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A Guide to Philippine Street Foods

Updated on October 18, 2012
Isaw | Source

A brief introduction

One of the things you must try when you visit the Philippines is the different street foods. The most common street foods include squidball/ fishballs s, kikiam, barbecued pork, chicken, isaw, balut, tokneneng, kwek-kwek, taho, sorbets, palamig, calamares. Get a taste of this street food and make it a part of your experience during your visit to our country. Who knows maybe one of these street foods will give you more reasons to visit our country more often. Filipinos often say “Kain tayo!” which mean “Let’s eat!” in English as a courtesy before eating.

Fishball, Squidball, Tokneneng and Kikiam
Fishball, Squidball, Tokneneng and Kikiam | Source

The street foods

Squidballs/Fishballs/Kikiam – this is the most commonly eaten type of street food in the country. It is sold by street vendors pushing wooden deep-frying carts. There are three types of sauce where you can dip you fishballs/squidballs/kikiam these are:

·Spicy (white/orange colored) – vinegar, water, diced onions and garlic.

·Sweet (brown gray colored) – corn starch, banana ketchup, sugar and salt;

·Sweet/Sour (amber or deeper orange colored) – the sweet variety with lots of small hot chili added.

To eat this kind of street food you just need a stick and prick the balls in a frying fan. The sign that the balls are cooked and safe to eat is when its color is golden-yellow or brown.

Betamax | Source
Balut | Source

Betamax – is a dried chicken blood that is shaped into cubes and cooked on the grill. The blood is extracted from the chicken and set aside to cool. The gelatinous blood scalded to have a more solid form then cut into rectangular pieces. The rectangular blood resembles the shape of a Betamax tape and this is the reason why it was called such.

Balut - this is one of the famous foods here in the Philippines and if my memory serves me right, this food was used as a challenge in one of the episode of Fear Factor in the US. It is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Balut is preferred to be eaten with salt and or chili garlic vinegar.

Tokneneng – one of the new famous street foods in the country. This tempura-like Filipino street food is cook by deep-frying an orange batter covered hard-boiled quail eggs.

Sorbetes | Source

Sorbetes – one of the famous and a traditional variation of ice cream in the Philippines. It is distinct from the similarly named sorbet. It is usually served with small water or sugar cones and more recently, bread buns. It is uniquely made from coconut milk, unlike iced desserts that are from animal milk. Sorbetes is peddled by sorbeteros using colorful painted wooden carts which usually can accommodate three flavors, each in a large metal container.

Different kinds of street foods in the Philippines.
Different kinds of street foods in the Philippines. | Source

Palamig – is a street drink that mean “cooler” in English. This drink comes in different varieties from very colorful juice to coconut juice. There are also new variety of this called “sago’t gulaman”. This is the best partner of the street foods that you eat when you are here in the Philippines.

Chicken Neck/Head/Wing/Thigh/Legs/Feet – a chicken here in the Philippines can be compared to a coconut. You can eat everything well except for the feathers. The chicken feet; which popularly known as “Adidas” because of its three fingers like the Adidas logo. These chicken parts are all cooked before going to grill making it faster to server to hungry customers.

Isaw – is a street food from the Philippines that is made from the barbecued pig or chicken intestines. During the preparation of Isaw, the intestines are cleaned, turned inside out, and cleaned again, repeating the process several times. Isaw can be boiled then grilled or immediately grilled on sticks.

Calamari – is a street food that is famous in the Philippines these days. It is a tempura-like squid. Coated with breading it is cook through deep frying.


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    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      I would try the balut, but it would be difficult for me! The rest look good, especially the sorbetes!

    • afmolinajr profile image

      Alejandro Molina 5 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      thank you so much for that very nice comment.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      My husband spent a year in the Philippines loved the food in the that's all he could talk about when he got back, lol.. chicken on the stick.. ??? I don't see that on the list..

      great hub. here

      nice to meet you and thanks for the follow


    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      That duck embryo thing was covered in Huffington Post's Top 10 grossest food items. That is one I will never try lol.

    • afmolinajr profile image

      Alejandro Molina 5 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      thank you so much for the great comment! You should try at least one of the street foods we have here in the Philippines. cheers!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Good hub for travellers to this beautiful country.