Filipino Street-food – My Top 5 Favorites

I just had a thought about this since I saw a pic of my Isaw (chicken intestine – barbecue) in my gallery and wanted to share my thoughts about it. You may or may not know about Filipino Street-food and style and I may not know all, but I will take what I can share.

Filipinos are very fond of street food that we eat breakfast, lunch or dinner on streets eating street-food or sometimes eat street-food before or after any meal. How about that? Street-food is very popular among students and some employees as it’s very cheap and convenient. I’m going to innumerate the Street-food I know and favorites.

My Top 5 Favorite Street-food in any Order:

  1. Pungko-pungko
  2. Siomai
  3. Squid Ball, Fish Ball, Tempura & Kwek-kwek
  4. Turon
  5. Isaw or Tina-e

  1. Pungko-pungko – It’s a food stall with wooden chair or bench surrounding a low table, where people would eat at using hands (wrapped in plastic gloves or normal plastic). It’s selling a variety of street-food like, shanghai or Lumpia, Sausage, Hotdog, Chicken leg, chicken wing, chicken neck, fried squid, Pork Adobo (fried pork, different from Luzon’s Adobo) last but not the least the Ginabot. Ginabot is a must in all Pungko-pungko stalls. It’s a pork intestine cleaned, seasoned, boiled and fried. It’s perfect to be paired with puso (hanging rice/ rice cooked inside a coconut leaf formed as diamond/ heart) and vinegar with lots of white onion, chili and a pinch of salt. For drinks, you can order soft-drinks available or water. Based on my experience, it’s always best to be paired with Mountain Dew. Right Ki?  

Pungko-pungko Essentials:

  • Ginabot
  • Puso
  • Plastic – to wrap your hands when eating
  • Vinegar, White Onion, Chili, and salt
  • Mountain Dew
  • Isopropyl alcohol – to lose the scent of the vinegar that may stick to your hand
Note: Many may not know about this as based on what I know, it exist in Visayas region, specifically my City – Cebu. It may or may not exist in other parts of the Region. 

Ki is shortcut for Suki. Vendors call their regulars, suki (correct translation). 

Best Pungko-pungko is Cebu? As for me and my sibling, it’s in J. Llorente, near Fuente Osmeña Circle. 

Pungko-pungko got it’s name from Pungko which means to sit or squat. For me, it doesn’t mean to sit on chair but on air or stools. 

2. Siomai – You can spell is Siumai, Shao mai, shiu may or siomay. It will have the same meaning. It’s a Chinese dumpling or wanton wrapper filled with pork ground pork, ground beef, shirmp or chicken. There are diffrent kinds of siomai. Some are wrapped with cabbage, bacon, with quail’s egg on top, with mushroom, etc. The street-food siomai tho are simple and cheap than be ones in restaurant. 

Street-food siomai 

If you happen to visit Cebu, try the street-food Siomai (one of the best is Siomai sa Tisa) and my Favorite Dimsum  – Dimsum Break or Ding Qua Qua.

3. Squid Balls, Fish Balls, Tempura & Kwek-kwek

  • Squid Balls – is a round in form (I never saw another form before) made of squid paste with fine soft texture. Sometimes is kind of gooey, but won’t stick to your mouth. It’s sold mostly everywhere with Fish balls, kikiam, tempura and Kwek-kwek. Sauces can be sweet and sour, spicy sweet and sour and vinegar  (spicy or normal). Squid balls can be added to other dishes or as garnish and can be a regular viand if you’re fine with it. It’s very tasty for a snack if you’re into Asian foods.
  • Fish Balls – is a street food formed in semi circle or almost flattened round shape made of fish paste. It’s popular in most Asian countries, specially China. It’s served on a stick and eaten with sauce. Sauces can be sweet and sour, spicy sweet and sour and vinegar  (spicy or normal) same as squid balls. It depends on how you want it to taste. Just don’t double dip on the sauce container if it’s for everybody. Fish Balls, like squid ball can be added to other dishes or as garnish and can be a regular viand if you’re fine with it.
  • Tempura – Not the Japanese tempura you have in mind, Filipino tempura is a cheaper alternative to the expensive Japanese Shrimp Tempura. Filipino street-food Tempura is cooked the same way as squid balls and fish balls. Dipped in the same sauces but taste differently. It’s a bit similar to another street-food called Kikiam, however I do not like Kikiam that much.
  • Kwek-kwek – is a quail’s egg coated with a batter mixture of  flour, water and orange food coloring. Deep fried and sold with other street food. Can be eaten using stick or fork. Uses same sauce as other street food and best topped with cucumber. Delicious!

     4. Turon – is an unripe banana wrapped in lumpia wrapper or Shang-hai-style egg roll wrappers/ Spring roll wrapper finished with caramelized brow sugar. The raw banana will be wrapped with the spring roll wrapper, cooked in oil. If it’s almost fully cooked, the pan is dazzled with brown sugar. Once cooked, it’s best paired with vanilla icecream.

    5. Isaw / Tina-e (Chciken Intestine)  –  mostly seen sold with barbecues. A special delicacy that most Filipino love. For safety, the intestine should be cleaned properly before presenting. It is boiled before it is sold. It’sold with other street-food and barbecues. There are many ways to present the Isaw. I have seen two ways as a street-food, the flour coated isaw and the raw marinated barbecue isaw. I don’t know what’s with this food, but I am sure you will like it as well. It’s quite scrumptious.

    I hope you enjoy looking at my favorites. Sorry If you don’t like it, but I love it.

It’s available in some  Filipino restaurants in other countries. In Dubai, it’s available in some not all. I know it’s available in Dagat – dagatan and Little Manila.

Credits to Pic Owners


Thank you for reading this post. ❤


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