Metro Manila · From Adidas to Walkman: Philippine Street Food

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Filipinos love to grab a bite on the go. A street scene in Manila is not complete without a street food vendor. Here we present to you some of the craziest and/or most delicious of these uniquely Filipino snacks, from Adidas (chicken feed) to Walkman (pig's ears).

Street food vendors are micro-entrepreneurs. They sell mostly snacks which they prepare freshly in little stalls and carts, filling the street with the aromatic smell of grilled barbecue sticks and intestines, roasted nuts, and fried fish balls. Except for the business districts and other posh areas, you can find them in every busy street, preferably near bus and jeepney stops, train stations, wet markets, and big intersections.

Most street food costs only a couple of pesos and is definitely a culinary experience. Try at your own risk! Just make sure it has all been fried or grilled long enough and don't try it right after your arrival in the country – give your stomach a couple of days first to get used to the Philippine cuisine. If you have a sensitive tummy to begin with: don't try it.

  • Adidas

Named after the famous sports shoes, Adidas are grilled chicken feed that have been marinated in a mix of calamansi (small lemons), sugar and spices.

  • Balut

A boiled egg with a developing duck embryo inside, seasoned with salt, garlic, and vinegar. If you try balut, you will definitely gain your Filipino friends' respect!

  • Barbecue Sticks

Now something less exotic for the Megacitizen's tongue: grilled chicken or pork meat on a stick, marinated in a slightly sweet sauce.

  • Chicharon

Fried, super-crispy pork rinds, served with vinegar. A perfect snack when you are on a trip to the province, as vendors sell it right in the bus. In convenience stores and supermarkets you will also get delicious vegetarian versions of chicharon.

  • Dirty Ice Cream

Not at all dirty, but delicious home-made ice cream in a cone. Dirty Ice Cream comes in many different flavors such as ube, queso (cheese), vanilla, or chocolate.

  • Fish Balls and Squid Balls

One of the most popular street snacks and perfect when you are bar-hopping with friends. The white or yellow balls are fried in huge bowls of oil and served with spicy, sweet and/or a sweet-sour sauce.

  • Green Mango with Bagoong

Strips of unripe mango, dipped in fermented fish or shrimp paste. Once you get used to the mix of sour and salty, it is a refreshing snack.

  • Halo-Halo

A wild and colorful mix of ice cream, evaporated milk, and many other sweet ingredients, including fruits, beans, jelly, and flakes. Halo-halo means something like “mix-mix”, as you have to mix it thoroughly before eating. Great to keep your kids in a good mood on a hot day.

  • Roasted Peanuts

Sold cold or still warm, in little paper bags that contain just enough nuts to keep you busy while waiting for the bus or jeepney.

  • Isaw

Isaw is boiled or grilled chicken or pork intestines which have been thoroughly cleaned and then neatly coiled on a stick. Most famous is the isaw on the UP Diliman campus.

  • Walkman

Another example of witty Pinoy name-giving. Walkman is grilled pig ears, prepared the same way as the barbecue sticks.