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Filipino Street Food: A Pleasure On The Palate And A Unique Gastronomical Experience

Updated on July 16, 2012

Sometimes, it is useless to eat with your eyes!

Back in college, we had a class that tackles about magazine writing and production. Thus, one of the ways to get a high grade on this is to create a unique and totally captivating magazine that would not just entice our professors and classmates as well as feasible readers. Since, I love reading lots of magazines, I decided to take charged of the group and I even led the conceptualizing, editing, producing and even the financing. I know, I was Superman and Mother Theresa combined when I took the lead but I didn’t really care at all. For me, as long as the output is great, I would be very proud.

I really want to share to the world the 14 page magazine that we did. However, I seem to have lost the PDF files and I only got a few pages left in my email address. One of the most interesting things that I am sure would be a great hot among hubbers is the Food Trip portion. This part of the magazine is dedicated to foodies who would like to take a unique gastronomical experience in a certain city. Since, I am very narcissist about my beloved land; I picked the frenetic yet fancy city of Manila as our subject for the entire magazine.

The food in the Philippines is a really diverse. It has a mix of Spanish, Chinese and American decent that makes it really one-of-a-kind. However, in the magazine that we created, we focused ourselves in writing about the infamous street foods of Manila. Majority of these food items are weird, puke-inducing and might give you a chill on your spine but once you have your first bite, you’ll savor the flavor of the city which is rich in an amalgam of tradition and affluent culture. More than that, these chows are infused with the very Filipino value of frugality.

Before I divert you to a different topic, let me give you the best Manila street food that are Fear Factor worthy yet packed with Filipino goodness that wouldn’t resist.


Flat little balls deep fried in oil, skewered in bamboo sticks and dipped in sweet or spicy soy-based sauce. That is how we eat our fishballs made with cuttlefish or any kind of fish (whatever fish it may be made, I still don’t know it). Actually, fishballs are usually not as flavorful as the typical fishballs sold in supermarkets. It usually ranges from bland to a little salty. What makes it really flavorful is the special soy based sauce that has sweet and spicy variant. You may also bathe it with spice vinegar laden with minced white onion and red chilies. Fish balls are typically sold in the streets for the price that everyone can afford—50 centavos each. No wonder why kids of this generation still love the flavor of fishballs. Not to mention, it also comes with other balls like chicken, squid and kikiam.



No, it is not your motorcycle gear, it is just head of chicken, skewered in bamboo sticks, grilled in charcoal and dipped in spiced vinegar. Truly, in such kind of street food, you know how dynamic, witty and totally funny Filipinos in naming their dishes.



Isaw is made of pork of chicken intestines skewered in bamboo sticks, grilled and best eaten with spiced vinegar. It is commonly sold along the streets along with helmet (chicken head) and betamax (curdled cow’s blood).



Yes, you read that right; we eat betamax here in the Philippines. However, this kind of betamax is made of curdled cow’s blood, cut into cubes, skewered in bamboo sticks, grilled and eaten with spiced vinegar. It is wittily named betamax because its color ranges from light brown to black that resembles the 90’s cassette.



Adidas, it's not the shoes, instead, it's grilled chicken feet. It is called that ways because it resembles the logo of the famous shoe brand. Chicken feet is a well known Chinese delicacy. Her in the Philippines, it is one of the staple street foods that you will see over hot charcoal.



These are hard boiled quail and chicken eggs that are fried in orange batter are typically savored with spiced vinegar and minced cucumbers or soy based sauce. These sounds really strange but these two are notorious for filling empty stomachs on the rush.

One Day Old Chick

The name says it all, these are one day old chicks that are deep fried whole in oil and eaten best with spiced vinegar. Okay, eating deep fried one day old chick might be tough for everyone. I understand because I also feel the same thing as others especially when you devour the poor little chick instead of waiting for them to grow as chickens. But if you want to know how these little chickens taste like? Well, it is crunchy, chewy and boney especially when you feel the meager beaks brush inside your mouth. Satisfied? That was hard, tough.



The last but definitely not the least is the world famous balut. Balut is the aborted duck egg that is eaten with spiced vinegar or rock salt and what is more interesting than that is how you eat it. You don’t need a spoon, fork or knife just to get the precious little chick and yoke, you just have to sip the juice and eat it straight from the shell. The graphic image of the chick and veins inside the egg add to its creepy attribute plus, knowing the fact that it is aborted. Gross isn’t it but definitely a pleasure on your palate. Interesting fact about balut is its being tagged as an aphrodisiac. More than that, it was also featured on American Fear Factor as one of the challenges.


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    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      @alocsin - Agree! For some, it is freaky. Thanks for dropping by @alocsin! You're the best! :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think this would freak out most non-Filipinos. Too bad because these goodies can be delicious. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      Oh yeah, I forgot that one.

      Thanks for pointing out Moira.

      Thank you for dropping by :)

    • MoiraCrochets profile image

      Moira Durano-Abesmo 5 years ago from Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines

      This is a beautiful tribute to our dear street food. My favorite is Isaw, and I don't have the heart to try Balut.

      Why didn't you include Penoy?

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      @jojokaya- you should try it. It is yummy! :)

    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 5 years ago from USA

      Interesting hub. I heard about balut but never tried it

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      The-BestMouseTrap -hey, hahaha.. i understand why, most people even some Filipinos are so afraid of this infamous balut. but you should try it. It doesn't taste that bad after all. :)

    • The-BestMouseTrap profile image

      Pam Valentine 5 years ago from The Heartland, USA

      I was scrolling and scrolling thinking, "what! NO Balut!" and then there it was, creepy, disgusting balut. I told my husband if he ever ate on while he was on his cruise (USN), I never kiss him again. PEWK! But very interesting, to each his own, I'll stick with chocolate covered marshmallows and Charleston chews.

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      @Crystar -thank you very much for dropping by. BTW, you should try balut. it is really delicious.Just don't mind the aborted chick :)

    • profile image

      Crystar 5 years ago

      Amazing work. Food looks delicious. The balut kind of interesting but I don't think I will try that hehe.