Eats more fun in the Philippines! A culinary tour part one - Isla Story

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Eats more fun in the Philippines! A culinary tour part one

A travel can never be as exciting and enjoyable trip without the tasting the culinary specialty of each destination. The food is one major factor that affects the total satisfaction on one's trip. 

Here are some of the most popular street foods you must try when you visit the Philippines! 

Taho (Soy Bean Custard). This is one of the favorite and perhaps the breakfast or snack buddy of children. This street food is popular and sold every morning while it is hot, the traditional way (although some consume it cold as a dessert). Taho is a Philippine snack made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (caramelized sugar), and sago pearl. Historically, taho is one of the legacies of the Chinese traders before the Spanish colonization. Price range from Php5-Php20.

Taho (Soy Bean Custard)

Taho (Soy Bean Custard)
Taho with strawberry syrup (available in Baguio City)

Sago & Arnibal (Caramelized Sugar)

Taho (Soy Bean Custard)

Balut. Is one of the top street food, a must try when you visit the Philippines. Although it is a native delicacy of the country and favorite of the Filipinos, to many, they considered it as an exotic because it is the literal duck's egg developing embryo, boiled until cooked. It may look like gross but mind you, it is not just delicious, it is also a healthy snack (just don't eat too much), it is a good source of protein and calcium. Price range from Php14-Php18

Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg/Duck Egg with Embryo) normally paired with vinegar

Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg/Duck Egg with Embryo)

Did you know that Pateros, a highly urbanized and one of the cities of Metro Manila is dubbed as the "Balut Capital of the Philippines'? Yes, even the city name 'Pateros" was derived from its literal meaning 'duck-raise'. 

Halo-Halo (Mix-Mix). This street food is a perfect match to cool the high temperature of summer. You can see vendors mushroomed in the streets selling their own special version of 'halo halo' during the warm season in the Philippines, normally from March to April (though you can buy this refreshment anytime in the Filipino restaurant inside the mall). Halo-halo, literally means 'mix-mix or mixed together' is made up of crushed ice, evaporated milk, and lots of sinkers like gulaman (jellies), corn, beans, candied fruits, and so on and also floaters like leche flan (sweet custard), ice cream and halayang ube (yam custard). Price range from Php15-Php30

Halo-halo (Mix-mix)

Ingredients of Halo-halo

Originally, halo-halo is derived from Japan's dessert called kakigori - a combination of shaved ice and preserved legumes like mongo and garbanzos beans in a thick syrup. With the tastes and preferences of the Filipinos, the adapted version from the Japanese evolved to completely unique, now called the halo-halo.

Did you know that Bicolono has their own version of halo-halo, it is called guinumis?

Banana Cue. It is a popular and consider as one of the all-time best selling street food. Normally served as a mid-afternoon snack. It is made up of peeled whole banana fried in a heated cooking oil and sprinkled with sugar. Vendors put it on a bamboo stick to be sold and easily eaten. You can spot babaque not only in the provinces of the Philippines but also around the streets of Metro Manila. Price range from Php10-Php20

Bananacue (deep-fried ripe banana coated with sugar)

Did you know that Lanao in Mindanao has its own version of bananaque, called 'ginanggang'? However, the process of cooking is slightly different as it is grilled on a stick. The same province celebrates its Ginanggang Festival to honor San Isidro Salvador every 2nd May of the year. 

Barbeque. Perhaps the most favorite and most popular street foods in the Philippines. But mind you, there are wide varieties of barbecue in the Philippine and the famous of them all is the common pork and chicken barbecue. But apart from these, the very usual to locals but are unusual to non-Filipinos which they consider as exotic and disgusting are isaw (chicken intestine), betamax (coagulated pork or chicken blood), adidas (chicken feet), helmet (chicken head), pwet ng manok (chicken ass), walkman (pig ear) and so on. Each of its kind has its own history and reason why they are called by its corresponding name.  At mid/late afternoon up to evening, you normally see vendors mushroom in the streets not only in the busy roads of Metro Manila but also in the rural area of the country. Filipinos eat barbecue as a snack, part of a meal or as a pulutan (finger food for alcoholic-drinkers). Price range from Php5-Php20

Inihaw (Grilled/Barbecue)

Pork Intestine Barbecue

Walkman (Pork Ear Barbecue)

Pork Meat Barbecue

Can you guess how many types of barbecue has the Philippines? 

It's for you to find out, visit the Philippines through

Kwekkwek and Tokneneng. The very attractive because of its color and famous street food that most Filipinos crave for.  It is made up of orange batter covered a hard boiled egg and deep-fried until the batter becomes crispy. These popular street foods are sold in the streets along with squid balls, fish balls, and kikiam. The only different between the two is 'tokneneng' is made up of quail egg, on the other hand 'kwek kwek' is a bigger version since it is a chicken or a duck egg. These street foods often partner with spiced-vinegar dip and cut cucumber. Due to its similarity, many are being confused which one is tokneneng and kwekkwek. Price range from Php3-Php15

Did you know that word 'tokneneng' originated from the 1978 Filipino comic series entitled Batute? The main character, Batute called egg as tokneneng.  

Kwek-kwek (Deep-fried hard boiled chicken egg coated with orange batter)

Kwek-Kwek and Tokneneng (chicken and quail egg coated with orange batter)

Dirty Ice Cream or Sorbetes. Like halo-halo, this street food is a refreshment during the hot summer day, a popular home-made traditional version of ice cream sold by peddlers in the Philippines. It is made up of coconut milk which gives a unique blend and flavored with fruits like mango, avocado, melon, jackfruit, coconut, mongo beans and strawberry. The other version is the use of carabao's (water buffalo) milk that is why it is sold cheaper compare to cow's milk (original American version of ice cream). Usually served with sugar or wafer cone and recently with bread. Dirty Ice Cream or Sorbetes has been favorite by the children and often snack before or after waking up from the afternoon siesta. 

Dirty Ice Cream in Sugar Cone
Dirty ice cream vendor with their cart

Dirty ice cream vendor with their cart

There are many theories why it is called dirty ice cream. Some said that it is because of the external appearance of the street cart, some due to sanitation issue and so on and so forth, but whatever it is, we cannot deny that fact that this a sweetest relief for a hot day. Price range from Php10-Php25

Did you know that although the word sorbetes is most likely a Spanish term, but ice cream or sorbetes (called in the Philippines) is an American legacy to the Filipinos?

These are just some of the popular street foods in the Philippine you should not miss to try on your visit. Watch out for the next write up about the ISLA STORY SIGNATURE: Eats more fun in the Philippines! A culinary tour.

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