I wasn’t aware of street food when I was a little younger. When I started high school, I was introduced to some of it.
Every after school, my friends and I stop by a Gotohan and enjoy a hot bowl of Goto also known as rice porridge with either beef tripe, chicken, beef fats, fried pork belly, hard boiled egg or just plain. Adding crunchy fried minced garlic and a squeeze of lime makes it better. After enjoying the goodness of Goto, we then order for Palamig or also known as throat cooler. There are different flavors of Palamig such as Buko (young coconut), Sago at Gulaman (pearl), orange juice, Buko Pandan and etc. They’re good and cheap. Just the right drink after a hot bowl of Goto.
I was hesitant to try Chicken Isaw (chicken intestine) before, although I eat Isaw when my mom includes them every time she cooks Chicken Tinola. I was sure that my mom serves something that is clean and won’t give us harm. I wasn’t sure if the Isaw sold in the streets are clean and won’t give me any hepa infection. My friends mom used to have a little Carenderia (store) and they barbeque Isaw. Since it was my friend’s mom and we knew each other, I braved to sample one stick. Oh man, they’re scrumptious, tasty and addicting. A little dip in a small bowl of vinegar and they’re awesome. Since then I always order lots, they only cost 1 peso per stick. It became my night time addiction. Whenever I meet up with my friends, we tend to have an Isaw party in front of her mom’s carenderia.
Deep fried one day old chick was introduced to me when I was in high school but I was too scared to try it. Some of my friends would say it tastes like chicken, a small chicken but you can feel the beak in your tongue. That disgusted me so I never tried it.
It was a popular street food in the Philippines and I wasn’t shocked that there’s a cart for it at every corner outside our university (in exaggeration – there’s really lots). I ignore it every time I passed by a cart with lots of students gobbling the fried poor little chicks. But one time during our thesis days, one of my friends mentioned a good man who sells them close to his apartment. My friends we’re all so excited about trying it so we paved our way to his place. Everyone was relishing bit by bit and I was drooling inside. I fought the impression I had before and I dared to try one. Dipped in vinegar, closed my eyes and had a bite (imagining it was fried chicken). I thought it wasn’t too bad at all. I just have to avoid thinking what I am eating (lol).
Kwek-Kwek is also a popular Filipino street food made out of deep fried battered hard boiled quail eggs dipped in almost sweet vinegar or a Filipino version of sweet thai chili sauce. Similar to Kwek-kwek is called Tokneneng which is made out of chicken or duck eggs instead dipped in the same batter for kwek-kwek and fried. If you’re watching your cholesterol level then you can try this just once in your life and never again as we know that quail eggs are high in cholesterol. This is one of my favourite breaktime snack during our laboratory classes in college. Then I began to like Tokneneng when I started my first job. I used to buy one or two Tokenenengs in Cubao, Quezon City after hard days at work in Mercury Drug.
Fish Balls, Kikiam and Squid Balls. These goodies are good and cheap. They’re the cheapest street food in the Philippines ever. Well, if you go by piece then yes it’s very cheap. The last time I had Fish balls, it was only 20 centavos per piece. My sister and I used to have this for snack when we have day’s off together. The cart was just a block away from our condo, easy access. For those who doesn’t know what Kikiam is, it is made up with ground pork and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets. A sweet gravy sauce with these goodies makes it more succulent and flavourful.
Banana Que or skewered fried banana with caramelized brown sugar coating. The last but definitely not the least. Crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside. Fresh ones are just heavenly. I liked my banana a little bit ripe. My mom used to make them and Kamotecue (sweet potato) as well. One of our favourite snacks.
Look at that goodness!
Aside from these favourites, when you venture the Philippine streets you will find more variety of street food. Filipinos are very inventive and creative when it comes to food. Aside from the actuality that we love to cook, there’s the huge fact that we love to eat as well. We eat what is served on the table. We eat for experience too.
“Nothing beats a home cooked meal.” That’s true, but trying something exotic and different is fun. It’s all about the experience!