15 Must Try Street Foods In The Philippines
Since we travelled around the Philippines on a budget, most of our meals consisted of street food and cheap (but hearty) dishes at local eateries. Street food is often deep fried or grilled and very tasty, though definitely not the healthiest option around! Healthy or not, here are 15 must try street foods in the Philippines .
15 Must Try Street Foods In The Philippines
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Soft and fluffy, the siopao is a steamed bun filled with a variety of pork, chicken or egg fillings. It is very common in the Philippines, being widely available from fast food stands & 7-11’s. The siopao is comes in various sizes and is very affordable – less than 50 PHP (<€1) a piece, making it an ideal lunch snack if you’re traveling on a budget. Our favourites were those filled with Chicken Asado and Bola-Bola (flavoured minced pork) fillings.
Originally from China, siomai are little steamed dumplings filled with minced meat and vegetables. They are served up on the street in little trays with a choice of different sauces. They are so tasty that one or two are never enough, we always consumed way more than we should have!
This is definitely not a snack that everyone would like to try out, but be aware that it looks way worse than it actually tastes. In case you’re not familiar with the Filipino delicacy, Balut is actually a boiled, fertilized duck egg which is eaten directly from the shell after you sip out the juices surrounding it. According to Michelle (who was the one to try it), the Balut tastes a lot like crunchy chicken soup!
4. Grilled meats
“Meats” could mean anything in the Philippines really. Little barbeques serving kebabs of liver, intestines, testicles, chicken feet and any other part of an animal that can be grilled are ubiquitous throughout the country. Sticks with chunks of coagulated blood are common too. Sometimes you will even find chicken legs or breast on a barbeque though! These little sticks of meats are inexpensive (10-20 PHP (€0.20) per stick), but do check that all the meat has been cooked right through.
A variety of noodle dishes are available from many stalls on the street. Shrimp, chicken, vegetables, you choose! Inexpensive and filling – perfect for those travelling on a budget!
This is a soup cooked with tamarind which typically gives the dish a strong and sour flavour. It was not our favourite food but seems to be very popular among Filipinos! The soup shown in the picture is bangus (milkfish) sinigang which Michelle had for breakfast one day.
It is difficult to describe Halo-halo exactly since different vendors all seem to make their own version of it. The best we can come up with is crushed ice covered in sweet condensed milk to which several ingredients are added. The unlikely ingredients may be sweetcorn, beans, cooked pasta, coconut, jelly and fruits. Sometimes it is topped up with a ball of icecream and caramel sauce but the versions seems to depend a lot on what is available. Though it may sound like a rather weird concoction, we kind of became addicted to the dessert and often had skipped lunch in favour of one (or more) Halo-halo. Definitely one of the street foods in the Philippines that you must try at least once!
8. Mango with chilli/vinegar/salt
We first tasted mango with chilli in Baguio when we thought that we were just purchasing plain mango slices. The combination of spicy chilli and sweet mango surprised us and we liked it! From then on, mango with chilli became a staple snack throughout our stay in the Philippines.
9. Fish balls
Fish balls are just that – deep fried balls of coarsely shredded fish. They are often served with a sweet and spicy sauce and are one of the most popular street foods in the Philippines.
Hard-bolied quail eggs are deep fried in orange batter until crispy and served with a vinegar dipping sauce. Best to have them fried in your presence and to eat them immediately so as not to let them become soggy!
The king of Cebu food (and possibly of all the street foods in the Philippines), this mouth-watering tender, roasted suckling pig will guarantee that you keep going back for more and more. Gravy is normally served separately in a plastic bag but we never felt the need to use it. The mildly flavoured, slightly salted pork is the best we’ve ever had!
We were not too impressed by suman which is basically sticky rice steamed in banana leaves or young palm leaves. We actually found it to be pretty bland and tasteless until we were told that it should be eaten sprinkled with sugar. Because anything tastes better with sugar right?
It took us a long time to understand what the multi-coloured drinks in plastic barrels actually were. The iced drinks actually contain sago (tapioca pearls) and gelatin pieces and are usually flavored with syrup from a wide variety of fruit extracts. The one we tried was green and contained coconut pieces and sweet corn. Honestly, not quite our thing.
14. Banana-Q and Camote-Q
These deep-fried caramelised banana & sweet potato goodies are worth all the calories packed in the little snack! Available from hawkers in most villages, they are best eaten when still piping hot and fresh.
Sotanghon are actually cellophane noodles, but in Manila, it is also the name for a dish of a thick soup full of the same noodles and boiled eggs. Strong, hot and salty, it made for a great lunch!
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