It almost seems too obvious to say that the Philippines is a beautiful country to visit. But what makes it more interesting is the Filipinos’ exceptional love for food. The regular Filipino day consists of three meals, all of which consist of at least a cup of rice. In spite of this, they still enjoy eating snacks in between meals and this is where street food Philippines comes in.

The original notion was that street foods were meant to be just pantawid gutom or to ease hunger while you’re rushing from one thing to the next. And because the Filipinos have a knack for combining flavors and making the most of any ingredients at their table, they have developed sumptuous quick bites that have a variety of flavors.

In fact, some restaurants have included Filipino street food on their menu! But whether you like it on fine dining or just stick them up on the streets, these bites are something to try!

13 Must-Try Filipino Street Food Not to Miss

Philippines is not just popular for its pristine islands and colorful festivals but it’s also famous for its oh-so-good street food that will definitely make you drool. Here are the best street food in the Philippines you must try!

  1. Isaw
  2. Betamax
  3. Cheese sticks
  4. Fishball
  5. Squid balls
  6. Sorbetes
  7. Kikiam
  8. Banana cue
  9. Turon
  10. Taho
  11. Chicken skin
  12. Balut
  13. Kwek-kwek

What’s inside this blog?

Here is the list of street foods in the Philippines that every traveler must try!

1. Isaw

One of the most popular Filipino street foods is the isaw Philippines. It is pork or chicken intestines that are typically barbecued or deep-fried. Don’t worry because the intestines are cleaned thoroughly before grilling it. 

Fun trivia: Isaw Philippines has been around since the 1970s. When livestock supply was abundant in the 1950s, street food vendors opted to sell more expensive cuts of meat, but when the economic crisis hit the country in the 1970s, the scrap parts of pork and chicken suddenly became valuable and that’s when they started to sell isaw. Street foods in the Philippines articles aren’t complete without isaw.

2. Betamax

Betamax is the blood of pig or chicken that is coagulated and shaped into squares. It resembles the box-type video cassette tape called Betamax, hence the name. Although it’s made with blood, betamax doesn’t have a foul smell or taste. In fact, it has a mellow to bitter flavor that calls for spicy vinegar on the side.

3. Cheese sticks

Unlike France’s breadcrumb-coated and ooey-gooey mozzarella sticks, the Pinoy street food style cheese sticks uses cheddar cheese in the spring-roll wrapper and deep-fried until golden and crispy. It is served with a pink dip made with ketchup and mayonnaise combined. Every traveler must try this street food Philippines.

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4. Fishball

fishballs street food in the philippines

Photo source

Because almost everything in the Philippines is becoming expensive, the Filipinos came up with a pickup line that says fish balls na lang ang hindi nagmamahal that means fishballs Philippines are the only thing that remains cheap while other prices of goods continue to hike. It’s actually the cheapest street food in the Philippines that’s only PHP 0.50 per piece.

Fishballs Philippines are groundfish, usually made from pollock or cuttlefish and lots of flour, that are flattened and skewered before deep-frying.

5. Squid balls

Squid balls Philippines resembles fish balls, only it is fluffier and doesn’t become limp when deep-friend. From its name, the main ingredients of squid balls are squid, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, garlic, salt, and pepper. The squid balls Philippines is one of the most bought and popular street foods in the country.

6. Sorbetes

Sorbetes or dirty ice cream is a famous Pinoy treat that was introduced during the American occupation. This sweet treat is peddled in the streets by the sorbetero who scoops the ice cream into cones or bread buns from colorful wooden pushcarts. 

Dirty ice cream isn’t really, well, dirty. The term is only used to differentiate this dessert from the store-bought “clean” ice cream. The sorbetes is usually made from coconut or powdered milk and cassava flour. Popular flavors include chocolate, cheese, ube, mango, and langka.

7. Kikiam

Kikiam

Kikiam is a Filipino street food that was originally taken from Chinese cuisine and authentically consists of minced meat and vegetables. But unlike the Chinese version, the kikiam Philippines contains fish meat instead and a lot of fillers. They are brown and about the size of a finger.

8. Banana cue

Banana cue is a sweet treat on-the-go made of deep-fried bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. Like the other famous street food in the Philippines, pork barbecue, the bananas are skewered. An alternative for this is camote cue, which uses sweet potato instead.

9. Turon

Another banana sweet street food is turon which is one of the most famous street foods in Manila. It’s a popular food-on-the-go for Filipinos as this can be easily eaten everywhere. The bananas are cut in half and wrapped in a spring roll wrapper. It’s also deep-fried and coated with caramelized brown sugar.

10. Taho

No time to have breakfast and looking for a quick morning fix? Taho is every (rushing) Filipino’s best friend. And for some, their mornings are not complete without taho. It’s made of fresh soft or silken tofu, arnibal syrup, and sago pearls. This is available in almost every part of the Philippines. What’s cool here is that you don’t have to go to a certain place just to buy taho because it will come to you, at your doorsteps, literally.

11. Chicken skin

Another famous street food Philippines is the chicken skin. It is literally made of chicken skin covered in batter and deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. This Philippines street food is the go-to snack of students and those who are saving some money because chicken skin is actually filling and cheap! You can score a cup of chicken skin for only PHP 10! And you want to have a heavier meal on a budget, just buy rice in the nearest eatery and pair it with chicken skin, then you’re good! 

12. Balut

If you’ve been searching for a list of street food in the Philippines, you’ve already probably encountered the most talked-about Filipino delicacy in some street foods in the Philippines articles: Balut.

It is a 16 to 21-day old fertilized duck egg that contains not only a yolk but also a semi-developed duck embryo that’s eaten from the shell! Disgusting for some but with a bit of getting used to, you’ll finally understand that this exotic Filipino street food is something you must try.

13. Kwek-kwek

This famous Filipino street food has quail eggs in it and the brightly-colored orange that covers it is made of batter. Most of its goodness relies on its sauce and street food vendors have their own recipe. The best choice would be vinegar with chilis and garlic. 

And here’s an interesting trivia about the history of kwek kwek. According to Esquire Magazine, “a local legend details that kwek-kwek was accidentally invented when a balut vendor in Cubao dropped her merchandise. Not wanting to waste what remained of the balut, she peeled off the shells, rolled the eggs in flour, and fried them. Kwek-kwek supposedly refers to bird chirps.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Street Food Philippines

Q: Is it safe to eat street food in Philippines?
A: Eating street food in the Philippines is definitely safe. But always be cautious. If you have a sensitive stomach, you must choose the street foods you’ll buy carefully.

Q: What is the most popular street food?
A: If you’re a foodie, you’d definitely enjoy the Philippines as there are many Philippine street foods you must try. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  1. Isaw
  2. Cheese sticks
  3. Fishball
  4. Squid balls
  5. Sorbetes
  6. Kikiam street food
  7. Betamax street food
  8. Banana cue
  9. Turon
  10. Taho
  11. Chicken skin
  12. Balut
  13. Kwek-kwek

Q: How much is street food in the Philippines?
A: Street food in the Philippines is very cheap! In fact, you can buy a fishball for only 50 cents ($ 0.010). That is why when eating Pinoy street food, not only you’ll have your tummy satisfied but you’ll be able to save money that you can spend on other things.

Q: What is the most delicious street food in the Philippines?
A: We can’t tell which street foods exactly are the best as there are so many options to choose from. But to help you out, we’ve listed our favorite street food in the Philippines that are worth trying:

  1. Isaw
  2. Balut
  3. Kwek-kwek
  4. Sorbetes
  5. Fishball
  6. Betamax street food
  7. Kikiam street food

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

They say you can tell a lot about a place and its history by its local food. While traveling, experiencing good food is a key part of any trip. Asia, being the largest continent, is what food haven is made of offering the rich and undeniably good cuisine. No wonder, Southeast Asian food is famous throughout the world and has become one of the main memories for many people who travel to the region.

Each dish offers a peek at the culture and history. With so many varied influences over centuries, Southeast Asian cuisine can range from simple to spicy fusion dishes daring the squeamish eaters.

Below, we’ve listed the best places to try authentic Southeast Asian food!

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

flatlay of Khao Soi with traditional side dishes

When we talk about the best street food in Southeast Asia, Thailand comes first to mind. Located in northern Thailand, this relatively (compared to Bangkok) quiet city hides some incredible culinary tastes from around Asia. Head to Khao Soi Khun Yai on Sri Poom Road to try some food like the locals. If you prefer richer tastes, David’s Kitchen on Bumrungrad Road is one of the most popular foodie destinations in the city.

While in Chiang Mai, make sure that you don’t miss out on trying the Khao Soi a.k.a. the Egg Noodle Curry.

2. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

 

gudeg pawon

If you’re a culture geek, you’ll enjoy Yogyakarta as it offers a great cultural experience with its temples and history. But not only that, because aside from being a good place to immerse yourself with a different culture Yogyakarta also offers a palatable gastronomic experience! It provides a palatable selection of Southeast Asian cuisine for the adventurous foodie!

Check out Jimbaran for a great selection of local and national food; 7km north of the city and available by bus (Sendangadi, Mlati, Sleman). You should also visit Abhayagiri (Dusun Sumberwatu Sambirejo, Prambanan, Sleman) for a really interesting dining experience with a great view.

While you’re here, make sure to eat Gudeg Pawon, a great savory dish for almost any foodie. There is also a sweet version available. One of the best places to eat Gudeg Pawon is Warungboto in the Umbulharjo neighborhood.

3. Jakarta, Indonesia

creative flatlay of nasi goreng

Being the Capital of Indonesia, there’s a lot of options when it comes to food. Indonesia’s landscape has led to many different food cultures. You’re going to find that you will either be eating at a Warung (a permanent restaurant) or a Pedagang kaki lima (basically a street peddler). Both are good and offer different food experience.

If you want a fine-dining restaurant, go to Namaaz and if you’re looking for something cheaper (but still delicious), head to Plan B.

Make sure to try the national dish of Indonesia, Nasi Goreng, and Nasi Padang that has fried rice and mixed-curry dish from Padang.

4. Colombo (and Mount Lavinia), Sri Lanka

 

sri lanka food fish curry

When it comes to Sri Lankan cuisine, expect a lot of seafood! If that’s your thing, then make sure you schedule a stop at Colombo in Sri Lanka and Mount Lavinia. When you do, you’ll be able to enjoy a great food with a beach view! The creatively named Ministry of Crab at the Old Dutch Hospital Fort is a great place to eat and has a pretty good view. Alternatively, head to The Sizzle along Walukarama Rd.

Don’t miss the Fish ambul thiyal, or sour fish curry. The taste is incredible.

5. Singapore

flatlay of Char Kway Teow

Because of its location, size and population, Singapore’s variety of food is unbelievable. Street food-wise, you’re looking at Chinese, Malay and Indian options, but when you decide to go to a restaurant, your choices of Southeast Asian food are infinite.

Head to the Summer Pavilion at the Ritz-Carlton or Colony on Raffles Avenue for a truly unique and fine-dining experience. Make sure to also check out the popular street food dish Char Kway Teow, a true local favorite of noodles and dark soy sauce.

So, if you’re a foodie and looking for a place to update your palate, don’t miss Singapore!

6. Pampanga, Philippines

sisig with egg on a sizzling plate

One of the best places to try Southeast Asian food is the Philippines. And where else is better to head to than in the Culinary Capital of the country, right? Pampanga is best known for its great culinary expertise giving its visitors a great Southeast Asian food experience.

The best dish you can try is sisig. It is a culinary specialty of Pampanga made from parts of the grilled pig head, chicken liver, usually seasoned with calamansi, onions and chili peppers. The word “Sisig” was first mentioned in a Kapampangan dictionary meaning “to snack on something sour” and “salad.”

7. Quezon Province, Philippines

pancit habhab on a banana leaf
Photo source: Flickr / Doods Dumaguing

Another great place to try authentic Southeast Asian cuisine is in Quezon Province. Pancit Habhab, a local delicacy, is among the popular foods in Southeast Asia. It is made of sautéed noodles mixed with chopped pork, shrimps, vegetables, onion, and garlic. It is placed on a rectangular Banana leaf and should be eaten without using utensils but only your mouth. If the ordinary pancit has calamansi to add flavor, in Quezon, they use vinegar to get the sour taste which is oh-so-good by the way!

Make your trip to Southeast Asia more comfortable by booking the best budget hotels at www.zenrooms.com. You’re guaranteed a quality accommodation and good service at an affordable price!

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Traveling to Singapore can be pretty pricey knowing that it’s the most expensive city in the world to live in. Accommodation and food take the most of your travel budget as these costs more than other expenses. Sure you’d have to pay high prices for services but in return, you’ll get what you paid for (that’s the beauty in Singapore.) But don’t worry, if you’re still thinking about your budget, there are ways to cut down your expenses especially on food. We’ll help you find out the best places to eat cheap food in Singapore.

We’ve listed cheap and good restaurants in Singapore for you to check out!

1. Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (Telok Ayer Market)

Address: 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 24 hours
Must-try: Satay (traditional meat skewers) from any of the stalls on Boon Tat Street after dark
Prices:
S$5.50 and up on average

Located at the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, Lau Pa Sat is convenient and not to mention a landmark food center with over 50 stalls featuring both local favorites and regional cuisines like Filipino, Costa Rican and Thai. Inside this food center, you’ll find the best affordable restaurants in Singapore.

After dark, Boon Tat Street which is right beside Lau Pa Sat transforms into an alfresco food street, serving up traditional satay with a delicious peanut sauce, chicken wings and other seafood dishes that will leave you wanting more! Prices are a little higher than other hawkers but the quintessential victorian architecture, convenience, and variety of yummy food make up for it!

2. Maxwell Food Centre

Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 8am to 10pm except on public holidays
Must-try:
Tian Tian Chicken Rice, #01-10/11 (opens 10am to 8pm, closed on Mondays)
Prices: S$3 and up on average

Situated between Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, Maxwell Food Centre is another convenient hawker that is known for its wide selection of local delights, cheap and good food in Singapore. From traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice to healthy juices and smoothies, Maxwell Food Centre has become another favorite to locals and tourists alike. Furthermore, having seen the likes of celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsey and Anthony Bourdain, the food centre promises more than just good food but also a local flair that is sure to excite any foodie! At Maxwell Food Centre, you’re sure to find the cheap eats in Singapore.

3. Newton Circus Food Centre

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Address: 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 12pm to 2am except on public holidays
Must-try:
Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette, #01-73
Prices:
S$4 and up on average

The recently renovated Newton Food Centre is located right by Newton MRT station (1 stop from Orchard MRT station) making it super accessible. It is said that the food centre serves up one of the best oyster omelettes, BBQ chicken wings, beers, and cheap food in Singapore. It’s no surprise that it’s a favorite among both locals and tourists. With a wide array of local treats and cheap food in Singapore, you’ll never be short of options!

4. Bricklane

Photo credits to Bricklane SG

Address: 70 Stamford Road #01-22, Li Ka Shing Library Building, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 11am – 12am
Must-try:
Brown Rice and Chicken
Prices:
S$5 and up on average

One of the best cheap restaurants in Singapore is Bricklane. Located in a casual and relaxed nook at the vivacious SMU, Bricklane offers a wide variety of alcohol drinks— sojus, draught beers, sangria and many other different types of cocktails. On top of that, they also serve healthy protein bowls that are affordable and fit to students’ budget. Bricklane is among the good cheap cafes in Singapore that will give you value for your money.

5. NY Night Market

Photo credits to NY Night Market

Address: 313 Orchard Road, #01-29, [email protected], Singapore
Opening Hours:
8am – 11pm (Sun – Thu)
Must-try:
You’re Bacon Me Hungry, Steaks
Prices:
S$7 and up on average

If you’re looking for cheap and good restaurants in Singapore, NY Night Market is a good option. Fusing inspiration from cosmopolitan New York and the bustling night markets of Seoul, NY Night Market is one of South Korea’s fastest-growing restaurant that offers Singapore budget food. Drawing inspiration from the busy streets of New York City, this restaurant is decorated with an eclectic selection of American signs. The queues can get pretty long especially during lunch and dinner because aside from having a unique concept, they also offer cheap food in Singapore.

6. Makansutra Gluttons Bay

Address: 8 Raffles Ave #01-15, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 5pm to 2am except on public holidays
Must-try:
Sambal Stingray
Prices:
S$5 and up on average

You can find the food street near Esplanade which is an iconic performing arts center here in Singapore. As its name suggests, the food center is a popular joint among food-enthusiasts and features special deals like the Singapore La! Sampler (S$29) and the Makansutra Prime Kiasu Set (S$39). The establishment is recommended for first-time tourists who want an introduction to local delicacies and party-goers looking for a quick bite before heading to nearby nightspots. You can also find the cheap eats Singapore here.

7. Kopitiam at Changi Airport

Address: Changi Airport Terminal 3, Basement 2
Opening Hours:
Daily, 24 hours
Must-try:
Appam (Traditional Indian Pancake)
Prices:
S$5 and up on average

Only here for a night or two and staying at ZEN Rooms Changi Airport and still looking for cheap and good food in Singapore? Fret not. Get access to an array of local regional delights at affordable prices! Kopitiam at Changi Airport Terminal 3 features 21 cheap restaurants in Singapore with a good selection of local foods. Get a taste of Singapore even on a quick stopover. The Indian Appam is a big hit among locals and tourist alike, try the traditional version served with orange sugar and desiccated coconut!

8. Food For Thought

Address: 93 Stamford Road, #01-04/05, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Daily, 10am – 7pm
Must-try:
Tropical Fruit Yoghurt Bowl, Basic Works, and burgers
Prices:
S$4 and up on average

If you want to eat cheap food in Singapore but in an Instagrammable place, go to Food For Thought. Housed in Singapore’s oldest museum, the National Museum of Singapore, Food For Thought aims to create a space where people can catch a glimpse of our city’s past, present, and future, and the stories we tell about them. But not only that, it’s also one of the best cheap cafes in Singapore! They serve hearty, local-inspired bistro fare – honest food in Southeast Asian flavors with a globalized influence. It’s a great spot to have your morning brunch before going on that museum tour!

About the author:

blogdp

TIZIANA TAN – Born in enigmatic Vietnam; raised in metropolitan Singapore. Still dreaming of beautiful beaches, clear waters and an endless supply of smoothie bowls.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.