My Top 5 Street Food in the Philippines

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.

ImageGoto with pork belly diced and fried to crispiness, fresh green onions, hard boiled egg and minced fried garlic.

ImageSago at Gulaman (Pearl) Palamig

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.

ImageIsaw in a barbeque stick

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).

ImageOne day old chick fried till crispy

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.

ImageKwek-kwek (deep fried battered hard boiled quail eggs)

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.

ImageFish Balls on a stick

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.

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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!

 

Typical Pinoy Breakfast

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

Filipinos love to eat. We can have five to six meals in a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the three major meals and 2 or 3 snack times in between. We love waking up early in the morning for a pre-breakfast snack. “Pandesal” or sweet buns with white cheese or a sandwiched slice of Dairy Cream butter dipped in a cup of coffee is the usual appy at around 6 o’clock in the morning. The moms usually prepare for the main meal while the rest of the family enjoys the early morning treat. On rainy days, we love going back to bed after a nice and satisfying “pandesal” treat.

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At 7 o’clock, breakfast is already served. School time is early and moms are used to preparing easy-to-cook recipes. The typical Filipino breakfast is usually fried rice and sunny side eggs with any of the basic breakfast favourites such as beef tapa, tocino, fried chicken, sweet sausage or “longganisa”, red Tender Juicy Hotdogs, marinated-deboned-fried milk fish, corned beef with minced potatoes, embutido and salted fish or “tuyo”. Spiced vinegar, banana ketchup, sliced tomatoes and pickled papaya are always good on the side.

Cooking the above mentioned favourites is a piece of cake, effortless. It’s just about heating a frying pan,  a tablespoon of canola oil and fry any of the dishes in 5-10 minutes.

ImageTapsilog means “Tapa + Sinangag + Itlog” (marinated tenderloin beef tips fried to perfection, garlic fried rice and sunny side eggs). Pampanga’s Best is a good brand for processed breakfast goodies or if you want you can make your own beef tapa as well. Tapa are slices of beef flank or tenderloin cut into thin strips marinated for 12 hours with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, salt, lime and black pepper. It’s almost similar to beef jerky. The meat soaks all the flavours after immersion.

ImageTocilog means Tocino + Sinangag + Itlog”. Tocino is cured slices of pork shoulder blades that has a sweet taste. They are available in Filipino Stores as well but I prefer making it myself to avoid nitrites in our meal. I use the Mamasitas Tocino Marinade Mix, it makes my life easier. I sometimes add more sugar to the mixture to make it even tastier. It’s lovely with vinegar and soy sauce.

ImageLongsilog means “Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog”. Longganisa came from the Spanish word Longaniza which pertains to a spicy pork sausage. Well, I don’t know how to make this one. It’s a bit complicated for me and Neil. It can be bought from a wet market in the Philippines and is also available in Filipino Stores. Longganisa is made up of ground pork mixed with minced garlic, sugar, black pepper, vinegar and salt. The combined ingredients are pushed into a hog casing and tied in knots at even intervals. Some are called “Skinless Longganisa” which are molded and without the sausage skin. They make different flavours such as sweet, garlicky, spicy and regular.

ImageCornsilog means Corned Beef + Sinangag + Itlog.”  We add diced potatoes and lots of onions to it. Sometimes we add a tablespoonful of soy sauce and brown sugar to make it more enjoyable.

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 Bangsilog means “Bangus + Sinangag + Itlog”. The Bangus also known as Milk Fish is scaled and cut into a butterfly form and marinated for hours with a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, black or white pepper and chopped garlic. After marinading for hours, it is fried until crispy. It’s one of my favourite. Pancake House serves the best Bangsilog, pricey but worth it.

ImageHotsilog means Hot Dog + Sinangag + Itlog”. The famous red Tender Juicy Hotdog in the Philippines is the best hotdog I’ve ever tasted. They have the brown ones as well with cheese in it and it was just divine. Any brand of hotdog would do to have Hotsilog for breakfast. This is the easiest one to prepare. It’s best when you have UFC Banana Ketchup on the side.

The other types of Silogs are : Chiksilog (fried chicken), Embusilog (embutido – sausage like) and Litsilog (lechon kawali), Spamsilog (spam), Dangsilog (with “Danggit” or rabbitfish) and Chosilog (chorizo).

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Aside from “Silogs”, Filipino’s also likes porridge. It’s not the oatmeal one but the sweet chocolate rice porridge. We call it Champorado. We have acquired it from the Mexican traders who stayed in our country in the early years. It is made by boiling a special kind of mucilaginous rice with cocoa powder or Milo (popular chocolate drink in the Philippines) which gives a chocolatey color. We usually add milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter and yummier. Some would add Tuyo or salted dried fish which contrasts the sweet taste of Champorado making it more enjoyable.

Filipinos love to have coffee as well with the breakfast and fruits are served after the meal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Filipinos. A heavy breakfast gives us energy to get through the summons ahead. A good breakfast gives brain power.

Pinoy breakfast is one of the world’s best. Simple buy delicious and satisfying.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Photo credits to the following :

http://kuboresto.com/, http://www.islakulinarya.blogspot.com, http://www.yelp.com, http://www.flicker.com, www.bubblenews.com, http://www.angsarap.nethttp://www.mommyandmatt.blogspot.com

Discovering Baler, Aurora

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Baler is the provincial capital of Aurora, Philippines. It is half an hour away from my hometown. It is a town full of history. Franciscan Missionaries founded the town in 1609 and in 1898, after the proclamation of the Philippine Independence, 54 spanish soldiers made the town church their barracks. A movie was made about the legendary story of the 54 spanish soldiers starring Jericho Rosales a fine actor and Anne Curtis an award winning actress both from the Philippines. Baler (movie title), is a story about the Siege of Baler during the time of the Spaniards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Baler 

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An old photo of the famed church at Baler, where the 54 Spanish soldiers headed by Captain    Enrique de Las Morenas y Fossi was besieged by Filipino rebels on July 1, 1898.

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Baler Church in the modern times

Baler is not only a town full of history but it also have a lot of hidden gems. Aurora is located in the eastern part of the Central Luzon Region and the province is facing the Philippine Sea. There are a lot of gorgeous, untouched and undiscovered beaches. There is the Sabang Beach, Ampere Bay, Dicasalarin Cove, Dinadiawan Beach and a whole lot more.

If you are from Manila, it will take around 6 to 7 hours by car or Genesis Bus Line to Baler, Aurora. The roads have been reconstructed and definitely a smooth drive now. There has been a lot of changes ever since I left home.

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I captured this photo captured from Bay’s Inn.

Sabang Beach has a great, laid-back surfer vibe. There are new developments going on when we arrived. They were building new hotels an a lot of things have changed. The family went straight to Bay’s Inn which is one of the most popular hotel and restaurant of Sabang Beach. We had Mojos! I must say that their Mojos is a definitely must try!

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I’m gonna have this again for sure!

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Even our Baby Flynn loves it.

Bay’s Inn is an average hotel. It is not fancy but if you want to go to Baler and do some surfing, it could be one of the best choice as it is just near the shore and the restaurant is overlooking the beach which is nice and relaxing. Its terrace overlooks the beach, and it’s lulling to sit there and watch the waves. Order an ice-cold-beer and inhale the freshest air you can get in the country! They say Bay’s Inn is also where the surfers hang-out.

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Just sharing an interesting and funny masterpiece that I took, The Five Little Naked Buddies

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This is what’s new! An ongoing construction.

I am not actually sure what the concrete walkway is for but just anticipating what would it look like when it’s all done, I think it will add beauty to the place (just my thought). It was just a narrow and steep walkway before if I am not mistaken. It is really good to see that there’s an improvement.

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Neil testing the warm and sparkling pacific waters.

Below is a photo taken from Ermita Hill. It’s a hill overlooking the serene Baler Bay. This is a great place to contemplate I must say. The hill has it’s own story like the town church. There has been a tsunami that hit and destroyed the town of Baler and only six families survived the catastrophy. They swam to Point Baja which is now known as Ermita Hill.

Ermita Hill nowadays is a beautiful park where you can witness the beauty of nature. There is a grotto near the front edge of the hill where you can say your prayers and make a wish. At the same place, you can see the vast Pacific Ocean, the mountains that surrounds the town, palm trees, fishing boats of the locals and on the other side is the  fish port and Dimanglat Island.

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I captured this photo from Ermita Hill, Baler showing the connection of Sabang Beach and the Reserva River. As you can see, the view is   fascinating.

It’s always nice to go back to my home province in the Philippines.

He who loves not his country  can love nothing.-Lord Byron