Top 5 Bites in Manila, Philippines
By Katina Gjinoska

If you plan on visiting the Philippines, I’m sure you’re going here because of the beautiful beaches. But there’s more to eye than the white sand, huge waves and amazing landscape – Filipinos know how to feed the heart.

Here’s a rundown of the five signature Filipino dishes for every emotion you have:

Celebrate with crispy and juicy “Lechon”

Lechon, Phillipines

May it be small or big wins, Filipinos know how to throw a good party. We love seeing the good in life everyday. Thus for really momentous occasions, we bring out the big Lechon – a suckling pig, seasoned with spices and roasted over charcoal. What people look forward to are the crispy pork skin and the juicy meat inside. We usually pair this with “sarsa” or lechon sauce, which is made of pig liver paste.

Where to find it:

Elarz Lechon (

Quezon Ave cor D Tuazon, Quezon City

Contact No: (+63 2) 742-000, (+63 2) 384-9500, (+63 2) 742-5398

Relax with a sizzling plate of “Sisig”

Sisig, Phillipines

Sisig, Phillipines

Sisig, Phillipines

Filipinos work hard to earn a living and after a full day, there’s nothing better to look forward to than a sizzling plate of “Sisig”. It is usually made of diced pig’s head and liver and drizzled with calamansi or chili pepper. Depending on the cooking style, it is has crispy and chewy parts, which make it interesting to chew on. It is best paired with rice (usually Filipinos can eat this with 2 cups of rice after a really tiring day) and a bottle of refreshing local beer.

Where to find it:

Manam (

G/F Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Legaspi St, Makati City

Contact No: (+632) 625 0515

Explore with a warm bowl of “Kare-kare”

Kare-kare, Phillipines

If you’re feeling a bit experimental – go for the homemade Kare-kare, which is best known for its thick peanut butter sauce. The meat inside the dish varies but its usually pork, oxtail and tripe with a generous portion of vegetables. However, since the Philippines has a rich seafood source, there’s now a seafood version of kare-kare with shrimp, squid and mussels.


Where to find it:

Café Juanita (

19 West Capitol Drive, Pasig City

Contact No.: (+63 2) 632 0357 / (+63) 922 877 9894

Bask in the morning with pandesal

Pandesal, Phillipines

Filipinos welcome the morning with open arms. Being enthusiastic and optimistic, breakfast, for most Pinoys is their favorite meal of the day. The usual day starter is pandesal with different “palaman” (stuffing) inside. It can be simple spreads like cheese or peanut butter, it can also be as heavy as ham, corned beef or chicken. Also, the morning is not complete with a hot cup of coffee (Insider tip: Dip pan desal with cheese in coffee, yes, DIP!)

Where to find it:

Pan De Amerikana (

92 Gen Ordonez Marikina City

Contact No.: (+632) 475 2398

Recharge with a cool glass of halo-halo:

halo-halo, Phillipines

When you’re here to visit, it can be really hot. But don’t fret, you can always indulge in a glass of iced desserts in almost every restaurant. Halo-halo literally means “mixed up” as it is a mix of different ingredients like plantain, corn, coconut gelatin, ube (purple yam), and pinipig (pounded dried rice). It is then filled with shaved ice, generous serving of milk and topped with vanilla or ube ice cream. It is a burst of texture and flavor in every bite and perfect for the summer heat.

Where to find it:

Razon’s Halo Halo (

Various branches

That’s it! So the next time you visit, whether you’re here to explore or to chill, hope you’ll look for these dishes in Manila. Get your heart ready for a good ride J

Note: Aside from these local classics, Manila’s food scene has also shaped up very nicely, we’re into the world of food trucks and food parks now so don’t forget to drop by atleast one before heading out (StrEAT in Maginhawa QC is my favorite).

Katina Gjinoska
By Katina Gjinoska

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