It is truly a delight to be able to travel, but it is an entirely life changing experience to try different local dishes that might be your next favorite. The Philippines, with over 7,000 islands in its archipelago is one of the most popular destinations for food because of its richness in spices. So apart from the beautiful destinations and rich culture, you definitely must immerse yourself in Filipino cuisine.
Let’s take a trip to the Philippines and find the best authentic Filipino food in the North up to the South through these top 10 destinations you must go to!
Balut – Pateros
Balut definitely deserves to be put on top of this list because it is well-known for being a favorite Filipino delicacy. This common favorite is a fertilized developing duck egg embryo that is boiled and eaten directly while in its shell. In the Philippines, it is sold as a street food. The Municipality of Pateros is found in Metro Manila, Philippines and is known as the Small Town with a Big Heart. Pateros is also considered as the Balut Capital of the Philippines because of the large industry of balut found there. In the past, it hosted numerous duck farms and balut houses that incubated duck eggs. Using the traditional incubation method and in-house caring for the ducks, Patero was able to be renowned in the balut industry. If you want to get balut fresh, all-natural, and from the best, you must head on to Pateros! You can easily ride public transportation vehicles going to Pateros if you’re from the National Capital Region. Upon getting there, you will definitely gorge yourself on different balut shops and vendors.
Sisig – Pampanga
As Filipinos are also well-known for their use of spices, of course, it has a dish for the books. Sisig is a Filipino dish that is cooked from the parts of a pig head and a chicken liver that is commonly topped with calamansi, red hot chili peppers, and onions. Since it originated from Pampanga, it is a staple in Kapampangan cuisine.Pampanga is a province in the Philippines, found in the Central Luzon Region. It is also known as the Culinary and Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Being the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, of course, their rendition of sisig is the best. If you want to grab this favorite pulutan (food eaten alongside liquor), you have to visit the province of Pampanga. You will see this dish in many eateries, diners, and even restaurants in the area.
Vigan Longganisa – Ilocos
Vigan longganisa is distinct from other longganisas because of its content. Known as the Ilocano longganisa, this Filipino pork sausage dish is a de recado longganisa. This means that it is composed of ground lean pork, ground pork fat, brown sugar, garlic, onions, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, and salt that is enclosed in pig casings. Sometimes, Ilocanos also like to add chili flakes. It even has its own festival in Vigan City known as the Longganisa Festival.Ilocos is found in the northwestern part of Luzon and is known for its Spanish colonial city, Vigan, and the scrumptious delicacies they offer. In particular, their longganisa is heavily enjoyed in different parts of the country. So if you want to try authentic longganisa with the addition of native vinegar, Ilocos is the place to go.
Lomi – Batangas
Batangas is in the southern part of Luzon that is usually subject to cold weather. This is why most of their food is usually leaning towards warm, comfort food enjoyed on sick days. One of their most popular dishes is the Lomi Batangas which is largely enjoyed by meat lovers. This is because this version of lomi is made with pork meat, pork liver, chicharon, kikiam, and fried pork belly. Sometimes, to add more variety, they also include squid balls and fish balls. If you want to feel warm on cold, rainy days or send some warmth to a sick loved one, lomi Batangas is the perfect dish! You definitely have to stop by one of their many lomi houses to try it.
Pancit Habhab – Quezon
The Province of Quezon is well-known for its delicious food, particularly their pancit habhab. So if you’re a noodle lover, you definitely must check this out. Pancit habhab, or pancit Lucban, is a noodle dish from the Quezon Province that looks like your typical pancit canton, but more. Using dried flour noodles known as miki Lucban, pancit habhab is cooked with pork belly, beef broth, shrimp, pig’s liver, chayote, bok choy, snow peas, carrots, onions, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper. Steamingly hot, it is served atop a banana leaf. For the true taste of provincial life, you must go to Quezon.
Buko Pie – Laguna
If you see a long line around the area of Los Banos, Laguna, you’re at the right place. Los Banos in Laguna is well-known for their buko pie or coconut pie. It is a favored Filipino custard pie considered as a specialty dessert Laguna. Visiting the area without bringing home buko pie is definitely a tragedy! On your next trip to the land of hot springs, you must bring home a box and savor it.
Lechon – Cebu
Anthony Bourdain himself said that Cebu lechon is “the best pig ever”. One of the most popular dishes in the country is lechon. Lechon is a roasted pig that is cooked as a whole on a large stick over a pit full of charcoal. Prepared and seasoned in advance, with insides taken out, the pig is cooked rotisserie style for up to 2 hours. To get the best lechon, you definitely have to take a flight from Manila going to Cebu City in Visayas.
Chicken Inasal – Bacolod
When you say chicken inasal or grilled chicken, Bacolod City in Visayas is the first place that comes to mind. A variant of lechon manok, chicken inasal is marinated in calamansi, pepper, coconut vinegar and annatto. It is then grilled to perfection. But since it originated from the Ilonggos, they definitely have the best take to it. From the special marinade to the best basting sauce, the flight to Bacolod will definitely leave you with no regrets.
Curacha – Zamboanga
For the seafood lovers out there, heading out to the farthest part of the Philippines, Mindanao, may be the best trip you’d ever take. Zamboanga Peninsula, Tungawan in Mindanao is famed for its curacha or red frog crab. This seafood delicacy is a large, red crab that remains evenly colored even after cooking. You will surely enjoy your hands getting oily as you stuff yourself with this dish to die for. Along with alavar sauce on top, it is definitely the chef’s kiss.
Sinuglaw – Davao
Finally, last on our list is this popular appetizer dish from Davao that is also commonly eaten as pulutan. A mixture of grilled pork belly, fish ceviche or tuna with vinegar, and vegetables, this delicacy is definitely one of the “Healthy Ones for 2021”. Grilled and cooked in vinegar, this dish will definitely imprint on your taste buds and entice you to come back to Davao just for a taste of this one in a million dish.
That’s all for our foodventures today! We hope you were able to find your match made in food heaven. Explore the Philippines more to find out the hidden gems of their amazing cuisine.