Get yourself acquainted with some of the Philippines’ most iconic street food dishes

The Philippines’ street food scene is a robust one. Pic: Jose Samson/Midnight Mercato

THE Philippines sometimes seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to tourism in southeast Asia – sure, plenty of people visit the beautiful beaches there every year, but there doesn’t seem quite as much obsessive enthusiasm as there is for Thailand or Vietnam.

But there are many reasons to visit the Philippines, and the food is among them. The influence of several cultures is present in Filipino dishes, but the people here have made those flavors and tastes their own, resulting in a unique culinary imprint.

Here are six of the best dishes to try when traveling in the Philippines.

Pan de sal

Pan de sal is a type of sweet bread often for breakfast. Pic: Alyssa Sison/flickr

Pan de sal is a type of sweet bread often for breakfast. Pic: Alyssa Sison/flickr

Start your morning with this bit of deliciousness, a sweet bread that is typically eaten for breakfast. Get up early so you can buy them when they’re still warm and soft.

You’ll probably want to buy a whole bag because it’s almost impossible to eat just one. These are perfect with a cup of tea for a quick nosh before you head off to see the sights.

Adobo

Don't make the mistake of skipping adobo when in the Philippines. Pic: Ulam Pinoy/YouTube

Don’t make the mistake of skipping adobo when in the Philippines. Pic: Ulam Pinoy/YouTube

This one goes almost without saying. If you’re in the Philippines, you must try the adobo, a well-seasoned and flavorful meat dish.

The meat is marinated in a delicious mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar, and sometimes black peppercorn and bay leaves, and cooked to perfection. This is one of the country’s most well-known dishes, so you won’t have a hard time seeking it out while you’re there.

Lechon

Roasted pig on spit is some of the most delicious things you'll eat in the Philippines. Pic: Cyria Gonzales/flickr

Roasted pig on spit is some of the most delicious things you’ll eat in the Philippines. Pic: Cyria Gonzales/flickr

If you’re lucky enough to take part in any kind of celebration while in the Philippines, you’ll likely be treated to lechon, or roasted pig on a spit. It can be tough to stomach the sight of the pig turning over the crackling fire, but if you can get past that, your taste buds will certainly thank you.

The crisp, tender, fresh meat will melt on your tongue and the communal eating experience among locals will be one you’ll remember for a long time to come. The custom has its origins in Spain, and its roots in the Philippines are derived from the Spanish influence there.

Lumpia

Lumpia is a take on the spring roll. Pic: Thom's Kitchen

Lumpia is a take on the spring roll. Pic: Thom’s Kitchenfood

These are essentially Filipino spring rolls, tightly wrapped and stuffed with finely chopped vegetables. Lumpia are a take on the Chinese spring roll, and are said to have become popular in the Philippines thanks to Chinese immigrants.

Kwek-kwek

Kwek-kwek is popularly sold on the streets. Pic: Lutuingbahay

Kwek-kwek is popularly sold on the streets. Pic: Lutuingbahay

The site When in Manila recommends this popular street food if you’re hanging out in the Filipino capital. Kwek-kwek are hard-boiled quail eggs dipped in batter and fried. Alternatively, you can go for toknenang, which are hard-boiled chicken eggs prepared the same way as kwek-kwek.