, Betamax are basically blood cubes that’ve been skewered.
Due to their shape and dark color, people started calling them Betamax because they were reminiscent of the black tapes.
Skewered chicken feet and head that’s been grilled.
Easy to make, kutsinta are rice cake made with rice flour, brown sugar, and lye. Steamed in small ramekins, they’re often topped off with freshly grated coconut.
Also known as “Lumpiang saging”, Turon is similar to a spring roll but instead of a meat filling, it has thinly sliced bananas and a slice of jackfruit.
It is then dusted with brown sugar and fried. There other fillings that can be used as well, these include mango, cheddar cheese, coconut and sweet potato.
These bite-sized treats are steamed rice cakes that are either white, green or purple – the latter two colors indicate whether they’re pandan or ube flavored.
They can be eaten on their own with a slice of cheese, butter or salted egg on top, or they can be enjoyed alongside the Filipino dish, dinuguan.
Bananacue is made up of plantains that have been sprinkled with brown sugar and deep fried.
Sorbetes is a homemade variation of ice cream made with either coconut or ordinary milk. It’s usually served on wafer or sugar cones, or the most popular way with locals – served in bread buns.
Anyone who’s grown up in the Philippines is familiar with the morning or afternoon call of, “Tahooooooooo!” Seeing a taho vendor balancing two aluminum buckets hanging from each end of a pole that’s resting on his shoulders has become a familiar sight for many.
This comfort snack is made up of warm silky tofu topped with caramelized sugar syrup and tiny sago.
Balut is for people with stomachs of steel – basically, it’s a developing bird embryo that’s been boiled or steamed.
Eaten straight out of the shell, the partially-developed duckling’s bones are soft enough to chew and swallow. It is a common and cheap source of protein and calcium that are either sold street side, stores and malls.
Binatog is corn sliced off the cob cooked with fragrant lemongrass. Usually served in a cup, Binatog is topped off with either shredded coconut, a dash of salt, sugar or sweetened condensed milk.
Enjoy these popular street side snacks around the streets of Manila and in other parts of the Philippines.
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