#pinoystreetfood From a Street Guy’s Perspective


photo by: @iambajujay

It’s an unmistakable facet in the lifestyle of any local; we all have eaten it at least once and even took a liking to it. I’m not talking about junk foods, these are street foods my friend.

Street foods are some of the cheapest, readily available, and possibly delicious things for the person on the go. I’ll share what I know on some of the things here in Manila and in Laguna. I grew up eating them and it’s a shame on how some people see it as “dirty” without even sampling it. So without further delay, let’s begin:

Tuhog-Tuhog: These are the most common types of street foods found almost anywhere. These are anything that can be put in a stick. There are many things under this namely:

Banana-Q and Kamote-Q: Banana’s or Kamote pieces deep fried in oil glazed with brown sugar. Very tasty if you have the sweet tooth for it.

BBQ: Pork rib meat marinated then grilled until charred and tender. DIp it in spicy vinegar or a sweet sauce to induce more flavors.

Dugo/Betamax: Coagulated Pork Blood that’s grilled. Aptly named “hepa cubes” for the strange notion that it gives you hepatitis when you eat it. But it doesn’t. Really.

Isaw/IUD: Pork or chicken intestines (cleaned of any unmentionables of course) that’s grilled until tender. Best dipped in spicy vinegar.

Adidas/Chicken Feet: you get the picture. though this one tends to be a bit more sweet tasting in streets but spicier in the resto’s

Calamares: Squid in batter deep fried until crispy. There are 2 kinds namely the mall stuff and the street stuff. The mall stuff tends to be more batter-oriented while the street stuff tends to be more piece oriented. Both are delicious when dipped in spicy vinegar.

Fishball/Squidball/Kikiam/Chickenballs/Hotdogs: Processed and ready-to-cook street food that is mainly dipped in a sweet, sweet and spicy, vinegar ot spicy vinegar sauce. They are best sellers because of its cheap yet plentiful supply.

Kwek-kwek/Tokneneng: Quail Eggs/Chicken Eggs rolled in batter and then deep fried. Not for the ones who have high blood pressure though. It’s mostly up to the buyer on what sauce he prefers to use. I prefer soy sauce, chili and vinegar to go with it.

Tenga: Pig ears marinated and grilled until charred and tender. 

Balat: Pork skin marinated and grilled. Do you feel your arteries clogging now?

Chicken Head / Helmet: It is what it is. And it’s good.

Day old chick: skewered and deep fried. Good if you are into this kind of meal.

Chicken neck / skin: Battered and deep fried with a dip choice of sweet gravy or vinegar.

Set-ups – These types are often seen at stationary points or on the go.

Corn on a stick: Rubbed with margarine and sprinkled with a little salt. Good for rainy days.

Pares: Not the type with the big beef portions. Street pares is a thick soup filled with beef cutlets, onions, ginger. These are served along with a bowl of rice or with egg noodles. There are many condiments to accompany this such as calamansi juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, at times even ketchup. Also you may add things as pepper, fresh chili, spring onions, and toasted garlic and chilis to add some more flavor. Best for early mornings and late afternoons.

Shawarma: Roast beef cuts placed with cabbage, tomatoes, onions or cucumbers laced with a garlic mayo sauce and some hot sauce for heat. Not suitable for those you want their breath smelling like feet.

DDIC/Delicious Dirty Ice Cream: Ice cream with flavors ranging from ube,cheese,chocolate,etc. Served in cups, cones or even in bread. The name may have come from parents who think that the methods of making the ice cream are dirty but in contrast they find the product delicious.

Rice Cakes: If you never even tasted even one of these, go ahead and try some. Not even diabetics can resist the local rice cakes. Puto, Kutsinta, Biko are just some of the rice cakes that are oh so refreshing to the palette. Some are mainly made from rice, sugar and coconut milk.

Taho: Who can forget this soya treat. Mixed with sugar syrup and tapioca balls(sago), this street food goes best in the early mornings.

Balut/Penoy/Chicharon: Balut is boiled 18-day old duck eggs, penoy is just hard boiled duck eggs and chicharon is just deep fried pork skin. These 3 treats have been peddled by vendors across the night in any locality or in the metro. Coupled with salt or vinegar, it makes for a good evening snack. Balut takes a rather special case wherein not anyone likes to eat a semi-developed hatchling.

Chicken Skin: Deep fried chicken skins that goes great with vinegar. Not for people who have high blood pressures though.

Proven: Chicken inerts mixed in batter deep fried until crispy. Goes great with vinegar. A common myth to this food is that it’s made from chicken butts. Hilarious but totally untrue.

Siomai: Chinese dimsum made for retail purposes. Made from wonton skins and ground meats. goes great with rice in what I call “budget meals”.

Palabok: The common party/fiesta staple is now made daily to please the tastebuds of the common traveller.

Ginataan: This hearty afternoon snack made from coconut milk, sugar, tapioca balls, langka, bananas and rice balls(bola-bola) never fails to brighten up even the lowest of moods.

Mani: These nuts come in all flavors from salted w/ skins, salted skinless, spicy with skin, spicy skinless, sweet nuts, add there green peas(technically not a nut) among others.

Okoy: small bits of fish and even small fishes and at times small shrimp, mixed in batter then deep fried. Often served in vinegar.

Maruya: Bananas that are mixed in batter then deep fried makes for a very sweet but starchy treat.

Lumpia: There are many varieties but the more street common is the lumpiang togue(bean sprouts mixed with veggies and ground pork). Served with vinegar.

Turon: The sweet cousin of lumpia. Bananas wrapped in lumpia wrapper then deep fried with brown sugar.

Sweet Corn: now in carts. Shredded corn, margarine, condensed milk. Oh, I can feel the hospital         calling.

Street waffle: thin cakes smothered in margarine and sugar.

So that’s it for this entry. Hope you learned something from this post. If anyone wants to add something to this list or even correct some things, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll do something about it.

Well then, Bon Apetit!

Author: Alrik Estrada