As the famous slogan says, “It’s more fun in the Philippines” but what is travelling without getting the firsthand experience of Filipino streets? For one to have a successful immersion of another’s culture, one must walk the streets for it shows the true color and character of a nation. No pretensions, just the authenticity of the modern culture. These 5 must-try Filipino street food would be a good start for your unforgettable time in the Philippines.
1. Banana Cue, Kamote Cue and Turon
If you’re a bit health conscious but willing to go an extra mile, then these delicacies are a must try! Banana cue, Kamote cue and Turon, fried with faultlessness, was made to satisfy the hidden sweet-tooth in you. Commonly sold together sometime in the afternoon by a mobile vendor or sometimes along the streets, they are very cheap. Banana cue is deep-fried until it turns into a caramelized brown sugar coating and then skewered into a stick. The same process goes for Kamote Cue except that it uses kamote. While for Turon, it is a banana covered with a sugar coated lumpia wrapper and then, again, fried to perfection.
One of the crowd favorites that can be found in almost any corner of the street is Isaw. Isaw, can either be chicken or pork intestines. Don’t be discouraged by the name as this is undeniably addictive. There are various available sauces which serve as a dip. Try it out for yourself and see which matches your preference.
3. Fishball, etc.
Another food on a stick you need not miss is fishball and its family of fried balls. Usually sold by a mobile vendor pushing a cart of portable gas and diverse choices of dips (Yes, Filipinos like their sauces as many choices as they can). Fishball is made of pulverized cuttlefish meat which is fried by the vendor then customers are welcome to poke it on their sticks once cooked. If you’re not keen on fish, then you could try out squidball or even kikiam. After checking fishball off of your list, you can now proudly say “I made tusok tusok on the fishball!”
Most street foods are sold during the afternoon for merienda, a typical Filipino snack to be eaten in sometime after lunch or before dinner. Don’t be fooled, as taho does not belong in that group. Taho, the gift from the Gods, is something to consumed over breakfast. Fresh soya milk combined with caramelized sugar and tapioca pearls is another Filipino favorite especially among children. While still in bed, the next time you hear someone shouting “Taho~”, run for your life and follow the voice with a big mug in hand.
Alas, you cannot leave the Philippines without experiencing the King of all street foods, Balut. Balut is usually found too exotic for a foreigner’s taste, but the key to eating this holy grail of street foods is to not overthink how to eat it. Commonly sold at dusk, the unborn duck embryo with a pinch of salt is one of the most popular “weird” foods of the world. Even some locals find it too exotic for their tastes but try it for yourself, who knows, you might like it more than you actually expected.