Gone are the days of posh, ultra luxurious traveling, unless you’re Paris Hilton and you can afford to spend at least a hundred thousand dollars in one go. Who eats in 5-star hotels or Michelin restaurants these days? With budget traveling as the travel trend, maximizing your travel budget is a must. And one of the basic budget allocations is for food. Good news for you if you’re heading to the Philippines! Food in this country is not only abundant and found in literally every corner, but it is really cheap and tasty at the same time. Probably the best combination of adjectives for foodies. So if you want to try food in the Philippines and you don’t know where to start, then you’re in the right place as this list has the five best foods in the Philippines that you must try.
1. Beat the summer heat with Halo halo
The sweltering heat of the sun especially in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila, is a force to reckon with. So how do Filipinos cool down? With their favorite dessert of all time, Halohalo!
Halohalo, literally translated as Mix mix, is one of the country's most popular dessert. Though the summer quintessential is coined Filipino, it's origins can be traced to the Japanese who occupied the country during the war. It was them who specialized in preserving beans in thick syrups, such as garbanzos, kidney beans, and red beans - which are all ingredients of Halohalo. Put these fruits, shaved or crushed ice, evaporated milk, and a leche flan slice or ice cream on top and there you have it, the Halohalo.
Some would even put rice crispies, jackfruit, purple yam, silky coconut, corn, etc., so it's safe to say that there isn't a standard recipe. The contents depend on where you buy it. And if you're in the Philippines during the summer, you can buy it on snack stands anywhere on the street, in fast food places, and even fine dining restaurants. If you come in the country and it isn't summer time, don't fret! There are still a couple of restaurants that are famous for selling the dessert even though it's not "in season" such as Razon's.
Expect to spend less at least a dollar for each Halohalo.
- Razon's of Guagua
- 22 Jupiter St. (btwn Galaxy St. & Antares St.), Makati City, Makati City, Philippines
2. Sour Soup aka Sinigang
Sinigang is a mainstay of any Filipino household. Ask anybody what their moms are cooking for Sunday's brunch with the whole family and they will most likely say, Sinigang. And if you ask Filipinos how to describe this dish's taste? You will most definitely get this answer, "Sour."
The main ingredient that makes sinigang unique is the tamarind. This is what makes the soup taste sour. You might think that a stew or soup used as a main dish is kind of weird to be tasting sour, but with all the other ingredients joined together, it's a must try.
You will have to choose from different kinds of sinigang. There is Sinigang na Baboy, which is with pork, Beef Sinigang, Fish Sinigang, and even Chicken Sinigang.
Just like Halohalo, you can buy this dish anywhere, in carinderias on the street, or restaurants. Expect to pay at least 3 dollars per serving. And it's best enjoyed with a bowl of plain rice.
- Ground Flr, Crossroads, Bonifacio Global City (at 32nd St & 7th Ave), 1634 Taguig City, Philippines
3. The Sizzling Sisig
If Sinigang is a household Sunday brunch staple, Sisig is the beer companion staple during Friday night or any other night for that matter. It's the equivalent to Spain's tapas, only Sisig is served best when on a sizzling platter. Yes, you know you're getting one hell of a good sisig if you get hit by it's bursting pork ear tidbits because of the super hot iron plate it's being served from.
The contents of this dish is mainly pork, but is cut from different parts. There are pig ears, pig brain, pork belly, and even chicken liver. If you have issues with your cholesterol level or blood pressure, it's best that you try the alternative: Chicken Sisig or Fish Sisig.
This dish can be eaten with rice, if you want to. But if you stay in a restaurant at around 6 pm, when work is over, and observe how the working force slowly fill up the seats and order their favorite beer, they will also order sisig.
And because of the popularity of this dish, you can even find small food stalls selling only sisig in different quantities for you to take home or eat on the spot, standing.
One serving will set you back by $3 to $5.
- Gerry's Grill
- G/F, The Northwing (SM City Cebu), 6000 Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
4. The Crispiest of Them All - Crispy Pata
Imagine the leg part of a pig, knuckles included, being simmered in water and spices and then deep fried. The flavors of those spices will pop into your mouth as soon as you bite into the crisp pork meat.
As you might have noticed, Filipinos love their pork. And they have more than a hundred ways of enjoying it. This dish, crispy pata, is not for the faint-hearted and that means you'd expect some blood pressure rising after finishing this meal. The pork skin surrounding the leg is definitely oozing with oil. But don't let this discourage you. Walk for an hour after eating this or better yet, just have a few bites to tick it off your must-eat-food in the Philippines.
Crispy pata is going to be a diamond in the rough, it's not easily available in small eating places on the streets, but you will definitely find it in Filipino restaurants. It's also on the expensive side, with the average price of $6 per leg.
- Lipa Grill
- Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines
5. Adobo - the Dish that Put the Philippines on the Map
Can you imagine how soy sauce and vinegar will taste like if these were both poured into pork cubes? If you can't imagine it, then you've got to try adobo. If there is one dish that is world renowned to be truly from the Philippines, it's probably this.
It's easy and simple to cook, and you can even substitute chicken for pork, or mix both! And you will always find this dish wherever, whenever. And for about a dollar per serving, top it up with rice and you're good to go.
- Adobo Connection
- Sm City Fairview, Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines
Though not the healthiest out there in Asia, the Philippines 5 best foods are really unique and a must try. Their carnivorous diet will make you want to totally skip the vegan bandwagon and eat to your heart's content.