Filipino Street Foods

Posted on at



          Street foods are those foods that you can find on the street that the locals of the place are selling for a very affordable price, foods that can be easily consumed but still taste good and most of the times they are exotic foods. 

          Here in the Philippines anywhere you look in every corner of Manila, in every street, you will find street foods that are affordable and yet satisfying to your gastrointestinal cravings, if you are an adventurous eater. The best way to learn about a place culture and their way of living is through their food, particularly those that you can find on the streets.                                                               

          Street foods are also known as the unhealthy foods. Few factors like the low hygienic way of preparing the foods, it is sold on the streets and most of the street foods are deep fried meaning it has a high calorie content, thus it is referred as unhealthy food, still it is very popular to many and even tourists are wanting to try it out.

                                                  Images source: Google Images


                              Famous Filipino Street Foods

                                                   Image source: Google Images

           Each country has their famous street foods that are patronized by the locals and a must try to its tourists. Here in the Philippines in every street, cities, and regions it has its famous street foods that are known in their places. And there are famous street foods that you can find wherever you go to the Philippines.

            Most of the street foods can be found outside the school  (famous for students that have limited allowance), public vehicle terminals, on the streets sidewalks, and in every corner where there are a lot of people passing by.

          These are only a few of the street foods that you can find anywhere in the Philippines.

1.Balut - The most exotic and strangest food that you will find in the streets across the Philippines. Balut are hard boiled duck embryo. Of all the street foods Balut is far most the safest food that you can try on the streets. It is sold hot and of course sealed.

          The best way to eat Balut is in the dark or you have to close your eyes, for you not to get the gross feeling of seeing the embryo while eating. Make a little crack on the bottom part of the Balut to sip the soup on it, then remove the half of the shell and sprinkle a dash of salt and you’re ready to the eat Balut.

          You can often hear the Magbabalot (Balut vendor) with his famous Baluuuutt chant during night time, carrying a basket full of Balut on his arms.

Balut is best paired with a cold beer.


                                              Images source : Google Images

         A few years ago on the show Fear Factor they had a balut eating challenge. Watch this video to see how brave the woman to eat the balut like an ordinary egg while the host and her fellow competitors were gross with the balut.


2. Fish balls - The most affordable of all the street foods that you can find in the Philippines. For only 50 cents per piece you can eat hot fish balls. Fish balls are like meatballs, but it is made of fish. It is deep fried in a wok. You can dip it with different sauces that you can choose from. Sweet and spicy sauce, sweet sauce, spicy vinegar.

          You can always find Mag-fi-fishbal (fish ball vendor) outside the school; famous for students who have limited allowance for food. In the streets near churches, public vehicle terminals, markets and even outside the corporate buildings you can find a fish ball vendor. Truly a Pinoy street food favorite.

          Squid balls, kikiam and sometimes even hot dogs are cooked on the same wok together with fish balls. It is added earnings for the vendors and  for customers to have variety of choices.

                                                         Images source : Google Images 


3. Kwek-Kwek/Tokneneng - These are hard boiled eggs that are dipped in an orange colored batter and then deep fried. In kwek-kwek quail eggs are used while in Tokneneng chicken eggs are used.

The name of these two street food may sound a little funny, but the taste is really good. The sauce is spicy vinegar and chopped cucumbers (optional).

                                              Image source: Google Images

                              Images on how to cook Kwek-kwek and Tokneneng


                                                Images source:

4. Barbecue Filipino style - When it comes to grilled foods on the streets, Filipinos maybe the most resourceful and creative people you will ever know. The typical grilled on skewers are pork chunks or chicken cuts, but Filipinos are born to be resourceful in a good way, we don’t throw anything into waste, as long as it can be recycled... It will have its used. The inner parts of the chicken and pig are also cooked, thus some parts are good for barbecue.

 Filipino Pork Barbecue

                                       Image source:

Filipino Chicken Barbecue "Inihaw na manok"

                                               Image source:

Grilled pig intestines "Isaw ng baboy"

                                        Image source:

Grilled chicken intestines "Isaw ng manok"

                                    Image source:

Betamax - Grilled chicken blood. When you buy chicken blood in the market it is not in liquid form, it is in jelly form and shaped like  a box, thus making it a resemblance to the old Betamax.

                                                Image source: Google Images

Adidas - Grilled chicken feet. The name adidas came from the name of the famous brand of shoes, Adidas.

                                                    Image source: Google Images

Helmet - Grilled chicken heads. With its name you probably have a good  guess why it is being called as a helmet.

                                                Image source: Google Images

Walkman "Inihaw ng tenga ng baboy" - Grilled pig ears. Filipinos are really creative in giving monikers to its food. If you are familiar with walkman that is where its name came from.

                                              Image source:

Balat ng Baboy - Grilled pork's skin.

                                         Image source:

           All these grilled foods are marinated in a special sauce, thus making it tasty when grilled. The common sauce is spicy vinegar. These street foods can also be eaten with rice, some people that don’t have time to cook or short in their budget, they just find the nearest ihawan (grilled stall) in their area. It can be a snack or even pulutan (finger foods)  to some men that loves to drink beer during their  happy hours after work.

          Adidas and helmet just like pork and chicken cuts can also be cooked with soy sauce and vinegar and other spices  or what we call as “Adobo”.

          There are still a lot of different variety of barbecue that you can find here in the Philippines.


5. Banana cue/ Camote cue - Famous for snack time. Banana cue or Banana-kyu are saba banana (cardaba banana) that deep fried and coated with caramelized sugar. It is served using a banana cue stick (skewer). The same process is made by camote cue. Camote is sweet potato.

Another form of cooking banana for a snack that is famous here in the Philippines is the Turon. It also uses saba banana but this time it is rolled in spring roll wrapper.


                                                Images source: Google Images


6. Dirty Ice Cream - More popularly known as sorbetes here in the Philippines. The ice cream is not really dirty just like its name. It is tagged as dirty ice cream because it is sold on the streets.

          Sorbetes famous flavor are ube, cheese and chocolate. You can buy sorbetes in apa or cones, cups and even on bread.

                                              Images source: Google Images                                         


7. Peanuts "Mani" - Adobong mani, peanuts that are cooked in oil with spices. It could be either spicy peanuts or garlic peanuts. Nilagang mani or hard boiled peanuts, these are peanuts that are still in its shell, usually sold on a huge pot along sidewalks.

Peanuts are easier to grab street foods when you are hungry, you can eat it while walking or while riding on a public vehicle going home.

Peanuts are also best for pulutan (finger food).

                                                    Images source:  Google Images

                                                     Image source:


8. Taho - the famous soft jelly like food that is made from soybeans. Every morning you will hear the word from magtataho (Taho vendor) his famous sound  “Tahoooooo”. It is a way of calling his customers. Kids are the usual taho lovers. Taho is served in a cup, with tapioca balls and arnibal or caramelized sugar.

          Just like the sorbetes or dirty ice cream vendor he also walks on foot along the streets. Carrying two stainless buckets attached to a wooden stick that is placed on his shoulders.

                                                       Images source: Google Images


9. Coconut "Buko" - The Philippines is a tropical country that is abundant with coconuts. It is not surprising that our coconut also finds its way to be part of the foods or drinks that you can find on the street.

          It is sold in two ways, the fresh coconut syrup usually sold while it is in the coconut shell. And as a juice, the coconut syrup and meat is mixed in water, sugar and ice. A perfect treat after you enjoy eating your favorite street foods.

                                                   Images source: Google Images


10. Cold drinks "samalamig" - These are the famous drinks that you will find in any streets here in the Philippines. It comes in different flavors, the famous flavors are sago at gulaman (tapioca balls and cubed gelatine), Buko Pandan, Melon, Mango, and chocolate. In a tropical country like the Philippines cold drinks that are sweet are very popular for us.

                                                    Images source: Google Images

Street Food Business

          Selling street foods is the primary source of income to many Filipinos. It doesn’t require a huge capital in order to start a street food type business. A person doesn’t need to be a college graduate to understand how the whole business works. In street food business all you need is a lot of hard work, perfect location (where there are many people passing by) and a small capital to start.

          Even in front of the house a person can start selling street food like fish balls or barbecue and some cold drinks on the side. That is why street foods are very popular here in the Philippines it is not only affordable, easy to eat, taste good, it is also a source of living to many hard working Filipinos.

                                                  Images source: Google Images

 Here are random videos about the Philippines street foods. - Street Food Around The World - Manila, Philippines

 Life of a Filipino street food vendor.

Cebu, Philippine Street Food: Sweetcorn and Kwek-kwek

Filipino Street Food in Makati, Philippines.

 Videos credit to Youtube.










About the author


Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.

Subscribe 0