Many adventurous foodies claim that the best foods to try can be found on the streets of wherever you are, more so than the expensive restaurants of grandeur. The street food found in the Philippines is no exception and great, local delicacies can be found all across the country just waiting to be tasted.
Continue reading this article to learn more about where the best food stalls on the streets are as well as some of the delectable treats that you can expect.
Authentic Street Foods of the Philippines
It’s not hard to find authentic dishes in the Philippines, unlike some places that claim authenticity. Many of these dishes are easy to eat on the go while you tour around the cities, offering a range of sweet and savory selections.
Taho is a smooth, sweet treat for many rushing locals and tourists alike. The dessert/drink made with soft or silken tofu, a caramelized brown sugar syrup, and pearls made of sago (a starch similar to tapioca or cassava) is quintessentially Filipino. Refreshing and light in its sweetness, it can be enjoyed with a spoon or drank with a straw.
Filipinos are known for having sweet teeth, and their love of sorbetes is another example of this truth. Sorbetes refers to “dirty” ice cream that is scooped and sold by sorbetero vendors from their throwback, old-timey pushcarts.
If the “dirty” identifier is making you nervous, fear not, the ice cream is very much safe to eat. The term sorbetes is used to distinguish the food stall staple from “clean” ice creams that are sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. If you’re looking to try a new flavor of ice cream, cheese, ube (a purple yam-like tuber), and langka (the Filipino word for jackfruit) are all immensely popular choices.
Source: YUMMY Ph
Comfort food for all with a sensitive stomach, cheese sticks are not quite the same as the more well-known mozzarella sticks. Instead of being filled with the soft, melty goodness of the mozzarella sticks, cheese sticks in the Philippines actually use cheddar cheese and aim for a crispy, golden appearance – the sign of perfect frying.
The satisfaction a cheese stick crunch can give is hard to beat while walking to and from your attractions planned for the day.
This Filipino delicacy is somewhat deceiving to the eye. Having the appearance of a gelatinous, chocolate brownie, betamax is made by grilling the coagulated blood of a pig or chicken and shaped into these squares.
If you can get past the knowledge of the dish’s composition, the flavor is mellow and slightly bitter without having any nasty or off-putting smells and tastes. The dish is often served up with some spicy vinegar on the side.
Source: Asian Food Network
Food stalls often focus on many grilled dishes as can be seen with isaw – the barbecued intestines of pork or chicken. Filipino people are proud to use every part of an animal to prevent waste, but that doesn’t mean these innards are simply an afterthought.
If you feel slightly queasy thinking about eating intestines, you can breathe easy knowing that they are always cleaned thoroughly at reputable food stalls. They usually offer a deep-fried cooking option as well which can help mask some of the taste and texture if you just want to say that you’ve tried it.
The Best Food Stalls in the Philippines
Now you know some of the foods to keep an eye out for on your trip to the Philippines. Where are some of the best places to try these dishes?
Mang Larry’s Isawan
Mang (the respectful term for a man older than yourself, similar to mister) Larry’s has built a strong reputation for itself as a tasty snack stall on a budget. The food stall is actually located within the campus of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, making it a popular destination for students in between classes.
What differentiates Mang Larry’s from other food stalls is the emphasis on powerful flavor through simple seasonings, just salt and pepper. Cooked perfectly to preserve the juicy flavors, a crispy skin ensures a satisfying skewer during your time in Metro Manila. There are some sauce options on offer as well, but why try to improve upon perfection?
Mang Raul’s BBQ Haus
In contrast to Mang Larry’s, Mang Raul’s offers more sauces to curb curious tastebuds eager on feasting on the available treats. The BBQ Haus is technically a food stall but has transcended its humble origins to become more than just a stall in Las Piñas.
The shop has been around for decades with dedicated customers coming back time and again for over 50 years. If that isn’t a certification of quality food, what is?
If you want to try a bunch of the local cuisine in one concentrated area, public markets are the way to do it. Although stalls might accept credit or debit cards, cash is usually the go-to payment and way of showing appreciation for a great bite.
Markets are much more crowded but the true culinary gems are often hiding in plain sight in these areas. Remember to try all the dishes mentioned here as well as whatever catches your eye like balut (duck embryo) or squid balls!