Let’s admit it! Foods are one of the main reasons why we travel to a certain place or city. The nice thing about it, food doesn’t demand so much chunk on our funds unless we choose to eat in a high-class restaurant the whole time. Southeast Asia offers the biggest delectable street foods in the world that varies from the most exotic to the most delighting-looking meal you can ever find. Your $1 surely goes a long way without compromising the quality of taste.

Manila, the capital of The Philippines and one of the most highly populated cities in the world is a top spot to be for food enthusiasts. As a country with diverse ethnic backgrounds and a long history of colonial occupations from the Spaniards, Japanese and finally Americans, The Philippines has a wonderful mixture of tastes in their cuisines with a strong root of its Asian flavor. If you are looking for a unique but savory flavor that matches a bit of yours back in the west with loads of Asian touch, then come and taste Manila. 

Filipino Street Foods

Philippine street foods might be underrated compared to its neighboring countries in Asia. However, the country can unquestionably prove its worth the money to come for food. With over hundreds of different street foods available from the small alleys to the humongous shopping malls in Manila, it can be a challenge which ones to eat first. In a short while, the Top 10 Must-Try Filipino Street Foods in Manila will be unveiled. 

Where to find safe and cheap street foods in Manila?

As a tourist visiting Manila, you should never skip trying their variety of local street foods. What about the food-hygiene and sanitation? We understand your worries about food safety and all. That’s why we point you in the right direction. The busy streets of Manila will blow your mind away with so many side vendors selling their products. From the local pavements of the Quiapo market to the long freeways of EDSA, you can find locals selling something to eat at a very affordable price. 

So where can you find a place to eat safe and cheap street foods? Surprisingly, most shopping malls in the Philippines have a food court or food stalls where you can eye-out Filipino local treats for a taste. They might be in a little pricey side than the ones in the market, but you’re 99.9% sure they’re properly prepared. If you are with a local guide or a friend, visiting some local markets can be your best alternative. Having a local companion when it comes to eating around in a market is so much plus points. Not only they are familiar where most people come to eat but they know which food-stands or stalls can be trusted.

The Top 10 Best Street Foods in Manila, Philippines

Southeast Asian street foods are absolutely tasteful, but these are the Best of Manila street foods you should try!  

1. Champorado

Champorado is a chocolate rice pudding made from sticky rice and pure cacao tablets or “tableya”. It is usually eaten with salted dried sardines called “tuyo”. Filipinos consume it for breakfast as it is a good source of energy for the whole morning.

2. Banana Que or Banana Q

Banana Que is a great afternoon snack. You can make it using a banana variety called “Saba”. It is a deep-fried banana, then coated with caramelized brown sugar and topped off with sesame seeds. They are typically served on a stick like that of a barbecue.

3. Okoy

Okoy is so good to be just a street food. The main ingredient of the recipe is shrimps. It is mixed together with chopped sweet potatoes and egg-flour batter. Then it is deep-fried to golden-brown. In the event, you like to try it, dip it in a spicy vinegar sauce. 

4. Halo-Halo

Halo-Halo is like the Filipino’s national dessert. Its main components are freshly shaved ice, sweetened locally produced fruits like banana, red beans, macapuno, jackfruit, coconut and more. Topped with “ube” flavored ice cream, a small sliced of leche flan and an evaporated milk, it is heaven! 

5. Street Barbecues

Filipinos make sure that no single part of an animal is left unused for cooking. The most popular barbecues to indulge in the local streets are Adidas(chicken’s feet), Betamax(a mixture of pork or chicken blood formed into rectangular pieces), Isaw(chicken or pork intestines), and Helmet(chicken’s head). There’s a huge variety of sauces from vinegar to soy sauce, that makes them much appetizing.

6. Balut

The infamous Balut is the most savage local street food-find according to many tourists. It is a boiled duck embryo ranging between 14 to 21 days old. Surely it tastes a lot better with a pinch of salt and spicy vinegar. It is best to consume during the evening when it’s dark. So don’t bother with a chick and its feathers! 

7. Sisig

Sisig is a popular dish from Pampanga province that makes a perfect appetizer or a hearty meal on a bowl of rice. It is commonly served as a side dish in a drinking session. While it includes finely chopped pig head and liver, it gets tastier with Kalamansi(Filipino lemon), chili pepper, diced onions, and seasonings.  

8. Green Mango with Shrimp Paste

Green mangoes and fermented shrimp paste are like a perfect match made in heaven. The sour flavor of unripe mangoes and the salty-sweet palate of shrimp paste make the two an excellent tandem. The shrimp paste is best served when it’s sauteed with oil, garlic, and a dash of sugar to balance the taste. 

9. Taho

Taho is a delightful dessert that can be eaten as a breakfast or just a snack. It is made from soft silky tofu, tiny tapioca pearls or locally called, Sago, and caramelized sugar. The tofu is so soft yet firm and almost has a pudding-like texture. It’s served warm and so mesmerizing. You’ll want to keep coming back for more.

10. Buko

Buko is referred to as a Philippine young and green coconut. It is served by cutting off the top edge part of the coconut, just right to sip the fresh juice of the fruit. Once the juice is fully consumed, you can ask the vendor to open the coconut into half. The taste of young meat alone is so naturally tropical, which makes it also a great dessert such as buko pie. 

Once you’ve tasted all these Top 10 Filipino Street Foods in Manila, you become without a doubt a legit Filipino street foodist. Of course, when enjoying these foods, don’t forget to have a local guide you trust to walk you through the best places to go. To wrap up, the funniest way in indulging these local must-eats is having good local people to eat while singing on a videoke or karaoke. Nothing can be better than the best of Manila street foods!

Which street foods in Manila do you love to eat the most? Let us know!

Visitors' Poll:

On 18th of September in 1891 José Rizal's book El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed) came of the printing press in Ghent.

Would you like to see the City of Ghent name a street after him to commemorate this historic event and evergreen story?