If there is one thing that people around the world know it’s that Filipinos love their food. Because of their love of food, you can immediately see the creativity and ingenuity of some of their delicacies. Well, we have compiled a few street snacks that you definitely have to sink your teeth into.
Welcome and we hope you have a good time during your tour to the top 10 Filipino street food that you should try.
Turon is a sweet and crunchy dish that you will definitely enjoy during your stay. Be it served on the streets or even on restaurants. You definitely have to grab a taste of this. The turon has different recipes and ingredients depending on where you are but there is one thing they have in common and that is they taste absolutely heavenly. A turon is generally a wrapped and deep fried banana. Other variations have sweet potatoes and some even have “Langka” or Jackfruit. This adds a sweet and tangy flavor that brings you back to earth for another bite. It’s definitely a main start when you are looking for a good start for your Filipino street food tour.
Now, what would happen if you use the same wrapper from a turon but with the choice of vegetables and matched with chili vinegar? Well, the Filipinos have it all figured out. This is the salty version of a turon. Although another soft introduction to the world of Filipino street food, you will soon find out that they are leagues different from the turon that people enjoy. The lumpia is composed of beans, carrots, sprouted beans and minced meat wrapped in a “lumpia wrapper” and then deep fried to crispy perfection. Of course, there are different variations of these depending on where you are but you will often come across these vegetables more often.
Now what would happen if you take out the “lumpia wrappers” in a turon? Well, you will end up with a Filipino street food called Banana Q. Banana Q is made up of hard species of banana, relative to the Philippines. Deep fried alongside sugar, the high temperature of the oil forces the sugar to stick to the banana and it will stay there until it is tender. The burnt brown sugar would often leave a sour after- taste, but it will eventually turn into an addiction. We asked multiple people who visited the Philippines and a majority of them wanted the taste of Banana Q again.
Boy, Filipinos love their desserts way too much. The binatog is a white corn boiled or steamed till it becomes almost syrupy in texture. The corn is then served with generous amounts of white sugar, evaporated milk, and coconut shavings. In hindsight, this bare, white boring looking Filipino street food might not even look appetizing, but take a spoonful and you will be swept off your feet.
There is also a salty variation of binatog, but Filipinos generally prefer the sweeter one.
Another Filipino street food to look out for is the infamous ginataan. This is a piping hot sweet porridge made from a mix of coconut milk, rice balls, tapioca, chunks of fruits and other ingredients. You will typically enjoy this during the cold, rainy mornings since it just hits the spot providing you with ample warmth as well as the sweetness that will surely perk you right up.
It is important that you blow the ginataan diligently before you take a bite because the burn it would cause to your tongue might ruin the experience for you and your food trip.
Now let’s look at the 2nd most famous Filipino street food, the taho. Taho is a soft tofu cut and put in a cup. It is then sweetened with a sugary sweet syrup and then topped with a generous amount of tapioca. The tofu is so soft that you can just suck it up with the straw provided.
You can find this Filipino street food on the streets and if not, look for peddlers who scream “TAHOOO” in the morning. To buy one, just grab the peddler’s attention. This tastes extremely silky and sweet. The small portions of close to melting tofu mends well with the accompanying syrup ensuring that there is not a single boring sip.
Pro tip: you should raise the straw and place it in the middle of the cup so as not to let it touch the bottom when you sip. This ensures equal parts of both syrup and tofu and tapioca for your enjoyment. Trust us, you will enjoy it a little bit more if you do.
Have you ever had the chance to drink coconut from its husk? Here in the Philippines, you can find these all around markets and should always accept the invitation to purchase it. Filipino buko is one of the tastiest coconuts around the world, these are sweet and energizing.
Another hearty dish that is served at the comfort of the streets, palabok is a noodle dish that is accompanied by a fishy thick orange sauce. Topped with dried shrimp and chicharon, you will surely enjoy the medley of texture that you will experience. Adding the complementary calamansi to the dish adds a depth of flavor that you will surely keep coming back for.
Ice Cream/ Sorbettes
True they might be called “Dirty Ice Cream” but that name does not do this beloved children’s dessert justice. Do not let that push you away from trying it. We added this on the more challenging Filipino street food since the nickname actually is bad enough to deter foreigners from purchasing it.
Pro Tip: Have it served in a bun, trust us, you wouldn’t want to lose even a single drop of this ice cream goodness.
Fish balls and other kinds of balls
Mostly sold during afternoons and evenings, these flour based goodness are deliciously alluring. Simply sitting and cooking in hot oil, people will come with bamboo BBQ sticks on hand and pick them off. Dunking them in a their choice sauce and eating them then and there.
You can choose between a spicy vinegar, a sweet sauce or a sweet and spicy sauce. Either way, they all taste phenomenal.
If you’re more of an adventurer type, don’t forget to try the balut.