Choose Philippine Cuisine

Edited by Robbi, Anonymous, Eng, Christine Cruz and 2 others

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Let's face it, one of the things that we do the most while we are on vacation is to sample the local fare. Food is a big part of any celebration or holiday and your vacation will be no different. Choosing the right foods and the right places to get them is an important part of ensuring that you get the most our of your Philippine vacation.

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Delectable Filipino Dishes

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During your Spend a Vacation in Multi-Island Philippines, you're going to want to sample some of the local cuisine. Some of the things that you can find that should not be missed while you're here include the following unique restaurants and eateries:

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  1. 1
    Adobo.
    This is pork or chicken put in a sauce mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. Some people find this rather salty, although it depends on how much soy sauce you put into it.
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  2. 2
    Afritada.
    This can be pork, beef, or chicken mixed with tomato sauce and soy sauce. Potatoes are added to garnish the dish.
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  3. 3
    Dinuguan.
    This may look rather gooey because of its black color. It is a dish mainly made out of pig's blood and then mixed with vinegar. Pork or pork stomach is the main meat added into it.
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  4. 4
    Menudo.
    This is another tomato sauce and soy sauce mixture mixed with crushed pate. Cubed pork and potatoes are then added plus red bell pepper strips.
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  5. 5
    Palabok.
    This is another noodle dish in the Philippines that is topped with orange sauce and then garnished with salted fish, squid, or crunchy pork. A variety of this is called pansit malabon, which is similar in terms of components but used thicker transparent noodles.
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  6. 6
    Pansit.
    This is the Philippines' version of spaghetti. It is essentially noodles topped with pork, carrots, beans, and cabbage and then sprinkled with a bit of lemon.
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  7. 7
    Sinigang.
    This is a tamarind soup mixed with either shrimp, pork, or fish and then vegetables like string beans, tomato, purple yam, and morning glory.
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  8. 8
    Sisig.
    There are several varieties of this from pork, pork head, milkfish, tuna, beef, etc. It is basically a sizzling dish served on very hot plate. A lot of onion is mixed into the dish. Once it is cooked, it goes best with egg and some drops of lemon.
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Filipino Pastries, Desserts, and Chips

  1. 1
    Bibingka.
    This is a very common delicacy during Christmas season which is sold near churches. These are small traditional cakes that are served fresh from the heating pan.
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  2. 2
    Chichacorn.
    This is the Philippines' version of popcorn, only smaller because each corn kernel is not popped that much. Vigan in Ilocos Sur is the most popular producer of this.
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  3. 3
    Kutsinta.
    This is another version of traditional sticky rice cakes but this is yellowish brown in color and a bit jelly-like. It goes best with coconut as well.
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  4. 4
    Palitaw.
    This is another variation of sticky rice cake which are shaped into thin oblongs and topped with coconut.
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  5. 5
    Pan de sal.
    This is a staple food for breakfast in the Philippines. This is a simple bun which is a bit crunchy on the outside and covered with bread crumbs. It is best served hot, right after it gets out of the oven. It can be combined with anything, be it egg, ham, cheese, jams, butter, etc., even ice cream. You would find several local shops selling this in the morning, although there are several brand name bakeshops that sell this throughout the day.
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  6. 6
    Pastillas.
    This is rather similar to yema but only lacks the caramelized sugar outside. It is usually wrapped in white waxed wrappers, but colors also vary depending on the flavor.
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  7. 7
    Pichi-pichy.
    This is made up of cassava and converted into jelly-like thin oblongs. These are then topped with grated cheese and coconut.
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  8. 8
    Polvoron.
    There are already several varieties of this in terms of flavor, such as cookies and cream, rice crispies, butter, coffee, strawberry, mango, peanut, and almonds. This is simply a mixture of milk and sugar, with a bit of butter to make it stick together, and then clumped together into an oval or round-shaped candy.
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  9. 9
    Puto.
    This is a very traditional pastry which looks like a small white bun. It goes very well with several Filipino dishes like pansit and dinuguan.
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  10. 10
    Puto Bungbong.
    This is another variety of sticky rice cakes with a violet color. This goes very well with butter and coconut.
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  11. 11
    Tupig.
    This is a mixture of sticky rice, coconut milk, and coconut strips shaped like that of a chocolate bar. Each is then wrapped with banana leaves and then grilled.
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  12. 12
    Sticky ube.
    Purple yam is mixed with sticky rice and formed into finger-like shapes.
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  13. 13
    Yema.
    This is a mixture of sugar, milk, and a bit of egg which is formed into small triangles and then individually wrapped with colorful cellophanes.
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Street Food Worth Trying

If you are adventurous enough in terms of food, then Filipino street food is something that you should try at least once during your trip to the Philippines. There's several of it that you would see at street corners. However, although there is already an assumption that it is dirty because it is prepared and sold on the streets, there's still some level of discernment that must be employed here. Dirty has different levels and, of course, as a tourist who wants to enjoy his vacation, you should not go for those which are obviously extremely dirty. You wouldn't want to spoil your vacation with a diarrhea, isn't it? There are still some out there which are relatively cleaner than the rest, so be keen for those.

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  1. 1
    Betamax.
    This is a slang term for pig blood that is grilled along the streets. It is called betamax because of its dark boxy look, similar to the old betamax. People always describe the taste as similar to meat, except that the texture is similar to jelly.
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  2. 2
    Binatog.
    This is a rice kernel dish, mixed with grated coconut and sugar. It is peddled on the street in a bicycle, and the vendor uses a bell to catch the attention of customers.
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  3. 3
    Chicharon.
    This is pork rind that is deep fried to be crunchy. It goes best with vinegar, especially spicy vinegar.
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  4. 4
    Chicharong Bulaklak.
    This is deep fried pig intestine. It usually comes out both crunchy and chewy and that's what makes it delicious. Also, it is best dipped into spicy vinegar.
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  5. 5
    Fish ball.
    This is a kind of patty made up of floor and ground fish fillet. Each patty is round and flat. What makes it fun to buy this is that the vendor would be frying it on his cart and the customer can pick it up from the boiling pan through a stick. You can pick as much as you want and the vendor would charge per piece. Thereafter, you can dip it in different types of sauces like chili, sweet, and sweet chili.
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  6. 6
    Sorbetes.
    This is your typical ice cream, but it is being peddled on the streets using a bell. The ice cream tubs are placed inside a box-like carriage. Normally there are 3-4 flavors available. You can also choose between wafer and waffle cones. Popular flavors are mango, cheese, strawberry, chocolate, coconut, avocado, melon, and the like.
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  7. 7
    Squid ball.
    This is very similar to fish balls except that the patty is made up of flour and squid. It is cooked the same way and you can also dip it in different sauces.
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  8. 8
    Taho.
    This is a soft tofu concoction in which the tofu is slumped into a plastic glass and added up with tapioca and caramelized sugar. It is being sold along the streets usually during early morning. The vendor would be carrying two big tubs, each hanging at the end of a thick wooden stick, and shouting in very loud voice, "Tahoooooooo!". It used to be best taken when it's hot, although these days, chilled taho is also getting popular.
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Restaurants Worth Trying in the Philippines

Authentic Filipino

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    Barrio Fiesta.
    The concept behind this restaurant, as the name implies, imitates the traditional festivities within towns called fiesta. Fiesta is a local tradition that occurs at least once every year in every town, in honor of the patron saint of the area. Festivities occur where people cook local delicacies and share with everyone. It is indeed such a festive occasion and Barrio Fiesta would like to have the same kind of atmosphere within their restaurants. Barrio Fiesta is most popular for their kare-kare, which is pork or beef mixed with peanut sauce and other vegetables. This is then combined with an appetizer called bagoong, which in simple terms is a shrimp or fish paste. Barrio Fiesta even retails bottles of bagoong and also supplies to supermarkets. There are even Barrio Fiesta branches which hosts performances of Filipino songs, or they allow performers to serenade each of the tables.
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  2. 2
    Gerry's Grill.
    Although this restaurant is rather popular as a place for hangout with friends while drinking beer and eating appetizers, the food here must not be underestimated. They serve really fabulous Filipino dishes, and a particular favorite of customers is their sizzling sisig which comes in different varieties. Their crispy pata, of deep fried pork leg, is also unforgettable, especially when you dip it in spicy soy sauce. During weekends or special holidays, they invite singers and bands to perform within the restaurant. If you are not up to have beer, go for their bottomless iced house tea, which is one of the specials here as well. The crowd within Gerry's Grill is mainly composed of young people, although during weekends, you would families gathering here. Price is overall very reasonable and the service is fast.
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  3. 3
    Max's Fried Chicken.
    Max's had been loved by Filipinos through decades mainly because of its fried chicken. Its meat is soft and tender and detaches completely from the bones. It is usually served with banana catsup, which another Filipino favorite, as against the usual tomato catsup. In the past years, Max's has evolved into a lot more than just a fried chicken house. It now serves several other Filipino dishes such as kare-kare, crispy pata, adobo flakes, tapa, lumpiang ubod, palabok, and many others. It also serves some Western dishes like club sandwich, potato salad, spaghetti, and the like. In addition, each Max's restaurant has a Max's bakeshop selling various pastries like brownies, caramel bars, pastillas, cookies, cakes, breads, and other similar things.
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  4. 4
    Jollibee.
    This is the Philippines' version of McDonald's and it has really gained worldwide popularity through the years. It puts a twist to traditional Western food. For example, the spaghetti here is the typical Filipino-style spaghetti which is sweet and salty. They put a twist to the usual American hamburger by creating what is called Regular Yum, which is simply, bread with patty and mayonnaise and catsup for the spread. They also have other varieties like Amazing Aloha, which is a hamburger with pineapple. They also serve some traditional dishes here like Palabok Fiesta and a rice dish with fried milk fish. Jollibee is all over the country. In a single shopping mall, there usually are several branches. Outside, you might see Jollibee almost every block in a commercial area. Jollibee has reached other countries like USA, UK, France, Singapore, Hongkong, Vietnam, China, and many others. Each Jollibee store will always be packed, especially with kids who are fond of the big Jollibee mascot. Unquestionably, this is a well-loved fast food by the Filipinos.
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  5. 5
    Tropical Hut.
    This is another fast food in the Philippines, which is known for the unique taste of their burgers. Although this fast food chain is not as big as Jollibee, it has maintained quite a good market share through the years. It used to be popular to kids because of its big play area. Also, Tropical Hut serves some popular Filipino rice dishes in a fast food way, so it's very ideal for those who would like to have a quick lunch or dinner, but not eating fast food like burgers or fries. The market that Tropical Hut attracts ranges from kids to adults. You would see a Tropical Hut store at least in every city, sometimes more for areas which are known to have been doing well in terms of business. There's one at the Greenhills Shopping Center, which has been there for quite a good amount of time. You would notice that Tropical Hut is usually side-by-side with Mercury Drug. It is because the owners of both are siblings.
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  6. 6
    Cabalen.
    Cabalen is another authentic Filipino restaurant, which originates from the province of Pampanga in Luzon. Cabalen is home to some serious Filipino dining, from appetizers to desserts. They also like hosting buffets during weekends, and you literally get to feast over various types of Filipino dishes. Cabalen has been known for their kare-kare and kaldereta, which are both dishes composed of meat and vegetables and mixed with truly Filipino concoction of sauces.
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  7. 7
    Via Mare.
    This is similar to Barrio Fiesta in a way that they like every dining experience to feel like a feast. This is very typical among Filipinos. They really use meals to interact with people. Meals are also the best way for families to bond and relax. Via Mare is also known for their catering services, especially for weddings.
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  8. 8
    Mushroom Burger.
    The very first branch of Mushroom Burger started in Tagaytay Highlands. As it gained popularity among visitors of the area, they started to expand it towards the city. Although not as huge as Jollibee or even Tropical Hut, you would be able to see several branches of this in commercial areas. The burgers here have a different twist and cannot be compared with those from other burger places. Each of their restaurants are known to have special designs as well, with car seats being used as chairs for guests.
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  9. 9
    Razon's.
    Razon's originated from the province of Pampanga. They serve several Filipino dishes like pritong lumpia (fried spring rolls), pansit (noodles), and fresh lumpia. They are actually more popular as a place for snacks or light dinner. However, the one that makes them really loved by customers is their halo-halo, or the Philippines' most popular dessert or drink. It is made up of jelly, garbanzos, different types of beans, rice crispies, tapioca, coconut, ice cream, and caramel flan. It is all lumped into a tall glass and this will then be covered with shaved ice and then evaporated milk. The ice cream and caramel flan are usually placed on top of the ice. The way to eat this is by mixing it all together, letting the milk seep through crushed ice. Razon's version of halo-halo is well-loved because it is said not to contain too much sugar, yet the overall taste is sweet. A lot of Filipinos are now very particular about cutting off or reducing sugar intake because of many cases of diabetes.
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  10. 10
    Classic Savory.
    This is somewhat a competitor of Max's Fried Chicken because they are both well-known for their chicken. Classic Savory, however, not only sells fried chicken, but also other types like barbecue chicken. They are also known for their savory dishes like pepper squid, sweet and sour pork, dumplings, and the like. In terms of market presence, they cannot compete much with Max's though, because Max's definitely has more branches than Classic Savory.
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  11. 11
    Kamayan.
    The name of this restaurant means eating using the hand, which is a typical Filipino practice. In the earlier times, ancestors would commonly just eat on banana leaves and use hands to put the food into the mouth. This remains to be a treasured practice that is considered unique to Filipinos. In fact, in some provinces, they continue to do this. Kamayan started out as a restaurant like that, where they encourage the use of hands among customers. They have been known for the sumptuous buffet that they open to the public. This is another restaurant that makes eating like a feast. Most Kamayan branches are huge, to accommodate hundreds of guests at the same time, exactly to look like a big town feast.
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Asian

  1. 1
    Chowking.
    This is a Filipino-owned Chinese restaurant chain. They are also designed to function like a fast food, where they serve traditional Chinese food, but served fast. There are many branches of this all over the country and it is almost as common as Jollibee. Customers like their lauriat, which is a set meal usually composed of noodles, rice, chicken, dumplings, crackers, and typical Chinese dessert called buchi, which is a kind of sticky rice with sweetened mashed green bean inside and then covered with sesame seeds. Their Chinese milk tea called Nai Cha has also somewhat started the milk tea craze in the Philippines. Because the turnover of guests here is very fast, do not expect that your dining experience at Chowking will be a cozy and quiet one.
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  2. 2
    Gloria Maris.
    Although the name of this restaurant is very Filipino, it is actually a Chinese restaurant, but more on the elegant side. They usually have huge banquet halls, with red couches, carpet, lamps and ceiling décor. They separate the areas in their restaurant into 2, one for ala carte orders and another one for shabu-shabu. Their menu has extensive options, from famous dumplings to rice dishes to huge serving of meat and vegetable viands. Their birthday noodles are served huge and generously garnished with meat and vegetables. They are very well in demand in terms of small family gatherings. They are well-staffed, so the service is overall fast and efficient. Their chef would also go around from time to time just to get feedback from customers.
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  3. 3
    Pho Hoa.
    This is a chain of Vietnamese restaurants in the Philippines. They sell the popular Pho of Vietnam and at the same time many other Vietnamese dishes. What's really noticeable about this place is that most of the vegetables they serve are indeed very fresh and clean.
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  4. 4
    Saisaki.
    This restaurant has become very popular in the Philippines mainly because of their buffet. They serve sumptuous Japanese buffet that is averagely priced. The quality of the food is considered good, especially if you compare to their rates.
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Western

  1. 1
    Shakeys.
    This has been around for decades already and been very popular for their crunchy mojos. These are simply potato slices that's breaded with Shakeys' unique breading. Shakeys has also been popular as a place for big groups, mainly because they have really great deals when it comes to family sets. Shakeys' is preferred by pizza lovers who like thin crust pizza, because Shakeys do it so well, that it does not taste like bread.
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  2. 2
    Pizza Hut.
    This is Shakeys' main competitor in the Philippines. On the contrary, however, this place is better known for their thick crust pizza.
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Questions and Answers

What is the best restaurant for pritong lumpia ubod?

There are various places around the Philippines so I cannot say exactly if where can you find or what restaurant is best in creating a Pritong Lumpia Ubod or heart of palm spring rolls.Ubod is referred as the heart of the coconut palm. But there is a popular Filipino restaurant in Roxas Boulevard as in the news says, "Lola Asiang" founder of the much-loved Filipino heritage restaurant, The Aristocrat.

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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Mac Evans Cerrillo, Christine Cruz, Eng

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