All the Must-Try Street Food in the Philippines
Eating is one of the favorite past-times of almost every Filipino. So it’s not really surprising if you can find street food vendors in almost every corner of the city. And the best thing about Filipino street foods is that they are all cheap! So if you’re in the mood for some food trip, trying the most popular street food in the country is definitely a must-try. Moreover, it’s also a great and inexpensive way to explore the country and get to know its culture.
Fish Balls, Squid Balls and Kikiam
First in the list are the all-time favorite Fish Balls, Squid Balls, and Kikiam. Fish Balls is made of fish, squid balls of squid and Kikiam is usually pork. It’s just like a hot dog as it is processed meat with possibly flour. Each Fish ball cost 50 cents (in Philippine pesos) while Squid Ball and Kikiam normally costs 2.50 pesos. It’s just like Hong Kong’s squid balls but much smaller and tastes crunchy in the outside but soft inside. It comes with a sweet or spicy sauce.
Just a tip, always choose vendors that offer the sauce in bottles rather than a container. If it is in containers, anyone is free to dip the sauce in the container even though they have already bitten the food on their sticks. If its in a bottle, you can be sure no other person’s saliva has been in the sauce.
Isaw and Barbecue
Next on the list is isaw and barbecue. If you’re looking for some challenge, go for isaw which is pig or chicken intestine. It is marinated with special barbecue sauce and then grilled on the spot upon your order. And if you’re not that adventurous, opt for a pork barbecue which is basically pork marinated in barbecue sauce and grilled on a stick.
Now if you’re looking for something more filling, you can try every Filipino’s favorite cheap rice porridge. It’s cooked with chicken broth and you have a choice to add it with garlic, calamansi (Philippine version of lemon) and soy sauce. If this is your first time, try it with garlic and just a pinch of calamansi.
Corn or Binatog
Boiled sweet corn and white corn is another favorite snack by many Filipinos. Its basically boiled or steamed corn and usually comes with butter and cheese (if in a cup). Some offer it with sugar but its optional. There is also a white corn that we call binatog. It’s taken out of the cob and comes with shredded coconut meat and butter.
Lumpiang Gulay or Turon
Then there is also lumpiang gulay (Shang-hai-style egg roll wrappers filled with vegetable) or turon (Shang-hai-style egg roll wrappers filled with sweet banana). If you like sweets, go for the turon while health conscious individuals should go for the lumpiang gulay. Just don’t forget to dip the lumpiang gulay with a bit of vinegar to enjoy it Filipino-style!
If you liked the turon, you’re going to love the Banana cue! It’s banana coated with sugar and cooked in hot boiling oil. It’s best eaten while it’s super hot and usually cost 10 to 15 pesos each stick.
Nuts, Green Peas and Cornick
So if you enjoy pica pica food, trying Philippine’s adobong peanuts, green peas and cornik. Adobong peanuts are our version of salted peanuts but with lots of garlic. And after trying that, you should give our fried green peas and Cornick a chance. Yes, we made green peas into nuts and it’s really yummy! Cornick, on the other hand, is made of corn, fried so it tastes like nuts but better.
Just a tip, if you want to bring home cornick to your country, you can also buy it from most supermarkets. Most would recommend Boy Bawang brand but for me its Ilocos Chicharon (garlic flavor).
Siomai is a dimsum that is known worldwide. But in the Philippines, Siomai is eaten with soy sauce, calamansi (Philippine’s version of lemon) and chili sauce. If you’re lucky, you get to taste the ones with lots of garlic which makes the siomai so much tastier. 4 pieces of siomai cost 20 to 30 pesos and you can get a wintermelon (sago gulaman) drink if you add 10 to 15 pesos.
Mango or Turnip with Bagoong (anchovies)
In the Philippines, green mangoes must be eaten with bagoong or spicy salt. Bagoong (anchovies) are very small species of shrimps and taste very salty. If you’re not into anchovies, you can opt for spicy salt instead. Sometimes, vendors also offer turnip which is a much cheaper alternative to mangoes. It has a neutral taste and will highlight the flavor of bagoong or spicy salt.
Halo Halo in Tagalog means mixed together which makes sense because this dessert is a mix of Filipino sweets. This includes Leche Flan, Ube, Sweetened Banana, Sweet Potatoes, glutinous rice, and a lot more. It is topped with shaved ice and evaporated milk. This dessert comes in a different version, some want it with a lot of toppings while other concentrates to 4 toppings only. Nevertheless, all of it taste sweet and yummy!
One Day Old
As its name suggest, this food is a one-day-old chick, marinated and fried until crispy. It’s definitely not a dish for everyone because many Filipinos don’t eat it too! But if you’re adventurous, go and taste it.
Next exotic street food is Philippine’s Betamax. Its made of chicken blood and made into gelatin-like cubes. It is then grilled and dipped into vinegar sauce. Again, it’s an exotic food so many Filipinos don’t like it either.
Balut is probably the most popular exotic food in the Philippines. It has been featured so many times on national television, usually as a challenge to finish off the whole egg or even just taste it. What makes this egg very exotic is that it’s grown until the whole body of the chick is developed before boiled.