My Top 10 Filipino Street Food

It’s known all over the world that we Filipinos are lovers of food. Aside from 3 main meals we also have the so-called “merienda” or snack. Normally, meriendas were done in-between breakfast and lunch, then in between lunch and dinner. Sometimes, we also do midnight snacks. Business people have capitalized on Filipino’s appetite hence, food stalls and restaurants are offering a wide range of both local and international cuisine sprouting everywhere.

No matter how many dishes I’ve tasted, my taste buds would still look for the ones I’ve grown up with. Eating certain foods makes me nostalgic and nothing beats those.

Here’s the list of my top 10 favorite Filipino street food

  1. Chicken Isaw (chicken intestine)– cheap and delicious. Cleaned thoroughly and marinated for at least a day, these skewered innards are cooked on a charcoal grill which gives additional smoky flavor. Must be paired with a variety of dipping sauces you can choose. Thick sweet sauce, sweet and spicy sauce, and spiced vinegar- a mix of onion, red hot chili, black pepper, salt, and sugar, are usually available to choose from as a dip. One order is not enough!

2. Kwek-kwek– also known as “tokneneng” is a boiled duck or quail egg covered in orange batter and then deep-fried. It is not a stand-alone food. The dip is the most important part of this snack as it is bland if alone. Usually, a spiced vinegar is enough. But since it’s the battle of the dip, more vendors are getting creative. Sellers who offer the best-tasting dip will have the longest queue.

3. Taho– my favorite dessert which can be a breakfast meal on its own. It’s a silken tofu mixed with “arnibal “, syrup made of water and brown sugar, and small “sago” or tapioca pearls. It is best consumed while warm and is available only early in the morning.

4. Banana cues- are deep-fried ripe plantain bananas with caramelized brown sugar. A skewer usually has 2 bananas and is enough to make you feel full until dinner. 

5. Turon– are ripe plantain bananas wrapped in lumpia wrappers and deep-fried with caramelized brown sugar. Sometimes it contains a sliver of ripe jackfruit. Usually, a seller of banana cue also sells turon.

6. Lumpiang Gulay– is the Filipino version of the spring roll. It contains sautéed bean sprouts with carrots, and sweet potato, and sometimes with minced meat. It is then wrapped in lumpia wrapper and deep fried. It can be eaten alone but the flavor is much better with spiced vinegar dip. Sometimes I eat it with rice!

7. Pancit Bihon– is a staple street food. Vendors sell it even early in the morning as breakfast. It is a noodle dish using rice vermicelli with a variety of vegetables like cabbage, green beans, carrots, and shredded chicken. To get the best-tasting pancit, squirt a calamansi or Filipino lime and mix it properly. Pairing it with “pan de sal”, a Filipino bread roll, by making it as a sandwich brings it to another level as it introduces a little sweetness to this humble dish.

8. Filipino Hotcake– I said it because it is not like your regular pancake. The texture is like a crepe but thicker and fluffier. As soon as it is cooked, the vendor will smother it with margarine and sprinkle it with fine white sugar on top. Best eaten while hot when the margarine and sugar are melting together. I love this but sadly, it is not as common anymore.

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9. Goto at Tokwa’t Baboy– These are separate dishes but best paired with each other. Goto is a rice porridge with tripe. Tokwa’t baboy is a deep fried tofu (tokwa) and pork (baboy) with spiced vinegar dip. I guess it was a perfect match because goto is soft and tokwa’t baboy is chewy and sometimes crunchy. The vinegar dip adds dimension to the goto too. Tip: Take a spoonful of the tokwa’t baboy and put it on top of your porridge. Drop a dash of the vinegar dip, then scoop that part where you have mixed of all of it. Heavenly, and so satisfying.

10. Sisig– My family and I love this. I just didn’t mention that this is a pig-face and liver dish. Sisig is originally a “pulutan”, an appetizer paired with alcohol. But since it was so savory, Filipinos found it better with rice. Right now, there are different varieties available. There is tofu, bangus (milkfish) to name a few. This is my go-to when I don’t have the time to cook as this is available almost everywhere!

Were you able to taste it all?  

How was it?

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