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7 Most Loved Filipino Street Foods

Updated on September 23, 2012
Taho | Source
Kwek Kwek
Kwek Kwek | Source

Travelers visiting the Philippines just cannot leave the country without sampling the country’s chow staples: Filipino street foods.

The most-loved Filipino street foods can be found almost anywhere in the country, from the street corners to malls, supermarkets, bus and jeepney terminals, food courts, and even student canteens.

Locals absolutely love Filipino street foods.

They delight their taste buds, keep their stomachs full, and, of course, they do not cost them an arm and a leg.

So, foreigners wishing to experience the authentic Filipino way of eating must at least sample these foods before leaving the Philippines.

While a complete list may be really long, below are some of the most-loved Filipino street foods that are a must-try for foreigners.

1. Taho

Made of soft silken tofu, taho is topped with arnibal or caramelized brown sugar and sago or pearls.

Most magtataho or taho vendors peddle this street food by walking through Filipino neighborhoods and shouting out the food’s name, “Taho!”

Buyers can easily spot the magtataho, who can be seen carrying large and small aluminum buckets.

The large bucket holds the soft tofu while the small bucket holds the arnibal and sago.

Buyers are served taho in varying sizes of cups.

Usually sold in the mornings and late in the afternoon, taho is a street food that Filipinos eat as part of their breakfast and/or merienda or late afternoon snacks.

2. Banana Cue and Camote Cue

A popular merienda in the Philippines, banana cue is deep-fried saba (a type of banana) coated in caramelized brown sugar.

Once cooked, banana cue is skewered for easy eating.

Camote cue or camote fritter is a lot similar to banana cue.

It is made of deep-fried sweet potato coated in caramelized brown sugar then skewered before being sold.

Many hawkers and food kiosks sell banana cue and camote cue in the late afternoons when most Filipinos eat merienda.

3. Binatog

In the mornings or late afternoons, Filipino food hawkers riding bicycles and sounding their bells can be heard shouting, “Binatog!”

Binatog is one of the Filipinos’ favorite street foods.

It is made of steamed corn kernels then mixed with shredded coconut and a sprinkle of either salt or sugar.

4. Iskrambol

Iskrambol is a Filipino street food that locals gorge on during the Philippines’ unforgivably hot days.

Iskrambol is shaved ice mixed with caramelized brown sugar then topped with milk powder and chocolate syrup.

Usually appearing pinkish due to its artificial color, it can be eaten with the use of a spoon or a straw and is served in small cups.

Iskrambol is very popular among Filipino kids.

In fact, it is usually sold outside local elementary schools where iskrambol vendors can be seen peddling their carts.

5. Calamares

Gaining popularity across the Philippines, calamares is an adaptation of the Spanish calamari.

It has been eaten as pulutan or dry finger foods that accompany alcoholic drinks.

Recently, however, creative street food hawkers have served this same dish with a twist.

Calamares is made of sliced squid rings and heads, dipped in egg whites, dredged in flour, and then deep fried.

Instead of serving the calamares in the common mayonnaise dip, street food hawkers offer buyers two kinds of dip.

One dip is spicy, made of water, vinegar, chili, pepper, and onion.

The other one has the same ingredients, just minus the chili.

6. Tokneneng and Kwek-kwek

Tokneneng and kwek-kwek are easily recognizable. They are round-shaped, appear to be soft and colored in bright orange.

While similar, tokneneng and kwek-kwek are actually different.

Tokneneng is made of either chicken or duck egg while kwek-kwek is made of quail egg.

They are prepared by dipping the eggs in egg whites, dredging them in flour with orange artificial colors, and then deep-frying them.

Their sauces are the same as those of calamares above.

7. Fish Balls

A list of most-loved Filipino street foods can never be complete without… fish balls.

In fact, it is hard to imagine a typical local street without fish ball vendors.

Made from fish meat, fish balls are deep fried, skewered, and then dipped in sauces.

There are at least three kinds of dip.

The first one is a spicy concoction made of vinegar, pepper, onions, water, and chili.

The second one is made of cornstarch, sugar, salt, water and catsup.

The third one is made of the second type of sauce but mixed with chili.

So popular are fish balls in the Philippines that it has spawned varieties: chicken balls, squid balls, and even kikiam.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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