Manila Food Frenzy: The Best 29 Filipino Dishes You Need To Try!

published by Bren

Last updated: May 30, 2020

One of the first things I repeatedly heard from tourists in Manila is how much they dislike the food in The Philippines. After spending some time in the country I couldn’t have disagreed more. The food here is awesome!

If you’re ever in The Philippines and looking to sample some local eats here’s a Filipino food list to get you started: 29 of the best Filipino dishes that I was wise enough to take a photo of and totally recommend.

The best place to find them is in Manila, which is where I spent most of my time. The Manila foods scene is excellent and especially around Makati and Taguig, you’ll find some really great Manila cuisine and restaurants. But I also travelled up and down the country and I’m sure you can find many of these great Filipino dishes everywhere.

1. Fresh Lumpia

Fresh Lumpia

The fresh version of lumpia is a bit like a spring roll crossed with a burrito. It’s big and fat and filled with meat, lettuce, carrots, peanuts, I think there was even some coconut in there. On the side there’s a sweet sauce, or you can opt for vinegar. It’s pretty awesome. Don’t forget to try the deep fried version – even more awesome.

Get it at: The Legazpi Sunday market (corner of Legazpi St and Rufino St)

2. Chicken Sotanghon

Chicken Sotanghon philippines

It kind of feels like The Philippines version of Grandma’s chicken soup. It’s got your chicken, shitake mushrooms, carrots, green onions, vermicelli noodles, who knows what else. All I know is that it’s super tasty and you need to try it.

Get it at: Recipes at Greenbelt 3 (most other Filipino restaurants also serve it).

3. Beef Mechado

beef mechado

I can’t decide if I like this. It’s prepared by taking a decent cut of beef, stuffing it with pork fat and then slow cooking it in a tomato sauce. Some potatoes and carrots are chucked in too. Sounds awesome right? I think it was a little too tomatoey for my liking, but it’ll grow on me.

Get it at: Fely J’s in Greenbelt 5

4. Paksiyo Baboy Bisaya (Pork and Banana Claypot)

paksiyo baboy bisaya

Shanks of pork simmered in a soy based sauce with bananas. It tastes as wild as it sounds. I freakin’ love it!

Get it at: Fely J’s in Greenbelt 5

5. Leche Flan

leche flan

While eating this I was trying to figure out how it was any different to creme caramel, because to me it tasted exactly the same. After some Googling I learned that the custard in this is thicker because they use condensed milk and more egg yolks. I couldn’t really taste the difference, which I guess means I’m a few years away from being a judge on Top Chef. Anyway, I had to include this on the list; it’s one of the country’s favourite desserts!

Get it at: Any Filipino restaurant

6. Chicharon


Chicharon are like the Doritos of The Philippines.

One of the most classic Filipino snacks, it’s eaten like corn chips or popcorn – the kind of thing you’ll open a big bag of while sitting down for a movie.

Basically it’s deep fried pork skin, and aside from eating it on its own they also garnish various dishes with it. What’s it taste like? Well, kinda like a bag of very porky tasting cheetos. It’s a basic snack but definitely one of the country’s trademarks. The locals absolutely love it.

Get it at: You will find it in most supermarkets and markets. 

7. Lechon

lechon philippines

So, I used to think the Chinese made the best pork.

That is until I tasted lechon. Damn! Them Filipinos know how to cook a pig. This juicy, crispy masterpiece is something I won’t even try to describe. I had the privilege of attending a local baptism and they served up this freakin’ life changing roasted pig, I could’ve eaten the whole thing! Apparently the best lechon is from Cebu city, which is going to be my first stop on my next trip to The Phils. If I had to choose the best Filipino food on this list – this one would be pretty close to taking the spot.

Get it at: Sabroso Lechon, one of my favourites (corner of E Rodriguez Ave and Tomas Morato)

8. Bibingka

bibingka philippines

This is a type of cake made with coconut milk and baked in a banana leaf. I guess the idea is it’s supposed to end up tasting like coconut and banana, which it kinda does. You’re supposed to eat it hot, but not before lathering it with butter and coconut. The texture really reminded of a crumpet, especially with the melted butter seeping through it. I’m a fan.

Get it at: A franchise called Bibingkinitan, or various street stalls around the city

9. Kare Kare

kare kare philippines

This is a classic Filipino stew, consisting of oxtail, tripe, eggplant and Chinese veges. It has a strong peanut flavour and is served with shrimp paste on the side. It’s one of the flagship dishes here in The Philippines, but I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. An acquired taste, perhaps.

Get it at: Most Filipino restaurants

10. Lomi

lomi king philippines

A classic dish from the Batangas area, this consists of flat egg noodles cooked in a very thick, eggy sauce. There’s also a whole bunch of other stuff in it depending on what variation you order (pork, seafood, chicken). It’s so thick that it’s almost like a cross between a noodle soup and a stew. On the side it’s complemented with a sauce of freshly diced onions, chili, calamansi and soy sauce. Put the two together and BAM! It’s seriously magic.

Get it at: Lomi King in Lipa, Batangas

11. Chami

Chami Philippines

After eating the Lomi I found out it had a little brother known as Chami. This is the dry version of the dish, and obviously I had to try it and see what it’s all about. It’s not really too different from a noodle stir fry, but it comes with a tasty dipping sauce/soup that I don’t remember the name of. Anyway, if we’re choosing between Lomi and Chami I’m taking Lomi any day of the week.

Get it at: Lomi King in Lipa, Batangas

12. Kilawin Na Tanigue

kilawin filipino food

Kilawin is a dish where raw fish is marinaded in vinegar and lemon/lime juice. The high level of acidity cooks the fish and it’s flavoured with a bunch of other stuff like chili, capsicum, spring onion and tomato. You’re probably thinking it sounds very similar to ceviche or the Fijian kokoda, but the taste is rather different. I found ceviche to be very fishy, kokoda to be very spicy and kinilaw to be very sour. All catered for local tastebuds I guess.

Get it at: Most Filipino restaurants

13. Pancit Bihon Guisado

pancit bihon guisado filipino dish

Bihon Guisado is a perfect example of great tasting, unpretentious Filipino food – some scallions, cabbage, celery, carrots, chicken and vermicelli tossed in soy sauce and topped with calamansi juice. Fast, cheap and awesome. Love it.

Get it at: Most Filipino restaurants

14. Crispy Pata

crispy pata filipino dish

One thing you’ll notice when eating around The Philippines is that they’re completely obsessed with their pork, which is probably why they cook it so well. Enter the crispy pata – a pork leg/knuckle deep fried to perfection and then sided with chili, calamansi and a variety of dipping sauces. I ate it a couple of times, one homemade one and one from a restaurant. Needless to say the homemade one was mouth watering but the restaurant cooked one wasn’t too bad either. If you’re a pork man it might just change your life.

Get it at: Most Filipino restaurants. The crispy pata in the picture is from Kabila Museum Cafe at Ayala Museum, but I think it’s a little expensive for what you get. Manila food can be expensive in some areas – not that it isn’t worth it, but just make sure you’re aware!

15. Sinigang

sinigang filipino food

If you’re a fan of sour soups like Thailand’s tom yum or Hong Kong’s hot and sour soup then sinigang is totally going to rock your world. I had one of these for breakfast almost every day during my month on Boracay. It’s a tamarind based soup with a whole bunch of other goodies in it, most commonly tomatoes, green beans, spinach, green mango and various other possibilities. I tried quite a few variations (pork and shrimp are the most popular), but I’d say the classic pork is probably my favourite. I can’t believe it’s taken me 27 years to try it.

Get it at: Most Filipino kitchens. If you’re a fan go and try the Corned Beef Sinigang at Sentro in Greenbelt 3.

16. Kaldereta

kaldereta filipino food

I’m always a sucker for hearty meaty stews so when I met my first Kaldereta we really got along. It’s a basic dish made by stewing cuts of meat in a tomato/liver sauce until tender, with a few carrots, potatoes and capsicums thrown in too. I’ve seen it with most meats but the lamb was easily my favourite.

Get it at: Most Filipino kitchens. Try the lamb kaldereta at Sentro in Greenbelt 3.

17. Adobo

adobo filipino dish

If you’re after Philippines traditional food, this dish might be them most traditional of them all.

I saw this dish on pretty much every Filipino menu I set eyes on. It’s a basic meat dish which is simmered in a marinade of oil, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic, and sometimes later pan fried to give it a crispy surface.

Like most dishes here they might often add a variation of other veges (onions, potatoes, capsicum). If you’re a budget traveler, this dish is always a tummy pleaser and usually very easy on the wallet.

Get it at: Any Filipino kitchen or jolly jeep.

18. Ginataang Papaya

ginataang papaya filipino dish

Tried this bad boy at a jolly jeep and was so pleasantly surprised. Green papaya shaved into thin slices and cooked in coconut milk and pork bits. Who knew it could taste so good?

Get it at: You’ll have to look around the jolly jeeps and Filipino restaurants, I’m really not sure how popular it is!

19. Bacolod Chicken

bacolod chicken filipino dish

Due to my fast increasing age and waistline I’ve been trying to eat grilled chicken wherever possible and turn a blind eye to KFC and Chicken McNuggets. My solidarity to this goal can waver rather easily but this wasn’t a problem in the Philippines thanks to the amazing bacolod chicken. I have no idea how they cook it, but from peeking into the kitchen I can tell you they employ a charcoal grill and probably brush some special sauce onto it, who knows. All I know is it tastes amazing. Don’t forget the soy sauce/calamansi/chili combo sauce on the side either.

Get it at: My favourite is Bacolod Express, but there’s various chains around the city.

20. Balut

filipino dish balut

After hearing about the infamous Balut over and over again I just had to try it. For those who have never heard of it, balut is a street food delicacy in the Philippines; a fertilised duck egg, boiled and eaten once the embryo is half developed. From Wikipedia:

“In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to be ‘balut sa puti’ (“wrapped in white”). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws, and the bones are undeveloped.”

If you’re looking for Filipino delicacies, this is the crowned jewel.

When the guy handed it to me I nearly dropped it, it was scorching hot!

After cracking the shell I saw a small amount of juice which you’re supposed to drink, so I did, which tasted very eggy. After that I just peeled it like a normal boiled egg and ate it. There were a few funny textures but nothing overly weird; in all honesty, it just tasted like a boiled egg. Talk about an anti climax. If you’re ever in The Philippines you should definitely try it, it doesn’t taste bad at all, and is apparently great for you.

Get it at: At night you will hear the sellers riding around the streets on bikes screaming “Baluuuuuut!”

21. Tablea Tsokolate

tablea tsokolate filipino dish

As the story goes, the Spanish colonists began this tradition of growing cocoa in The Philippines as the tropical weather was perfect for it. This tradition has continued until today with growers harvesting, drying, roasting and then grinding  fresh cocoa beans into tablea or ‘tablets’. This is used in various Filipino delicacies, including tablea tsokolate – a local style hot chocolate.

The tablea is supposed to have a few minor differences to regular cocoa, which I did manage to find out but I’ve since forgotten. If you know, please share!

Get it at: I got one roll at SM department store and another at the bus stop in Lipa.

22. Bulalo

bulalo filipino dish

I fell in love with Bulalo the moment it touched my lips. To cook this they get a nice, fat beef shank, let it boil in a broth until all the bone marrow and fat has melted into the soup and then throw some veges in to top it all of (usually cabbage and corn). The soup is so beefy and flavoursome, probably because they leave it simmering in those massive pots all day (see pic). My mouth is actually watering furiously as I type this. It is seriously delicious.

Get it at: Al Goto King Special Bulalo in Batangas City. It’s not as common in Manila but quite a few Filipino kitchens will have it.

23. Buko Pie

buko pie filipino dish

If you travel anywhere by bus in The Philippines you will surely experience the street vendors jumping on board screaming “Buko pie Buko pie!!” After seeing a number of people buy these I came to the conclusion that this Buko pie thing must be a pretty big deal so I had to try one. This blog post on Our Awesome Planet laid out the best brands and eventually I got my hands on a Colette’s pie.

It’s awesome, for real. I did not expect it to be that good. The texture reminded me of a really good apple pie, it had a nice firm pastry with a lovely crust, and it had that ‘freshly baked’ smell, the kind that weakens your knees as you walk past a bakery in the morning. Partner it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll probably end up packing a suitcase of them to take home with you.

So, what exactly is a buko pie? Just a well baked pie packed with young slivers of fresh coconut and condensed milk. How they make it taste so good, I have no idea.

Get it at: I think it’s easiest to find the famous brands at their stores in Laguna, but you can find them at bus stops and markets too.

24. Turon

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Take a few slices of banana, wrap it in a spring roll wrapper coated in brown sugar and then deep fry it. Sound delicious? That’s a turon! And yes, it tastes as good as it sounds.

Get it at: I bought mine at a bus stop in Lipa. Also got served to me at a resort in Quezon.

25. Ilocos Empanada

ilocos empanada filipino dish

Many countries have their own spin on empanadas, so it was no surprise their was a Filipino empanada too!

This is a snack native to the Ilocos region, hence the name, but I seemed to keep running into it in the various Manila markets. The reason it kept catching my eye was the orange dough; it’s almost a neon orange before it’s cooked. However that’s not the only difference to standard empanadas.

Inside it’s packed with sausage meat, green papaya and a whole egg, and you’ll notice from the photos that the shell is unusually thin. Once it’s deep fried and ready to eat you need to do what you do with everything else in The Philippines – splash it with vinegar!

Get it at: Cucina Andare market outside Glorietta 3 (Fri, Sat, Sun), food market at Mall of Asia (Fri, Sat, Sun) or the Legazpi Sunday Market (cnr Rufino/Legzpi St).

26. Longaniza

longaniza filipino dish

Longanisa is a type of sausage that they often eat for breakfast here. Every region of The Philippines has their own specialty, so depending on which one you choose you might get sweet, sour, garlicky, fish, chicken, beef etc. Although almost every time I ate it in Manila it was sweet and garlicky.

Get it at: Any supermarket, food market or Filipino restaurant during breakfast.

27. Banana Ketchup

banana ketchup filipino dish

Not your regular ketchup. It’s made from mashed bananas and you’ll definitely taste the subtle difference (less tang, more sweet). During WW2 there was a shortage of tomatoes and the ketchup makers decided bananas were the next best thing. Judging by it’s popularity today it seems the tomato never really made a comeback – banana ketchup is now a centrepiece of Philippines food culture.

Get it at: Any supermarket. Restaurants will likely have it if you ask for it.

28. Isaw

isaw filipino dish

Another popular street food in The Philippines, this is a grilled skewer of chicken or pig intestines. Splash some vinegar over it and away you go. I’m a fan of the flavour but the texture, not so much (it’s a bit powdery). It’s so popular here that you have to try it at least once.

Get it at: Cucina Andare market outside Glorietta 3 (Fri, Sat, Sun), food market at Mall of Asia (Fri, Sat, Sun) or the Legazpi Sunday Market (cnr Rufino/Legzpi St).

29. Bangus

bangus filipino dish

Bangus (milkfish) is the country’s national fish and I ate a lot of it!

It’s a classic Filipino breakfast, usually paired with a side of garlic rice and egg. Before trying it I wasn’t sold on the idea of fried fish for breakfast (I’m more of a fresh fruits kinda guy), but after the first time it quickly became my breakfast of choice. With the trademark drizzle of vinegar it’s quite the kickstart to your day.

Get it at: Any Filipino restaurant during breakfast.

Heading to Manila? a few tips:

  • highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for the Philippines. Travel in the Philippines is not dangerous but many aspects can be unreliable and you should expect the unexpected. For an introduction to what travel insurance is, why you need and where to buy it, check out my post Travel Insurance 101: Everything You Need To Know.

Have fun and get fat! 😀


Eat like crazy in Manila! This city is an undercover hotspot for foodies, with a ton of trendy restaurants opening up all over town. Filipino food, if done right, is magnificent. Here are 29 dishes to keep on your list as you eat through the city.

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      1. Hi Bren at my home 🙂
        On the serious side you can make it, its very easy I have a recipe for it here all you need is “Sinigang Mix” which you can get in any Asian Shops like Lims, Tofu Shop, Fresh and Save, etc. If you cant find it in the shelves just ask a Filipino and they will definitely show it to you.

          1. To make sinigang strictly from scratch (no flavor mix) you have a few options – use fresh tamarind, philippine guava, some use kamias. All 3 need to be boiled and mashed then strained to get the acidity the dish calls for. some use miso (the local one, not the japanese one). For newbies to pinoy cooking tho, i would say go with tamarind if you can get it. Happy cooking!

          2. Hi MJ, yeah I looked up some recipes and they’ve said to use tamarind. Going to work on this sinigang experiment as soon as I get the time. Thanks for sharing!

          3. Hi there 😀 I thoroughly enjoyed your entries on the Philippines and Filipino food. Thanks for the love.

            In case you can’t find any fresh tamarind for sinigang, you can use lemon and green tomatoes (or any variety of tart tomato, not the sweet kind often used in salads). That’s how Pinoys in the U.S. cook it. Me thinks, the juice of one whole lemon does the trick (but it really depends on how sour you want it). It doesn’t have the distinct tamarind flavor, but combined with tomato, it’s a great substitute. ^_^ Green mango is a good souring agent as well.

            Chunks of taro and slivers of radish will complete the flavor. For peppers, use green finger chilies. 🙂 And — No garlic. While most Filipino dishes call for garlic, sinigang doesn’t.

            As for the veggies / greens: If you can’t find kangkong (swamp cabbage / water spinach), you can substitute regular spinach. Don’t use cabbage or bok choy. Stick with dark green leafy veggies .;)

            I hope this helps. 😀 Happy eating!

          4. Hi Bren,
            My grandma used to cook sinigang from scratch. As mentioned before, the three sour ingredients were either kamias, tamarind or guava. But there were times when she didn’t have any of those ingredients so she used plenty of tomatoes to get the sour taste (I guess the not too ripe ones). There are always two main ingredients to it: tomatoes and onion plus any of the three sour food ingredients. Green long chillies is a must. It finishes off the dish. Here in Australia, if we’re too lazy to buy the fresh ones, we can opt for the bottles green chillies. Enjoy your sinigang. It’s one of my favourites. Try the fresh fish sinigang too.

          5. Gosh, every time someone describes how to make it I can just imagine the flavour in my mouth. Almost every day on Boracay after the gym, I’d have a big bowl of sinigang and a massive plate of rice. Just perfect.

  1. You should also try “Relyenong Bangus” or milkfish. Bangus here is completely deboned. The skin is separated from the whole body and the latter is ,boiled for a while to take away all the little bones. Then it cooked with some ground pork, thinly diced potatoes, carrots, and pickles plus eggs. Then it is re-stuffed in the skin and deep-fried. Eaten with ketchup. Long preparation but it’s really worth it.

  2. Great post, mate! Damn, now I have a sudden urge to book flights to the Philippines…. but can’t do yet because I’m stuck in Brisbane this entire year. Anyways, if you plan to visit PH again, I recommend dropping by Panay Island and trying out the gastronomic offering of Iloilo, Guimaras and Capiz. You get to explore some amazing white beach islands as well. Cheers!

  3. Awesome list! I miss most of these: lacking talent to cook them dishes. Aside from bangus and relleno, I’d go for the Pinaputok na tilapia (pinaputok means having to explode) – the fish is stuffed with tomatoes, onions, celery (that’s how I cook it anyway) then cooked in a foil….and of course all the dishes including squid! 😀 For those ready-to-buy street food I miss Andok’s grilled chicken! haha…ahhh, I wanna go home! ^_^

  4. Hey Bren! Glad to know you like our Filipino dishes. I’m a vegetarian so I haven’t tasted most of the dishes you posted, but I do know that you can taste one of the best buko pies at D’ Original Buko Pie. Its not as sweet as colette’s, stuffed with young coconut meat, and they sell it hot off the ovens. Good stuff. Also, if you’re planning on going to Cebu, my non-vegetarian friends always talk about chicken skin at Larsian. You might wanna try that. 🙂

      1. The Original (Orient) Buko Pie is found in Los Banos, Laguna. Here’s a blog post about it – I’ve had both Collete’s and the Original’s pies and both are good with Original’s being slightly better since it’s a little thicker hence more young coconut. Hopefully the quality has stayed the same up to the present.

          1. I agree with MJ, d’Original and MAYA’s of Los banos is far far better than Colletes, for they’re really the original ones when it comes to buko pie, it goes along with the ESPASOL ..oh my!!! I just arrived in Sydney from a 6 weeks holiday in Manila. ….now i’m feeling like I wanna go home soon again! …because of these foods!

  5. Pork Sinigang is my favorite too! 🙂 (A Filipina here. Haha.)
    And yes, you should have tried Halo-Halo. 🙂
    I’m not sure if you’ve seen Puto-Bumbong around (made of sticky rice, steamed and purple colored). It’s popular in Christmas season and sold in the streets beside churches, but there’s a place in Gapan, Nueva Ecija that sells every afternoon. It’s the best puto bumbong I’ve tasted! You can also find it in some restaurants like Via Mare. Look for their branches here: 🙂

  6. hi! thank u for posting a lot of good stuffs about the philippines. do try to go to davao. our kinilaw is different from the one you’ve tasted. u also have to try our tuna dishes – grilled, deep fried, paksiw and kinilaw 🙂 the tuna supply in the phils comes from mindanao so we have the best here. also try our durian based desserts- durian roll, durian ice cream and durian pie. and the pomelo!davao is the country’s pomelo and durian capital. from davao u can take a tour to surigao’s enchanted river and tinuy-an falls. look them up. these places have been voted at tripadvisor as one of the best.

  7. you better go up north Luzon and try the different food their… if your interested with veggies you might want to try the pinakbet or dinengdeng… you try also their bagnet (like lechon kawali or chicharon with the meat) and try to differentiate Laoag/Batac Empanada and Vigan Empanada… add also Batac Miki… and there is also Pancit Cabagan or Pancit Batil-Patung… well, there’s more to try and you will find all of these up north…

      1. Hi Bren, enjoyed your articles about my country and our delicious foods. All these make my mouth water. Speaking of the Northern provinces, yu should try to go to Baguio, the summer capital of the Phlippine where most of the cold season vegies grow. You should also try to go to Zambales, a province filled with white or black sand pristine beaches. If you want to taste the best mangoes, you will find them there. Have fun when you go back to visit my country.

    1. I agree with Peanuts. …for longanisa alone, we have the Lucban, Malolos, Pampanga, Vigan and many more with different versions and preparations. we have this saying in Philippines that adobo has 7000 versions based on the 7000 islands. but of course its just a saying. What we are saying here is, ..its really more fun in Philippines mainly because of its varieties of food items to enjoy.

  8. I think the Ginataang Papaya is somewhat a sidedish like most of our vegetable dishes, but its yummy. Instead of dipping your meat/fish (such as Lechon Kawali, fried fish, etc.) dishes in vinegar, pair them with any of these salads: Green Mango Ensalada (with bagoong/shrimp paste), Pako Salad, seaweed salad, and eggplant salad (with garlic and vinegar). I think Kilawin in coconut milk (a Cebu dish) is better than the one without. For desserts, try Ginataan (rice balls, bananas, sago, sweet potatoes, jackfruit, stewed in sweet coconut milk), Mango/Angel Cake or Mango Pie, Durian ice cream (Arce brand), and various sticky rice cakes. The peach-mango pie (hand pie) from Jollibee is not similar to the Mango Pie. Look for the best. Great writing, Bren.

  9. More suggestions for your next travel
    Desserts: sapin sapin, puto, kutchinta, suman, maja blanca, pichi pichi, halayan ube, saging con yelo
    Main dish: Binagoongan, paksiw na lechon or paksiw na isda, pinaupong manok, tinola,bistek tagalog,
    dangit (famous in Cebu), halabos na hipon, tahong, ginataang alimango
    Street foods: fish balls, kwek kwek, taho, fried peanuts (Filipino version of fried peanuts is one of the best)
    goto with tokwa’t baboy, gulaman, okoy


  10. Amazing!..ur not a filipino..but u love our food… U should try Tukneneng, Banana-Q, Pansit Palabok, Dinuguan,Bagnet, Chicken Sopas, Pakbet, Taho, Siomai, Ginataang bilo bilo, Lumpiang Shanghai, Tinola, Bachoy, Halo-Halo, Ube Halaya, Chopsuey, Fishballs, Squidballs, Betamax, Siopao, Chicken feet(addidas), Pork BBQ, Inihaw na Liempo, Inihaw na Bangus, Ginataang Tilapia, Pata tim, Soup No.5, Gotong Batangas, Goto (lugaw) w/ tokwa at baboy, Beef/Chicken Mami, Pork Binagoongan…and many more!!!! Hope you’ll like it….Enjoy…

  11. hi sir i like your stories I hope one of this days just like you I could travel the world as well. I hope you could visit cebu it’s a little lade back and less crowded compared to manila but definitely very cosmopolitan as well. Schedule your visit on January so that you can watch Sinulog it’s the biggest and grandest festival in the country. Just like what anthony bourdain said cebu’s lechon is the best tasting pig ever. Try Rico’s ,Yobabs, Ayers and CNT lechon they have the authentic cebu lechon taste. Cafe Laguna and Chika-an serve yummy Filipino dishes. Cafe George near crossroads and Oh! George in Ayala Cebu have the best cakes. Ila Puti in I.T park is also yummy. Matias in AS Fortuna also serves Chicken barbecue its flavorful ( coz you seem to like Bacolod inasal hehehehe) Beside Matias is Tatangs Lechon Belly which the new craze here in cebu we lechon the pork belly since most people who buys lechon always ask for the belly part since it has the most flavorful. Try Pongko Pongko (street vendor selling Chicaron Bulak lak or Pig intestine) the best one are in Fuente osmena at the back of sampaguitta suites. Cebu also has the best Chicharon and Carcar cebu is known for it (mat-mats chicharon is the most popular). We are also known for our dried mangoes, utap and rosquillos. Cebu food are much cheaper as well compared to manila. I hope this can help you in your next trip to Philippines . hehehehehe as you can see I’m a foodie ahahahahaha food & travel is my passion.

  12. Hi Bren! If Filipino Food is that good, why is it that there are no known Filipino restaurants outside of Philippines unlike Japanese, Thai, Chinese food? Here’s my take: For many years Filipinos have been struggling of their cultural identity which I believe emanates from our history.( Such identity crisis also leads to crazy symptoms among Filipinos to name their children with unusual names: Sunshine, Star, Girly, Bong, Bongbong, John, Juan, Maria Isabel, Isabel, Isa, Colonel, General, Princess, and believe it or not, even the names of the planets – Saturn, Jupiter, and please don’t laugh, Uranus (Ur-anus), among many other out of this world names!)

    There is a plethora of influences and those influences manifest in our food. Add to that is the fact that the country is an archipelago resulting to regional variations of dishes. Because of that lack of identity (at least in the Filipino psyche), culinary art has not been really developed. Food is cultural and it is part of one’s cultural identity. In the recent years however, Filipinos have evolved a unique sense of nationalism and have somehow accepted their diversity brought by its history and regional variety. They have embraced fusion. Because of our varied taste palette and ingredients, we can now easily mix things and come up with dishes that somehow represent that diversity or fusion. And, true enough, a lot of restaurants have been mushrooming left and right in Manila offering varieties of adobo for instance. Have you tried adobo with foi gras for instance? 🙂 Or Sinigang with miso soup (Filipino Japanese); Rellenong tomato (stuffed tomato) with Kesong puti -Laguna white cheeze( Filipino-Spanish), among many others.

    Because of this, I think that the Filipino culinary scene is becoming more exciting and will be further developed. As Filipinos come to terms with its cultural identity, such acceptance will be manifested in their cuisine as well.

    1. I also think it’s because Western palettes are not used to the flavours that you use, such as your heavy use of vinegars, calamansi and shrimp paste. I’ve noticed people of an Asian background tend to appreciate your food much more, as these flavours are more common to them, whereas Westerners just find it strange and unpleasant. Thai, Chinese and Japanese foods that have become popular overseas usually have more popular flavours, sweet and salty, rather than sour and fishy, at least as far as I can see. The new wave of “modern filipino” cuisine and “filipino fusion” restaurants popping up in Manila though are very popular, I’m a huge fan myself, let’s see where that all leads to 🙂

  13. Lomi King? Seriously? Of all the places you could eat lomi in Batangas, you chose the one place where lomi sucks. The only thing going for Lomi King is their nice looking place (compared to the competition) and the huge serving. Don’t even bother with the taste. It’s at the very bottom of my list.

    I do know what I’m saying. I’ve been eating lomi for almost two decades now. There is one place where I always go back to for lomi and that is Bobby’s in Tanauan. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of places in Batangas where they serve good lomi. There’s a new one in Tanauan called Bess’ Batangas Lomi which is the “in” lomi house right now in the area. There’s also the Hidden Lomihan” in San Juan, Santo Tomas, Batangas. In Malvar, there’s a good lomi house near LIMA park and, come Lipa, Benok’s is the current popular lomi place. Decades ago, it was Three Kids. Just last week, I visited another good lomi place on my way to Taal, Batangas. Forgot the name of the restaurant though.

    The first three I’ve mentioned after Bobby’s, all of them tastes the same. They serve lomi with the usual popular ingredients. Pork liver, pork, chicharon, chicken balls. If you’ve been eating lomi for as long is I’ve been, you’ll know what I’m saying is true. It’s like these three shops are owned by the same cook.

    I don’t know what the fuss is about Benok’s but I don’t like it. It’s selling point is that they serve lomi with fried chicken as a topping or lechon etc. The taste, too salty. Benok’s is simply a gimmick and something you won’t miss in the years to come. I tried it twice. The first time, I didn’t like it. I gave it a second try thinking the cook might have simply added too much salt the first time. It still came up the same.

    Lomi King I first tried during my eldest daughter’s confirmation at De La Salle Lipa last year. The serving was overwhelming, the taste very forgettable. Bobby’s aside, any other lomi house with kikiam in their lomi should be avoided even if they make their own kikiam or chicken balls in-house. It didn’t help that they added shrimp to their lomi. It makes their lomi appear classy but give it a taste and you’ll find out why I’m so unimpressed. Much like Benok’s, I gave it a second try. This time, during my youngest’s confirmation at the same school. Same thing. All flash, no substance. I will never eat at Benok’s or Lomi King again. I recommend you guys avoid these places if you are craving for authentic Batangas lomi.

    Let’s now go to Bobby’s. Why do I like it best? What makes their lomi better than the rest? Bobby’s is where I first discovered truly tasty lomi. That was way back in 1995 when a friend introduced me to the shop. During that time, Three Kids in Lipa was the lomi place to go to in Batangas. Another great lomi place was at the second floor of the old Narka Bowl near DLSL. Both of these places aren’t in existence anymore. Going back to Bobby’s, they serve consistently good lomi. Their ingredients are different from most lomi houses too. Bobby’s ingredients include pork and chicken liver, sliced pork, their chicharon isn’t the commercial chicharon but pork fat actually made by sauteing it for a minute or two. Theirs never taste burnt and adds a crunchy yet tasty dimension to the lomi experience. The chicken liver also sets this lomi apart. In my opinion, lomi is best served with chicken rather than with pork liver or, like Bobby’s does it, served with both. Theirs isn’t over-seasoned. The cook gives you room to add your own twist to the lomi’s flavor. Their lomi doesn’t leave a Magic Sarap or a Knorr Chicken Cube aftertaste. I always make it a point to leave at least one chicharon morsel for the final spoon. It completes the Bobby’s lomi experience.

    You should also try their Pancit Sotanghon with soup. Their sotanghon with soup reminds me of sotanghon soup made by my aunt when I was still a little kid. Brings back a lot of memories. In fact, I haven’t really eaten anything at Bobby’s I would recommend everyone to avoid. Their food is really good. They’ve hurdled controversy after controversy over the years yet they’re still existing. This only proves that Bobby’s is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to lomi. If you haven’t tried Bobby’s yet, you have never really experienced good lomi. If you love lomi the same way I do, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a go.

      1. thanks for your article!

        bulad is visayan term, in luzon or foe tagalogs it’s daing.

        1. halo-halo – a dessert that’s a hodgepodge of fruits, milk, even ice cream and leche flan
        2. bopis and sisig – chopped meat, usually pork but there are chicken and fish (usually tuna) versions
        3. papaitan – they mix bile (which is bitter, hence “pait”) with meat – goat, lamb, pork, beef. i’m not a fan, but it’s popular for those who drink
        4. lastly, the various local kakanin that are mostly made from glutinous rice or malagkit — puto, kuchinta, suman, biko, sapin-sapin, etc. the best to sample them are in eat-all-you-can or buffet restaurants like cabalen

        happy eating!

  14. WOW! Except for the lechon, tablea and chicharon and balut, I can really cook the dishes you featured here =) I grew up with these dishes at home specially pancit, lomi,chami,sotanghon,caldereta, wahhhhhhhhh i think almost all. Next time you should try the “sinaing na tambakol” (yellow fin tuna cooked for hours in a clay pot using wood fire, best with atchara (pickled shredded papaya and carrots) as side dish. I can’t wait to take my vacation to my beloved homeland and eat isaw!!! Aside from caldereta we also have mechado,menudo,afritada, pochero to try. We have our own meatloaf version called embutido, the fish version is called relienong bangus. You should try also the chicken tinola. For our native desserts we have so much to offer aside from leche flan ang bibingka, we have maja blanca, puto, kutsinta, pichi, pichi, biko, palitaw,kalamay,sapin-sapin (most are made using rice). I can proudly say that the foods in the Philippines are really feast to the palate. =)

        1. ooooppppsss to make delicious chocolate drink with the tablea you need a traditional iron pitcher and a wooden beater called “batirol”. need to boil the milk and tablea on the iron pitcher while beating the mixture with the batirol. there’s 2 types of chocolate drink you can make the tsokolate eh (this is the thick hot chocolate, need more tablea in the mixture for this) and the tsokolate ah (which is made with more milk less tablea). It takes time to make a perfect chocolate drink with the tablea coz the milk and the cacao tablet bind only with the constant stirring of the mixture until the tablea dissolves

      1. oh-oh there are special tools to make perfect chocolate drink from the tablea, we have this iron pitcher where you put the hot milk and the tablea and need to stir that with the “batirol” (wooden beater specially for making the chocolate drink) and also there are two variation of the chocolate drink , the tsokolate eh (thicker chocolate drink/more tablea in the mixture) or the tsokolate ah (less tablea). My uncle in our neighborhood always gives us homemade tablea =)

  15. sinigang also varies per region where you are in the Philippines depending on the resources available to your place, there’s pork sinigang, beef sinigang and seafoods sinigang, must try also are ensaladang mangga (green mango salad) paired with daing na biya (dried fish), longanisang lucban (garlic flavored kind the sausage) dipped in spicy vinegar sauce.

  16. Kudos to your list! Should you decide to create a part 2 of this, here are some suggestions for you to try: Relyenong Bangus – not enough words to describe it, simply my favorite. Arroz Caldo – porridge with chicken, egg, spring onions & fried garlic. Beef counterpart is Goto, which is just as awesome. Snack or dessert version of this is the Champorado or chocolate porridge. Chicken Binacol is tinola with a twist. Beef Morcon, Pork Bbq Skewers, Pancit Palabok or Malabon are other classic staples that shouldn’t be forgotten. On the dessert side… Ube Halaya is an all-time favorite. It is grated purple yam cooked (or rather, mixed until it’s very thick & your arms are already sore from mixing) with milk, sugar & butter. Really good on it’s own, but pairs just as well wih Leche Flan and ice cream. Hence, all 3 desserts can be found in a Halo-halo. =)

          1. Yes it’s a restaurant in Manila, they have different branches 🙂 Most of Kanin Club’s food is superb. If you get to visit the place, try their Aligue Rice, Beef Caldereta and Crispy Dinuguan! (Cholesterol overload though!)

  17. Hi,keep on writing but unable to post it. Im just very overwhelmed that you featured our favorite foods. Try to suggest others a must try like halo halo, pinapaitan(goats intistines cooked with its byle), tuyo(dried salted fish), itlog maalat(salted egg), pansit palabok( noodles shrimp sauce with smoked fish and chicharon), and different cooked rice cakes from Pangasinan like puto and tikoy Calasiao, tupig Manaoag, patopat Laoac and suman. I hope i have given you lots of ideas. Lastly try bbq chicken tail and fishballs.

  18. Someone suggested that you try Kanin Club. Since you liked sinigang, you dhould try their Sinangag na Sinigang. It.’s fried rice and sinigang in one! I was surprised when I tried it last year. It was really good!

    For desserts, you can also try macapuno, which is coconut slivers in sticky syrup. It goes so well with leche flan and ube.

    If you go back to Boracat, you should also try the Calamansi cupcake, if you haven’t yet.

  19. Hi Bren,

    Love your article!

    Regarding the TABLEA, I usually use two to three discs for roughly 250ml of milk. Don’t use the low fat variety. Chop up the chocolate or better still shave the chocolate and stir in with the milk while you are slowly bringing it to a boil. Add sugar to taste especially if your tablea is unsweetened.

    The BATIROL or the wooden stirrer is used to aerate the chocolate and yes, it does sort of look like a honey dipper.

    I simply use my handy stick/immersion blender for this. A lot easier and a lot more froth! 🙂

  20. Love this article.. I suggest you should also try some of this, the best goto ng Batangas is found in Lipa market, the name of the store isNanay Azon’s. Also try the best kaldereta in the region found in Batangas city itself. In Ilocos region, a must try is the local delicacy called bagnet, its more like of lechon kawali but there’s something in it that differs from the most. The blood stew(dinuguan) is a must try as well especially the crispy dinuguan somewhere along Ayala Alabang. And don’t also forget the pastillas de leche in San Ildefonso or San rafael Bulacan, i could say its the best pastillas I’ve tasted so far.

  21. Hi Bren, being a filipina away from home, your article just made me soo hungry!! Haha! Thank you for trying our food! Let me give you some more suggestions:
    1.laing- taro leaves cooked in coconut milk with pork.
    2. Pancit palabok
    3. Arrozcaldo/ lugaw
    4. Puto at kutsinta
    5. Puto bumbong
    6. Biko
    7. Espasol
    8. Kwek kwek
    9. Adobong pusit
    10. Relyenong bangus
    11. Menudo
    12. Embutido
    13. Buko pandan salad
    14. Gulaman at sago
    15. Lechon kawali
    16. Pork binagoongan

    Ohh and the list goes on and on… Now im hungry!!

  22. Try halohalo and ginatan next time. Both are desserts; the first one is cold, the other supposed to be eaten hot. Or try humba, a softer version of the adobo. It is common in the Visayas Islands. Some people put tablea into the mix, and the chocolate makes the sauce so deliious and flavorful. The best humba I have tasted, aside from the one my father used to make–he was a great cook– is found in a small eatery in Carigara, Leyte. I forgot the name already, but just ask around for the humba, and everyone will know what eatery you are looking for. You shoild also try the rellenong bangus. It is the fish version of stuffed chicken, it is one dish you will be happy to remember. Safe travels!

  23. you must try the following – Monggo Turon or Banana Turon with Langka, Fried Siopao in Chinatown, Red Igado in Bicol, Flavored Adobo (each region I think has their own version – some add coconut milk, some add ginger, some use squid and its ink to cook adobo), humba (a delicacy from pampanga that must be prepared in 6 mos because they have to bury first the cooked meat then cook it again – really tender and the taste is very powerful), chicharon bulaklak (you may not like it but it is sinfully delicious because of its oil), palabok (vermicelli with orange-colored shrimp flavored sauce topped with squid, shrimps, egg and chicharon), pichi-pichi (this is one yummy dessert, its brother is also the very famous palitaw), puto binan (this is the best puto you can get and they are bite sized), bagnet (this is like lechon but the raw meat is dried up first in the sun for days to remove a lot of oil), papaitan (well i wont tell you whats in it but it is a dish with a strong sour and spicy flavor), hopiang baboy (the cheap ones you get in local bakeries are the best), atsara (the best compliment to any fried dish, best with banana ketchup) and last one would be steamed chicken feet in Kowloon House. Hope you try them. Thanks for the great article, ,my tourists and our volunteers would love this (Jessie from Smokey Tours)

  24. We have different varieties of dishes and desserts. Filipinos are very hospitable to share these to other countries. Im from Laguna Buco Pie Capital of the Philippines, so many native rice cakes, Ginatan(coconut milk with jackfruit,tapioca,bananas sweet potatoes,sticky rice balls) Sapinsapin(colorful layered sticky rice cake)suman(sticky rice can be dipped in coconut jam and paired with mangoes) Black Gulaman(tapioca balls with black jelly) if you like porridge theres the Tinutong(porridge w/ coconut milk w/ roasted mung beans) Ginatang mais(porridge w/ coconut milk w/ white corn) Goto (porridge w/ ginger, pig intestines, onion chives, roasted garlic and Chicharon for toppings).
    You cannot go wrong with other delicacies like Hamonado(Pork/Beef cooked with raisins and pineapples)
    Tokwat baboy(Tofu with Grilled Pork in Soysauce and Vinegar topped with red chilli and onion chives)

  25. I really find Philipino (I don’t like using the word ‘Filipino’. To me this is NOT right as Pilipinos, “Pinoys” if you will do NOT speak Spanish.)

    Here is comment regarding foods eaten in the Pilipinas. There’s these combinations that don’t combine as far as my tastebud is concerned and they’re these: eating ‘Champo(u)rado with fried fish ‘tuyó’ and Dinugu-an with white rice cake called ‘puto’. (The first time I heard of this word I asked myself ‘how could possibly Pilipinos eat a male prostitue?’).

    Well, let’s go back to the food combinations – maridaje as Spaniards call it . Pilipinos, I suppose, combine these foodstuffs of sweet and salty thing. I even saw Pilipinos eating slices of pineapple with salt. SALT? Yes, you heard me very well – Salt! Again sweet and salty combination. Another combination, which to me is quite “weird” is eating a ripe mango, a ripe banana, etc. with simple, steamed white rice.

  26. Dear chefs: these are my recipe,appoint:! 2017 Philippine Flag: President. Dutertes
    – Market our own ice-cream biscuit sandwhiches=
    – create our own homemade over the counter salad
    – RECIPES=
    – coffee cakes
    – fruitcake cookies
    – coffee cookies
    – powdered bagoong mix
    – strawberry cake
    – new ice cream flavors-Pint philippines
    = nuts
    – milk
    – fruits
    – honey
    – sugar
    – corn
    – bee honey
    sweet cheese
    – grapes
    – apple
    – raisins
    – berries
    – orange=P.S. Defy the odds, try it
    – egg salad
    -Filipino style sushi
    – ice cream breads
    – ice cream biscuits
    – oil flavorings
    vegetable oil flavorings
    – nut oil flavorings
    – animal oil flavorings
    – New concepts of cooking=
    – Soaking in water
    – steaming in charcoaled fire through smoke
    – flavoring soaked then cooking
    – ironing
    – chemical maintenance(chemical reaction)
    – shortening
    – dipping
    – weathering(time acquainted cooking)
    – Invention-inventing

    = How to bake or cook chemicals-old and new
    = plants, sun storming(oxygenation)-chemical wiring-etc.
    = p.s.= hands on-d.v.d.-by faith=sorry for the term-
    I hope this a terrific development>
    – Thankyou & God bless>

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