Kwek-kwek Flickr photo by Brian Sahagun

Street Food in the Philippines: A Taste of Filipino Life

Today’s guest post from Jayson Bagio is about street food in the Philippines. Jayson writes about GoHunt Dining restaurants in Philippines. Read more of his writings in or follow his twitter on @seoteky.

Food is arguably the most important thing when it comes to a person’s life. Everyone eats, no matter what kind of diet they tend to have. Everyone just really eats food and that’s that.

The great thing about food, however, is that they tend to be quite unique to its location. A dish could be popular worldwide, but it can also be very local and specific to an area. This is mostly due to the fact that food largely reflects local culture. The ingredients and how the food is cooked say a lot about a specific region or country.

Aside from the regular cuisine, however, a country’s set of street foods also tend to serve the same purpose as well. For example, the Chinese’s meat buns are extremely popular because they are inexpensive and filling. They are also perfect because they easily feed the working class citizens.

This is the same case with Filipino street foods. Most items that you will find out on the streets all over the country are made out of inexpensive items that are very affordable. They tend to say a lot about the country, because, as most people know, the Philippines is not exactly a rich country. Being in the “third world”, these food items are perfect because they are easily available, cheap, and tasty.

If you still don’t see the picture, here are some top examples of the Filipino foods that you will commonly see out on the streets:

Kwek-kwek Flickr photo by Brian Sahagun
Kwek-kwek Flickr photo by Brian Sahagun

1. Kwek-kwek and Tokneneng (Quail Egg)

These items are snacks that are based on eggs. Kwenkwek are made of quail eggs, while tokneneng are chicken eggs. Both are covered in orange dough and are deep fried.

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2. Isaw (Chicken Intestine)

Isaw is another snack made out of chicken intestines. The intestine is put on a stick and then grilled. It is a very light, yet tasty, snack.

balut 'bay!

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3. Balut (Duck egg with the Embryo)

Balut is also a snack that is basically pre-hatched duck eggs. They are not really popular outside of the Philippines and are usually considered exotic, but they are widely eaten in the country. They are rich in proteins and are even considered as aphrodisiacs.


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4. Maruya (Banana)

Maruya is a really filling snack that is commonly sold by street foods vendors and even some restaurants in Philippines. They are made out of a combination of bananas and flour, deep fried until golden brown. They are very filling.

These are just some of the top examples of the most popular street foods in the Philippines. Lots more are available, especially if you just look around the cities and towns around the country.

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  • Angela

    Looks delicious, never been to a typical Filipino restaurant, I have no idea what their food is. Next time I get to Asia, the Philippines are the first on the list.

  • Kate

    Wow, this is really lovely. I’m also glad to see you’re from Ottawa!!!!!!!!!! You’re one of us :D. Would you have an advice page or something similar on how to launch a career as such??


    • Carrie

      Hi Kate,

      Thank you so much! It’s always good to hear from fellow Canucks, especially if they’re from Ottawa! I don’t really have an advice page per se, but I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to drop my a line at Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Realtree

    Wow. Quail eggs, its one of my faves. But, balut? I wonder what it tastes like. That maruya or banana dish, its sweet and i tried it. Perfect. surely, these arent that popular worldwide but are one of the treasures to be proud of, just like with any other countries.

  • May Verdejo

    Hi Jayson,
    Your article made me crave for these all-time favorites! I am in China right now and I miss the balut, the isaw, and the maruya. I cannot find it here and I don’t know how to make one myself.

    Please, can you also write a blog about the “kakanin”, with the yummy pictures? Maybe the people who visit the Philippines would like to try it too.

    All the best kabayan!

  • John Richards

    Philippines is indeed a amazing place to visit. I’ve read your previous post and you describe Philippines beautifully. Not only food but they also have great hospitality towards visitors. I’ve been there and experience an unforgettable trip. Here’s another tip, visit Palawan and Boracay Island. The former has its famous Underground River while the latter has fine white sand beaches.

  • James

    hi Carrie 🙂 thank you so much for featuring our country and our street foods! those are really my favorites. specially kwek-kwek and isaw. hope you had tasted all of those 🙂

  • EJ

    As a Filipino myself, I’ve eaten all of these. The “balut” is the most challenging to eat for most tourists. Actually I know a lot of Filipino friends who doesn’t eat it as well because of how the duckling looks like when you crack the egg. 🙂

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