Top 5 Street Foods in Manila

Manila is a much-publicized place because of its crowded places, the famous Luneta Park where the country’s hero monument is being displayed, the Laguna de Bay where you can sit around with your family or loved ones at the seaside while watching the perfect sunset to come down, the bright lights during the night, and of course, Manila will not be Manila if there are no street foods around the corner. As you walked down the streets in Manila you can see a lot of street vendors selling their goodies. Everywhere the smell of smoke coming from various grilled foods will cross your nostrils, thus leaving you drooling for those unique foods. So what are the most famous street foods in Manila? There are a lot of different varieties that we can choose. Here are some of the famous foods you will encounter down the Manila streets.

1. Stick on Foods- (Kwek-Kwek or Tokneneng, Fish Ball, Squid Balls and Tempura)

manila street food

Eating while walking sounds fun, enjoying the scenery with a food in hand sounds gratifying, right? Rule number one in selling street foods for consumer is that it should be comfortable for the buyer to eat while enjoying the food at the same. So first in our lists we have the foods that are put on sticks, we have the all-time favorite street food Kwek- Kwek. It is a hard-boiled quailed egg wrapped in an orangey batter; it is deep fried in the oil until it will turn into a golden brown color, usually it is dipped in vinegar to add more tang in the taste. Also we have another one similar to Kwek-kwek is the Tokneneng, the only difference between the two is that we used chicken or duck egg in tokneneng, but they still have the same savory taste in them. Another one is the fish ball, a small round ball seasoned with all kinds of ground fish fermented with a fish stock, it is usually paired with a special brown juicy sauce that can be sweet or spicy and for some customer they even mixed the two sauces to be a sweet and spicy sauce. Next is the squid ball, a small white ball that is made of ground squid it is also usually dipped in a savory sweet and spicy sauce, like the fish ball, kwek-kwek and tokneneng they have the same taste but it also has its own distinct taste, you can taste the squid in it with some of its ingredients that has been added. A tempura street food is not the same as the Japanese Tempura, tempura street food has simple ingredients only, but people love it. Tempura is made of cold water, soft wheat flour and some other ingredients; it is deep fried in oil and paired with its sweet or spicy yummy sauce. Everywhere, you can see a lot of these foods because they are the most popular, delicious and the first street foods that came to the mind of people in Manila and also not to mention it is a budget friendly food.

2.  Sugary Treats- (Banana Cue and Kamote Cue)

manila street food - banana-q

Who doesn’t like sweets? Almost all people love to graze their teeth in all kinds of foods as long as it is sweet. Down the streets of Manila City you can smell the sweet aroma of sugar cooked in oil for the preparation of banana cue or camote cue. The banana cue and camote cue is perfect for your afternoon snack, it’s the most in demand snack for people who have a sweet tooth. Banana and camote coated with brown sugar and a little bit sprinkles of olive seed can make your day splendid, with its luscious sweet taste in your tongue you can’t deny why people loves to eat this street food. It is also put on the stick for the convenient of the customers who are eating this food.

3.   Cold Treats (Halo-Halo, Mais Con Yelo and Dirty Ice Cream/ Sorbetes)

manila street food - halo-halo

The Philippines is a tropical country, when the clock strikes at twelve noon all the improvised fans are out in the open. Local folks can be seen outside of their houses to get a whiff of fresh air; because of the climate, people tend to buy foods that would make them feel cool. Crushed iced with milk and sugar not only can suites the palate for some people, but it can also suites how we feel about the weather. Halo-halo (mixed of anything) is the most favored food during the summer season, it is a crushed iced and has a lot of ingredients like gelatin, sago (pearl), small slices of banana and many more. Customers love their halo-halo to have more milk in it because it tastes creamy and heavenly. Mais con Yelo is the same as halo-halo, crushed iced with milk and sugar are also being used in this food, but what set them apart is that in mais con yelo street vendors only used mais (corn), usually people prefer mais con yelo than halo-halo, because halo-halo tends to make your stomach full in just a matter of second with all the carbohydrates you can get from the food. Another famous cold treat in the street is the dirty ice cream or the sorbetes. It’s not what you think that the ice cream is literally dirty; it is called dirty ice cream because it’s cheap and it’s a homemade ice cream by the vendor itself. Dirty ice cream can be seen anywhere, it’s most popular for children playing in the park. There’s a lot of variety of flavor, may it be mango, strawberry, chocolates and so on. Unlike other popular ice cream company, sorbetes is for those buyers who are trying to save money, it’s so cheap but you will not be disappointed on how it taste. The combination of the ice cream flavor and lots of milk will leave you asking for more sorbetes.

4.      Syrupy Treat (Taho)

manila street food - taho

Taho is made from a fresh tofu paired with a sweet syrup (arnibal) and small sago pearl, it is considered to be one of the well- loved street foods of all time. Usually, taho vendors are walking around from house to house or they just stayed in the park to sell the food. Children are hurriedly running if ever they will hear the booming voice of the taho vendor near their place. They would ran up to their kitchen grab their glasses or cup and call for the taho vendor to buy. A lot of people enjoy eating this street food especially if the vendor will put a lot of syrup (arnibal) in it. Taho is not only a mouthwatering street food but also by eating taho the body can also gain a lot of nutrients from it.


 5.      The Green Fruit (Green Mango)

manila street food - green mangoes

The Philippine is one of the luckiest countries in the world to be able to grow a mango tree. A mango tree can only grow in a tropical country; Philippine is well known to export a lot of mangoes outside the country. Mango is the most in demand fruit around the country. People tend to experiment what they can make aside from eating the fruit, and now there are a lot of delicacies made from the fruit. They were able to make mango jam, dried mango and so on. The street of manila is plague by this fruit, vendors sell green mango on the stick paired with bagoong (shrimp paste). Unlike yellow mango sweetness, green mango is sour which lead people to salivate with the said fruit. Some people even made a comment that green mango taste like a lemon, yes they are the same when it comes to the sour taste but green mango has its own distinct sour taste which you can also taste a little bit of sweetness in it. People eat green mango with bagoong but some paired it with salt, soy sauce and vinegar. Just by thinking of green mango is enough to make a person salivate because once you taste it, you can’t stop eating it.

So those are the five street foods that are popular in the street of Manila, but there are still a lot of foods that wasn’t listed in the above list. But, if ever you visit the street of Manila don’t forget to let out your adventure side when it comes to foods. Try all the foods that you think you might like because there’s no happiness when the stomach is empty.

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