15 Filipino Foods to Try in Manila

Gastronomers delight in dining out in Manila because the city offers a smorgasbord of international cuisines, street food, and weekend market that offer meals that are influenced by Spanish, Chinese and Malay cuisines. Here are some popular Filipino foods that you should look out for when you visit Manila.

Pork Adobo by Hermitsmoores on Flickr

Pork adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. Adobo is very simple to make, but every version seems different. There are three essentials ingredients to pork adobo: garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. Pork adobo has a sweet, carmelized flavor, although every version differs with whomever is cooking it.

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The Filipinos are avid pork eaters and they’ve mastered the art of roasting pig. Filipino lechon is one dish that you’ll see almost everywhere in the Philippines. You’ll find streets stands roasting a whole pig on a spit. Crispy suckling pig can be quite delicious!


Barbecued isaw is also a local favorite. Otherwise known as chicken intestines or pork intestines, is also a local favorite. The intestines are washed, turned inside out and washed again. The cleaning process is repeated several times. Isaw is then grilled or grilled on sticks and then dipped in kurat. (A Filipino term for vinegar with onions, peppers, and other spices).

betamax, adidas, atbp.

If you’re squeamish about blood, this next dish probably isn’t for you. Betamax consists of cubes of barbecued pig’s blood.


Adidas is a dish that consists of chicken feet or chicken heads. The feet or heads are marinated in a mixture of calamansi, spices and brown sugar. Then they’re grilled.

Balut/ balot (eeew!)

Balut also isn’t for the faint of heart. It consists of a 17-day-old fertilized and boiled duck embryo. Balut is often listed as one of the most unusual foods in the world. It might not look very appetizing, but it isn’t a local delicacy for nothing. This 17-day-old duck embryo is boiled, served with rock salt or spicy vinegar and is often consumed with beer.

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Kwek kwek.

Kwek-kwek is also a local favorite. It consists of boiled chicken or quail eggs that are deep-fried in an orange batter.

Tapa overload from Mr. Jones

Tapa is a type of beef jerky that is commonly eaten for breakfast.

Tapsilog (Tapa, SInangag at Itlog/Cured-Beef strips, Fried Rice & Egg)

Don’t miss out on the chance to try a classic Filipino breakfast. Tapsilog consists of beef jerky, fried garlic rice, and a fried egg.


Sinanglay is a staple Filipino food. Fresh tilapia is stuffed with tomatoes and onions, then simmered in coconut milk and wrapped in pechay leaves (similar to bokchoy). The pechay leaves help to keep the fish together and lends a peppery taste to the dish.

happy fiesta! (nilasing na hipon sa sprite) :D

Seafood lovers will almost certainly enjoy and order or two of Nilasing na hipon (shrimp marinated in alcohol) and ulo ng pusit (crispy squid head) are two dishes that are a must-try for fish lovers.

Sinigang na hipon

Shrimp sinigang delivers a tasty explosion of the tastebuds. Fresh shrimp are marinated in a taramind broth that bursts with flavor.


Manila is a hot, humid city. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with a big bowl of halo-halo. Consisting of shaved ice, boiled sweet beans and fruit toppings, halo-halo is a popular dish that is well loved by most Filipinos.

Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka is a sugary concoction of sago pearls, palm sugar syrup and santan.

Don’t forget to wash it all down with an ice cold San Miguel beer.

Want to learn more about traditional Filipino dishes. Check out CNN’s 50 Delicious Filipino Dishes for more!

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

3 thoughts on “15 Filipino Foods to Try in Manila


    (September 27, 2013 - 3:31 am)

    Awesome list! We’ve been thinking about going to the Philippines this year, but I’ve been kind of turned-off by reading that a lot of people don’t like the food. A lot of this looks really good, though! Although, I don’t think I could handle the boiled duck embryo!


      (September 28, 2013 - 5:09 am)

      I thought the food was pretty good, but I’m an Asian food addict, so I’m not hard to please. (Not that I would try the duck embryo. I tried baby quail embryo by accident in China. I swore I’d never do it again!) Don’t let the food deter you from a holiday in the Philippines. The beaches are amazing, the people are super friendly, and there are lots of things to see and do.


    (January 12, 2014 - 8:16 pm)

    i’ve only always heard of (and had) chicken adobo. never knew they did a pork variation! (: also, sago gula melaka is a dessert that’s incredibly popular and famous here, too. it’s one of my personal favourites. i always thought it was a traditional malaysian dessert, though. i guess now i know better!

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