Exploring Must-Try Street Foods When Traveling in the Philippines


Filipinos are known to enjoy the average three meals a day plus desserts or “merienda” as most Filipinos call it. One of the qualities that Filipinos can do is to make out something new, creative yet cost-sufficient and that includes food.

Street food is basically obtainable from street vendors. Street vendors are business people who sell their wares in the open air rather than in shop or store. In many cases, the vendor either has a small stand that can be secured when not in operation, or makes use of a cart that can be removed from the street at the end of the business day. Sometimes referred to as peddler, the street vendor is commonly found in metropolitan areas, outdoor conventions and events and sometimes at public beaches.

Some street foods are regional. Some are not. It is intimately connected with take-out, junk food, snacks and fast food; it is also distinguished by its local flavor and by being purchased on the sidewalk, without entering any building. Both take out and fast food is often sold from counters inside buildings. Street food is also considered as one of the Philippine food we have today.

Below is a list of Philippine street food with descriptions that are commonly sold in the streets.

• Abnoy – unhatched incubated duck egg or bugok which is mixed with flour and water and cooked like pancakes 
• Adidas – chicken feet, marinated and grilled or cooked adobo style 
• Arroz caldo – rice porridge or congee cooked with chicken and kasubha; see also Lugaw
• Atay – grilled chicken liver. 
• Baga – pig’s or cow’s lungs grilled or deep-fried and served with barbeque condiments. 
• Balat ng manok – see Chicken skin and Chicharon manok
• Balun-balunan – grilled chicken gizzard 
• Balut – hard-boiled duck egg with fetus 
• Banana cue – deep-fried saba (banana) covered with caramelized brown sugar 
• Barbecue – marinated pork or chicken pieces grilled on skewers 
• Batchoy – miki noodle soup garnished with pork innards (liver, kidney and heart), chicharon (pork skin cracklings), chicken breast, vegetables and topped with a raw egg; origin traced to La Paz, Iloilo. 
• Betamax – curdled chicken or pork blood, cubed and grilled. 
• Bibingka – glutinous rice flour pancakes grilled with charcoal above and below in a special clay pot. 
• Biko (also Bico) – glutinous rice cake with grated coconut topping. 
• Binatog – boiled white corn kernels, sugar, grated coconut and milk 
• Bopis – minced pig’s heart and lungs sauteed with garlic and onion and seasoned with laurel, oregano, bell pepper and vinegar. 
• Botsi – chicken esophagus, deep-fried or grilled 
• Buchi – sweet mongo paste in fried dough, usually on sticks. 
• Calamares – deep-fried squid in batter 
• Calamay (also Kalamay) – glutinous rice cakes; varieties all over the country 
• Camote cue – deep-fried camote (sweet potato) covered with caramelized brown sugar 
• Carioca (also Karyoka, Karioka) – deep-fried glutinous rice flour cakes served on skewers 
• Cheese sticks – deep-fried cheese wrapped in lumpia (spring roll) wrapper 
• Chicharon baboy – pork skin cracklings, made from pork rind boiled and seasoned, sun-dried and deep-fried. 
• Chicharon bituka – pork or chicken intestine boiled, seasoned and deep-fried 
• Chicharon bulaklak – pork omentum boiled, seasoned and deep-fried 
• Chicharon manok – chicken skin cracklings 
• Chicken balls – balls made with chicken meat, deep fried and served in skewers with a sweet, sour or spicy sauce. 
• Chicken skin – chicken skin battered and deep fried 
• Cutchinta – see Kutsinta. 
• Day-old chicks – literally day-old chicks deep-fried to a crisp, served with sauce or vinegar 
• Empanada (Batac) – pork longganiza, egg and grated green papaya in a rice flour shell, deep-fried and served with vinegar. 
• Fishballs – balls made with fish meat, most often from pollock, deep fried and served in skewers with a sweet, sour or spicy sauce. 
• Goto – rice porridge or congee cooked with beef tripe 
• Halo-halo – translated as “a mix of many things” or “an assortment,” it is a dessert topped with shaved ice that may contain sweetened saba (banana), camote, macapuno (young coconut), kaong, nata de coco, pinipig (rice crispies), gulaman (agar), sago (tapioca balls), brown and white beans, garbanzos, ube (purple yam), and leche flan (creme brulee), with milk and sugar; Pampanga has three popular versions in Guagua, Arayat and Angeles which may include pastillas, crushed white beans and corn 
• Helmet – grilled chicken head 
• Hepalog (also Toknonong) – hard-boiled duck eggs dipped in orange batter and deep-fried 
• Isaw – collective term for different types of grilled chicken and pork innards; varieties include isaw manok, isaw baboy, atay, goto, botsi, balun-balunan, and tenga ng baboy 
• Isaw baboy – grilled or deep-fried pork intestines on a skewer, served with sweet, sour or spicy sauce. 
• Isaw manok (also IUD) – grilled or deep-fried chicken intestineson a skewer, served with sweet, sour or spicy sauce; also referred to as IUD because it resembles an intra-uterine device. 
• Iskrambol (also Scrambol) – frostees; shaved ice, diced gulaman, sago and condensed milk 
• IUD – see Isaw manok. 
• Kakanin – collective term for snacks made with kanin (rice), particularly malagkit (glutinous) rice; varieties include puto, kutsinta, calamay, sapin-sapin, suman, palitaw, biko or sinukmani, and espasol among many others. 
• Kalamay – see Kalamay. 
• Kamote cue – see Camote cue. 
• Kikiam – the special ones are made of ground pork and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets, deep-fried and served with sweet, sour or spicy sauce; those in the street are seafood-based, usually made of fish meat and cuttlefish. 
• Kudil – deep-fried pork skin 
• Kutsinta – steamed bahaw (boiled rice) with lye and brown sugar; has a gelatinous consistency. 
• Kwek kwek – see Quek quek. 
• Lomi – noodle soup made with thick fresh egg noodles or lomi 
• Longganiza – pork sausage grilled or fried on a skewer 
• Lugaw – rice porridge or congee; varieties include arroz caldo (with chicken and kasubha) and goto (with beef tripe). 
• Lumpia – spring rolls; varieties include lumpiang basa; lumpiang hubad – fresh spring rolls wothout the wrapper; lumpiang prito; lumpiang sariwa – fresh srping rolls; lumpiang shanghai; lumpiang ubod; and turon. 
• Mais – boiled sweet corn seasoned with salt, butter or margarine 
• Mais con yelo – sweet corn, milk and sugar topped with shaved ice 
• Mami – noodle soup 
• Manggang hilaw – green mango served with bagoong (shrimp paste) 
• Mani – peanuts either boiled, roasted or deep-fried and seasoned with garlic and salt 
• Maruya – banana fritters 
• Nilupak – mashed kamoteng kahoy (cassava) or kamote (sweet potato) with brown sugar and served with butter or margarine. 
• Palitaw – glutinous rice flour pancakes topped with grated young coconut, sugar and roasted sesame seeds. 
• Panara – deep-fried crab and grated green papaya empanda sold in Pampanga during Christmas season. 
• Pancit – noodles; varieties are batchoy (Iloilo) – see Batchoy; batil patung (Tuguegarao) – local noodles topped with hot dogs, chicharon, ground meat, fried egg, and vegetables; pancit bihon; pancit canton – a kind of pancit guisado flavored with ginger and soy sauce; pancit guisado, pancit habhab (Lucban) – sauted miki noodles served on and eaten straight from banana leaf sans utensils; pancit lomi – see Lomi; pansit luglog (Pampanga and Tagalog Region) – it has a distinct orange shrimp-achuete sauce and is topped with chicharon, tinapa, wansoy and shrimp; pancit malabon (Malabon) – made with thick rice noodles tossed in shrimp-achuete oil topped with shelled oysters, squid rings, suaje or hipong puti and wansoy; pancit molo (Iloilo) – clear chicken broth with wonton, garlic and crushed chorizo; pancit palabok; pancit puti (Manila); and pancit sotanghon among many others. 
• Pandesal (also Pan de sal) – breakfast roll; rounded bread. 
• Pares – translated as “pair,” means the pairing of rice with beef; beef pares is characterized by very tender meat, usually with a lot of litid (ligaments). 
• Penoy – hard-boiled duck egg without fetus 
• Proven – hard portion of chicken entrails that is either marinated and grilled, battered and fried or cooked adobo style. 
• Pusit – squid grilled on skewer 
• Puto – steamed rice cake 
• Puto bumbong – purple glutinous rice snack cooked in a special steamer 
• Quikiam – see Kikiam. 
• Quek quek (also Toknanay) – hard boiled chicken eggs dipped in orange batter and deep-fried; also used for quail eggs but some say the correct term for the quail egg version is tokneneng; the balutversion is sometimes referred to as hepalog. 
• Sapin-sapin – layered glutinous rice and coconut milk cake usually topped with grated coconut and latik (residue from coconut oil extraction); different flavor per layer such as ube (purple yam), macapuno (young coconut), kutsinta and langka (jackfruit) 
• Scrambol – see Iskrambol. 
• Sinukmani – see Biko. 
• Siomai – steamed pork dumplings 
• Siopao – steamed pork buns 
• Sisig – roasted pig’s head, chicken liver, onions and chili, chopped and flavored with calamansi served on a hot metal plate. 
• Sorbetes (also Dirty ice cream) – street ice cream made with local fruits and ingredients; common flavors include ube (purple yam), mango, avocado, queso (cheese), chocolate, langka (jackfruit), buko or macapuno (coconut); strawberry is common in Baguio City. 
• Squid balls – balls made with squid or cuttlefish meat, deep fried and served in skewers with a sweet, sour or spicy sauce. 
• Suman – glutinous rice snack steamed in banana or coconut leaves; varieties include binagol (Leyte) made with glutinous rice, gabi (taro), coconut milk and chocolate; budbod sa kabog (Tanjay, Negros Oriental) which uses millet instead of glutinous rice; Taho – bean curd snack topped with arnibal (liquified raw sugar similar to molasses) and sago (tapioca balls). 
• Tenga ng baboy (also Walkman) – marinated pig’s ears grilled on skewers; see also Kudil. 
• Toknanay – see Quek quek. 
• Tokneneng – hard boiled quail eggs dipped in orange batter and deep-fried; also called kwek kwek by others. 
• Toknonong – see Hepalog. 
• Tupig (also Itemtem) – glutinous rice, grated mature coconut, coconut milk and molasses rolled in banana leaves and grilled; varieties in Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte (Batac) and Isabela. 
• Turon – saba (banana) with with sugar and sometimes langka (jackfruit) wrapped in lumpia (spring roll) wrapper and deep-fried. 
• Ukoy – pronounced as Okoy. Is a batter-based, deep fried street food in the Philippines. It is dipped in a combination of vinegar and chili. 
• Walkman – see Tenga ng Baboy.

The handling, preparation and storing of food must go through food safety. It shows that every food we serve must follow simple rules. If not, it can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Concerns of cleanliness and freshness often scare people from eating street food. Lack of refrigeration is often interpret as a lack of cleanliness or hygiene; on the other hand, street food often uses particularly fresh ingredients for this very reason.

With the increasing pace of globalization and tourism, the safety of street food has become one of the major concerns of public health for professional to raise public awareness.

Street food is the most popular among reasonable snacks that anyone has to offer. Nothing beats the unimaginable.

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