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Posted at: Mar 12, 2017, 2:31 AM; last updated: Mar 12, 2017, 2:31 AM (IST)

Snacks Filipinos won’t do without

Here’s a snack checklist that comes in handy in the Philippines

Supriya Sehgal

Travel without local food can be particularly bland, especially if one is journeying through South-East Asia and doesn’t believe in the ‘nose-to-tail consumption’. It is best to drop all inhibition and be ready to dip into some of the finest Filipino grub. Admittedly, some of the flavours might be a taste too far but nothing that will render the palate brittle.

Cheding’s toasted peanuts

The Cheding’s peanuts might look like a simple bag of toasted munchies but these store in them a legacy of Iligan City since 1963. Picture a long ride in a Jeepney, Philippines’ favourite local transportation, in the company of these snacks.

Monggo guisado (pork, pulses and eggplant)

Order President Duterte’s favourite dish at the hole-in-the-wall Thrunk’s Palace, run by Ermelita. The shanty in Davao has been patronised by the leader of the nation. Monggo apart, ask for her to lay out the pinkabet (mixed vegetables steamed in fish sauce), gizzard, pancit and pork rib soup with taro and the bill won’t make a dent in your pocket.

Kwek kwek (fried orange quail eggs) 

If only all exotic dishes were so easy to remember. Coated with orange batter, the quail eggs are fried and served with a tangy sauce. Though a simple dish, it is a bedrock of snacks for Filipinos and goes at just about any time in the day. 


A tropical delight that takes the sting out of the blistering sun, the pomelo is a refreshing option and a splitting image of the grapefruit. It is not difficult to spot a smiling face from behind a mountain of ripe pomelos along the streets. Pick up sliced pieces so it is easy to eat on the go.

Turon ng Saging (banana fritters on a stick) 

Bequeathed with a tropical climate, fruits feature high on the snack list of the Philippines. But fruit on stick is even better. Fried? More so. Banana fritters on a stick are swiftly bagged and handed over by street stalls and are ideal for famished stomachs.

Pork Adobo (pork)

Bold sour and sweet flavours are the highlight of the slow-cooked pork dish. Be sure to know that is one of the most sinfully unctuous dishes in the country, but equally hard to resist. 

Balbacua (beef)

Put a pin on the heart of the map of the Philippines and it will land on Cebu city. From here originates a dish that dominates the kitchens and street food stalls of the entire country. Glue-like consistency of the soup and strong beefy flavour is the touchstone for a true Filipino palate. 

Isaw (chicken or pig intestine)

Scrubbed clean, turned inside, barbequed and propped on a stick. That is how one can eat one of the favourite snacks in the Philippines. A veritable condiment includes sukang pinakurat, which is essentially onions, peppers and spices dipped in vinegar. 

Pastel buns

Originated in the kitchens of early 17th century Spanish settlers, pastel buns are synonymous with the city of Cagayan de Oro. Though the original yema (egg-yolk) filling in these soft tea-side buns still remains a favourite, it is not difficult to find other fruity options like guava, raspberry, mango, peanut butter and durian. 

Crocodile egg and durian ice cream

Only at the Davao Crocodile Park will one find a stall hawking crocodile and durian-flavoured ice cream thronged by 20 kids. Recommended for a nose scrunching hot afternoon after a walk through of emu, bats, snakes and crocodile enclosures. 



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