Why you should eat Filipino food rather than starve yourself

Table setup back home during the holidays.

Filipinos are always quick to react when someone says anything harsh about their country. Naturally, it didn’t take long when a blog post with the title I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!" went viral. 

*Update* Feeling the “wrath” of Filipino netizens and even foreigners, she then changed the title to “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food”. :p

As a Filipino, your initial reaction would probably be to defend Filipino food against that sorry excuse of a “traditional Filipino breakfast’, burnt grilled fish, and hotdog they’ve obviously purchased at 7-eleven and then called it “longganisa”. You must be thinking: Hey! That is not what Filipino food is all about!

The blogger’s opinion about Filipino food is not that surprising though. My husband, an American and former Peace Corps volunteer who lived in the Philippines for almost three years, said that Filipino food in general is a shock to the Western palette. He didn’t like it the first time too. It is somewhat of an acquired taste.

He told me that if you’re a foreigner traveling to the Philippines for the first time and you want to have an authentic and good quality Filipino food experience, it is important that you should know where to go and what to try. 

1. You don’t just go to some random hole-in-the-wall place like a “karinderya” and expect high quality food - that applies to anywhere in the world. Some Filipinos rarely even go to those places. Except me and my husband, though. We love karinderya or hole-in-the-wall places! We are discriminating in where we choose to go and will walk around until we find a place with an acceptable selection.

2. If you can’t afford to get a tour guide, try couchsurfing. It’s the best way to meet a local who can invite you to their home and introduce you to good and authentic Filipino food. I went couchsurfing for the first time in South Korea last year and it was a blast! Free accommodations, baby!

3. Restaurants inside malls like Barrio Fiesta, Cabalen, Mesa Filipino Moderne, serve good Filipino food too.

4. Unless you’re adventurous, it’s not a good idea for a foreigner try dinuguan (pork blood stew), isaw ( grilled chicken intestines), balut (duck embryo), and pretty much anything that will make you squeamish. My husband loves isaw though!

I wanted to know the best (and safest) Filipino food a foreigner should try so I asked my husband. These are the foods he recommended if you’re traveling to the Philippines for the first time:

Adobong manok

Probably the most popular Filipino food. Chicken cooked in soy sauce and vinegar. According to my husband : it’s simple, it doesn’t look scary, and it’s delicious.

Adobong pusit

Similar to Chicken Adobo only using squid ink and meat. My husband says adobong pusit looks like it might discourage a foreigner but it’s delicious and it’s one of his favorite dishes.

Lechon Manok / Roasted Chicken

If you want to have the best roasted chicken in the Philippines you better check out Andok’s. When we were dating, I was surprised to learn it’s my husband’s favorite. It’s my favorite too!

Me: Why do you recommend Andok’s?

Grumps: ..because it’s AWESOME!

Lechon Cebu

Cebu is known for having the best lechon/roasted pig in the Philippines, but if you want the best roasted pig ever according to a world famous traveler, try Zubuchon’s Lechon Cebu. Bourdain featured it on his travel show No Reservations. I’ve tried it and it was delicious! I even brought some with me when I went back to Manila.

Bicol Express

A spicy pork dish cooked in coconut milk, chili, and fish paste.


Suggested by a fellow blogger who loves this shaved ice with evaporated milk, red beans, mixed fruits, caramelized plantain, leche flan, and topped with purple yam ice cream. Perfect dessert for a hot summer day!

What about the streetfood? When it comes to streetfood in the Philippines, always be mindful on where you get them. There are decent food stalls around. Don’t purposefully go into a sketchy looking food stall and complain about the quality.

Proper (and unhealthy) streetfood like..


Kwek-kweks are hard boiled quail/chicken eggs that’s been coated with flour and then deep fried. You usually dip it in a sweet sauce or in a spicy vinegar.

Pork BBQ

Pork skewers! Yum!

Do you know any Filipino food that would be safe for foreigners to try? Let me know!

By the way, a traditional Filipino breakfast looks like this:

Fried rice + egg + meat (longganisa, cured beef, chicken, or fried fish). The one in the picture is called a longganisa, a Filipino breakfast sausage. And if you want longganisa, PLEASE don’t go to 7-Eleven. Decent hotels in the Philippines usually serve them. See: 10 Best Tapsilog in Manila

I hope you guys don’t get discouraged by someone’s bad experience. The best way to avoid one is to do a real proper research. Don’t be lazy!

Give Filipino food a chance. If you didn't like it, at least you tried! It's part of the experience! Isn't that what traveling is all about? Trying new things? :)

For a better experience on your travel to the Philippines, do check out these well-researched sites:

Safe travels!

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2 Responses to Why you should eat Filipino food rather than starve yourself

  1. Halo Halo is one of my favorite treats in the entire world! I wish I could find it somewhere in Oklahoma!!

  2. I love Halo-Halo! Glad you like it too! :)

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