Top Unique Street Foods In The Philippines

The Philippines truly stands out among the rest of the world regarding culinary creativity. Not only do the locals offer the best food through fancy establishments, but they also provide tasty food across the street. Yes, many unique delicacies are found around the streets. Throughout its history and lasting culture, there have been many iconic and unique street foods in the Philippines, and they can be found on nearly every corner today.

10 Unique Street Foods In The Philippines Tourists Should Sample

Street foods are local delicacies that reflect the hardships of the community. They range from simple to bizarre; some consider them out of this world and can be found in different destinations like food spots in El Nido, for example. Each street food is special, reflecting the local adaptability and ingenuity of using different ingredients and turning them into delicious creations.

Today, many people see street food from a different perspective. Well, one where they are more appreciated for their taste and convenience towards personal savings. That said, here are the top special foods in the Philippines that every tourist should check out once or more during their visit to the Philippines:


The balut is one of the most bizarre delicacies. However, it is also one of the country’s most recognizable and iconic street food. It is even one of the few delicacies synonymous with “Filipino street foods”. 

Balut, sometimes called “balot,” are boiled fertilized egg embryos. Upon opening the egg, you will see a whole baby chick inside. These eggs are incubated for 14 to 21 days before they are steamed or boiled. The most popular way of eating the balut is usually by making a small hole and sipping on the broth before eating the chick whole.


Many locals would also consider kwek-kwek synonymous with local street foods alongside balut. Kwek-kwek is made of quail eggs coated with orange batter and deep-fried afterward. This snack is usually taken with either vinegar or sweet sauce. They are extremely common and can be found in every local street food vendor in the country.

Another similar delicacy is called tokneneng, which uses a similar cooking approach and the same batter. The only slight difference is that tokneneng are chicken eggs; because of this, they are bigger in comparison and considered a unique food in the Philippines. 

Tempura and Fishballs

Tempuras and fishballs are popular street snacks deep-fried and sold alongside kwek-kwek. Diners can watch them being prepared in real-time. The tempura has its name derived from its Japanese counterpart and is known for its delicious taste and perfect pairing with different sauces, be it sweet or spicy.

See also: Seafood Restaurants In Metro Manila


Isaw is another unique food in the Philippines due to its entirety being made of clean chicken intestines. These popular street snacks are considered a type of inihaw, which refers to any food cooked by grilling. The intestines are marinated using orange food coloring and oil and are usually taken with vinegar. With this grilled street food, there is no denying that it feels like visiting one of the best steakhouse restaurants in Metro Manila.


(Image Source: PhilStar)

Taho is one of the most popular and unique street foods in the Philippines, offered to customers without leaving their homes. Besides its multiple sweet ingredients, what makes taho iconic is how vendors shout their presence in the neighborhood. They would usually stop at someone’s home and prepare the snack on the go. 

This streetfood generally consists of soft tofu, sweet syrup, and sago pearls, which give it a sweet, vanilla-like flavor. 


Local white corn is a popular food that different vendors prepare in various ways. It can be grilled, pan-fried in butter, or steamed, and each cooking method enhances the corn’s sweetness. To add more flavor, margarine or processed cheese spread is commonly paired with it. Corn can be found everywhere, from street corners to roaming vendors.

Filipino Barbecue

Barbecue is a specialty food in the Philippines that is perfect for noon and evening meals. It stands out from their American counterparts due to being skewered in the sticks. Well, the meat is marinated in a special sauce made with lemon, garlic, calamansi, soy sauce, banana ketchup, and vinegar. This marinade is also brushed onto the meat on the burning hot grill. 

Filipino barbecues are locally known as inihaw and can vary from pork BBQ to chicken inasal. Local barbecues are delicious and affordable. A popular time to buy this food is at night, when the aroma of grilled meat fills the air, and many night markets sell it in bundles.


(Image Source: @sisigsarada)

Sisig is globally known as Pampanga’s signature dish. It has been adopted by several chefs who have adapted this dish with their unique twist. Well, street sisig is mixed with chopped grilled pork and fried egg. Popularized by SisigsaRada, it has become a favorite among customers in Makati’s busy streets. 

See also: Top 10 Foodgasmic Food in the Philippines

Sorbetes / “Dirty Ice Cream”

Also called “dirty ice cream,” Sorbetes can be enjoyed any time, whether morning, afternoon, or evening. Just like taho, the vendor, called “sorbeteros,” will push the cart around the neighborhood and announce their presence either by shouting or by using a small bell in hand. 

“Dirty” ice cream made with coconut and carabao milk is a popular delicacy. It comes in various unique colors and flavors, including cheese and ube. Unlike Western-style ice cream, it’s commonly served in small wafers or sugar cones or as a filling inside traditional pandesal, a popular local bread. 

Banana cue

Banana cue is a popular and special food in the Philippines, ideal for afternoon snack time. It is widely enjoyed by both locals and foreign visitors alike. People can find banana cues almost everywhere in the Philippines, and they are sold alongside turon (another popular banana snack). 

Banana cues are skewered deep-fried bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar, similar to Filipino barbecues. The bottom line here is that it is convenient to serve and eat as a snack.

Closing Thoughts

There are quite many unique street foods in the Philippines any guests can choose from. There are affordable skewered grilled meat and snacks outside the norm that anyone can find any snack on any street across the country. Fortunately, they are budget-friendly, tasty, and cater to different tastes without the need to go to fancy places or spend a lot of money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Filipino street food is a cost-effective and convenient option, particularly for those who need to buy small quantities of necessities. It is available in various flavors and can be incorporated into different meals at a lower cost, which makes it an attractive choice for consumers.

What is Filipino street food called locally?

Two categories of Filipino street food are inihaw, grilled, and tusok-tusok, skewered and deep fried. These are some of the things that these street foods are known for. 

Are street food the same as junk food?

No, not all street food is considered junk food. While some may think of these foods as unhealthy, most street foods are balanced and nutritious.

Related: Top 10 Hotels In The Philippines To Choose For Your Next Vacation

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