The 3 main reasons why local street foods are popular here the Philippines are because they are very cheap, they can be found almost in every street corner, and of course Pinoy street foods are very tasty that’s why they are loved by many Filipinos.
I like to eat or sample out different kinds street foods. Probably it stems out during my college years in P.U.P when me and my classmates have no money to eat burgers and fries at Jollibee or have sizzling pork chops in SM Center Point. We would either go to back alleys near our campus and eat tukneneng and siomai, or go to Kalentong to eat lugaw and lumpiang togue.
That was also the time when my Mom injected me with my first Hepatitis B Vaccine. LOL
During my travels and various work assignments, I always wander around ala Street Food Gourmet and have a taste of some of the regional favorites. Some notable Philippine delicacies sold only in the streets in some parts of the country are Pansit Habhab in Lucban, Quezon, Empanada of Vigan and Batac in Ilocos and Ngohiong and Tempura in Cebu.
But I always try to look around first and see if the place is clean or the food is made in a hygienic manner. I don’t want to eat my heart out and be sick later in the process.
Below is a list of my 10 favorite Pinoy Street Foods in no particular order.
Top 10 Filipino Street Foods
- Fish Balls
Nothing beats freshly cooked fish balls placed on a stick then dipped in sweet and spicy sauce. Fish balls are probably the cheapest among the street foods here in the country. They provide a quick snack during the afternoon 15-minute break in the office. For me the best fish balls are those sold in the Makati Commercial District along Ayala Ave. Also try Kikiam, Squid balls and Chicken Balls.
- Kwek kwek
Kwek kwek are hard boiled eggs, dipped in an orange colored flour batter and then deep fried. Smaller version of it is the Tukneneng where quail eggs are used instead of chicken eggs. It can be enjoyed with spicy vinegar or the special sauce used in fish balls. They are also known as IO or Itlog na Orange in the more upscale colleges and universities.
The true test of being a Filipino, eating balut is a challenge for many people. Balut are hard boiled duck eggs with already developed embryo inside. It is commonly sold during the night time because of its apparent aphrodisiac effects. Its popular counter part is the Penoy or unfertilized duck eggs. The city of Pateros and also the town of Victoria in Laguna are popular balut producers for Metro Manila residents.
Soy bean custard is a favorite breakfast and early morning snack of small children or those coming up late for the office. Taho has even reached the mainstream and is sold inside malls in different variants like Frozen Taho and in other flavors like chocolate, strawberry and bubble gum.
- Puto at Kutsinta
Pot-pot-pot, no there’s no need to be alarmed, that’s just Manong coming with his puto and kutsinta. Puto and kutsinta are varieties of native rice cakes. Puto are basically like small puffy cakes, while kutsina is more of the sticky type, and is orange in color. Both are best served with freshly grated coconut. The town of Calasio in Pangasinan is best known for their version puto at kutsinta and popularly known as Puto Calasio.
- Halo-halo and Dirty Ice Cream
The best way to beat the summer heat is to order Halo-halo. It is shaved ice with a dozen or more ingredients such as beans, evaporated milk, different colors of gulaman, langka, pinipig, chick peas, ube, and leche flan. You must also try the local ice cream known as Dirty Ice Cream, with different flavors like cheese, ube, langka and other fruits in season. Most Dirty Ice Creams are not dirty at all and is very safe to eat. Dirty ice cream is served in cups, cones, or placed inside hamburger buns.
- Sago’t gulaman
No street food adventure is complete without Sago at gulaman. It is a popular drink consisting of ice cold water with caramelized brown sugar, gelatin bits or black gulaman, sago or tapioca balls, and banana essence for flavoring.
- Banana Que and Kamote Que
Deep fried Saba or Banana and Kamote (Sweet Potato) with caramelized brown sugar or panutsa then placed on sticks. Banana que and Kamote que is best for hungry people on the run.
These dumplings are every where. Gone are the days when you need to go a Chinese restaurant to have your fill of dimsum and dumplings. Now siomai is sold together with other street foods like siopao and fish balls. It also becomes an industry of its own, attributing to the success of the various franchising businesses here in the country.
- Pork BBQ and Isaw ng Manok
Mostly sold in the afternoon or early evening, pork bbq and isaw ng manok (chicken intestines) provides students and workers to grab a quick snack before heading back home and brave the rush hour traffic. Other grilled favorites on sticks are Adidas (chicken feet), Betamax (coagulated pork’s blood cut into squares) and Helmet (chicken head).
So if you want to know more about the Philippines, try out these local favorites.
Kindly post your comments below if your favorite Filipino street food is not on the list or know some street food that are unique only to your home town. Thanks again for reading.