A recent article about travel and food has been circling the blogosphere for what seem to be a negative take on Filipino (street) food. I will not condemn nor agree with the blog owners, rather, I would like to suggest certain places where one could enjoy a good meal (not necessarily on the streets) but are very affordable. Let’s say with a 25$ per head (roughly 1,121 pesos or 19.50€ ) budget a day – spanned across 3 meals and some snacks in between.
It can’t be guaranteed that street food in the Philippines are prepared in pristine conditions nor are they germ-free as most around the world, a topic of growing public health concern.
This is categorized as a snack but is best eaten in the morning, when the vendors would bring them fresh and warm, swinging two metal containers and balancing them on their shoulders while shouting around the neighborhood in a very distinct call to loyal customers: “tahooooooooooo!!!” You’d be sure to see young and old alike queuing with a a glass on one hand and money on the other. Others would go as far as taking a pitcher to buy more.
This soft/silken tofu with arnibal (sweetener and flavoring, sometimes melted brown sugar), and sago pearl (tapioca) can also be bought in plastic cups provided by vendors. Yes, best eaten in the morning because it’s power-packed with protein giving you the energy you need for the day.
Where to find:
From vendors early in the morning
: certain restaurant chains sell chilled taho, try the strawberry taho — probably in Baguio 🙂
: And yes, 10 pesos…for barely 0.25¢, you’re good to go.
Combination of Silogs (sinangag and itlog / Fried rice and egg)
It’s no secret that a typical Filipino dish consists of rice, regardless of the time of the day. Fried rice are staple during breakfasts, probably in a way to save cooked rice from going bad, it’s generally hot in the Philippines so frying left over rice is a practical option. Normally, it is only fried on garlic but, putting in some veggies is also a wonderful idea along with a beaten egg.
One popular fare would be a combination of silogs, portmanteau of singangag and itlog with another viand; that’s fried rice, egg cooked either sunny side up or scrambled, and a choice of local meat. The kind of meat is then added to the portmanteau. It can also be served with tomatoes and salted eggs. The list for this is quite long.
Tapsilog = tapa + sinangag + itlog
:tapa, cured meat that’s been marinated in soy sauce and calamansi…yes,it is of Spanish origin
Tocilog = tocino + sinangag + itlog
:tocino, another type of cured meat from Spain like baconr, rather sweet though
Longsilog = longganisa + sinangag + itlog
:longganisa, literally Spanish sausage, in the Philippines they are sausages flavored according to region and varies from being sweet to spicy to sour, salty and garlicky
Bangsilog = bangus + sinangag + itlog
: bangus, milkfish in Filipino, the fish is usually butterflied and deboned and marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and garlic. It is then fried to a crisp and could be dipped in vinegar.
Hotsilog = hotdogs + sinangag + itlog
: hotdogs, particularly the juicier, red hotdogs that Filipinos love…they’re the same as American hotdogs, only deeper in color
Spamsilog = spam + sinangag + itlog
: spam, yes, the mysterious meat in the can
Dangsilog = danggit + sinangag + itlog
: danggit, is the Filipino name for the rabbitfish, it is best served dried, popularly a product of the city of Cebu, served crispy and dipped in vinegar
Cornsilog = corned beef+ sinangag + itlog
: corned beef, need i say more?
The list goes on, Filipinos being very creative with combining food flavors and matching them well to tickle one’s palate. Include in this list: omelette of eggplant and ground beef, hamburger patty, porkchop, battered drumstick, dried fish, and smoked fish.
Where to find:
: Sinangag Express at 70-120Pesos/1.55-2.70$
: Max’s restaurant at 170-220Pesos/3.80-4.90$
: Goodah at 120-200Pesos (You can find Goodah branches here.)
Champorado is a sweet chocolate rice porridge. It’s traditionally made with sticky rice and tablea.
Filipinos have snacks in between breakfast and lunch, around 10:30 and in the afternoon – around 3 or so, what locally called Merienda. Some of these snacks are also served as desserts.
Banana, usually plantain, in lumpia wrapper coated in caramelized sugar.
Banana Cue and Camote Cue
Banana cue would be skewered plantain coated in sugar and deep fried in oil, while camote cue would be sweet potatoes in the same fashion.
Street Barbecues, Fishballs and More
Where to find:
Lunch and Dinner
Rotisserie Chicken and Crispy Pork Belly
Where to find:
Leslie’s offer traditional Filipino food in a very home-y setting.