I once chanced upon a cable travel show with a British dude trying different Filipino street food. He sampled an array of “exotic” local dishes that aren’t for the squeamish. It makes for compelling television, but that’s not all we’ve got, ya know. So I thought of making my own list of local street food that doesn’t include duck embryos or chicken heads. Because I’m squeamish too. And because I thought it would be fun to list down my favorites :)
Binatog is a snack (or for me a breakfast side dish) of boiled white corn kernels. I like to eat it piping hot with grated coconut and sugar. The binatog vendor rides a bike with two pails. Here I made him look like a giant binatog.
This street food is rare in the city where I live. So the few times that I get I see this dude is pure joy.
Sorbetes is ice cream made from coconut milk. It comes in cheese, chocolate, ube, mango, avocado flavors :) It tastes different from store-bought ice cream, to me it’s more refreshing. The colorful cart is hard to miss in parks. Don’t mind its “dirty ice cream” moniker. I can’t help being a little dirty, it is sold on the streets! kidding.. Just keep an eye on the vendor’s fingers to make sure they don’t touch the cone.
When I was in college, Lumpia was my cheap lunch on-the-go. It’s quite filling for a fried veggie wrap. The oily goodness isn’t complete without a drizzle of spicy vinegar.
This seriously delicious breakfast/snack is made of warm silken tofu with syrup and tapioca pearls. Anyone who hasn’t tried this is missing half of his life. When I was a kid, I would wake up to sound of a man shouting”Tahoooooo!!” outside our house. We would run outside to greet the vendor with our empty mugs and pitchers. It’s still my comfort food today.
I think the most enjoyable street food are the skewered ones. I like the dessert variety – sweet bananas, sticky rice, and sweet potatoes. The tangy and glutinous variety a.k.a. pig & chicken intestines (okay, this might make people squeamish). And the common meat-on-a-stick.
The pig intestine or isaw baboy is a hit-or-miss for me. I only enjoy the ones sold at the parking lot near U.P. Law School, and not from the vendor with the flashy LED sign. :D
These are considered the special kinds of street food they’re associated with a festive time of the year- Christmas! The bibingka and puto bumbong are rice cakes sold in front of churches during early morning Christmas mass. They are cooked in coal-heated steamers, creating a smoky flavor gives me warm fuzzy Christmasy feelings inside. They’re so good that I see a lot of mall food stands serve them all-year round, which kinda ruins the effect, I think. But I’d be happy to eat them any day.