Our guide to street food in the Philippines: the good, the great and the little bit strange

Street food in the Philippines is unmissable. Ask anyone you know who has been there and they’ll back this up. There is a huge range of different tastes and types – from barbecued, to fried, to sweet – which means that there will be at least one thing you’ll go home wishing you could take with you.
Of course, going to another country is about learning new things, experiencing new places and getting as much food into your stomach (or on your instagram) as possible. Here are some options you should look out for when it comes to street food in the Philippines.

Fried (Prito)

We’re going to start with fried snacks because this is probably the type of street food you’ll encounter most often. You’ve got more normal options, such as fish balls (fish meat in the shape of a ball on a stick) and then you’ve got food which you probably won’t have eaten back home. We’re gonna tell you about the food you probably don’t know about.
Banana-Q is as strange (yet obvious) as it sounds. It’s a banana deep fried with a sugar coating. It looks like a sausage but if you’re expecting something savoury, you’re in for a shock.
Isaw (or Esaw as some people call it), is something for those of you who prefer savoury snacks. It can actually be cooked in a variety of ways (fired, barbecues, stewed, roasted over an open fire…) but we think it tastes best when it’s fried.
In case you’re not going to just try this delightful delicacy before you know what it is, it’s chicken intestines. You can add spice, sugar or vinegar depending on what your tastebuds want.

Barbecue (Inihaw)

Barbecue food in the Philippines is great. Meats and vegetables are put on a stick and then grilled for several minutes until they’re crisp and golden.
Now, stay with us here because the next item might not be something you’re inclined towards putting in your mouth. Like many of the Philippine’s strange street food, you’ll be missing out if you don’t.
Betamax is grilled chicken blood (yes, in the Philippines they eat every part of the chicken). It gets its name from a type of cassette which came before VHS. These rectangular irregularities might sound disgusting but they actually taste just like chicken.


No list of Philippine street food would be complete without the philippine’s famous ice cream. It’s great for cooling down during a hot day and buying it from worn-out ice cream carts in an experience by itself.
If you want something really special, find and grab yourself an Ice Cream Sandwich (and yes, they are actually sandwiches with ice cream in the middle).

Something a little bit strange

We will admit that this one probably isn’t for everyone. In fact, this is probably quite polarizing. Half of you will probably think “That is disgusting”, whilst the other half will think “That sounds awesome, I’m going to give it a go”.
It’s called Balut and it’s duck fetus. That’s right, it’s a duck before it’s been born.
Of course, it sounds disgusting, but it can’t actually be that bad or no one would eat it. It’s quite popular in the Philippines, but that hasn’t stopped it being said that wise men always tell you to either eat it in the dark, or with your eyes closed.

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