If you are in Manila, be sure to brave the streets and try the street food. Why not? They say the best way to appreciate and learn the culture of a foreign place is by immersion, and that includes trying out what locals do or eat. Convinced? Great! Let me show you Manila’s world famous street food. Warning: this will probably make you drool (or gag, if you’re a bit squeamish).
Perhaps the most famous Filipino street food by far, Balut or Balot is both weird and appetizing. Balut is an intact duck egg that is boiled and then eaten with vinegar and salt. What do you see inside? Well, it depends on “how old” the embryo is. Some eggs are pure eggs (you know, with the egg white and egg yolk), while some eggs contain tiny developing ducks (yes, with beaks, eyes, and feathers!) We know it’s weird, but we know it’s irresistible! It is a must-try!
Filipinos are known for repeating names like Rap-rap, Maw-maw, and Ton-ton, so you can say that “kwek-kwek” is, on all levels, so Filipino. This dish is essentially just whole quail eggs coated with a mixture of food dye, flour, eggs, and water. The coated egg will then be submerged in super hot cooking oil. The orange eggs are finally served with a very appetizing sauce made with vinegar, calamansi (local lemon), salt, onions, and pepper.
No, you’re not gonna be eating some pieces of rubber! Adidas is actually chicken feet on sticks. The chicken feet are coated with a special sauce made with ketchup, soy sauce, and pepper and then grilled. It may look scary, but Adidas is delicious, and is best paired with rice. Why “Adidas”? Because, (chicken) feet = shoes (Adidas)!
Isaw is grilled or fried chicken intestines on a stick. Now don’t get squeamish just yet. The intestines are purposely boiled for several minutes prior to kill organisms. It is served with a dipping sauce made with vinegar and salt, or a combination of chili, soy sauce, and coconut vinegar.
Named after the real Betamax tapes, Betamax is chicken blood cut into cubes, skewered, and then grilled. But how do we cut chicken blood into cubes? Well, chicken blood turns into a gelatinous state when cooled (and no it does not go back to its liquid state when grilled). Gross? Wait ‘till you taste it. It’s sinfully delicious.
Every Filipino, regardless of age, loves Taho. It is basically soy curd with brown sugar caramel and tapioca pearls and is best served warm. It’s a healthy and very affordable drink! If you’re in Manila or in any other place in the Philippines, you’ll know that a Taho vendor is nearby because you’ll hear “taaaaahoooooo!!”
Banana Q or Banana Que a shortcut for Banana Barbeque is banana on stick. Usually served as a snack, this dish involves deep-frying plantain bananas in boiling oil with caramelized brown sugar. It’s usually eaten in the afternoons, after or before a siesta.
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Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.