I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!

Many said:

“You will love Filipino food for sure!”, “There is nothing better than seafood in the Philippines”, “Filipinos are proud of their very own local dishes”…

Sorry guys for disappointing you, but it is not true in our opinion.

Hungry and unhappy girl
My “I’m starving but I don’t want to eat this food” face


You all should know by now that we are both  food lovers and new flavour hunters. Every single trip, whether we discover new places inside or outside China, is related in some way to food. Before setting off for a new adventure to a new country, we do a proper research into new cuisines trying to find out which dishes we should avoid and which one can’t be missed out. So far, we enjoyed Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Khmer and Chinese cuisines the most, whereas Sri Lankan dishes (although they were incredibly cheap and accessible) were not our favourite. Unfortunately, with tears in my eyes and broken heart, we must add Filipino cuisine to our “I would rather go hungry than eat this food again” list.

Breakfast in the Philippines
We asked for traditional Filipino breakfast when in Pagudpud. This is what we were served – a bunch of fruits, coffee with milk and some cakes filled with jam. Is this what locals eat in the morning?

Why?

Here comes a long list … but before that let’s see what Filipino food is (should be) all about.

A few words about Filipino cuisine

It is possible that not many have heard of Filipino food before. We all know what Thai and Vietnamese, Japanese or even Polish cuisine is all about, before even travelling to these countries. As for the food in the Philippines, due to the small number of restaurants available, we are still not familiar with Filipino dishes.

Grilled fish
Grilled (burnt) fish I was served in Manila one evening

It is commonly believed that Filipino food has also been defined by a melting pot of influences, springing from the Spaniards who colonised the Philippines for nearly four centuries to the Chinese settlers. The Filipino cuisine embraces all the common elements of Asian cuisine – sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Ingredients commonly used include garlic, vinegar and soy sauce, all of which are used in chicken adobo – easily one of the most recognisable Filipino dishes.

Chicken and sauerkraut
A piece of grilled chicken served with sliced carrot and sauerkraut in the streets of Cabu- that was yummy

We have also read that Filipino meals range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas created for fiestas or even lasagna of Italian origin. Top 5 famous Filipino dishes are lechon (roasted pig), longganisa (the local sausage), torta (omelette) and adobo (chicken served with soy sauce).

Moreover, while other Asian cuisines may be known for a more subtle delivery and presentation, Filipino cuisine is often delivered all at once in a single presentation (we have not experienced it at all though).

Expectations vs. Reality

What we hoped to experience…

Before coming to the Philippines, we have found CNN Travel’s list of 50 Filipino foods that define the Philippines featuring such dishes as:

  •  Adobo – chicken and pork cooked in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices.
  • Lechon – roasted pig with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce.
  • Kare-kare – stew of oxtail served with delicious sauce made from ground toasted rice and crushed peanuts and presented with some banana blossom, eggplants and string beans.
Beef soup with potatoes served in Banaue
Adobo

We also hoped to try some fresh exotic fruits and veggies, grilled seafood, smoked meat and fishplenty of balut (developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell), local soups, different kind of rice (red and yellow), kind of dim sum and dumplings, sticky rice and a great composition of herbs and spices.

What we have experienced…

Let me start from telling you that for the first few days we gave the local food a go. We were open to new things, we were willing to eat anything locals gave us and we were so curious about new dishes. That has changed after 4 days of stomachache, dizziness and feeling overtired and bloated.

Sweet curry served with rice in Banaue
Sweet curry served with rice in Banaue

The fruits we bought at local markets daily looked and tasted old and gross. Bananas (they changed color into black) were the worst (you could see some flies flying around and sitting on the bunch of them). Apples were tiny, oranges and nectarines were extremely sour and pineapples were soaked in some kind of liquid that smelled bad. The only good fruits available there were sour mangoes sold with pepper and sugar as well as watermelons.

Local market in Banaue
Local market in Banaue

As for the veggies from local markets, we didn’t try them at all (apart from buying some at the supermarket) because we were not able to cook them. They looked ok though.

Random street restaurants
Random street restaurants

What shocked us the most was the poor quality of food. Most of dishes were left on the table without being covered with a lid, or without a fan to get rid of the flies, as it’s a common practice in other Asian countries. Fish and meat were mixed up together in the same bowl, sausages were displayed on a plate surrounded by flies and bugs, everyone was touching food with their fingers to try before buying and what was the worst the food was left on display for all night long and didn’t disappear from there unless someone bought it (we saw the same fish dish on display for two days in a row in one of local restaurants in Manila). It was a big mess, trust me!

Veggies in the philippines
Ready to go veggies from local market. They were packed with some noodles.

The Filipino food is packed with salt, sugar and oil. The meat we were served was soaking in oil, the fish that supposed to be grilled was full of oil and veggies we wanted to try contained more oil than the fattest meat we saw there. As we know, oil makes you feel so tired and slows your metabolism down. After having a few small Filipino lunches, we felt bloated and tired and we could tell it was the food.

A giant deep fried dumpling filled with mince and egg
A giant deep fried dumpling filled with mince and egg
Filipino food
The way it was made

We not only started feeling fat (literally), but also suffered from stomachache and diarrhea. I had a massive migraine, mood swings and heartbum caused by spicy and oily pork.

Locals enjoying their lunch in Manila
Locals enjoying their lunch in Manila

No wonder why, in the north, the vast majority of Filipino kids and young people are overweight. This is something we have noticed straight away. People in young age are huge and it’s due to poor quality of food.

Filipino supermarket
For week 2 we were buying the food in local supermarkets. We paid much more, but we knew the food was fresh and healthy.

Prices

The Filipino food was extremely cheap though. Coffee was $0.22, bread was for less than $0.5 and meal dishes were never more than $1 (including rice). That was the biggest advantage of dining out in local places. On the other hand, if you wanted to eat something healthy and more Western (brown bread, brown rice, cooked veggies, yogurt, grilled or steamed fish, oatmeal, dried fruits, etc.) you had to pay a lot of money (more than you would pay in your own country).

Local coffee machine in the Philippines
Local coffee machine

Love for sugar

Filipinos, unlike Chinese, seem to love bread, cakes, pastries, muffins, buns and everything that contains a lot of sugar. So do we, but we must say some of them were way too sweet even for chocolate monsters like us.

Local pastries, cookies and donuts
Local pastries, cookies and donuts in Cebu

We found it so similar to Sri Lanka. The streets are full of local bakeries open 24/7 and you can see locals buying tones of donuts and cookies. They are extremely cheap and you could get  like 3 for a price of 1. All displays looked so tempting and you could smell the fresh bread everywhere.

Yummy Apple and raisin roll cakes
Yummy Apple and raisin roll cakes

Biggest disappointments

The biggest disappointment was not trying traditional Filipino dishes. Why? We simply could not find them! We visited enormous amount of local food stands and restaurants asking for balut, adobo, asado, daing and more and we we have heard was “Not here. We have some fish and fried pork only.”, “Do you want to try noodles instead?”, “We have some boiled eggs”. So, so disappointing!

Trying some local dishes in Cebu supermarket
Trying some local dishes in Cebu supermarket

All we managed to eat was binignit ( Visayan vegetable soup made by Visayans with slices of sabá bananas, taro, and sweet potato), bihon (rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus) and lomi (Filipino-Chinese dish made with a variety of thick fresh egg noodles). These were yummy and we recommend them all to everyone.

"Fresh" Filipino style pineapple juice - 3/4 of water and 1/4 of pineapple juice from the box
“Fresh” Filipino style pineapple juice – 3/4 of water and 1/4 of pineapple juice from the box

Haggling

After a few minutes in Manila, we knew foreigners were expected to pay more than locals. When it came to food prices, there was no haggling involved. Most of prices in supermarkets and local stored were fixed so there was no need to bargain. As for local markets, we were ripped off a few times, but it was still cheap so we did not mind it that much.

Conclusion

Based on our experience, Filipino food did not live up to our expectations at all.  Let’s hope we can make it there again in the future and find a better luck!

Are you a fan of Filipino cuisine? What was your experience with the local food there?

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683 Comments

  • Wow, thanks for such an honest assessment! In many cases one expects that travel blogs only give positive reviews of restaurants and hotels, so it is great to read something that provides a true picture of what was experienced, even if it was not enjoyed.

    I made a very short visit to Manila, but it was work-related and I never had a chance to go out on the street and try local food. Maybe, that is why I only have fond memories of the trip.

    • Hi Ellis,

      Long time so see. I’m glad you liked the post. It’s nothing but honestly here. Work-related trip in the Philippines? Oh, I see. I guess you din’t try many local dishes. Maybe next time.

    • You should have went to “Kuya J” restaurant. Quite expensive but worth it. I’m filipino and I couldn’t agree more of this! I couldn’t wait to go back to Thailand especially Chiang Mai. I missed proper healthy food. Since got back here in Philippines I always feel bloated & fat! Most food are always oily! Also it’s hard to buy fresh fruit and veges since it gets expensive unlike in Thailand. God I missed that country. Thanks for noticing the increasing obesity, I’m glad I’m not the only one who notice that since most here don’t give much importance to it. This country will be like murica soon.

      Great post! Agree with everything. Keep it up!!!

  • I guess you went to the wrong places while you were here in the Philippines. You should’ve visited famous Filipino restaurants like Barrio Fiesta and Cabalen instead of the small local food stalls in Banaue, because they really don’t live up to our expectations as well (I’m a Filipino, btw).

    Give our country another chance and visit us again. Next time though, go to places like Manila and Cebu.

      • sorry about your experience. i’m from the philippines and i believe you were ripped off by your guide. we’ve had several foreign guests and some foreign friends who now live here in manila and so far as i know they love the food. i don’t take offense with what you wrote simple because you were writing based on your (bad) experience. hopefully you will give the philippines another try and maybe you’ll get to be invited to a filipino home and served a true filipino home cooked meal. :) i was aghast by the breakfast picture you posted. even i wouldn’t eat something like that. having said that, filipino breakfast varies from province to province. do give our country another try, and maybe take up the invitation of one of the people who commented on your post and stay with them while you are here. hope you visit again and not let that one bad experience prevent you from giving filipino food another try. cheers!

      • Then come into our house on your next visit in the Philippines, I’ll erase your bad impression about Filipino Foods. You went into wrong places my dear, you should’ve googled first the places where our foods are properly serve. Not all locals serve it presentably and how the CNN reported it. They are right, filipino foods are best served at home and in some not-so-expensive Restaurants all over the Metro. Where you’ve been are the places where the foods are okay with the locals because that’s what they could only afford. I bet you are aware that we’ve got homeless and poor people in our Country.

        Also, too bad for you because from the look of what you called “longganisa”, you went to “7-eleven” store (which actually originated in the U.S.) and gave you the sausage sandwich instead. That’s not longganisa looks like my dear, and fyi, we’ve got longganisa varieties. You should’ve researched more, you’re a traveler. :D

  • I’m sorry you had such a bad experience eating in the Philippines. I know how important that part of traveling is because it’s one of our top favorite things to do, too. You can learn so much about a country’s culture by the foods they eat and the rituals they have surrounding mealtime.

    I’m interested to see the other comments you get – I’m curious to see if everyone else agrees. I’ve never been to the Philippines, but that option is one that may come up for us in a few years when we’ve completed our contract in London.

    • Totally agree. Some people agree and had pretty the same experience, so people loved the food! 50:50 here :)

  • It sounds like a real disappointment for you guys. I wonder if the location/city you were in was a factor? Is the food more regionalised like in China, so maybe you’d find those sought after dishes elsewhere?

    The food hygiene standards sound very poor. The supermarket certainly sounds like the way to go.

    Sorry to hear that you were ill. Did you mean heartburn as opposed to heartbum?

    As for the breakfast, it seems quite similar to my breakfast this morning here in Norway. Lots of fruit which I suppose is quite healthy plus breads (which I should really avoid).

    • Yes, it was very disappointing, indeed. We got used to fresh and good quality food in China. The food hygiene in the Philippines was very poor. Words can’t describe how bad some local food restaurants and stalls looked! :(

      • I’m sorry to hear that you had a not too stellar experience. I see your blog has generated so much energy, so that’s good for you. I wonder if traffic was a motivation for this blog entry?

        I’m surprised you actually went to eat food from the stalls, kudos to your adventurous side. I lived in Manila but would never try that.

        Your guide failed to live up to the task at hand, which obviously enough was to take you to the good area worth visiting, afterall great experiences make clients come back.

        I gather you have travelled a lot, I’m a little amused by your misadventure and honesty, however, your blog in my humble opinion is misrepresented and magnified by your inept guide.

        Good luck, better planning and networking on your next trip.

      • how many areas in china did you visit that made you experience fresh and good quality foods? and how many areas in the philippines did you visit for you to say you would rather die than eat foods here. honestly, I don’t patronize street foods here because i’m unsure of its hygiene which every locals know already and many of them just have to live and eat. I wonder why you stopped hunting what you’re looking for like the balut,adobo,lechon and kare-kare. Makes me think you came here not to look for good things but you intentionally look for places that could satisfy your mind set that filipino’s are not capable of serving clean foods. we accept criticisms but your blog comes with an insult and i know you know that you intend to do.

  • It’s such a shame that food from the Philippines didn’t satisfy you, because there are some great dishes out there! I have a lot of Filipino friends in London who helped me in what direction to look for good food. I spent a lot of time eating around my travels in the Philippines, and although it may not be as appealing as Thai, or Japanese, there are certainly some amazing dishes; adobe, sinigang, lechon. The markets and hygiene really doesn’t sound great even in Asian standards, though. I hope one day you go back and find a lot of luck with good food.

    • Once I’m back in Europe, I’ll try some Filipino dishes recommended by my Filipino friends, but I know it’s not going to authentic.

      • lol at this point, there’s no such thing as authentic anymore. I’m a Filipino and I can say that I’m not fond of eating Filipino foods anymore. but its not because they taste good but because I grew tired of it. To make things more interesting for us, we then add different things to it or maybe cook it differently. that doesn’t mean that its not authentic anymore. and besides Filipino foods are basically spanish food that were cooked differently to cater to the Filipino pallet.

        it is sad though that you weren’t able to experience the best food we have and The Filipinos that are commenting badly are just full of pride. we’re not the best basketball and we don’t have the greatest government. in a way your blog just hit us where we actually found pride in our country–our food. I totally understand where you’re coming from. there will always be those people who just didn’t like it. period. but i didn’t also like your title. it misleads other travelers who would want to get a taste of our food and culture. you’re basically robbing us of tourists instead of letting them find out for themselves. so thats just basically it. just one last thing i guess. KNOW WHERE TO EAT! not just disgusting canteens! There’s a long street near my school where its full of local restaurants that definitely show authenticity of culture (since that what seems to be your main point)

      • Honey, I was just wondering how you’d know it’s not going to be authentic if you haven’t really experienced much of the authentic Filipino food? Street food is NOT ALWAYS authentic Filipino food as they are viands prepared for mostly laborers, drivers, workers on a tight budget. Thus, ingredients there are scrimped. Simple logic: cheap = substandard. As a LOCAL, with many other locals commenting here, dishes served along sidewalks are DIRTY. Most dishes served under a small budget is EITHER dirty or unhealthy. Same principle when you eat at McDonald’s. You can’t expect to be fed healthy dishes. They just fill you up on a budget. That’s what happened to you guys. Look at the fruits you got, quite substandard. If you only knew where to get good ones. By the way, apples and oranges are not grown in the Philippines. They cannot simply survive the weather. They are mostly from

        Frankly, there are restaurants that are not too pricy and serve great authentic Filipino dishes. In this blog, you exude a persona that you are a bonafide traveller. However, a bonafide traveler MUST KNOW WHERE TO GO. Sure you went to local restaurants, plenty of different ones. The WRONG ones.

        You stated that “The food hygiene in the Philippines was very poor. Words can’t describe how bad some local food restaurants and stalls looked.” WHY STILL EAT THERE???

        True, you have the right to write about your bad experiences. Hell, you could even post the name or picture of the stalls that were unhygienic so we could actually avoid them or even file a complaint to the necessary governing body, but YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO OVERGENERALIZE and say they’re all bad by saying “rather go hungry than eat Filipino food again when you hardly experienced authentic Filipino food at all.

  • To be honest you cant really have the real filipino cuisine if you are looking in cheap cateens/karinderia. You can see it in some expensive restaurants now a days. Also i belive the place you went also affect. Theres less nice foods in there. You should ask google first next time to avoid that kind of experience. There are much better foods somewhere south. Especially in PAMPANGA. Iam truly sorry from what you guys experience. I hope you’ll still come back because there are lot more places here in philippines that is worth to go, cheers!

    • well said! mabuhay! :)) they were just in the wrong place that’s all. i just don’t get it why they keep generalizing and judging us just coz of that awful trip. :(

      • We visited all possible local food stands, stalls and small restaurants. There were all the same, sorry!

    • Unfortunately, I can’t agree with you Ann. In my opinion, eating at food stalls, streets etc is more typical and more show of an embedded culture than going to a restaurant. Personally restaurants elaborate dishes that are not always typical or what your everyday person eats.

      • Speaking of #StreetFoods…
        Have you my dear tried kwek-kwek, tukneneng, squidballs, chickenballs, siomai, isaw, betamax, and adidas? those are just the basic…not to mention BALUT — which was by the way featured in Fear Factor in an episode for challenging their stomachs…. *yum-yum…

        And if not, they you better come back and try them… then, make a follow-up on this blog.. ;)

      • Tons of posts from Filipinos here have already said that you can’t experience our authentic food from cheap food stalls and the streets and yet you still disagree? You still think that these places are “more typical”?

        If you think your opinion on where to experience authentic dishes is the only opinion that is valid, then you already have failed to embrace the core of traveling to experience another culture.

        I do appreciate the fact that you are being honest but I guess you also have to look at the perspective that you may have not researched properly. A restaurant does not have to be too posh, you know. There are tons of Filipino restaurants that would definitely be within your budget. Google can be a friend on instances like these :)

  • Oh guys.. this sucks, but at least it makes for an entertaining article!
    Most travel blogs are always raving about some thing or the other. It almost feels refreshing to come across something a little less positive every now and then! (just looking at the bright side here) :P

    I used to work with a girl from the Philippines who would every single day bring home cooked food to eat at the office. I never tried any of her dishes as such but I can tell you that the smell that would linger in the office after she used the microwave would not be very appetizing. So fishy and so strong!

    Still, I am sure that there is great food in the Philippines.. but it might not be as readily available or recognizable as elsewhere. Living in China you guys are probably spoiled with great choices all the time!!

    • Fishy and strong? I love fish! :D I am also sure there is some great food here, it’s just way too expensive and available in posh restaurants only. That’s a big shame!

      • Hi Ageness, I’m an American expat who has lived in Manila 4 years, with one of those years living in a low-income community. I wanted to respond to some of the things you said in the comments section of this article. But first, kudos for reading every single comment that comes in. That’s very good of you.

        You mention that you went to these places because you wanted to go where “locals” go. But you seem to define “locals” as poor people. Filipinos that ride around in chauferred BMWs are locals too. Most Filipinos that can afford not to eat low-cost street food (which comprises about half the country) will generally stay away from it, in the same way that an American making $80,000 a year probably doesn’t order off the McDonald’s dollar menu too much (or ever). Everybody knows it is generally dirty and unhealthy. Since you’re on a $25 a day budget, I’d recommend you check out a restaurant chain called Buddy’s Pancit Lucban. Their entrees range from $2.50 to $4.50 each, the food is authentic Filipino and delicious. I’ve never seen another foreigner in one, ever, so safe to say that’s where locals go as well. While pancit is a specialty, they have a full menu. My favorite dish is the sizzling pork chop steak: two pork chops and a side of veggies, with mushrooms and gravy.

  • I’m sorry to hear that you were ill, Agness. That’s the least we expect while traveling :(
    I’ve never tried filipino food but I hear their lechon is a must try.
    Thanks for sharing it with us though, I always love your food post :)

  • I had to laugh when I read the title of this post. I’m not sure I would go quite so far as to say I’d rather starve than eat Filipino food again, but I do agree that the food we encountered there was really disappointing and underwhelming, and sometimes really gross. I agree that it was actually very difficult to find local food—I suspect you generally have to be invited into someone’s home to experience that, since most of the food we found in restaurants was fast food or western influenced. I know that Filipinos are very passionate about their food, so we were really disappointed to find the food there so unappetizing.

  • I totally agree with you. We just spent 23 days in the Philippines and we too weren’t impressed with food. There is only so much rice and chicken adobo you can eat. We were shocked on the fruit prices and then the quality was terrible! Hoping our next country is much better :-)

    • I know!! :) Enjoy your next destination. It’s Vietnam, right? Don’t forget to dig into some spring rolls and Pho soup! :D

  • We only travelled to one place in the Philippies, but unfortunately we had some bad experiences with the food too – though yours look really terrible! I think it’s worse when you’re a meat eater, as usually being vegetarian means you’re pretty safe with what you’re eating. We also had trouble with our digestion and feeling rubbish as a result of the food though.

    Fortuantely for us the mangoes were really good in Palawan! We also found that “foreign foods” like pizza and falafel were much better than the so-called “local” foods in the area where we were, which is lame, but safe at least.

  • Oh dear Agnes! Looks like you guys were really unlucky with the food. It’s clearly made a terrible impression on you- shame you couldn’t find anything yummy. I know how much you guys appreciate your local foods and snacks (like those yoghurt drinks in Beijing- thanks for the idea of having it withe strawberries!) I hadn’t heard that much about Filipino food to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever had any. I’m glad you managed to find a couple of things that you recommend though. The binignit soup sounds good.

    • Yes, we were, unfortunately. We love Chinese food, really. You can get a great variety of local street food and it’s cheap, nutritious and extremely yummy. I often crave baked sweet potatoes with grilled fish, Beijing’s yogurt drinks, sweetcorn, congee and soups! So glad I’m back here!

  • I’m with you on this! I really didn’t like the food either and because of the lack of nutricion I started to feel really weak throughout my trip. And not only that; I got really bad food poisoning in San Juan. :(

  • I actually agree with you completely. I spent just 2 weeks in Luzon in 2009 and didn’t enjoy the food at all. I found it was mostly just rice and ‘meat’ (what kind of meat was never expressed!) and indeed the fruits and vegetables were not good quality it seemed to me. The most disappointing experience I had there was when I asked what kind of meat a nice looking curry had in it, and I was told beef, but when I started eating it realised it was tripe (the lining of a cow’s stomach). Clearly the lady serving me had a different meaning for beef than I did (which was an interesting realisation, maybe just not a welcome one at the time!) So yes, my impression overall of the Philippines was wonderful people, amazing beaches but crappy food. Such a shame!

    • Sam if i may… Maybe you were just in the wrong place in luzon. You should’ve hired a tour guide.. you’ll find a delicious filipino food in a home :) well cooked, well organized, very hospitable and etc. Don’t just generalize and judge our cuisine. What if we wrote an article about your country wouldn’t that hurt your feelings? just saying.

      • We never hired a tour guide. All places we dined out at were found by ourselves.I am proud of Polish food, but I can totally understand anyone complaining about it. We are all different people with different taste and food expectations. I have heard bad stories about Polish food and drinks. I respect people’s opinion. That’s why I love travelling to find out what is good and bad for me. If you don’t like Polish food, that’s absolutely fine and I respect that. Nothing wrong with that.

      • It never occured to me to hire a guide either, but I did stay in people’s homes a couple of times (renting a room) and indeed found them very hospitable! I’m from the UK where the food has a terrible reputation, so I’m with Agness; if you have a bad experience with food in my country, I can totally understand that and respect your opinion of it.

      • Well, in my case…

        I’ve never tried to hire a guide, too…
        (since I’m a backpacker – travelling on a budget.. hehehe… )

        I just conduct a good research first of the place I’m traveling to..
        May it be of the peeps, the activities, food and of course a bit about the language — but here in the Philippines, English is good too BUT, wait for the other person to absorb your presence first before you start asking questions, people here get easily intimidated when confronted by a foreigner, OK? (back to reading more of the comments, while having breakfast **brown coffee(coffee with brown sugar, pandesal (bun), lakatan (a type of banana), and palabok) only for $1… hehehe… (“pofta buna” to me — Romanian for “bon appétit”

    • Thanks Sam. Yes, fruits and veggies were really bad. Tripe in your curry? WOW! Some areas are really poor and people make food as cheap as possible putting really nasty and not fresh ingredients :(.

  • Ohhhh that’s such a shame! And Agness you look so forlorn in that picture!!! :(

    Although I have to say, if there are not many of a particular restaurant anywhere, it immediately makes me wonder if there’s a reason for that! I bet you’re not going hungry now that you’re back in China :)

  • “We asked for “longganisa” which is Filipino famous sausage and this is what we were served – American style hot dog”

    Sorry, but it is kind of stupid to ask for longganisa at 7-11 (noticeable wrapper of 7-11) They DO NOT serve longganisa. If you really did a research, but it is really common sense, 7-11 does not serve longganisa. If you TRULY did a research then you would know which places to go which is apparently not. Next time you go, don’t base it on luck that you’ll have the real experience of Filipino food. Do a proper research.

      • Yeah… it happens…

        So also, next time…
        Ask 3 locals/people not just one…
        (it’s my rule of thumb when asking for directions during my travels here and abroad… *wink)

        The person/local you asked might have been intimidated since you were a foreigner – it happens. LOL

      • Hmmm…
        Are you sure the locals understood you? Did you say longganisa or did you say sausage?
        People may have misunderstood you.

    • 1) Sharing my personal experience on Filipino street food which did not come up to my expectations.
      2) Sampling local culture though local food.
      3) Showing my readers that you can’t really rely on Filipino food when you have a tight budget.
      4) Pointing out that obesity is a major problem in the Philippines due to bad quality food locals consume on a regular basis.

      • I’m sorry, but you really have to stop saying that obesity is a major problem in the Philippines. I have lived in the Philippines my whole life aside from the past four years. Let me tell you that I have never seen more than 5 obese people in the Philippines – and trust me, I have been to a lot of places in the Philippines. My country is a third world country – that means that the majority of the population cannot afford to have ONE full meal a day. Does that sound like a potential for obesity to be widespread in a country so poor? Also, please look up what obesity really is. It sounds to me that you might not know what the word really entails.

        On another note, while I appreciate that you and your friends tried to sample Filipino food, I honestly think you got ripped off by your guide. $25 is plenty enough for three scrumptious meals. I currently live in America, and I know how far $25 can get you in the Philippines – a lot more than the crappy, unhygienic and extremely cheap food you had. And yes, I understand you wanted to taste what the “local” food is like, but you could have had a much better experience eating what most locals eat if you went to the right places. When I say “the right places”, I don’t even mean the “posh, expensive” restaurants you were so eager to avoid. I personally do not go to the fancy restaurants too, and yet I still manage to spend less than $25 per day on delicious Filipino food when I go back to the Philippines.

        Plus, if you were to travel in a country where people on the streets are so poor that they can’t go to school and therefore barely speak English, don’t heed their advice. Find a travel buddy that grew up in the country, is knowledgable of local spots and speaks the local language.

      • Obesity is far from being a problem in the Philippines. You should get your eyes checked. You might have been having double vision. I also don’t comment on things like this but you attacked our country on the basis of an experience in 1 local part and by judging our cuisine with street food. I also don’t eat street food. You should make a trip back and visit Pampanga or other provinces. Btw, $25/person is more than enough to experience real Filipino food. Not enough research on your part.You didn’t see any fresh fruits and vegetables in major supermarkets? Where did you go? You go to SM Hypermarket and you have an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. You have the right to your opinion but you should be responsible enough to back up your “facts” and accept criticism. What gets me is the fact that you keep saying over and over that the Philippines is an obese country! Seriously?!

  • That’s a great and honest observation. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet your expectations. If you really wanna taste great variety of filipino food, try to visit during fiestas. Most street foods are crappy and tasteless. Most sellers just want to make a profit not minding the customers at all. And these customers keep buying because it’s cheaper and just for them to fill-in their hungry tummy.
    I suggest next time, it would be satisfying if you can stay in a filipino home and be able to really taste their own delicacies. I’ve been living in Thailand for 7 years now and I see how thai local foods are being prepared as well on the streets (except those tourists areas like Silom and Khaosan) but I do prefer to look at the bright side. I did also suffer from diarrhea three times on the first month but was get used to it later.
    So I think every traveler has some pretty good and bad experience about food in other countries but then that’s part of travelling especially if our budget is tight. :) Thanks for sharing.

  • I appreciate your opinion and I’m very sorry that the food from the places you visited didn’t satisfy your appetite. Honestly, most of our food (specifically those being sold in the streets) are not served to please foreigners. They are meant to satisfy our locals with limited budget as well as please those who are daring and adventurous enough to eat our sweet, strong, fishy but yummy dishes.

    And to generalize filipino cuisine as unappetizing as well as to invite others to subscribe to your opinion is but unfair and by far an insult to the intelligence of those who are interested to taste our local dishes.

    And it seems no one told you (and I’m telling you now) that if you want to experience the best of Filipino cuisine you have to (1) be invited in someone’s home and be served with deliciously authentic Filipino dishes coupled with hospitality that will give both your appetite and heart the satisfaction it needs. and (2) you have to actually look for decent filipino restaurants but be ready to pay a couple of bucks. sad to say, the first option is quite improbable if not totally impossible coz I doubt if there’s any local who would be willing to welcome such a rude person in his/her home unless plotting someone food poisoning.

  • poor you..how come you didnt find the best foods in Philippines. Are you really a traveler? well, youre too unlucky, maybe. Piece of advice when you travel next time try to spend a little amount of money for you to taste the delicious and better one. Dont generalized that foods in Philippines is not good if you only visited an area or two. Save more so you can afford to buy fresh, delicious and quality one.

    • Hi Jay. Read the headline on the front page once again. It says “Travelling like tramps for less than $25 a day”. What we do here is looking for cheap and delicious street food which we could not find in the Philippines. Even the most expensive supermarkets in the Philippines didn’t serve fresh fruits neither veggies.

  • Agnes’s, you are spot on. I spent a month in the Philippines from end Jan – Feb this year, and I was totally disappointed with the quality of the food. They are a nation obsessed with sugar and fast food. Sugar in the bread (yuck), it was even in a spaghetti bolognaise I ordered! I too suffered from tiredness, mood swings, even depression for no obvious reason sometimes. I’m sure this was down to the food. What a shame, with all the sea surrounding them, that the preparation and ingredients are all so wrong. There were some healthier, well prepared exceptions like you say (and you can cook yourself) but these were always substantially more expensive and/or western run.

    • You nailed it Ben! I totally agree with what you are saying here. Most of people are obsessed with sugar and fast food and they love to follow American way of eating BIG and UNHEALTHY.

      • You can probably blame the Westernized (sugar, fatty, oily) food that you came across in the Philippines on the fact that the Philippines was under Spanish colonial rule for over 300 years and was then ceded to the US until they became independent in 1946. It’s not that Filipinos love to follow the American way. In the grand scheme of things, what you ate is what was introduced and forced onto a country that did not rule itself for almost 500 years. It’s what they’ve known.

        Before being colonized by the Spanish, before being called the Philippines and before we were considered Filipinos… the people of the 7000+ islands did indeed eat healthy from both land and sea as the islands provided excellent rich, nutrient resources.

        BUT, that way of life is barely heard of today and why would it be heard of after 500 years of oppression and corruption in which other countries tried to impose on their way of life to show them what’s considered “better” and “civilized”? Right? And even if the Philippines is independent today, the government is pretty much like how it was during colonial times dictating the lives of Filipinos, many of whom live in poverty.

        I get that you had it rough, trying to eat the “authentic” foods and what the locals eat, but before you go making generalizations on Filipino food trying to copy the American ways of eating… you should try taking a look at why it is the way it is. You could probably get a small history lesson out of the food you eat there… At the very least, you probably shouldn’t be looking for anything authentic in very populated areas of the Philippines like Manila in the first place and take to the provinces instead.

      • Have you looked into the history of the Philippines? The Filipino people have been colonized for hundreds of years. Hopefully understanding imperialism and colonialism will help you realize why Filipinos “love” to follow the American way.

        I think people are responding negatively to your post because it is disrespectful. You can talk about your food experience, but anything that you mention about food directly relates to the culture. What we eat comes from our heritage and our history as a country. In America, many of the obese people you read about, see on television who “love” junk food, live in “food deserts”, where everything around them are fast food restaurants. A lot of the people that live in these “food deserts” come from low-income communities where the regular grocery stores aren’t even available. Many communities can’t afford fresh fruit, vegetables, and clean meats. Poor people don’t have the luxuries we privileged people have, especially with food. These are socioeconomic things one should think about when talking about the culture of food in general. And, this is something you should definitely think about especially when going to a third world country.

        As a person seeking to experience another culture, do your research. And when I say research, it’s about the people, why certain foods are cuisines for them, why they have access to these foods, and lastly the traditions tied to how food is prepared. This is what amazing foodies like Anthony Bourdain do.

        Food is personal. Food defines a big part of many communities’ cultures. Respect that. I can appreciate your blog post on the Filipino’s food, but you provide no legitimate context for your findings. They just sound like excuses for you not experiencing great food. People already suggested it in the comments, GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE, and have a local show you the ropes. As a traveler, learn to be humble yourself and be ready to lower your personal expectations and learn a little more cultural competency before you write about a culture outside of your own.

        “It’s not personal” because it’s not about you, it’s about Filipinos, and food is personal to us.

      • I am sampling local culture here not referring to people but food. No one should feel hurt or anything as it’s my view and valid like anyone’s. Sorry to hear you took it so personal.

        You nailed it Ben! I totally agree with what you are saying here. Most of people are obsessed with sugar and fast food and they love to follow American way of eating BIG and UNHEALTHY.

        huh?

  • I can’t help but feel bad because you had a horrible experience with Filipino food. We Filipinos have a long way to go in terms of food tourism, which is a shame really, because we have such a diverse cuisine which is not just oily, fatty and salty. :) But, I salute you for trying our street food, because even I would have second doubts about eating at a roadside eatery. Well, I guess it really depends on the location and the cleanliness of the owner.

    Truth be told, I was looking forward to reading your posts about our food: sinigang, lechon, adobo, sisig, bulalo, inasal, etc. but they were nowhere to be found! But what i find quite appalling and embarassing for my country is that you were not able to taste our local fruits, specially our mangoes (specially the Guimaras variety) which is the best in the world. These mangoes are known for their quality and are exported. Sadly, even the average Filipino may find it on the expensive side. I truly hope you won’t let this experience prevent you from coming back here. And I hope, for your tummy’s sake, that you will have a local to show you around the next time. :) If there’s one thing that could be said about Filipinos is that we don’t want our guests to leave until they have tried the best of everything. Specially our food. :)

    • I’m from manila and almost all of the dishes you mentioned were honestly really unhealthy. I think they were trying to look for healthy food.

      to the writer with all honestly as a filipino myself, we filipinos lack discipline. just look at our current government or even go to a street intersection where there is a pedestrian lane that pedestrians don’t use and ignore traffic signs lol.

      when it comes to cooking, most filipino dishes are just rich in flavor but are really unhealthy

    • Dear Jack,

      I am sampling local culture here not referring to people but food. No one should feel hurt or anything as it’s my view and valid like anyone’s. Sorry to hear you took it so personal.

      • No it’s not valid. It’s your opinion but you cant conclude something because of that opinion. That will make what youre saying LIES. Do you get this? It is like saying “i had a bad experience so filipino food sucks” or “filipino food makes filipinos obese” seriously? What if I eat tons of food from your country? That would make me obese too.

    • Opinion about Food not the people. I’m a Filipino. I’m sick and tired of Filipinos hating on other nationalities for having an opinion.

      Agness, sorry for your diarhhea

      but thats a thing about Filipino Food, we dont really do good cheap food, if its cheap, its really cheap in more ways than one.

      Good middle ground would have been somewhere around a 60 – 120 meal. To be honest, I wouldnt even think of touching a 20 Peso Noodle dish, its diarrhea in a plate, and its bland as cardboard. The best cheap food you can get would be balut, 15 Pesos of pure perfection.

      Hope you come back again and remember, diarrhea happens, not just in the Philippines

  • I agree that quality local food that really identifies the culture of the Filipinos is hard to find in the common place in the Philippines. It’s a disappointment shared not just by tourist but by Filipinos as well. Compared to Thailand, where rich and common people love to eat their local food out in the streets, Filipinos relate eating at these street “karenderia” (eatery) as a status symbol. POORLY PREPARED FOR POOR CUSTOMERS/EATERS.

    LOCATION matters too. As you have known, Filipinos are very diversified in language and food. PAMPANGA is known for the tourists who want to indulge in Filipino food. Quality restaurants are mostly WESTERNIZED so don’t expect getting it from there unless you are a chicken-rice aficionado.

    You are right when you said, you’ll only get the tastiest local food when invited into a family meal or eating at expensive Filipino restaurant. Each city has one I guess.

    Statistically, you (who experienced this) are just a few against the other tourists who have good food memories. My suggestion is you need to find a Filipino who has a good-sized family who is willing to improve your experience. Being guided or invited will always guarantee good memories. Get to know at least someone to avoid being ripped off.

    To Agnes, you just got unlucky. Can you tell us what province did you experience this? Manila is not a guarantee unless you go to expensive Filipino restaurants. Do it again by skipping the urban and finding a nice Filipino family.

  • Word from a Pinay: In general, Filipino street food is not impressive. I prefer my mom’s cooking LOL. When on vacation, I always include good restaurants in the budget. Street food is too risky in terms of quality and hygiene. There are lots of delicious traditional Filipino food– you just need to look for them and pay way more than you would for street food.

    • Unfortunately we could not afford to dine out in good restaurants. As you can see, our budget is $25 a day a person :). P.S. I miss my mom’s cooking as well so I can’t wait to go back home for summer ! <3

      • Hi Agnes,

        $25 per person per day gives you Php 1,000.00 which is enough to get you three meals in good Filipino restaurants. Maybe your “tour guide” ripped you off so you didn’t get to look in the right places.

        I suggest looking for a local host family or friend should you decide to come back. You can email me if you want. Hospitality is one of the Filipino people’s specialties so I’m sure you’ll get a much better experience then.:)

      • You can afford a decent food in that amount of money.. for a whole day, if that budget’s for food only. But yeah, I got to agree, I’m a local and I too don’t fancy some of our dishes.. yeah, some of them are too sweet, too fatty, too salty, but that’s not all about it.. you must try the other regions’ cuisine; street food in Manila? NO. No to street food in general.. and that’s the reason why they’re called street food.
        so you tried balut.. did you like it? it’s one of my favorites. Seriously though, stay away from street food, it’s not good for you.
        As for breakfast, because you’re asking if that’s typically our breakfast.. uhm no, I sometimes eat 2 large pandesal (Pan de Manila/Pan de Pugon) they’re really good, but cheap.. and those bread are usually partnered with scrambled eggs or peanut butter or hotdog or tuna or anything. Then coffee; I choose brewed coffee. I think what you had was either the normal instant coffee or the 3 in 1, that’s coffee in a sachet with sugar and creamer mixed with coffee.. that’s very popular here and also cheap, and I too buy those. But I think you got your hotdog at 7 eleven, they also serve brewed coffee for about 30 pesos.. and it tastes like real brewed coffee. Have you tried suman? some of us also eat that for breakfast.. also puto, kutsinta.. have you tried taho? in Baguio they have strawberry taho which is very unusual, but it tastes good.. a bit sweet yeah, but you can ask the vendor not to put too much syrup (strawberry syrup).
        I can’t name them all, but if you really want to experience the real Filipino food, you’ve got to explore and expect them good food to cleaner places. You’re right about what you said here, but still a bit unfair. Maybe you should expand your budget a bit more when you think of coming back. No? :D

  • Hi Agnes, bummer you didn’t like the food. There have been places that I was very underwhelmed as well! There was a post by the Globetrotter Girls called “Why Chilean Food Sucks” and people went nuts yelling at them- I see a couple mean posts on here as well. I hope people keep it nice! I hate HATE comments even on other people’s sites :(

    • Hi sweetie,

      Thanks! Filipino people seem to be very proud of their food and I absolutely understand that. We respect everyone’s opinion as long as it’s expressed in a polite and kind way without using bad words and insulting people.

      What can I say… Sometimes travelling is also about bad experiences. I am referring to food we did not like and there is nothing I can do with that. I could lie and say “Yes! I loved it!” and make everyone happy, but that’s not the point. We are honest here… :) and I can cope with negative and mean comments, no worries! :-)

      • Hi Agnes,

        We have 17 regions in the Philippines and I would say you have tried one place only which is in Luzon please do try to come in other regions as well which they have their own delicious food delicacies or better yet check this site: http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/
        I’m from Philippines but never have Itried to travel in LUZON AREA so I’m not familiar with their food also but try the foods in VISAYAS and MINDANAO for a different view :)

  • Different place will have different taste or style of cooking. If you could have collaborated with locals or contacted local travel bloggers you could have had you’re time of your life in the Philippines like Justonewayticket.com girl.

    Just sucks, not everyone will have the same experience and sorry that you didn’t experience the best of our country. But you know what, there’s always next time and maybe that time, you’ll get to do it right. ;)

    Have a safe trip.

  • I’m Filipino and i don’t intend to be on the other side of the truth here but there is a little detail that you forgot about your post and your experiences. You never had anyone who knows something about the ins and outs of the locality. Sure it was nice that you took the initiative to try some stuff but you we’re in the wrong places in the wrong times. Get a local who can help you. If you weren’t aware, Filipinos play with certain languages and English is our second medium of communication, you failed to communicate properly with a native. And if you actually intend to eat something that is both hearty and appetizing then stay at a friend’s house during festivals. You travel that’s great, but use your social media friends to maximize the experience. Oh before I end please try something like Nilaga (comes with many different varieties; pork, shrimp, etc.), Pancit Palabok, Halo-halo or the ever famous Inasal… I’m sure were open to any suggestions right?

  • One last thing, if you want i can be your tour guide, and if you need some place to stay we can adopt you… See you around!

  • Thank you for your honesty, different cuisines are really up to individual likings but still, at least you did not just give up on it on the first attempt! :)

    Although I have never been to Philippines but I have tried some filipino dishes. I find them too sweet for my liking too.

  • What a shame guys! I heard the same comments about Filipino food from other travelers. Looking the bright side, at least you managed to try some local dishes in the end, even if only few :)

  • Lily May Paradero-Joy One experience should not be the conclusion of the whole matter. Korean food is one of my favorites and I have eaten at some places that I don’t like but I try again somewhere else. No big deal!
    24 mins · Edited · Like
    Rhett Ragzh once is not enough for a wise man…
    1 hr · Like
    Rhett Ragzh she should try chinese fake meats…
    1 hr · Like · 1
    Vinz Matias read her article. sad to say but in so many points she’s right.
    1 hr · Like · 1
    Alvin Lucrida Bulls She eat in a wrong place…
    1 hr · Like · 1
    Alvin Lucrida Bulls I can get sick with American food too if I eat just in any place
    54 mins · Edited · Like
    Cheery Chette She needs a good tour guide.
    58 mins · Like · 3
    Tracy Gutierrez She should stay in a local family home. That’s the only way to truly experience local food.
    50 mins · Like · 2
    Alvin Lucrida Bulls Good thing I didn’t see bulad… Tuyo on the pictures hehe
    47 mins · Like
    Alvin Lucrida Bulls Good thing I didn’t see bulad… Tuyo on the pictures hehe
    47 mins · Like
    Luzil Joy Faigmani Pontanar One person or group of tourists’ opinion. Great advice: local family who cook well & good local companions or tour guides. She’s right however with a lot of local/street food handling. That’s why GMA’s Imbestigador still has a thriving gross food feature.

    But I wouldn’t be too bothered with reviews or blogs like these Thanks for posting though
    37 mins · Edited · Like · 1
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay I would not repost this because this travel blog is stupid. These nerds travel to eat in asia, they must be ready for whatever. we travel much here in asia and we also experience almost the same things they have in every asian country we visited except for those extremely developed countries. Yet, going to the wrong places give you the wrong experiences as well.
    25 mins · Like
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay They said some good things but all are bad… each country has its own ways about food and stuff, this travel blog is biased in the approach of this topic. Can’t they see or something? They could have chosen not to eat or buy what they think is wrong.
    20 mins · Edited · Like
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay They have chosen to experience the wrong thing and deliberately attacked…
    22 mins · Like
    Lily May Paradero-Joy Before you go to a different country, make sure you have a “person” there who will be your guide to take you to reputable places to eat, or better yet, homecooked meals with you there to see what’s in them;-) My husband’s been sick with banana cue befo…See More
    21 mins · Unlike · 1
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay We were in Laos last week and we went to the famous Vang Vien Hills. There we saw people from different parts of the world. I already warned my wife and daughter about whatever may happen. When we reached the place, we saw a lot kids and adults, just l…See More
    11 mins · Edited · Like
    Cheery Chette She didn’t research well and didn’t find the right places so it’s her loss, but she did tell the ugly truth about our street food. We can invite her back, let her taste real food in our homes and wait for her blog update.
    10 mins · Unlike · 1
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay The way they made the title is generally saying that filipino food is bad… I will go against that, that can go for a big legal battle.
    8 mins · Like
    Lily May Paradero-Joy Street foods are not made to impress tourists in my opinion. It’s for the locals whose stomachs are used to it, sa ato pa, pinobre, it’s affordable…I was used to eating ginamos for more than 25 years and went back to the Philippines after many years and got really sick eating it…Go figure. I want it still;-)
    5 mins · Edited · Like · 1
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay The famous Roti in thailand is made and cooked by lands that also receive money and do something else, they never wash. Yet, people of all colours are buying that ont he streets here in Thailand, Malaysia and everywhere…
    4 mins · Like
    Lily May Paradero-Joy But that was her own experience, her opinion and she’s entitled to it. There’s many others who have a totally different experience. My American husband loves Filipino food and was only sick once in the many visits he had to our country. He’s been there more than 10 times and most of them on mission trips so he stayed for about a month on some of those trips. You have to have someone there that knows the good/safe places to eat and you have to have common sense;-)
    1 min · Edited · Like
    Ali Bernie Buga-ay
    Write a comment…

  • Filiponos are so proud of their food. One Filipina told me she’d travelled all over south-east asia and hated the food there because it was “only spicy”. In the Philippines, she said, you had all the flavours.

    Sadly, I have to agree with you. Filipino food is not great… just too much fat, sugar, and salt. There are exceptions of course, but overall it’s a huge step down from any other cuisine in the region :(

    • I know locals are proud of their food. I’m proud of Polish food as well! I hope nobody takes it personal. It’s all about our food experience. Yes, it’s fat, packed with sugar and oil :(. There are way too many junk food restaurants and pizzerias and people get obese day after day.

      • Hahahha now as i read all comments your a europian its just so stupid to expect that you can get your expectation to your taste bud of filipino food to the point that europians are eating almost tasteless food… Sorry but i love exotic food…. Ang congrats your blog is famous. Nice idea to blog

      • I think what most upsets filipino, which I am, is your insensitive headline. “I would rather go hungry than eat Filipino Food AGAIN.” It’s your opinion and that’s fine. But, how would you feel if I went to Poland and ate dirty street food and insulted it just based on that one experience? It’s disrespectful.
        Street food is gross. Period. In the Philippines, street food is especially sold by the poor and naturally, it will be composed by the cheapest produce and poorest quality meats. My husband is Caucasian and loves Filipino food. It’s totally based on who prepares the food. Lots of people take shortcuts and just throw in too much salt, sugar and fat. But you shouldn’t base something on one experience. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk in any way but, your headline was just not nice at all. $25 is a lot in the Philippines and if you had the right resources and the right person to show you around, I bet your time there would have been better. I was born and raised in California and I wouldn’t even be walking around a neighborhood without a proper guide around. It’s also not safe.
        Ps, that fried “dumpling” is called an empanada. It doesn’t always have egg in it and when I eat it, it is not fried. So, just try to explore options more. There are about 171 dialects and 7,107 islands in the Philippines which means, one area of street food should not represent Filipino food.

    • it’s because we have all our different food preferences, every country differs from one another depending on the region. If you cannot appreciate the taste of other foods, then you may just to stick on your local dishes .

  • One experience should not be the conclusion of the whole matter. Korean food is one of my favorites and I have eaten at some places that I don’t like but I try again somewhere else. No big deal!

    once is not enough for a wise man…

    she should try chinese fake meats…

    Vinz Matias read her article. sad to say but in so many points she’s right.

    Alvin Lucrida Bulls She eat in a wrong place…

    Alvin Lucrida Bulls I can get sick with American food too if I eat just in any place

    Cheery Chette She needs a good tour guide.

    Tracy Gutierrez She should stay in a local family home. That’s the only way to truly experience local food.

    Alvin Lucrida Bulls Good thing I didn’t see bulad… Tuyo on the pictures hehe

    Alvin Lucrida Bulls Good thing I didn’t see bulad… Tuyo on the pictures hehe

    Luzil Joy Faigmani Pontanar One person or group of tourists’ opinion. Great advice: local family who cook well & good local companions or tour guides. She’s right however with a lot of local/street food handling. That’s why GMA’s Imbestigador still has a thriving gross food feature.

    But I wouldn’t be too bothered with reviews or blogs like these Thanks for posting though

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay I would not repost this because this travel blog is stupid. These nerds travel to eat in asia, they must be ready for whatever. we travel much here in asia and we also experience almost the same things they have in every asian country we visited except for those extremely developed countries. Yet, going to the wrong places give you the wrong experiences as well.

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay They said some good things but all are bad… each country has its own ways about food and stuff, this travel blog is biased in the approach of this topic. Can’t they see or something? They could have chosen not to eat or buy what they think is wrong.

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay They have chosen to experience the wrong thing and deliberately attacked…

    Lily May Paradero-Joy Before you go to a different country, make sure you have a “person” there who will be your guide to take you to reputable places to eat, or better yet, homecooked meals with you there to see what’s in them;-) My husband’s been sick with banana cue befo…See More

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay We were in Laos last week and we went to the famous Vang Vien Hills. There we saw people from different parts of the world. I already warned my wife and daughter about whatever may happen. When we reached the place, we saw a lot kids and adults, just l…See More

    Cheery Chette She didn’t research well and didn’t find the right places so it’s her loss, but she did tell the ugly truth about our street food. We can invite her back, let her taste real food in our homes and wait for her blog update.

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay The way they made the title is generally saying that filipino food is bad… I will go against that, that can go for a big legal battle.

    Lily May Paradero-Joy Street foods are not made to impress tourists in my opinion. It’s for the locals whose stomachs are used to it, sa ato pa, pinobre, it’s affordable…I was used to eating ginamos for more than 25 years and went back to the Philippines after many years and got really sick eating it…Go figure. I want it still;-)

    Ali Bernie Buga-ay The famous Roti in thailand is made and cooked by lands that also receive money and do something else, they never wash. Yet, people of all colours are buying that ont he streets here in Thailand, Malaysia and everywhere…

    Lily May Paradero-Joy But that was her own experience, her opinion and she’s entitled to it. There’s many others who have a totally different experience. My American husband loves Filipino food and was only sick once in the many visits he had to our country. He’s been there more than 10 times and most of them on mission trips so he stayed for about a month on some of those trips. You have to have someone there that knows the good/safe places to eat and you have to have common sense;-)

  • Let me help you shed some light in your dreadful experience in the Philippines. I’m a local.

    1. A traditional Filipino breakast may contain Pan De Sal (bun), rice (staple food), dried fish (we love having it in the morning), tomato, hotdogs, eggs, bacon, longganisa, tocino, etc. We also have it with coffee, tea or fruit juices. What was served for you in Pagudpud was not even close a traditional Filipino breakfast. Your guide must have misunderstood your request and gave you whatever he can grab at that time.

    2. Grilled (burnt) fish is indeed a common dish. If the Japanese can’t wait for their fish to cook, we are the exact opposite. We are okay with burnt food.

    3. The hotdog served to you (which is what I am eating atm) is more likely from 7-11, a convenience store that I believe you guys have too. If you go to convenience stores and ask for Longganisa, people would think you are joking. Why you were served a hotdog by whomever you asked, I have no idea. Everyone here knows the different between the two.

    4. The stomachache you got may have been from street foods. Even the locals would prefer to avoid it if they only have the luxury to do so. But they are general poor so there you go. Our stomaches are used to dirty food (good for survival, come zombie apocalypse, I guess). Dizziness – must be the oily food you ate. Yeah. We get that too. We love oily foods. LOL. Overtired – sadly, our food isn’t as healthy as all the other Asian cuisines. Bloated – Well, this all depends on the type of food you ate. Next time, tell your guide to not serve you “heavy” meals. He’d know what to do.

    5. Sadly, our local markets are indeed dirty and has little to no regard for hygiene. People would normally clean the food they bought from these kinds of markets before cooking them to avoid food contamination. The food isn’t top quality either. Most of the fruit and vegetables were bought cheap from suppliers and isn’t as tasty as one would expect. The good thing about it thought is that they are laughably cheap. That’s why the middle-class tends to avoid local markets altogether and go to the supermarket for their daily needs to get decent food.

    6. I would suggest all foreign travellers to avoid street cafeterias and cheap pantries if you can. Yes, the food is very cheap and a meal can cost less than a dollar but you literally get what you pay for from these cheap restos. The food are prepared as hurriedly and as cheaply as possible because the mark up cannot be too high or else people will flock other establishments with cheaper pricing. If you really want a decent Filipino cuisine, get a Filipno family to adopt you during your stay to get authentic home cooked meals (I have a couple of foreign friends who does this, you get a decent guide, home-cooked meals and way cheaper lodging) or go to decent Filipino Restoraunts. An average meal should cost about $3-10 dollars. If you buy food for anything less than that, you are eating what we call “food for the masses”. 70% of our population is poor. They live within their means. We have a saying “Mura na, madumi pa!”, which translates to “Not only is it cheap, it’s dirty too!”. And yes, I eat street foods too when I am in the mood for a snack in between my daily commute. And I eat at these cafeterias too when my maid can’t cook and I am short on budget for a decent meal.

    7. “We not only started feeling fat (literally), but also suffered from stomachache and diarrhea. I had a massive migraine, mood swings and heartbum caused by spicy and oily pork.” – All the more reason for you to avoid street food (dirty food) anywhere you go.

    8. N”o wonder why, in the north, the vast majority of Filipino kids and young people are overweight. This is something we have noticed straight away. People in young age are huge and it’s due to poor quality of food.” – No, an average Filipino is skinny. Even in the “North”. If America is called the country of excess, we are the exact opposite. Obesity will never be a problem in the Philippines.

    9. You made a very bad decision when you chose your guide. Your experience could have been very different otherwise. He gave you a hotdog instead of a Longganisa. He gave you random fruits instead of a standard Filipino breakfast. He fed you dirty food instead of bringing you to decent Filipino Restaurants. For all we know, he is the one to blame from all your bad experiences here.

    10. The pineapple juice you bought from a street vendor costs about 10 cents. A not-so-good pineapple here costs about a dollar. Not sure how much it is where you live. So expect water, artificial fruit flavored powder and dirty ice on your drink. A real Pineapple juice should cost way more than that. You may even get Hepatitis from the street foods here. Please don’t buy cheap food here. It is for your own good.

    Why am I doing this? Because you barely ate real Filipino food and your title is somewhat…extreme. But then again, it’s your site and it’s your opinion, hehehe! Cheers!

    • Hi Gaki,

      Thank you ever so much for sharing that with us. That is just fantastic. Yes, as you mentioned, it’s our personal blog where we share bad and good experience from our travels. We had a bad experience with local street food in the Philippines, sorry. I’m referring here to the food, its bad quality and lack of variety, not to the people. Don’t take it personal.

      Thank you!

      • you are right, never trust filipino street food. seriously i’m from the philippines 80% wasn’t in a sanitary environment

      • Yeah. What you can see on the streets does not necessarily mirror the culture/food of the Philippines. It is like that because they have to survive. The seller has to sell something cheap to have buyers so he or she can live, the buyer has to buy the cheapest to live. If they have a choice, if they just can, economically, I bet the street foods of the Philippines will be similar at least to Thailand not only in Manila but even to the smallest barrios in the north. If they just have the money they will sell what most Filipinoes would want to eat. True Filipino Food, like the food cooked by their mothers or the recipe handed down by grandmothers. I am a Filipino, I agree with the cleanliness comment. I DONT EAT as well on these type of food stalls because I am scared to get sick. I am just lucky because we have enough money to buy good quality ingredients so my mom can prepare adobo, sinigang, bulalo, etc. Just like how it should be, like how it was before, when most Filipinoes still have enough money.

    • I’m a Filipino and I grew up in Manila. I have to agree that if you want to taste good Filipino food, you have to get yourself invited to a Filipino home for a home-cooked meal. When my parents have foreign visitors or friends/family coming home from abroad, we invite them to our house and we cook for them. If you’re not as lucky, you could try Filipino restaurants in malls; the food there actually are more accurate incarnations of home-cooked Pinoy food compared to street foods or sidewalk eateries. Even I don’t eat at those places because 1) not worth your money if you can actually afford slightly more expensive but still decent food and 2) you could get AGE, typhoid, Hepa A, etc from those places. You’ll be surprised because there are actually a lot of restaurants (some in malls, others stand alone establishments) are not expensive but still serve good food.

  • I’m from fhe Philippines amd sadly, I have to agree with you. Filipino foods are either salty(adobo with salts…soy sauve), oily (fried everything.. And Filipinos love to eat PORK) or sweet (minatamis or “sweetened” everything. Although as stated by the previous commenters, a lot of the food stalls on sidewalks where you bought or looked for meals that you ate were not exactly made to satisfy foreigners. You were on point about haggling. It’s the poor economy that drove all these vendors and pretty much everybody to corruption.

    • Hi Tush,

      At least one person from the Philippines can relate to this post and agree with what we are writing here. THANKS!

      • 1 tip when eating in the Phillipines: Don’t go mainstream, it’s not authentic (quality and standard wise)

      • Hi, I think it’s better to change your title as it generalizes all the Filipino food. Better say “My experience on local street/fast foods in the Philippines”. With your title “Id rather go hungry than eat Filipino foods again”, basically it generalizes the whole country’s cuisine.

      • Hey Agness,

        Looking at the photos of the food you tried in our country, looks like you haven’t gone to our country at all. I believe you already have an idea that the Philippines is an archipelago and trying “Filipino foods” by just staying in one of the islands is not the right way to do it. Every island, every region has its own specialty. You can’t just say that you have tried our local foods because you have been eating in fast foods/carinderia where locals eat. This is not Thailand or Vietnam where you can easily get authentic local foods in the streets. Like what others are saying, knowing where to eat is way different from knowing what to eat.

      • I agree with your post. I am a Filipino from down south and like you I travel a lot around the Philippines. Next time you visit our country, never drink tap water in major cities, they are dirty that’s why there’s a lot of water refilling stations every where. Even locals don’t drink it. I’ve had LBM many times.

        Traditional Filipino foods vary from each region. each region have their own cuisines and methods for cooking. I am from south called Mindanao and I tell you I’m not even familiar with most traditional cuisines in some regions.

  • Click bait posts like this makes my heart jump with laughter. Come on, you are selling your opinions as hard facts when you haven’t even experienced the whole country. And if you pay peanuts by the way you get well– disappointment. And who the hell goes to a convenience store expecting gourmet quality food? I travel too but the last thing i will ever do is to insult a country’s culture just because it doesn’t fit my personal criteria.

    • Our experience is based on 2 weeks we spent in the Philippines. During this time (I know it’s a short period of time), we wanted to experience what most of local people eat in their countries. Eating on food stalls, streets etc is more typical and more show of an embedded culture than going to a posh restaurant! Personally restaurants elaborate dishes that are not always typical or what your everyday person eats. This is our personal experience with local street food.

      • Eating what and how you did would be the equivalent of eating at a soup kitchen or living off solely street food (i.e. hot dog stands) in the US. The locals eat at those places where you ate because their stomachs are accustomed to the local cuisine. All Filipinos do not eat like that – my family doesn’t. Perhaps you should’ve gone to a kamayan or seafood restaurant for a more well-rounded experience. Just a thought – next time, post a better headline, because your headline didn’t actually capture your experience. It’s insulting to most Filipinos who KNOW we have good food. The White House Executive Chef is a Filipina woman – we know our food.

      • Honestly, it’s difficult to get the experience of an average local in the Philippines by eating out, even from street vendors and karinderias, because honestly, it’s a luxury to be able to go somewhere and have someone else cook your food for you. If you spent the entirety of your two weeks just eating from food carts and roadside eateries, you didn’t get an accurate overview of local eating at all. If you wanted to know what the average local eats like, you should have been a gracious guest in the country, met people, shared meals with people in their homes – because that is how people eat.

        Again, for most Filipino families, going out and having someone cook food for them at all is a luxury that they only indulge in once in a while – most of the time, they are at the palengke (marketplace) every day or so, haggling for ingredients (mostly vegetables and fish) that they need to cook for themselves at home.

        So again, you have an accurate perception of what Filipino street food is like, but not what the everyday eating experience of the Filipino is like. Not even close.

      • I agree with you completely, I am FIlipino and here from the Philippines, I hope people are not sending you too many hateful comments. It’s just your opinion and you were not insulting any Filipinos I do not know why some people are so (too) sensitive :(

      • You only went in one place of the Philippines, I guess mostly north or just one place of north luzon and you are generalizing everything. Every place in the Philippines has very distinct way of cooking.

      • If this is how you feel about eating in restaurants, whether they be posh or not, you should probably avoid generalizing the whole cuisine on account of 2 weeks of street food. It is incredibly unfair and haste that you feel comfortable writing these things about a country you don’t seem to understand very well. Filipino food varies, just as most world cuisines, on the socio-economic status of the cook or clientele. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. So before you write in your blog , be sure to contextualize your experience and research on the wider implications of what you eat where you dine.
        Ps- You’d be happy to know that any Filipino family would love to host you (free of charge) and share with you our cuisine. And hey, in this case it will be even cheaper than your anti-restaurant policy.

      • “…we wanted to experience what most of local people eat in their countries. Eating on food stalls, streets etc is more typical and more show of an embedded culture than going to a posh restaurant!”

        Ahahaha… sorry, but that is a very narrow POV. Saying most people eat street food in the Philippines is pretty ignorant. Majority of Filipinos do not eat there, if that was the case, those street stalls would be rich.

        If you wanted to eat what the poor eats. You achieved that… but it’s pretty ignorant to say that you are eating what most Filipinos eat. You did get it right, that Filipinos cook with too much oil, sugar, and carbs.

        You clearly ignored where/what the middle class eats. I’m an avid traveler… and I’ve eaten from Posh restaurants to street vendors in several Asian countries. If you want to be taken seriously as a food blogger, I suggest you TRY harder and provide equal/fair coverage.

      • If you look at the price of the foods you bought it is so cheap it is only for regular Filipino who earned below $1 a day, never try street foods in metro manila, go to some province if you want a safe foods….

      • Hi Agness! Anyway, this post caused some really heated replies on your part and it really takes patience to answer to it. While i do have to commend you on sticking to your rightful opinion here’s why saying that Filipino food did not live up to your expectation is problematic.

        Mostly i replied to you as such because you have not eaten Filipino food!!

        – Our culture is one that keeps strong Family values, Much like how Chinese people order Lauriat style in a buffet meant to be shared, Filipinos will make food in one huge batch meant to be eaten with a lot of people– this is why side stall eateries and hawker stands that are so popular in other parts of South East Asia do not serve the same function here. The average Filipino everyday worker would rather brave a 3 hour commute to have a home cooked meal rather than have a 50 cent poor excuse of a dinner at some random carinderia

        Now it is easy to assume that with a limited market a carinderia would only cater to people who will not be able to get home for a proper meal (truck drivers, cab drivers etc.) It is incredibly unhealthy because its sole purpose to to tide over a hungry person so he can do his job and earn his wage to feed his family. A carinderia owner would have to make it loaded with preservatives (salt, soy sauce, vinegar) so it would keep longer so the owner doesnt end up throwing it away.

        So the Filipino street food you had just functions as a snack most of the time.

        Also, i don’t know why you saw plenty of overweight kids but recent statistics show that malnutrition is prevalent in my country. A lot of people are poor, and the government steals the funding supposedly used for fertilizers and pesticides- on hindsight it would mean that our vegetables and fruits are organic. Yes bananas are supposed to be spotty and Nectarines are sour, yet the immaculately spotless fruits i buy in Costco is all thanks to Monsanto (which isnt bad, it means high yield production which fuels the economy of Banana Republics such as Costa Rica or Mexico)

        I am not making excuses for the problems of my country but as a Traveler, i am not in a position to derisively call out an ENTIRE CUISINE along with the COUNTRY and UNIQUE CULTURE that goes along with it. I know that if i am privileged enough to travel then i could afford the extra money that goes to the local people so i could have a decent meal. Because that’s how a tourism driven economy works- by people who pay the locals for goods and services.

        Everyone’s been ripped off at one point or another, but do we b*tch about it. No, i don’t because i believe that the third world countries like mine cannot afford the quality education that allows me to see the wider picture.

        I never comment on posts like this. In fact if you caught me during exam season i wouldn’t even give a flying f*ck but your post has been viral and so many are sharing and my country has a horrendous rep already, i just don’t think that “Horrible Food” is one of its many many many problems.

        Ciao!

      • “Eating on food stalls, streets etc is more typical and more show of an embedded culture than going to a posh restaurant!”

        The one mistake that you have made is that you think that everyone in the world eats out. Eating in food stalls is NOT A TYPICAL FILIPINO THING TO DO.

        A typical Filipino normally eats home cook meals at home. We take time to get ingredients ready and cook from scratch. We rarely eat out on a regular basis. Most “locals” will only eat in the places that you ate if they have no where else to eat if they are out and really hungry. But most of the time, we cook our own meals and eat at home. As Filipinos are a family-oriented nation, meal time are always spent at the dinner table sharing a meal and family and friends.

        Although, yes. Most Filipino foods are salty as compared to other nations which to us Filipinos would taste too bland. We do try to bring out the flavour of our meals that foreigners like you would think it too strong a taste.

        You don’t have to eat an an expensive restaurant to get the Filipino dining experience. Get a Filipino family to adopt you for a week or two and experience REAL FILIPINO food cooked by a typical Filipino.

      • Next time you visit the Philippines please feel free to contact me at (+63)9228630322 or (+63) 9354451020. I will be your tour guide and I will show you and cook for you and experience the true Filipino Foods that your are looking for. I currently live in Angeles City – “the culinary capital of the Philippines” but I grew up in Northern Luzon.

        I hate reading your blog because you are discriminating and judging our Filipino Food culture easily. Remember, the Philippines is a 7,100+ islands and 2 weeks is not enough to understand and taste all the Filipino cuisines. I lived in the Philippines for 30 years already and I still didn’t experience all the food in Visayas and Mindanao. Now compare it to your 2 weeks stay and why we are reacting to your blog.

      • Next time, make a post if you are to go to the Philippines. I’m sure a lot of Filipinos would be willing to give you info on which places you can eat ‘local style.’ What you ate are ‘budget foods’ or turo-turo – Unhealthy, under-prepared, and sometimes unsanitary. The people who eat them are either on a budget or are too busy to wait for the legit, Filipino home-cooked meals.

      • I’m a local and don’t eat the food you featured, nor do I frequent sidewalk vendors unless there’s absolutely nothing else available. The places you went to and the food you tried are not accurate representations of Filipino Food. Before you go hungry, allow me to invite you to try proper Filipino food.

        I also think you’re really pretty Agness. I’d like to rock your culinary world with Filipino food. I shall woo you like a proper Filipino gentleman, with flowers and my driver playing guitar in the background while I sing.

        Allow me to host you and correct the impression you have.

      • your pictures of sample Filipino foods is dirty,cheap and gross… even I, a typical Filipina will not dare touch it, moreso feed it to my kids. As a travel/food blogger you sure don’t know how to do your assignment well. Also, we’re not like other asians who typically eat dirty street foods. Home cooked meal and decent restaurant food is what a TYPICAL FILIPINO EAT EVERYDAY.

      • Hi! First of all, I’m sorry that you had a bad experience eating Filipino food in the Philippines, BUT, it was of your own fault. I grew up in Manila, and YET, I have never eaten in those places where I think you ate. Looking at the pictures of food you posted, I’m thinking you ate at really poor carinderias and turo-turo where food is cooked the cheapest way possible with little care about sanitation. They looked gross and disgusting, and not like the Filipino food I grew up with and love to eat. Even I would get sick if I eat those food. Even the benignit, pansit bihon, and lomi you liked and recommended, looking at the pictures, I won’t even try tasting them, even though I love all those food and are one of my favorites. You didn’t have to eat at expensive and elaborate or posh restaurants… there are a lot of decent Filipino restaurants that are affordable, and yet delicious and clean. The places where you ate does not measure up to the quality and taste of an authentic Filipino food… the food you ate are “watered down” food and is not what you would typically taste and eat in Filipino homes. I dunno where you stayed in Pagudpod, and where you ordered that traditional filipino breakfast, but let me tell you, our traditional filipino breakfast would usually consist of fried rice or steamed rice, eggs (scrambled or sunny side up), longganisa, tocino, or tapa, or daing, tuyo, or any fried fish, with sliced tomatoes, and coffee or juice, and slice of fruit that is in season like pineapple, mango, etcetera…. alternate traditional filipino breakfast would be chocolate porridge, hot pan de sal (bread), eggs, hot dogs or corned beef, fresh goat cheese, coffee, and milk. Those are the traditional filipino breakfast I grew up with. I hope that you give it a try again and next time if ever you do, please try to spend more money and do research on where you can eat good and clean filipino food.

  • hi agnes,i think u went to the budgeted places. the food u ate are for the local filipinos who can only afford for the budgeted prices.tourist may also try but it has no assurance of the cleanliness and the quality of the food.if u really want to taste the real filipino food u shouldve googled the food first.ive been to pagudpod also and i really enjoyed their food there but it cost quite expensive.try going to manila and try their best restaurants there.ur research wasnt good enough.as a traveller,u must research the best food to order and the best place/restaurant to go.u must give it another shot with a good guide.

    • We ate where locals usually eat. That’s how we experience local cuisine. Of course we could have gone to fancy and expensive restaurants, but that’s not the point.

      • Just a tip. If you wanna experience real Filipino food, you must not eat on the streets nor in fast food restaurants. There are a lot of decent restaurant serving same as a home-cooked bill in a Filipino house’. So if I were you…you should’ve not only tried the food on the streets. Street foods in the Philippine aren’t impressive. Unhealthy just like any other street foods found from other countries such as Thailand. And please don’t utter “FILIPINO FOODS” if you haven’t tried eating in a Filipino house yet. The food that you experienced on the street were all considered fast foods. They are not cooked traditionally…though they’re eaten by the locals. Not all locals..just a percent! We usually cook our food in our houses. So if you want to discover clean, and awesome Filipino food..visit a Filipino house or just a decent Filipino restaurant. Not food on the streets…I’m but a poor Filipino. But I don’t eat on the streets, I may get real sick same as you’ve experienced.

      • you don’t need to go to fancy restaurants, in the mall will do. Side walk eating you wont be up for it,specially if you are used to sandwiches and salads.

      • I have lived in the Philippines my whole life and I have to say I’m not a huge fan of Filipino food, however it really helps to know where to eat. You probably went to places where the locals ate which I think is great (all part of the cultural experience), but you have to know that the locals have been eating there for years so their stomachs are accustomed to these foods, and the Philippines has a looot of poverty (which I’m sure you saw) and so the quality of food, even just fruits or vegetables are definitely lower quality than what you would find in Europe or even other parts of Asia (probably why they are also usually cheaper). But if you ever come back there are more (and I believe better) places to eat! Each area has it’s own places where locals eat. A lot of locals still go to malls to eat every now and then but the “real” Filipino cuisine I believe, is in the home. Most moms I know can cook an amazing Adobo. Anyway best of luck to you on your future travels! I hope you still enjoyed your stay even though you did not enjoy the food!

      • FYI, some of the places you went to get grub were called “Karinderias”, locals don’t usually eat there to satisfy their own cravings. In fact, only students and the working class eat there to fill up their bellies to give them energy for work,that’s why it is cheap. As for the places that locals eat went to eat to stimulate their taste buds, they eat HOME COOKED MEALS IN THEIR ON HOMES, Exotic food in “Real” Street food stalls and Gourmet Filipino Cuisine in Restaurants not in Karinderias which was meant to fill up working class filipinos’ bellies. So don’t expect to experience Filipino cuisine when eating in those kinds of places. Sad to say, you never really experienced True Filipino Cuisine.

      • In the Philippines, locals do NOT usually eat on SIDEWALKS. They eat at HOME. Or bring to work food from their houses. Sidewalk food in the Philippines is sloppily made fast food and does not do justice to real Filipino food – what we call lutong bahay (home-cooked meals).

        So if you wanted genuine Filipino food, you should have eaten in the house of one of your Filipino friends. Or you should have gone to a restaurant that serves Filipino food. I am Filipino and I can tell you I have NEVER tried sidewalk food. I usually eat at home, or in restaurants. If you wanted the place “where locals usually eat,” you chose the wrong venues – and therefore got the wrong impressions.

        Not your fault, though. Next time, eat at a middle-class Filipino home or eat at one of our restaurants. That’s Filipino =)

      • This is not a hate comment but just a piece of my mind and some suggestions if I may.

        First of all the title of your blog post “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!” is really offensive. I know it is your right and opinion but I thought since you love travelling, you are more openminded than some other people that were not exposed to other cultures aside from the one that you are familiar with.

        Based on your pictures, you are eating on sidewalks which is called turo-turo/carenderia. You also said that it is where MOST LOCALS dine. I know sidewalk vendors are all over the place and people eat in there BUT there are so many people in the Philippines and the “LOCALS” that you saw eating there are most likely the ones that are really poor and can’t afford to eat somewhere decent. I don’t have anything against people who can’t afford because they should eat and do whatever they need to do even if it means eating unsafe street food. By the look of the table an AVERAGE Filipino won’t eat in there coz it is very dirty so I was surprised since you can afford 25bucks a day of food why will you eat where it cost a buck or less for a whole meal? With the things you showed it’s like you were allowing yourself not more than 10 bucks a day. Anywhere you go, you get what you pay for.

        You might have seen lot of locals eat in dirty places like that but that is just a small portion of our people. If you want real food like lechon the only way to have it good is to pay at least 200USD for a small one. Nobody goes to 7-Eleven to ask for longganisa. Longanisa is bought is a reputable local dealer or the ones from Pampangga and then you home cook it. If you want half decent food your 25 dollars will be enough. With the things I’ve seen in the photos it is no more 10 bucks a day. It is nice to know someone local so you could eat the AUTHENTIC FILIPINO FOOD, HOME COOKED. RESTAURANTS COOK IT TOO BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE THAN THE COST YOU PAID ON STREET FOOD. The street food version is a far cry from the real one.

        Usually if you go to Pagudpud or Palawan the breakfast you will get for a cheap resort or resto is really like that. You pay cheap you get cheap.

        I know you had a bad experience and got sick and I feel sorry for you but at least do not generalize Filipino food because what you ate is not even close. Adobo does not have a broth like that in the picture. I’ve been to Banaue and they dont have a lot of choices because they are on top of the mountain. If you got bad experience with street food and turo-turo food(based on your pictures) then that should be emphasized, too bad you title says otherwise.

        There is a lot of decent places to eat in Manila and I myself never tried a turo-turo before because we were taught that is it dirty, our parents forbid us to eat there and most parents I know forbid their kids too. Next time do not go to the poor areas. Go to Makati, Restaurants/Hotels in Roxas Boulevard, Market-Market, Mall of Asia and Bonifacio Global City. Try to go to some Floating Restaurants and I am sure you won’t be disappointed. A very good meal in a floating restaurant is minimum 50 bucks good for two person. Now that is authentic because authentic and fresh costs more than the streetfood.

        I hope you will give it a chance again and next time, home cooked meal is good thing to try and a lot of AUTHENTIC FILIPINO RESTAURANTS ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE. Even Filipinos avoid eating street food but there is a lot of poor people and that is the only thing they can afford.

      • I cook dishes based on recipe from different country, unless you are adventurous when it comes to food if unfamiliar you should not go for street foods unless you are accompanied by locals. But one thing I can tell you , those people eating street food in the Philippines that seem very disgusting to you in one way or another have strong immune system.

      • Yup. You’re right about that. But there’s so many levels of street foods or cheap restaurants that even many locals would avoid. I’m guessing you went to those judging by the photos you posted. The 7-11 food. Really? I went to Burma and got sick the first day I ate local food. But I attributed that to my stomach which lost its natural hardiness after being used to more hygeanically prepared food and water. Remember, when you travel, don’t drink the water. Drink beer. You got sick and I laugh at your pain.

        And to @ZhaGaga…..Filipino foods are fatty/oily and full of carbs for one reason…..it’s supposed to last you a whole day of hard labor. It’s salty because salt is mostly used to preserve fish or beef by making jerky out of them. Our use of soy and fish sauce is no different from the rest of east Asia. Now that everybody is a city dweller and doesn’t have to walk 2 kilometers to chat with his/her neighbor, lessen your intake or excercise to compensate. Jeez you all could be so simple.

      • Daily local cuisine is based on the FIlipino’s capacity to buy food. You should have to know how much locals earn their living for them to choose rubbish food. But if you are lucky, try visiting their local country fiestas. They serve their good food on those occasions, and i mean real food. And regarding your breakfast in Pagudpud, apples and oranges are imported from China, they dont grow here. Bananas vary from small (señorita) to big (sabá) varieties, what you got on the picture is the kind that most can afford because its cheap, and yes it gets dark-black because its sensitive and can get easily oxidized. good bananas are sold in airconditioned markets and are usually exported to your country but they are not as organic as the variety you got in Pagudpud. The Longganisa on the picture is NOT longganisa at all! that’s hotdog from 7-11! disappointingly, your research on the food seems insufficient. youve been to the north down to the Visayas region, you should have known that there varieties of longganisa too and tried them at least. Every food here in the Philippine has varieties even the most esteemed Adobo. It differs from one mother who cooks it to another. I am a Filipino and I must tell you, Filipino food is meant to be tried at home not on restaurants, expensive or otherwise.

      • There are a lot of better places to eat in even if it’s not in a fancy restaurant. You could have gone to dampa or Binondo. It would be cheap but good.

      • Most of the real food that is really experienced are in homes. Most of these are made with love. Longganisa is a specialty and not sold in convenience stores. You were in Manila as well so your authenticity factor for your buck fails. You do know that you went into a country that is experiencing poverty. If you really want real food, buy the ingredients and then have someone cook it for you. In that case, they would not skimp on the ingredients. It is also disappointing to know that you only tried without asking, for example, chefs in the Philippines. They know the cheap food places where they get their inspiration from.

        Your research was only based on a few choices and places and notwithstanding your poor judge of character. It’s sad that you were not able to try turon, 10 kinds of adobo, sinigang, and the works.
        I hope you get to see and experience Filipinos and not just their food. The real tastes are in families and smiles.

      • I’m a Filipino hailed from Manila, and yet, when I lived in the Philippines, I never ate @ the local carinderias where you ate. I know that you are trying to experience eating local cuisine and probably thought that the best way was to eat where the locals go. The thing is, where the locals go, the food is usually not sanitary and definitely not good. To tell you the truth, Filipino cuisine is really good if it’s cooked the traditional way and all the ingredients are present. These carinderias where you ate would not cook food that way because it would be too expensive, so therefore they will not earn much. If you really wanted to eat and experience the real taste of Filipino cuisine then you shouldn’t have eaten on those cheap carinderias. You wouldn’t have to suffer with stomachache and diarrhea. I was shaking my head while looking at the pictures that you posted. That adobo looks disgusting swimming in watery sauce… in fact all the pictures of the food you posted look disgusting even the binignit, pansit bihon, and lomi that you liked and recommended. I love all those food mind you, but I won’t eat them if I see them cooked like those in your pictures. Next time you go to the Philippines, don’t eat in the carinderias, please. Also, try to spend more money (which still would be cheap no matter what) and go to nicer places which I know exist in the Philippines. I have a lot of foreigner friends that enjoyed their stay in the Philippines and were raving about the food they ate, but that’s because they probably didn’t go to the places where you went to. Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Hope that you give it a try again.

      • I can totally understand what you’re talking about in this blog. I was initially somewhat offended (being Filipino-American), but then realized, “Wait a minute… They went to the wrong places!” You can still get some REALLY good Filipino food (without going to a fancy restaurant) IF you know WHERE to go rather than what to eat.

        I’m no longer offended by this blog, mind you… NEXT time you come to the Philippines, find some of us here who have commented. We’ll ALL bring you to the RIGHT placeS! You won’t need to break the bank either!

      • Hi Agness!

        I just want to point out that you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to experience quality and authentic Filipino food. In every town/city, there will always be that one place/restaurant known for their *insert Filipino dish here* – you just have to know who to ask. You could have asked the hotel manager (if you were staying in a hotel) or any person of authority, because they would have pointed you to the right places, unlike people whom you just met on the street.

        Also, I wish you learned more about our country before you went here and judged our food. I’m not mad or anything, but you should know that most of the people here aren’t privileged, and they do what they can to make ends meet. Those who sell food sometimes level down price and quality for quantity, so that those who buy their food can afford to eat more.

        It’s a different story when it’s us cooking the food that we eat. I just wish that you tried a homecooked meal, because home’s the place where you can really try the richness of Filipino cuisine.

        I hope that if you do come back to visit the Philippines, keep in mind the suggestions given here. :)

      • I know you love the adventure but no side walk eating you could get really sick, its not hygienic and the standard is very poor. Look after yourself while you are way. greasy salty food Filipinos don’t mind that, that’s why a lot lot of the Filipinos die at a very young age.

      • I am a Filipino, I love Filipino food! But when my European friend came to visit for a month, everything have changed. He didnt like Filipino food at all, even when we go to expensive restaurants, he just orders salads or pastas. He explains every details of why he was not eating what im eating, from burnt parts to greasiness, i realized it was gross. I still love Filipino food, its what i eat everyday, it is what my mom cooks. But i began to be very meticulous on how it was made, if it was too salty or oily etc. Well, Filipino foods are supposed to be that way, but i began to go to the groceries to buy sodiumless salts, organic etc. Yes they cost a little bit more and u can only buy them in groceries, where not the ordinary local filipino buy there food. It is sad that the rich history and the quality of Filipino food is gone because of the money before quality mindset. Poverty, corruption at its best. Welcome to my country, but whatever crazy shit is in here, i still say, Pilipinas kong Mahal.

      • Every country has its own Traditional/Authentic food to offer… you grew up with donuts, burgers and pizza, they grew up with pasta, some with sushi etc… and I grew up with Adobo, lechon, Inasal/inihaw, balut… I agree street food is bad due to their poor preparation… Not Healthy? yes! Yummy? for us is a BIG YES because WE (Pinoys) Grew UP with that kind of food.. and guess what.. We have healthy or more presentable version of that, all you need is to know the right place…. did you have a filipino companion? or you do it yourself? and oh the local sausage your talking? you cannot buy it on 7’11 store.. Both Public and Supermarket offers LONGANISA but not 7’11… In short YOUR “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!” started with the wrong place to do it… I’m not mad with your comments about our food I’m actually feel sorry that you didn’t experienced the real authentic pinoy food.

      • since u r speaking ur mind might as well speak mine too, i think u love china and chinese food, tell u what i been i china several times an i tried thier local family home food ( junan, guangzhou, shenzhen zhuhai have u ever in this place? or maybe only in beijing?)and guess what is disgusting in any way, oily. greasy. fatty. what ever the word but that is only 1part of china on the other side i got exactly what i want, what im trying to say is we dont try to generalize until we experience most of it so sad that now u have a bad impression to my belove filipino dish and base on the pictures those are not even a public market coz u know what if u go to a market a real1 u will find what ur looking for and u wont be disappointed. people eat not only filipino as they want the way they want u want to eat rubbish u get rubbish. next time be careful with ur words i believe r not professional enough to give such comments.

      • Hey Laura,
        I guess the main problem here is not the food but the places you went to. It may seen hard to believe but Filipino cuisine is actually one of the best cuisines becuase of it’s diversity and flavors. As I have read, you went to Ilocos right? Ilocos actually offers very good longganisas and a dipping sauce made of vinegar which is authentic and known world wide. I have no idea why you went to 711 and ordered longganisa though. you can never ger authentic home made food from that store. That is a convenience store in which you also have back there. And if you are up to authentic filipino food, you should definitely go to filipino restaurants which we have a lot. And believe it or not they are as affordable as the karinderyas you went to. You really can’t count hawkers, karinderya and 711 as a place that offers authentic filipino cuisine. They offer alternative food for those who are on a budget and can’t afford to cook or go to a restaurant. I just think that it is very early for you to judge FILIPINO CUISINE in general when you have only visited a few places. I also think that when you travel, you should not rely on the locals too much. They have different opinions on which is delicious or not. As you can see, we are extremely challenged by the economy, that is the main reason why othwr locals prefer karinderyas or side street food carts since they are on a budget and they couldnt afford to eat in an authentic filipino restaurant.

        Just wanna say that I’m not hatin. And I hope that you still visit our country next time. I guess what Filipinos our angry about is the audacity to tell that you’d rather go hungry than eat our food. It’s a bit insensitive knowing that there are a lot of people/children here that are dying because of hunger and poverty. So I hope you understand why Filipinos are reacting badly about your blog.

        Just a piece of advice, research. Before you travel, do some researh on restaurants and food. That will definitely help you find what you are looking for. It’s better be wise than be sorry.

      • unfortunate of your adventure. we experience that everyday. just like what jei milan said. knowing where to eat is another thing. most straight out street vendors are gross, cheap, souped-down quality pinoy dishes. more than 95% is not sanitary and the type of customers patronize them are the lower class pinoys who can’t afford more than $2 to eat in a day. so expect that how it was cooked, they will not even like. but they have to eat.

      • You are judging other culture’s food basing on your poor research and choices in your stay. Generalizing it is seems to be exaggerated and maybe in a way, uneducated and uncultured.

        You should do your research more so not to offend some people in your next country of visit.

        $25/a day in the Philippines can go a long way. Very long way, in fact, minimum daily wage here is just about $6-7 dollar and can support a family.

        Living at $25/day is already for the very privilege. If you have done your research more, I may not have fault you for your poor judgment. Maybe a result of the food you just ate today.

      • Hello. You seem to be a smart girl. But your title is just way off i am filipina and i have to say it was mean of you to say that. You just went to the wrong places but that’s no reason for you to call this article like so. change it.

      • As many had responded to your blog, the next time you visit any country, make sure you have a local who can guide you…

        You never experience the real Filipino food at all…

        You are in Ilocos, and you ask for a “longganiza” on a convenient store? That’s not where do you think you will find the authentic longganiza after all…

        We mean authentic Filipino cuisine cannot be found and serve on the street alone, you can have a taste of it when you ask around.

        What you get on the sidewalk or any nook and corner here in the Philippines doesn’t resemble nor in anyway represented the real authentic dishes that we Filipinos love to.

        They are quick dishes intended for students, workers from nearby as stated by one response here.

        I can’t blame you for trying what you say “where the common people eat” mentality, you really get the price of what you really pay and asked for in return.

      • Unfortunately, you really went to all the wrong places and were served all the wrong dishes. Locals would not consider what you had “Filipino” food. I recognize that as street food from provincial locations, basically whatever was cheap and handy.

      • Hi, I understand our country has a lot of imperfections. I didn’t react on your previous blog post about your trip because I think it is (in a way) true. But this post is just stupid. I am a Filipino who lives in Thailand. I can say personally, that Filipino food is not as exciting or as exotic as the food in other countries. If it was, it would have been as famous as Thai or Japanese food. Do the world a favor by not leave your comfort zones. Please stop insulting our culture and our people. Thank you

    • Maybe she was eating in the side walks to save money, off course the food will be terrible and will not be up to standard. you have to be in a restaurant or in the mall to get proper food. Filipinos don’t mind greasy food its not that they like it but and lot in the population are not really into weight watching because people are very active anyway. Fatty, greasy foods goes to all Asian food. Europeans wont be used to greasy food that’s not their thing at all or a lot of the food from the sea.

      • Hi Jhun. I have been living in the Philippines for now 5 years. I don’t believe that “proper” food if found in malls. Reality is, filipino food is oily, salty and sweet, whether you get your food from gated malls or from the street. I don’t think Agness was not trying to save money, she just wanted to experience street food, the same thing you would do in Thailand, Malaysia, Laos… (which by the way tastes wonderful and is really cheap too).
        Another point: poor or not doesn’t justify an overweight population. With all the local fruits and vegetables you grow in the Philippines, everyone could possibly eat healthy (and those are really cheap if you buy them from local markets).

    • You had the most helpful comment :) Good move. Reactive comments for these kinds of blogs are just internet clutter.

  • This blogger is a truly speaking out of her arse..How many islands out more than 7 thousands have you been to? Come to my hometown in philippines then i will let you taste our delicious foods but don’t worry free of charge! cause obviosly you r in tight budget and stingy.,If you dont like our foods so be it..we don’t care we also dont like your foods.That’s the way we are! ,our likes,tastes,food that is connected to our culture .We don’t need to change just to please a narrow minded tourist like you! I DON’T CARE IF YOU WOULD RATHER GO HUNGRY and DIE!!!!!

  • As a big foodie, it’s always disappointing for me to learn that a place’s cuisine isn’t the best. I’ve still yet to travel to the Philippines, but to be honest, having seen a few dishes on travel shows like Bourdain, I was already skeptical about how much I’d like the food there. What’s more sad is that you felt the markets weren’t selling tasty, fresh food, as usually that’s the failsafe option in Asia.

    • I agree, Julia. We are big foodies and food plays a major role here. This time it was a big disappointment, but right after the Philippines we headed to Singapore where we ate like crazy and the food was just heaven!

  • Backpackers usually eats the cheapest food along the street, foods along the streets are for those who’ve got low budget. And if you’ve got low budget don’t expect. Haha

    • Yes, we are budget travelers. We have $25 budget limit we strictly follow (believe me or not) and we simply can’t afford to dine out in good restaurants. We always stick to street food. It’s authentic and cheap to us. Of course we could have gone to the best restaurants in Cebu or Manila where all the best food was served, but that’s not the tramp style. That’s not how we do it.

  • I would summarize almost all your comments, except a few, in a single word: “ZEITGEIST”, which means, The Spirit of the Time or to be more explicit, “NONE OF YOU HAVE BACKBONE!”.

    It sounds like New York City, where if a driver simply decides to blow the horn just for fun, for no apparent reason at all, then everybody on the same avenue and adjacent streets start to honk with no idea why they’re doing it, just because they heard someone else and eventually the honking spreads all over the 12 avenues and over 125 streets in Manhattan alone.

    Come on people, get a life! 1st of all, don’t start criticizing and complaining just because someone else started doing that, and…2nd, “don’t do to to others what you don’t like to be done unto you”, because this world is relative and imperfect and someone will surely find faults and reasons to criticize and complain about the food and probably about many other things in your respective countries.

    I tell you what…I’m an european and I live in one of the most developed countries in the world – somewhere in the North of Europe – but by far I lived in 10 countries and I traveled to another 24, all these on 4 continents, and I didn’t like many things, including food in many of those countries, be it either third world, developing or developed country, but I moved on without complaining or criticizing and it never crossed my mind to make a blog and spread misery and criticism.

    But, well…”some eat to live and some live to eat”, and the latter are surely missing the fun and the beautiful part of life…
    …and Benjamin Franklin is a bit tougher on this issue by saying – “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

  • HEllo! It is such a pity that you had a bad experience with local Filipino food. I am from the southern part of the Philippines and I lived in Cebu for 5 years. I do agree that Cebu’s local food in a local restaurants are not so good. The first time I had tried eating in a Karendirya I was really complaining how different the taste of their food than to what I am used too. I too hate oily food so when I cook i make sure it will just be enough. But there are really good restaurants in some specific locations specially to popular restaurants in CEbu City. I understand that you are now skeptical to try Filipino food again, but if in case you wanted to give it a second chance make sure to research where to find the best local FILipino food in the area. I am living outside the country now and I am looking forward to bring my boy friend to Philippines and let him taste more Filipino dishes. He loves FIlipino dishes that I cooked. ;)

    • Thank you sweetie. This is what we do here – write the truth! :) As Mike said, travelling is not only about rainbows, unicorns and puppies :)!

  • Oh no that’s a shame. From what I know of Filipino food it doesn’t hold any appeal for me (likewise I don’t really like Pacific Island cuisine). And how frustrating that you couldn’t find traditional food as visitors, either.

    A similarly disappointing food destination for me was Cambodia – just didn’t really click with the dishes there.

    • You didn’t like Khmer cuisine? Me, just the opposite! :) I lived there for a few months and I fell in love with the way locals cook!

  • What a shame you didn’t enjoy your culinary experience in the Philippines. Do you think the fact that they experienced Haiyan (Yolanda) which left so much devastation last November might have made any difference, especially with their fruit?

    • Oh I see. That might be a reason. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it there anytime soon, but I’ll try my best!

  • well, with the traditional stuff you have asked the locals, you may have been misunderstood.. maybe they thought you were asking for example traditional breakfast from your country..
    most of us were a little bit deaf, as we listen most of the time to rock music played loud..
    I am pretty deaf myself, has to ask what almost all the time..
    traditional breakfast is: tapsilog – can be found in Taal, Batangas.
    the famous ones are bulalo also from batangas.
    pinakbet, and lechon are also best in batangas in my opinion…
    you see, in the philippines, foods were almost alike in all parts but the copies were different from which they originated from.. like you can probably eat longganisa in pampanga and also have it in batangas,, they would taste different.. unlike in thailand which the taste is consistent, but the philippines is divided on the times when most parts where colonized having been influenced on different ways…
    and even the way people cook.. it’s different when we cook it at home and when people sell it in markets,.. in the philippines when you have to earn money or have more profit, you have cut down the cost, you have to be thrift.. you want to eat real traditional filipino food.. go to where there’s a fiesta or festival celebration.. doesn’t matter if you’re invited or not if it’s a feast of st. this or that.. food in every house that is open is for free..
    and most of the time food is good.. delicious.. because it is for consuming and not for selling….
    i know you wouldn’t understand but when you’re selling in the Philippines and you make profit sometimes, the quality is not that good.. and if you want to try good food, go to expensive restaurants, most locals who wants to taste good food doesn’t go to the street.. research first please.. street food here in Thailand is good though even in a very cheap place you can eat good food, not the same in Philippines, because ingredients there are a lot more expensive..

  • I would summarize almost all your comments, except a few, in a single word: “ZEITGEIST”, which means, The Spirit of the Time or to be more explicit, “NONE OF YOU HAVE BACKBONE!”.

    It sounds like New York City, where if a driver simply decides to blow the horn just for fun, for no apparent reason at all, then everybody on the same block start to honk with no idea why they’re doing it, just because they heard someone else next to them and eventually the honking spreads all over the 12 avenues and over 125 streets in Manhattan alone.

    Come on people, get a life! 1st of all, don’t start criticizing and complaining just because someone else starts doing that, and…2nd, “don’t do to to others what you don’t like to be done unto you”, because this world is relative and imperfect and someone will surely find faults, mistakes and reasons to criticize and complain about the food and probably about many other things in your respective countries.

    I tell you what…I’m an european myself and I live in one of the most developed countries in the world – somewhere in the North of Europe – but by far I lived in 10 more countries and I traveled to another 24, all these on 4 continents, and I didn’t like many things, including food in many of those countries, be it either third world, developing or developed country, but I moved on without complaining or criticizing and it never crossed my mind to make a blog and spread misery and criticism, and trust me, I never got hungry.

    But, well…”some eat to live while others live to eat”, and the latter are surely missing the fun and the beautiful part of life…
    …and Benjamin Franklin is a bit tougher on the issue by saying – “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

  • Wow, I was as fascinated reading your post as I have been reading all of these comments. What I appreciate, look for and want in a blogger (travel or otherwise) first and foremost is candor and honesty. If all I hear is that their experience was rainbows, unicorns and puppies every time then I become a bit suspect. This was YOUR experience. Only YOU walked in your shoes during that cuisine journey. I read some comments here that “you need to be invited into someone’s home for authentic Filipino food…”. I went to four different websites that did not state “to taste authentic food you must be invited into someone’s home…” Two of them raved about the street food. For those who wish to hastily and defensively lash out at the writer’s opinion as being rude should as quickly take a look in the mirror at their own ill-mannered accusations. Terrific post Agness from eTramping! :)

    • I would summarize almost all your comments, except a few, in a single word: “ZEITGEIST”, which means, The Spirit of the Time or to be more explicit, “NONE OF YOU HAVE BACKBONE!”.

      It sounds like New York City, where if a driver simply decides to blow the horn just for fun, for no apparent reason at all, then everybody on the same block start to honk with no idea why they’re doing it, just because they heard someone else next to them and eventually the honking spreads all over the 12 avenues and over 125 streets in Manhattan alone.

      Come on people, get a life! 1st of all, don’t start criticizing and complaining just because someone else starts doing that, and…2nd, “don’t do to to others what you don’t like to be done unto you”, because this world is relative and imperfect and someone will surely find faults, mistakes and reasons to criticize and complain about the food and probably about many other things in your respective countries.

      I tell you what…I’m an european myself and I live in one of the most developed countries in the world – somewhere in the North of Europe – but by far I lived in 10 more countries and I traveled to another 24, all these on 4 continents, and I didn’t like many things, including food in many of those countries, be it either third world, developing or developed country, but I moved on without complaining or criticizing and it never crossed my mind to make a blog and spread misery and criticism, and trust me, I never got hungry.

      But, well…”some eat to live while others live to eat”, and the latter are surely missing the fun and the beautiful part of life…
      …and Benjamin Franklin is a bit tougher on the issue by saying – “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

    • Exactly Mike! Thanks for your support. It has nothing to do with people. It’s all about the food – its poor quality and lack of variety. I was sick, hungry and suffered from a stomachache. I’m being honest here. It’s my personal blog where I am trying to share my personal experience and I’m not gonna lie here to make everyone happy. xx

  • you were with the wrong tourist guides or no guide at all imo.

    if you wanted to taste almost all filipino dishes at your own comfort you should have stayed around Makati there are lots of hotels there, then go to Glorietta mall also located in makati, there are some restaurants or buffet inside the mall that serves almost all filipino dishes like what you were looking for one of them if i remember correctly is Max’s, Dad’s and Saisaki. There is Cabalen but i don’t recommend that one, i hate the food there almost everything were way too salty.

    you wont find them on the streets for sure it’s either in hotels, restaurants inside the malls, high class beach resort restaurants or have someone cook them for you privately

  • oh and by the way, i live in manila and i don’t trust street foods at all, lol. unless i know the vendor/cook personally and lives in my neighborhood or a relative.

  • Did you order your longanisa from 7/11 cause that hotdog sandwich is from 7/11. The green and red sachet is the dressing and ketchup that comes with the hotdog.

  • Hi Agnes,

    I couldn’t agree more, yes food sucks especially those commercially sold along the streets which validates your honest observation. I am a Filipino, the best Philippine food is not in the open market. The best Filipino cuisine has become rare as time goes by, it became a cuisine hunting game. It is only served if you are a guest to a home. The best Filipino food comes out by request, your host will find a way to find what you like. even local know this practice, food hunting.

    i agree when you said, you better go hungry than eat Filipino food. Now the Hunger Games begins for you, come back, and truly search the rare true Filipino food. Hint 1: be a home guest Hint 2: Start up north, going down south of the Philippines find the variety of specialty by from 76 provinces, each have their own rare delicacies.

    Please do try again to get the most of the now rare true Filipino cuisine.
    i want to see another blog about the Filipino food on the second taste.

    best regards, cheers

  • good read. all those pictures look really shitty. but what really makes no sense to me is the fact that you ate street food. they are like prison food outside of prison. next time try to eat some place nice. geesh

    • Hi,

      Thank you for stopping by. I wanted to experience what most of local people eat in their countries. Eating on food stalls, streets etc is more typical and more show of an embedded culture than going to a Restaurant! There is nothing better than experiencing a country through its local cuisine. By local I mean visiting and dining out in small restaurants, buying food in local stores, markets and at food stands. I have visited many Asian countries and they way I eat is always the same. I loved my Thai cuisine experience and culinary journey across Cambodia or Vietnam. Unfortunately, the Philippines cuisine has let me down…

  • i am a local, but just like you, i do not eat filipino food – for entirely different reasons. i guess i am just not used to the taste.

    as for your experience, i guess you really should not “eat what the locals eat” … the Philippines is a 3rd world country. you should expect majority of the population to eat street food or badly prepared food – stuff middle class people do their best to avoid.

    your title was a bit extreme, but i enjoyed reading it. i have never experience what you experienced, from the terrible breakfast to having to eat only burnt fish and rice for lunch (i have been served better stuff on a hiking trip). truth be told, i would rather go hungry that eat what you ate too! ok, i am kidding … i would rather eat at mcdonald’s that eat what you ate.

  • I always love a good,honest post – just like this one. I think you are entitled to write any feelings you had during the trip and if you don’t like something then it’s fine, it was what it was. And reading your experiences from this blog, you are one of the few travelers that really try to eat like a local and blend in with them. Good food doesn’t necessarily have to come from posh, expensive restaurants, most of the time I find street food delicious too!

    So sorry you had to go through with it Agness, I totally understand! There were times when I travel and didn’t like the food too and it was annoying.

  • Make sure you ask a local that is really knowledgeable in Filipino food. Because, as a local myself, I won’t just ask anybody, and yeah, it’s common sense. If they sent you to 711 for a real Filipino food, isn’t it obvious he/she is wrong?

  • Thanks for replying. Bear with how emotional some of the replies are. I know you’re not being personal but the blog title sometimes says it all if not too much. I can even be angry at you for not specifying FILIPINO STREET FOOD than generally saying FILIPINO FOOD. For us FILIPINO food is what our mom cook for us. We grow with our mom’s food. STREET FOOD is not authentic either because it’s BUSINESS FOOD.

    So if you keep on saying “eating at these local restaurants, eatery, street food” is getting the “AUTHENTIC Filipino cuisine”, you are dead wrong.

    AUTHENTIC is what our Filipino moms cook.

    In Europe, you have these street cafes and usually eat on small dishes, healthy fruits, etc. Everything sounds and looks like luxury for most Filipinos. Your poor locals are even way better than our middle class locals. I understand European way of eating: healthy, by bits, appreciating the quiet or nothingness of the moment, etc.

    Your country is a rich country. Our country is poor. So please don’t generalize. Don’t forget where you come from and where you are eating at. Can you really say African food sucks because you experienced eating the poor food, like eating CLAY? That’s why I can understand the rant, and that’s because you generalized it with your title “FILIPINO FOOD.”

    • I’m not surprised that most of Filipinos are getting emotional when reading the title of the post. It’s a bit extreme, but that’s the way I felt when experiencing the food in the Philippines. We did not have any Filipinos friends who would take us home and treat us with the food their moms would cook for us. We didn’t visit any Filipinos houses and as the post says, it’s all about the street food we tried. We ate the way locals eat. And that’s the truth. The food was never fresh, it was way too salty, sweet and very oily. I just can’t understand how locals can eat this way. In China, for example, people are also very poor, but they eat much healthier. They cook fresh rice every day, add veggies and meat, they grill food and keep it in fridges. They avoid sugar and snack on fresh fruits. Fruits and veggies are available everywhere.

      To us, street food is authentic because it’s what locals eat every day. So what do you cook at home? Fresh veggies? Where do you take them from? Locals markets? We have visited various fruit and veggie markets and trust me, nothing there looked fresh…

      I can totally understand it is due to poverty and not many can afford to eat healthy. I never said the Philippines “sucked” because of the food. If you check out my post on Banaue you can see how amazing my travel experience was there. The Filipino scenery and landscape simply took my breath away, but the food disappointed me. BIG TIME.

      Besides, Poland is not that rich, but I understand your point. Sorry if you felt insulted by the post, but as I said countless times, this is my personal experience with dining out like a local in the Philippines and the food I was served made me sick and unhappy.

      • Naah, your blog’s content did not insult me but the title is. I hope your title is not a feeling “for good”. You either have to choose to stick to your “TRAMP” lifestyle or go out of it once in a while to experience the local food prepared at its best.

        It is already given and known that food from the streets or “karenderias” are oily and poorly prepared …for those who don’t care about taste and health but just so they could have a cheap fill.

        I’m sure if you’ll plan to visit the Philippines again you could contact one of us here. I’m sure each could come from different provinces.

  • How unfortunate! I have yet to visit the Philippines, but we have a large Filipino community here in L.A., and I’ve always enjoyed Filipino food, so it’s unfortunate that you didn’t have a positive food experience there. But I’m curious to know how you researched where to eat prior to your trip. Did you follow the advice of local bloggers or read restaurant reviews first or did you just take your chances at random eateries when you got there?

  • Hi there! I’m a Filipino and sad to say you’ve experienced this, even I sometimes don’t eat in local eateries coz they have the reputation for stuff that you mentioned. Don’t worry about the bashes here because they care about Filipino pride and stuff. Some of them don’t know constructive criticism and didn’t get the whole picture of the story itself. I think that they were offended by the title of the post. I’ll tell you that you were at the wrong places at the wrong time. If your a health buff like me that doesn’t like oily foods or sugary stuff on foods may I suggest try this foods. Niliga, sinigang, bangus(fish), tanigue(fish), Laing, chopsuey, and there are some cheap but good eateries around you really just have to look for it. Sorry for getting ripped off,I know how it feels. Even locals are getting ripped off if they can see if they can take advantage of them. For sanitation stuff on foods, yes we have somehow a low standard on that stuff because of poor governance both locally and nationally. All they care about is money, money, money and I forgot one more thing money. So it also applies to the markets as well. I don’t get that we are an agricultural country that can’t serve decent fresh fruits and veggies. The ones you encountered were a result of greed as well or just for the sake of money we’ll sell this stuff also even if it’s not ripe or the ones you posted. I even struggle to find nice fruits here. There are so many stuff more to mention but I’m hungry already,hehe anyway give Philippines second chance. You might change your mind, when I was in hongkong the first time sucked because I was in the wrong place but when I came back it was a mind blowing experience food wise.

  • Too bad Filipino food didn’t suit you! I didn’t eat a lot when I was in Banaue. That is some mean looking adobo and the curry is too watery. I like curry and adobo, but what I eat is way better than these in the pictures. A current favorite of mine is a spicy vegetable dish called Bicol express (beans cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with local chili).

    The best dumplings I have ever tried was in Chinatown in Manila. I went there on this tour called “Binondo Food Wok” and had the chance to sample different Chinese dishes. I will definitely be back to Chinatown for the dumplings :D

  • What a fabulous blog! Sorry you got ill :(
    I’m glad I read this as I will be traveling to China late this coming summer and was thinking of adding the Philipines to my itinerary. I probably won’t now.

    • See, this is one thing that we avoid would happen. Someone who will believe from someone who only stayed in the Philippines for 2 weeks and have been to the wrong places. It’s your choice though if one opinion scared you.

      Michelle, I hope you’ll change your mind. Every country has good and bad food, and that is subjective. Philippines has good and bad too but would you let one opinion stop you from trying to find the good ones in a country? C’mon.

    • Hi Michelle.

      Thank you for stopping by. If you ever come to China, let me know, I can be your guide in Dongguan or Hong Kong :).

  • I feel sorry that you missed out on all the good food that the Philippines has to offer. I think you were simply looking at the wrong places for good quality food!

    I am Filipina from Manila, and personally, I wouldn’t opt to go for food in the places that you went to. By the looks of it, you had food at what we commonly call “karinderya.” These are of lower standard to common hawker center culture in Singapore. Although, you may call it “local,” this is a cheaper version of Filipino food and thus, usually come of lower quality. Maybe you should should have looked else where if you deem it unfit to your liking. You can get good Filipino food for around $3-$5 USD, still a decent budget if you just have to know where to go.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think you even get a taste of actual Filipino cuisine. You mentioned that, “..we do a proper research into new cuisines trying to find out which dishes we should avoid and which one can’t be missed out.” But it appears to me that you may have lacked the “research” for this one. Or maybe the choices of food for the place you visited, Banaue was just way too limited (I don’t know). I feel that it is unfair that you have to generalize this dislike for the whole “Filipino food” culture when you “..simply could not find them!”

    If ever, you get to visit the Philippines again, I hope you consider the views of some of the Filipinos who left you comments. I’m pretty sure if you get enough information on the place and the food, your experience wouldn’t be as unappealing.

  • It’s sad to see comments like yours about Philippines. Saying that you’d rather go hungry than eat Filipino food again is a bit harsh when you only traveled a certain place/places in the Philippines… You made it sounds likes you’ve been around and tasted the real Filipino cuisine. Yes, next time ask the right person to take you to the right place. And remember, every island has different flavor.

  • i agree. knowing where to eat is key. you could’ve easily asked a local and they would piont you somewhere decent enough. there’s a lot of restaurants that offer local dishes too. most if the time better than those on the streets. filipinos would cook for you too. find a host next time, i think that would be better. though, filipino food is not for everyone. you need to have the palette for it. it’s an acquired taste.

  • It does seem like you went to some dive places, although that’s backpack standard. Understandably, it’s cheaper but you’d also expect locals to be eating there too and that there’d be more traditional dishes than you found. Sorry- sounds like y’all didn’t take to the Phillipines in general. My trip to Malaysia was kinda like this. Despite a lot of folks raving about food, I hardly ate. You can’t like it all.

    • True. Some people might like the food, others don’t. We are glad we headed to Indonesia afterwards, the food there was just heaven! Hope to make it to Malaysia soon :).

      • You better not come here in Malaysia, because we have similar food as the Philippines and it’s good. You are just a philistine when it comes to food.

  • You went too far with your blog’s title… just.. too far. Anyways, i do hope you got to visit the awesome beaches Philippines could offer, just to compensate for the “awful” food we have.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      The title of the post entirely expresses the way I felt about the food I ate in the Philippines. Seriously, it was a culinary nightmare for me and I am not going to hide my disappointment here.

      Beaches were not the reason we travelled there, but we did enjoy our stay in Alona.

  • Hello! Thanks so much for giving the Philippines a chance to be part of your travels. Sorry you didn’t experience any good Filipino food. Sadly, it’s clear you tried the wrong places. Filipino food can be amazing, just like Polish food — they’re both cuisines with many interesting influences, and both are underappreciated by foreigners who don’t know where not to go and what to order.

    You have to remember that the Philippines is a poor country and it looks like where you ate is very similar to eating all the time at the cheapest bar mleczny, or Tellepizza, or A Petit and Oscar all the time every day for every meal. (Or going to America and eating at McDonalds and KFC and Pizza Hut all the time. It’s where locals who don’t know better or can’t afford it go!) I’ve been to Poland a few times and my first time I also thought that I would rather go hungry than eat Polish food again — all potato and bland meat and slimy saurkraut, with no variety. It all made me feel sick and heavy. Thank goodness Polish people taught me not to be so ignorant and judgmental, and the next time I went back I took their advice where to go and what to try and I found inexpensive but fresh and good Polish food.

    Hope you return to the Philippines and accept the guidance of all the commenters on this blog. The title of your article really makes you sound ignorant, and good travellers like you surely are far from ignorant! Happy travels!

  • Sadly, the Philippines does not have a developed street food culture like its Asian neighbors. Most people prefer to eat at home and when they must eat on the street, they aren’t looking for quality as much as a quick, cheap meal. I agree that vthere are definitely health issues associated with these eating habits as well; in the cities, most people don’t eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. If people have to pay for their food, they tend to choose bulk over quality. At least outside the city, people can grow fruits and vegetables in their yards or pick them off trees.

    That said, there are great things about Filipino food, if you know where to look. But these might be known to locals who eat for pleasure rather than for cheap calories (the latter making up the vast majority of the population). I am optimistic about the future of Filipino food, though. I think that with the influx of tourism and the continuing economic development, food culture will grow and refine, DVD compete as a “cuisine” alongside its Asian neighbors.

    • WTF? Where have you been? Unless you lived inside gated communities, there’s street food in nearly major street corners in the Philippines!

  • I would summarize almost all your comments, except a few, in a single word: “ZEITGEIST”, which means, The Spirit of the Time or to be more explicit, “NONE OF YOU HAVE BACKBONE!”.

    It sounds like New York City, where if a driver simply decides to blow the horn just for fun, for no apparent reason at all, then everybody on the same block start to honk with no idea why they’re doing it, just because they heard someone else next to them and eventually the honking spreads all over the 12 avenues and over 125 streets in Manhattan alone.

    Come on people, get a life! 1st of all, don’t start criticizing and complaining just because someone else starts doing that, and…2nd, “don’t do to to others what you don’t like to be done unto you”, because this world is relative and imperfect and someone will surely find faults, mistakes and reasons to criticize and complain about the food and probably about many other things in your respective countries.

    I tell you what…I’m an european myself and I live in one of the most developed countries in the world – somewhere in the North of Europe – but by far I lived in 10 more countries and I traveled to another 24, all these on 4 continents, and I didn’t like many things, including food in many of those countries, be it either third world, developing or developed country, but I moved on without complaining or criticizing and it never crossed my mind to make a blog and spread misery and criticism, and trust me, I never got hungry.

    But, well…”some eat to live while others live to eat”, and the latter are surely missing the fun and the beautiful part of life…
    …and Benjamin Franklin is a bit tougher on the issue by saying – “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

  • Agness, When we were visiting the Philippines we found it difficult to find good, home-cooked true food as well. We did get to try balut because a new found friend bought one for us to try from a lady selling them at a bus stop.

  • Some truth in there because those restaurants are the cheapest around and most are cold. Next time (if ever) try to raise your budget you can find better foods and better eating places. Preferably cook to order restaurants. you can still survive with 25$/day.

    Did you try Halo-halo with ice cream? Puto, bibingka, sapin sapin, leche flan, suman, ube halaya, mais-con-yelo, banana-Q, pandesal pugon, fish balls, kikiam, arroz caldo, goto, tapsilog, tosilog, andoks lechon manok, baliwag, liempo, buko salad, buko juice, kangkong with bagoong, manggang hilaw with bagoong and sibuyas, tokwat baboy, chicharon and taho – yes the classic taho, these are cheap foods (aside from lechon manok which is 1 whole wood fire barbecued chicken with atsara around 200-300 pesos)they just around the corner :)

  • well, hello, it’s such a shame that you easily generalized the idea of Filipino foods… if you only did researched thoroughly, then you would absolutely experience otherwise… in fact, one of the BEST thing in the Philippines are the TRADITIONAL foods… you’re saying you’re into cuisine traditional foods of the said countries, well, i’m sorry to break this to you, but YOU ARE NOT EATING THE TRADITIONAL foods of the PHILIPPINES! i’m sorry pal, you’re not really in the right place!! well, next time if you want t really experience a country’s special foods, RESEARCH MORE! :D

  • I hope you are earning with your blogs that means More share, more comments, more money..so next time you visit our country you can try the best Filipino foods…it is really an insult I am always craving for our very own Filipino foods. Please next time travel like pro and break your 25usd budget each day.

  • HEllo Agnes!

    I am entertained by your blog though it was a sad thing for negative feedbacks on your side, but i respect at all. I am a filipino. It is such a pity that you had a bad experience with local Filipino food. Was this in Cebu? I am from the southern part of the Philippines and I lived in Cebu for 5 years. I do agree that Cebu’s local food in stalls or what we call karendirya are not so good. The first time I had tried eating in a karendirya I was really disappointed and was complaining how different the taste of their food than to what I am used to. A lot of ingredients are missing and true it is too oily! I too hate oily food/too sweet so when I cook/make food, i make sure it will just be enough. But there are really good restaurants in some specific locations specially the popular restaurants in CEbu City.

    I understand that you are now skeptical to try Filipino food again, but if in case you wanted to give it a second chance make sure to research where to find the best local FILipino food in the area. Also Ilocanos and Pampangenio are really good in cooking they are in the Nothern part of the country. I am an Ilocano so our family are really good in making local food! hehe. ;)

    I am living outside the country now and I am looking forward to bring my boy friend to Philippines and let him taste more Filipino dishes. He loves FIlipino dishes. ;)I wish i can invite you to taste some of my cooking!

    Have a good one!

    PS: I Hope you will never starve. hehe. HUGS from Norway

  • There are a few Filipino foods I enjoyed, but it does get very tiring and monotonous. In Kalibo we had much better fruits than it sounds like you did, and the food was cared for better. I’m glad I missed experiences like yours!

  • HEllo Agnes!

    I am entertained by your blog though it was a sad thing for negative feedbacks on your side, but i respect at all. I am a filipino. It is such a pity that you had a bad experience with local Filipino food. Was this in Cebu? I am from the southern part of the Philippines and I lived in Cebu for 5 years. I do agree that Cebu’s local food in stalls or what we call karendirya are not so good. The first time I had tried eating in a karendirya I was really disappointed and was complaining how different the taste of their food than to what I am used to. A lot of ingredients are missing and true it is too oily! I too hate oily food/too sweet so when I cook/make food, i make sure it will just be enough. But there are really good restaurants in some specific locations specially the popular restaurants in CEbu City.

    I understand that you are now skeptical to try Filipino food again, but if in case you wanted to give it a second chance make sure to research where to find the best local FILipino food in the area. Also Ilocanos and Pampangenio are really good in cooking they are in the Nothern part of the country. I am an Ilocano so our family are really good in making local food! hehe. ;)

    I am living outside the country now and I am looking forward to bring my boy friend to Philippines and let him taste more Filipino dishes. He loves FIlipino dishes. ;)I wish i can invite you to taste some of my cooking!

    Have a good one!

    PS: I Hope you will never starve. hehe. HUGS from Norway

  • Hi there Agness and Cez, Joe from Manila, just another local passing by on your blog.

    It’s really unfortunate that you didn’t get to taste the famous flavours of the Philippines properly. I have to readily at admit that mostly you’ll have to hunt down the good food. And yes, food sold cheaply at the local “karinderia” is usually a hit and miss deal – mostly you will miss haha. I’d been to Bangkok previously, and their street food really hits my spot because I’d hobo’d it out for a week there.

    Have you visited a place with a fiesta going on? That’s normally an occasion where all the good food in a certain place pops out.

    I hope that when you guys are in Manila next time, you’d get to find the good food that you’re looking for!

    Cheers!

    • The same feeling I had when I first try Thai food, my palate could not just accept the food easily as I am not used to it but in the long run, I love the food like what the locals enjoy.

  • Hello Agnes:

    Thanks for writing this article about Filipino food. You are very honest in your opinion but considering your purpose was to find the cheapest food possible in the Philippines then you really have to expect the worse thing. Staying in one place for a short period of time and try to live like locals would not give you the best assessment just like this. You probably had gone to few places or mostly in a remote areas. Why not try to come to the cities and try to compare the situation. Come to our city in General Santos City and try to stay there then give your best/worst opinion about the Filipino food.

    Thank you.

  • I respect your opinion however your title is misleading. I hope you get to go back and find a decent tour guide. Doesn’t have to be a paid company, you can try couchsurfing and find locals who can really show you what it’s like to live here.

  • I’m so sad that you haven’t experienced the best and REAL Filipino cuisine during your stay in the PH. Next time, get a REAL guide — someone who’ll give you what you really need and someone who really cares for your health, knows how to speak and understands english. Maybe your tour guide is not knowledgeable enough to show you around. Of course, he shouldn’t brought you in the convenience store if you’re looking for longganisa. he should brought you up to Vigan because they serve the best longganisa in the nation.

    Anyway, I get your point and i agree to it. but always remember, here in the Philippines, you won’t experience great food if you will not spend great amount of money. Only mid-class to upper class family can afford a REAL Filipino cuisine. and because you went to places full of poor Filipinos, of course, you’ll experience poor quality food. Next time you’ll visit, make sure you’re in the right place for the food you really want to taste. More power to your blog! :)

  • Please do not make sweeping statements especially if they are negative. You should correct your post’s title. It’s mean.

    Honestly, you went to the wrong places and ate a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really represent real Filipino food. That’s why you’re title is so unjustified. What if I went to your country and ignorantly ate at all the wrong places and ate the wrong stuff thinking it’s what your people call their food then blog that your country’s food suck? Wouldn’t you the least be hurt?

    I also travel and been to several countries and I can say that our Filipino food is good. I eat out a lot and I can tell you that you can get real wholesome Filipino food over here and they are not in pricey restaurants only. You should have had a local guide you.

    Also, we really don’t have a good street food culture here in the Philippines unlike,say, Thailand or Hong Kong, but that’s because not all countries are the same. We get our good food elsewhere. If you just researched our country ahead of your visit you would have known that. We don’t brag about our street food at all.

    Anyway, hope you visit again and get to taste our real food here. Again, be nice and change your post’s title, please?

  • I don’t disagree your assessment of the food, but the potentially hurtful thing here is that you seem to be judging a people’s food without understanding the difficult social, governmental, and physical obstacles these people live under (all reasons why the food is the way it is). Did you happen to notice the equally appalling living conditions some of your food sellers were living in? These are situations which cause them to keep fish for sale days after their freshness date. They are making due with what little they have. Don’t take one piece of the experience (food) and ignore the rest of the picture. You have a duty to those less privileged than you. And yes, $25 a day is several weeks salary to most of the people you met in that area of the Philippines.

  • Oh poor you! You really look so tired in that pic. When we don’t get proper food during travels, it completely changes our perspective on the whole trip! We’ve experienced it a lot if times. And to add more, we are vegetarians! So we always take extra care in choosing where we eat and what we eat. But despite that we’ve been served beef burger instead of a veggie one, and some fish too!!

  • You should try the other 7,106 islands in the Philippines. Or eat in a Filipino home in the Philippines. I’m sure your mind will change.

  • And another thing…I noticed that though you trolled to the market, you didn’t actually pick up “local” fruits. Oranges and apples are not indigenous to the Philippines. Perhaps you should have tried atis, santol, lanzones, or rambutan. Any of these ring a bell? Not even fresh buko (young coconut)? No? Then your experience wasn’t quite “authentic” was it?

  • I have been to the Philippines many times. I love all the various food places. I have eaten at street food stalls, the midnight food fairs and had grilled fish fresh off the boat. I have never gotten sick. Sorry you had a bad experience but I would give anything to be there right now and heading out to the midnight mercado.

  • Sorry to hear about your bad experiences, but to say you don’t want to eat fatty pork and then say you want to try lechon is hypocritical. Also, pancit, lumpia, sinigang, and halo halo are very popular, so I can’t imagine how you didn’t try them by happenstance or mention that you wanted to try them if you did do thorough research. Indeed, the thing you called a “giant dumpling” is an empanada, which you would recognize as such if you’ve eaten Latin style foods. If you know some history about the Philippines, the Spanish invaded it so it has many influences in the cuisine still, as Vietnamese food has French influences.

    Also, saying you wanted to eat at those local stands to eat like a local is akin to someone coming to America and eating at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway and hot dog stands for the whole trip and declaring American food to be crap. Of course the food is going to be lower quality and, no, it’s not necessarily authentic, just like fast food burgers aren’t what you would want people to think real burgers are like. Trying a dish one time is hardly representative of that dish. For example, trying one dish of BBQ or chili is not going to be anywhere the same experience if you’re in North Carolina versus Texas. You were eating fast, convenient food where the poorer locals eat, not where the locals go to eat for real food. There are some countries you can experience this way, but the Philippines is not set up like that.

    Regardless, you mention that there were a few things you did like. Don’t be so negative. And, yes people eat fruit for breakfast, and cakes with jam in many countries. What do you think a danish or jelly donut looks like? How about a biscuit or english muffin with jam?

  • Hi Agness,

    Sorry to hear that you two didn’t take well with the Filipino cuisine. I have friends and family that would be more than happy to show you around and eat the “real” traditional Filipino food. I promise that you’ll never have the “I’m starving but I don’t want to eat this food” face again;)

    Also, if you two make your way to New York, there are a few great Filipino restaurants that I could treat you to. Just let me know.

    Regards,
    Paul

  • I have lived in Thailand for seven years now. Friends who have just come to visit Thailand complain much the same way you have about “local” food. True, foreigners who come to the US fall in love with the likes of Micky Dee, Burger King, and Pizza Hut. But US citizens might never say that is US Cuisine. Likewise, and in every travel brochure I have read, there are warnings about the mysterious “street food”. It’s not local nor authentic when it comes to evaluating a country’s cuisine.

    In all of the SE Asian countries I have visited or lived, the street meat I might eat is ONLY the stalls that a local friend has recommended. But there have been many tourists I have met and local expats who believe that eating the stall food is the adventure and economical way to get by. I eat well and sumptuously for a little over 1$ US a meal at local cafes or eat less preparing my own meals from produce (vegetables and fruits only) from the local open markets.

    Knowing that you are attacking Filipinos, I also realize you are commenting on your inexperience with back packing travel eating. Going many places and eating strange things is not an experience. Neither is sky diving, but try it, get the feel for it, but don’t condemn it unless you know for certain what you are talking about.

    Traveling to other countries on the cheap is a great way to enjoy this marvelous world we live in. But a little bit of thought and research helps keep you fit for the next journey.

  • We were in the philippines once… we fully agree with you, its the worst food we´ve ever eaten, oily, sweet, greasy, yucky, you name it…. inedible.Plus all these coloured drinks that are offered in the roadstalls, this is more than unhealthy!!!After the second day we bought fruit and veggies and ate them raw and decided its a diet holiday One foodstalls at our destination (Baler/Province Aurora-very beautiful!!!) was ok with some bihon dish, but only after we got hold of the man in charge of the kitchen to tell him not to use too much oil and add more vegetables.In a restaurant we ordered vegetarian and it was covered inliver tasting oil,the cook just said after complaining, yes i cooked liver before your dish…. finally ended up on the way back to manila in a starbucks and thought we are in heaven…..next visit to philippines we bring a stove and a pot.It was a culinary nightmare not possible to be topped anywhere else….even lost at sea i would prefer to gnaw on raw fish….but travelling always hold some surprise moments!!!
    greetings from austria

  • A Filipina over here!

    I understand the sentiments.

    I’d say, it’s just bad luck you haven’t found a restaurant that offer great Filipino foods but you were right though, they are not cheap. Hope you gained friends on your visit so next time you go there, you have someone to show you where the great places are.

    I enjoyed your post, keep blogging from the heart!

  • This is one thing about the Phils where I totally agree with you. For the most part, Filipino food is pretty awful. And by Filipino food, I’m talking about the street food and general quality of stuff you see in markets. In fact, I won’t even touch the street food there — as opposed to Thailand, where it’s a staple of my diet some days. In fact, the single most important factor that will make me choose Thailand over the Phils as a long-term place to stay is the food. I don’t want to be forced to be gouged as an expat for Western food on a daily basis.

    For more traditional fare, as you wrote, you usually have to go to a bigger (and considerably more expensive) place like Bario Fiesta. But even at the “best” (or so my friends told me) Pinoy restaurant in Fort Bonefacio, I was mostly “meh!” about the food. How much fatty meat does a person need in a day anyway? I do like adobo when it’s done well, and sinigang can be tasty as well. Beyond that, I just eat grilled meats with beer when I’m out (it’s hard to screw up when you are cooking pork on a stick) or non-pinoy cuisine…and I load up on veggies at places like Subway for most meals. The one cheap place that I really love there is Mang Inasaal. You can get some simple chicken and rice for about 99P lang and it’s always tasty! Great post!

    • Barrio Fiesta? The best? Your friends must be either old or of the lower middle-income class. Some of the best Filipino restaurants are the following, to name a few:

      Wooden Spoon (in Power Plant Mall)
      Sentro 1771
      Abè
      Kabila (in Greenbelt)
      Damaso (in Greenbelt)

      Again, please research. A simple Google search will give you answers. I have friends from Korea and the US (CA, CO, WA) who already knew where they would want to eat at even before they stepped on Philippine soil.

      • Actually, I think you’ve misquoted me (although I won’t see my original post until after I comment here). I didn’t say Barrio Fiesta was the best. It’s not. But it is affordable for a person trying to survive on $25 a day (for everything, not just for food), which Agnes and Ces are doing with this blog. But it’s not bad, either. And it has most of the traditional Filipino fare Agnes mentioned in her post.

        The one we went to was Aracama in the Fort, which is run by one of the top Filipino chefs in the country.

        And naming restaurants in Greenbelt? Please. Overpriced with average quality. Greenbelt is where the hi-so kids go to spend daddy’s money. But overpriced doesn’t always equal quality. And listen to you, “Your friends must be either old or of the lower middle-income class.” So you’re saying that only young, rich kids know what real Filipino food is? Nice conclusion, Mr. Elitist. You crack me up, dude.

  • Hello Agnes,

    I’m a Filipina born in the US, with a background in organic farming, training as a natural chef, and now in a master’s level nutrition program. I care deeply about Filipino food and lifting up its healthy and delicious roots. It really is unfortunate that you did not have an experience that reflects the best of what the islands have to offer. Living in the Bay Area, I can access some of the best and most diverse cuisines of the world yet they can barely rival the fresh, vibrant, diverse and seasonal flavors I remember from the Philippines. I don’t agree w/comments that you need to go to upscale restaurants to taste these, or even have a guide. The best food I had was often in rural areas, on a shoestring budget, and were both simple and elegant.

    What you experienced is in part may be a reflection of history, and American colonial standards and economic trade that have made refined sugars, processed wheat, and fast food chains a common part of Filipino food. Sadly, because of this colonial history, imported foods may be given social value as something worthy of a guest/foreigner like yourself. That icy Coca-Cola offered to you carries a lot more weight than it does in California. I don’t disagree that there are a number of unhealthy foods out there – just as there are in any global cuisine! – but what you are witnessing is part of the global nutrition transition and NOT because Filipino food is innately unhealthy.

    I was really taken aback by the title of the post, which comes across as privileged and frankly, offensive to people who are legitimately hungry and do not have access to food. Consider that the Philippines recently survived some of the worst typhoons in history, which damaged tens of thousands of farmland acres, destroyed the harvest and fishing grounds, not to mention many lives. Many of these communities are themselves still reeling with getting access to food and water. On another level, these may also affect the supply chain and what is available at the market.

    While I can respect differences of opinion, it is unfortunate that those who have no experiences in the Philippines may only read this and take away a negative experience. I strongly encourage you to explore the myriad resources out there promoting Filipino food. We have a lot of history and negative stereotypes to overcome and while this may be your personal experience, it just goes further to reaffirm ugly stereotypes that fail to go past the surface.

  • Agness Walewinder,

    Not only is your blog on Filipino food insulting, but it is a prime example on what ignorance looks like to people who do not understand the affects of hundreds of years of colonization and imperialism that the Philippines and its people have gone through. Forgive me, but I could not stand to read your article in its entirety. Ignorant people lose my attention span real fast. But from what I have skimmed and swallowed down what little information I could without being ridded of anger at how someone who has such a privilege to travel could be so insensitive to the cultures of the places you travel to, you seem to have little (or absolutely zero) on the history of the Philippines and how that is directly related to its current state. I’m going to try and summarize it in a nutshell for you.

    As you may have (or not have) noticed in your travels, the Philippines is a third world country. The Philippines can’t afford healthy food like your privileged ass expected because healthy food is expensive. Have you noticed that most of our dishes are made with soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic? It’s because not only is that shit cheap, but that is directly related to our history of colonization, imperialism, and war. Since you’re such the traveler and explorer, I’m sure you’ve noticed that many of the recipes in the Philippines are similar to that of other cultures. Pansit=chow mein, lumpia=egg rolls, etc. These ingredients and recipes were given to us by the colonizers and we’ve taken it and added our own twist to it with the resources available to us at the time. More importantly, when the Philippines was in the war, many of these ingredients weren’t available to us and so they had to make do with what they had at the time. Spam became popularized because American soldiers would bring it to them and we learned how to incorporate that into our dishes, making it our own (spamsilog). So many (if not all) the dishes have a HISTORY. We did not make these dishes to please tourists like you, we made them to SURVIVE.

    I could go on and on about this, but this would not be conducive to someone like yourself. Sounds like just another privileged white girl who came crying home and wrote about her problems and feelings on a blog because no one wanted to listed to her first world problems in person.

  • To be honest, I feel that you went to all the wrong places. Not to mention that there’s literally hundreds of different Filipino cultures spread over 7k islands. And I’m not sure if you were aware but Kampangpanga is the food capitol of the Philippines. I love Filipino food but I definitely do understand that there are several issues concerning health that may have travelers such as yourselves doubting the food. However I really feel that you didn’t do enough research on where to go eat. Personally speaking, I know that the only true way to get good Filipino eats would be to go to a family or Piyesta where care and pride is taken into making the food. Street food often caters to people on the go or people without the skill or money to make food well. As well Manila and other metropolitan areas are dominated by foreigners in particular Chinese who do not generally represent truly authentic cuisine. I’ve definitely tried bad Filipino food, but truly authentic Filipino Food is AMAZING. And if you wanted a taste of the good but may not be able or willing to return to the Philippines without being convinced first of its worthiness, then I’d suggest coming to Daly City, CA where there are a lot really good Filipino restaurants that can be said to be nostalgic of the islands. Maybe that will convince you to want to give it a second thought. Of course if its more because of the greasiness of the food, well it is just a fact that Filipino food is quite unhealthy. So perhaps its just something that isn’t suited for you really at all. However I just cannot agree that the food tasted “bad”, unhealthy yes, but that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure for many of us out here in California. ITS SO GOOD! But so unhealthy!

  • Honestly most of what you said about the food you tasted is true however the problem is you ate the wrong food. Unfortunately local delicacies to be prepared is quite costly that’s why you can only experience these authentic and flavorful dishes either at home or at restaurants.

    And with the budget you have of $25 a day per person, I’ll be willing to show you around and i guarantee you’ll still have some money left for a beer or midnight snack while being able to enjoy the “real filipino food”. Because honestly what you ate is trash that’s why i can’t blame you if you felt the way you did after you ate all those trash.

    Hope you can comeback and enjoy real filipino food. See yah!

  • Hi!

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with Filipino food. I have lived in the Philippines all my life and I do agree with some of your points about the sugar and healthiness of the dishes. A lot of the dishes really contain high doses of salt, sugar, or oil. Filipinos have gotten used to having so much flavor (salty, sweet, etc) in their dishes that I don’t think they notice.

    I wish you had someone to show you around when you visited. Some small businesses take advantage of foreigners just because they’re foreigners and charge them higher prices. And, similar to India, a lot of street food in the Philippines is not advisable for consumption to stomachs that aren’t used to it. You can’t be sure of the cleanliness in the way they were prepared and are usually over-seasoned (to appeal to the local palate).

    I promise Filipino food is really good so I hope you guys give it another chance. I won’t say it’s the best, but it’s still pretty good by foodie standards. I live in manila so you guys can contact me if you need someone to show you around.

  • I take it that you’ve just been misinformed regarding where to actually eat REAL and DELICIOUS Filipino food. The food you’ve tasted, my dear, hardly counts as legitimate Filipino Cuisine. Most of the places you went to, I imagine, really wouldn’t impress as they were either fast food chains or food from street vendors who had very little money to actually afford the kind of quality you had in mind.

    I think you should give our country another fair shot.Try to eat in the right places this time. You’ll find plenty of articles on the internet regarding this; as a traveler I am sure you should have known this.

  • I’m so sorry about your experience. Filipino food is the best, you just had gone to the wrong places. Manila and Cebu are too urban to get fresh produce. Try Davao City. You can get the extremes there like sweet and Sour Crocodile and fresh tuna. Street food is mostly safe as it has the cleanest water in the Philippines.

  • Hello there,
    I am glad that you have a nice experience in the Philippines, except the food.
    I am also a backpacker and from what I’ve experienced, Filipino foods are more expensive in comparison with the other Southeast Asian countries. You can eat a very good meal with your $3 in Bangkok. However, in Manila, you cannot eat an appetizing meal with that amount. When I and my friends want to hang-out and eat good food, we spend around $7 to $10 each.

    Also, Philippine is a very diverse country. You can go to other provinces to try out their savory dishes. For instance, if you want to eat Bulalo, you should go to Batangas. Every provinces has their own specialty so I think you should really allot an acceptable budget for food tripping.

    The places you’ve tried are also good to experience so you can compare with fine dining restaurants serving Filipino food. But to be honest, even my parents discourage me to eat in those places you’ve tried.

    If you need help finding good restaurants, just mail me. By the way, I am confused with your definition of “local dishes/Filipino food”. Is it limited to street/hawker and carinderias (street restaurants) foods? Thanks ^_^

  • Hi. :)

    First, I think the problem here is your definition of “local food” as it seems that you literally wanted to refer “to the food that locals eat.” As I’m sure you are aware, the Philippines is a developing country and this is why a lot of the food served on a daily basis to regular locals are like what you experienced. This is because Filipinos try to maximize the food while at the same time make do with what could be made available to them.

    I may be a middle class Filipino but I have been on travels in my country doing outreach activities which is why I understand how less fortunate locals live. I have also been served a hog once that still had hair once, but I never would’ve carelessly posted about it without understanding why so.

    It is also, unwise to go to a convenience store to ask for longganisa. It is similar to asking for steak in McDonalds.

    On a last note, though I respect that this is your personal blog and you can post what you want to, unfortunately you have done so in a very irresponsible manner and is just a lame excuse. I must agree with the other comments that your opinions have been based on such weak foundation. And your headline is indeed insulting and presents false image of the country.

    The Philippines still welcomes you as we know that on your better planned and researched travel, you will prove yourself wrong.

  • Hi Agnes :)

    I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with the food. I’m not here to justify “our food” at all, I’m here to simply empathize as I had experienced a worse medical condition than you did; even when my body has already adapted to the “cuisine” here as you might say it. That experience had gotten me to stick to my own cooking and home cooked meals. Simply because I know where to buy my ingredients (cheap, clean, and still good to use), clean my utensils and pots or pans, and cook it the way suits my taste (like, making sure it’s not too oily or salty).
    Most of the people here have commented that living with a host family will give you a better “Filipino food” experience, but as I can see it, you’re more of a back packer and that may not give you the chance to stay in with a nice family.
    If in any case that you might (and I repeat, “might”) want to travel back to the Philippines, try going to provinces like Bacolod City; our malls here have stalls inside that sell “street food” only served in a clean area but is also priced the same as it would’ve outside and on the streets.

    :) Best of luck to you though.

  • I LOVE filipino food! But only because I have ever tried it when my grandma cooks for me :p and she makes the good ole’ traditional dishes too. Lucky for me, I have a TON of family in the Philippines and will hopefully never have to have the experience you did when visiting :(

  • You didn’t do your research very well, that’s why you’re disappointed. If you want real filipino cuisine. Know a filipino friend who knows how to cook so that you can eat homemade dishes. American food is way fatter than ours, that’s explain why most Americans is obese.

  • Hey! :) I hope you don’t take offense to what I’m about to say, but I thought I’d try to clear up some generalizations and misconceptions you make in your post. FYI, I’m a Filipina living in Metro Manila. I’m 22 and a student so I’m used to being on a tight budget.

    From your descriptions, the places where you guys ate are what we call carinderias. Food is cheap here because their main clientele are people in the working class. (Minimum wage here is 466 PHP a day, which is around 10 USD.) To be able to sell their food at a lower price, the ingredients they will use have to be sub par. But if you’re only earning around 10 dollars a day and you still have to set aside money to feed your family, the carinderia is the best place to go.

    Generally, food in the Philippines is expensive. The reason why the fruits and vegetables you saw in the local markets didn’t live up to your expectations is because the fresher produce are usually exported. My mother grew up in the province of Bicol (which is in Southern Luzon) and usually bemoans the quality of fruits and vegetables here in Metro Manila because she was so used to having everything fresh there. If you want quality ingredients, you will have to be prepared to pay good money for it. Definitely, a 10-dollar minimum wage will not be able to afford it.

    I have to admit I’m a bit slighted to read how you’d rather go hungry than have the food of an entire culture. But more so, I find it highly problematic that you can say that having specifically tried food that most people try to make do with because they can’t afford anything else.

    With your budget, there are definitely tons of good restaurants you can try. As a student, my usual budget for a meal is 150 PHP, which is about 3 USD. There are plenty of food blogs written by Filipinos dedicated to budget dining. The next time you’re in Metro Manila, I suggest going to Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. The street and its surrounding area in the UP Teachers Village is filled with restaurants that are frequented by students like myself. :)

    I hope you don’t take offense to the things I said. I’m sure you didn’t mean to sound offensive but I thought I’d provide a bit more insight as to why Filipinos feel affronted by your post.

    Enjoy your travels!

  • I don’t blame you because it seems to me that you went to all the wrong places to eat. Those places are the third world equivalent of US fast food restaurants. If I had to eat US fast food every single day of my vacation, I probably would also say “Blech! I’d rather go hungry than eat American food!” So I think your characterization of Filipino food is quite unfair, just as I would be unfair if I wrote about American food based solely on my US fast food experience. I understand that you wanted to experience local cuisine, but that is NOT where you would go to experience local cuisine just like Pizza Hut or Kentucky Fried Chicken are not places I would go to try local cuisine.

  • Hi Agnes. Like so many here, I am also from the Philippines and although I do think real Filipino is overrated, it’s not as bad as what you went through. Many good suggestions and comments have been said already and I am also willing to volunteer as a guide/helper the next time you’re here just to help you see and taste what real Filipino food is about. I don’t know if you’re an Anthony Bourdain fan but he did a decent segment on the Philippines some time ago. It’s on Youtube and I hope you take some time to watch it and see if it compared to your own experiences. Cheers!

  • Wow. Since I posted earlier my mailbox got filled with other responses, many of which basically railed on your for just giving your honest opinion of the food. I found some of them funny when they implied that you hadn’t tried enough of the foods there. As a reader of your blog, I know that food is pretty much ALL you guys do on your travels (lol) so I’m sure you gave many things a try. I know the Pinoys on here are getting pissed because they are protecting what they see as their culture. For many countries with a very strong cultural identity, “You don’t like my food = you don’t like my country.” And since Filipinos mostly LOVE their local cuisine, they often really don’t understand why you don’t like it.

    But people, it’s OK not to like something. And it’s equally OK when you’re a travel blogger to not always be bright and sunny — that’s what in-flight magazines are for. I’d be bored with a blog that always made every day seem like sunshine and rose petals. As for the food, I know a truckload of expats who either live in the Phils or travel there on a regular basis (myself included) — and I hate to say it, but I have yet to meet ONE of them who has had much good to say about local cuisine — home cooked or otherwise. Like me, they have their one or two go-two Filipino dishes that they think are not bad…but in general, cuisine is not the reason people go there. So you didn’t like the food. You can’t like everything about a place. Not sure why people are getting their panties in a bunch over this post. Keep the posts coming! :)

    • Ditto. I think what just set a lot of reactions was the title of the post. But really, I think the content is as honest as possible and embodies how a normal blog entry should be. :)

      • Agreed! I don’t see why it’s wrong to visit a country and conclude after a few weeks of traveling to a bunch of places in the Phils that you hate it. Most of the posts are from Filipinos, so it’s understandable — they are VERY sensitive about their country and react strongly to anything negative…unless you are trash talking the politicians, in which case they agree. lol I think the only foreign guy so far to come to the rescue of Filipino cuisine was a guy who said it took him “several months to get used to the food.” Not a glowing endorsement. As I posted earlier, Pinoys love their food. Foreigners typically don’t. And in a way, I like being able to read about what to expect from a foreign perspective before I visit a place. Is it just one person’s opinion? Yes. But I read a lot of peoples’ opinions, from which I get a bigger picture. So this kind of blog is a good addition to the body of blog writing out there, even if a LOT of people got pissed off by it. lol

        Oh, and Agnes, I think a lot of this traffic is because somebody has posted a link to this asking people to rail on you. You were getting just a few responses an hour a day ago…I had to shut off my subscription this morning when I found 175 new responses in my mail after just a few hours. It’s a shame people don’t feel the need to post and say thank you for all of your other informative posts — but you can see that most of these people aren’t reading your blog. They have just been directed here to flame you. So don’t be disheartened by this! Blog on!

  • See here’s the thing about eating off the streets in the Philippines:

    If you’re totally hungover and on a budget and have a strong stomach, then Filipino street food is for you. This is the only place where most of the time “Eat Local” may not be the best idea. And in Manila, you probably didn’t venture out too much. You could’ve gone to a local park and got yourself Fish Balls or Kikiam. That right there is ripped off the pages of my childhood. The only time you go where the locals flock ANYWHERE is when it’s time to get drunk. So you’ll probably end up at a small karaoke “bar” where there’s no beers on tap, everything comes from a bottle, and the cocktails are gin and your choice of juice. Odds are, you’d probably enjoy yourself and would probably be able to handle the greasy food in the morning.

    You also probably didn’t get the “local treatment” because you obviously weren’t local. I’m not a native of Cebu so I probably will only get a slightly better treatment than you guys did. It’s not that Filipinos hate foreigners, it’s just that we sometimes have a misguided idea of how to impress foreigners.

    I’m Filipino and I haven’t been back in the Philippines in years. You should go to Pampanga and try the sisig (yes right off the street). The hygiene might be also off-putting but the food IS amazing. It’s also amazing to watch them make it. I remember going there and fearing I’d get sick (I also have a sensitive stomach). But it was delicious and the only stomachache I got was from overeating. :)

    Re-visit the country and keep the suggestions from the other comments in mind. Trust me I could do a lot with $25 bucks food-wise in the Philippines.

    Also, I know eating street food and all seems like the best way to take in the food culture of a country, but that’s not exactly the case in the Philippines. Most of the time street food is just hangover food. You don’t get prominent people in the Philippines eating off the street because they know other LOCAL places to eat at. From what I’ve been seeing on Facebook from my old friends back home, cheap LOCAL restaurants have been popping up everywhere in Pasig City, which is in Metro Manila. If you wan’t good chicken, go to Bacolod. Go to the local Inasal joints and have amazing chicken. Hell, if you stay in Manila long enough, go find a guy selling ice cream that doesn’t have a corporate ice cream brand splashed on the cart. “Dirty Ice Cream” is only called that because it’s sold off the streets. If you’re lucky, you get cheese ice cream. Let me tell you, I have not seen any prominent chef anywhere in the world come up with that. Get the cheese ice cream served to you in a pan de sal instead of in a cup or cone, you got yourself a nice refreshing AND savory snack.

    I do understand why you’d had a bad experience in the Philippines. The economy suffers, the people suffer more. I guess back in ’05 the food where you went to would’ve been better. I sure did have a grand time eating off the streets during my childhood and teenage years.

    So please come back, hell I’ll even go with you and stick to the same $25 budget, you’ll see the better side of the Filipino local food scene.

  • Hi dear. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the food here in the Philippines. But just so you know ‘local’ foods can’t be found in one place. Like for example, ‘longganisa’ can’t be bought in a convenient store, judging that you got it from 7-11, the best longganisa is found amongst the localities of Vigan, Cabanatuan. My point really is you should have researched more.

  • Hi Agnes!

    I’m a Filipino and I was pretty shocked by the title of the post but upon reading the whole entry I appreciate the honesty towards your experience and most especially your intention to go as authentic as possible. Though I agree that Filipino food is NOT healthy in most cases, I believe the exact locations you have been to are those that definitely compromise health for a meal to sell. Hopefully you do pass by again and there would be more than enough people (including me!) to take you around for a better experience! :)

    P.S. there are also a lot of healthy dishes by the way!

  • Hi there! I’m a local based in Manila and I’ll start off by saying that seeing this post was refreshing. An honest opinion is always, always appreciated and I hope you don’t think otherwise. And you make extremely good points too! I found myself genuinely cringing when I was scrolling through the post because in all honesty, those did NOT LOOK GOOD AT ALL. (Even I might not have eaten what you’ve posted.) But before I go into what I actually have to say, please hear out where I stand on this :)

    I’m a home grown gal, born and raised in Manila, but I have provincial roots. My mother is Kapampangan (what youre called when youre from Pampanga, the province), known for their ‘tocino’ (another famed local dish), so she goes hardcore when making the Filipino dishes. I grew up eating sisig, kare kare, longganisa and all those dishes. Dinners like that was Sunday’s home regular. A bit of a contrast to this is the fact that I also grew up in the city as, what they’d call, a ‘street kid’. I roughhoused with other kids, tossed cans for entertainment and ran around in the streets without slippers on. So yeah I know all about the local ‘restaurants’ along the streets too. I only grew accustomed to eating western food, european food, fast food or anything else when entering my teens. Sorry for the long life story (lol) but I felt the need to imply that I think my view could shed a bit of light on the inconsistencies of your experiences and the praises you’ve heard, if you don’t mind me doing so, that is.

    When you asked Filipinos what local food is, they would tell you about all the dishes I told you that my mother made me, the ones you were looking forward to. You didn’t find these at the places you went to, the places you saw the locals ate at. This is because street food isn’t really local food. We don’t equate is as such. I mean sure you could’ve tried fishball and kikiam (easiy everyone’s favorites as children), but carinderias aren’t really filled with what we define as local food. It’s what the locals eat, sure, but often the locals who eat at carinderias also have extremely demanding jobs with very little pay and need something to satiate hunger, feel filling and can suits their pay. Sadly we often treat these places as ‘to get by’ food. (Also sorry if I didn’t explain what carinderias are lol they’re the ‘restaurants’ you saw by the street. We don’t call them restaurants though, because even we know that they don’t actually make the standard of what a restaurants supposed to be.)

    I agree with most of what the people who commented earlier have posted. You guys should have gotten a better guide. I’m still appalled at that hotdog pretending to be a longganisa. The outrage! LOL but for real though local Filipinos usually just cook their own food. That’s what actual locals eat and that is why restaurants charge so much for genuine Filipino food, because you can’t find a cheaper alternative other than a Filipino household. I mean tourists aren’t exactly going to be knocking on people’s doors asking families “hi can you cook for us we’ll pay you”… but then again that’s actually such a better idea than going to the streets. Huh. Business idea. Noted.

    Don’t get me wrong, there may be some hidden, unappreciated gems out there but you’d be better off not risking the street food. If you haven’t already figured with my unnecessarily long comment, this made me really sad because you really could have gotten such a better experience! Wouldn’t have cost you much either :(

    Anyway, loving the whole blog regardless! Sorry if my English is a bit bad, not really my mother tongue. If you feel like you’re over the trauma and can brave the dishes of the PH again, do feel free to email me and I would gladly help with recommendations. If you feel up for it, I’d even come with you myself! Heck, I’d have my mother cook for you. After seeing this post a lot of my other friends share the same sentiment and are offering their parents’ services as well haha. Hoping you have a better time with all your other trips! Cheers!

  • Sorry to hear about what happened to your trip but what you ate are not the Filipino cuisine. You ate streetfood that only the poorest of the poor will eat. You see, the streetfood in the Philippines is not like your ordinary streetfood in the US, HongKong, China, etc.. It’s for the poor in general here on the Philippines. Your $25 budget should be enough for some quality food if you only knew where to go and who to ask. We are a third world country so everything here is cheaper. So what is pricey for us is something affordable for you. Best longganisa is in vigan(Ilocos) and baguio. You’re already in Ilocos if you had empanada then why didnt you eat the longganisa there? Im a filipino and te only streetfood i have tried are the fishballs and kikiam. I DON’T eat at karinderias because most food there are dirty.

  • wherever you went to eat you must of insulted someone..those are not dishes that I’m familiar with as a Filipino. Next time before your trip watch an episode of Bizarre Foods or No Reservations to at least give you a jumping point of what food is good if you dont know any locals to take you around.

  • Hi Agnes,

    I am a traveller as well and currently in Australia. I understand your philosophy that street food is what locals eat and what you should try. My sisters travelled to Vietnam and the best ones she said were from the streets. In Melbourne, the best ones are usually the cheapest. Unfortunately in the Philippines, street food is not what locals eat. Locals go to malls, 7-11, mini-stop and unfortunately “fancy” restaurants. Interestingly, the fancy restaurants you see in Manila are not even fine dining that provides a la carte. Street food in the Philippines is what we eat when we are desperate, meaning there is no restaurant at sight and we are hungry from work and have only an hour for lunch break. Street food in the Philippines is not regulated by gov’t. Anyone can “squat” illegally in a lot and cook something and most of them do not know how to cook! Lol That is why a few street vendors who do know how to cook make it to the front pages such as Aling Nena’s or that sisig place in Ortigas which is street food in a very unhygienic area but people go out of their way to flock there because it excites them that it is served in illegal places. When I was a fresh high school graduate, I tried my first street food. I got hospitalised immediately for yellow fever. I didn’t stop and ate again and this time got hospitalised for cholera or something serious. And I am a local! Lol

    Also, “Restaurant” in the Philippines doesn’t mean the same in western countries when they say “Restaurant” let’s say in Melbourne that provides a la carte. Barrio Fiesta or Max Fried Chicken is called a “restaurant” in the Philippines but it is no where near a restaurant and rich people will never eat there and even the not so rich.

    My favourite cuisine however is still French, Modern British and Japanese which are healthier. Filipino cuisine, even those from proper restaurants, make me fat because of lots of rice! Lol

    Honestly, everything you ate in the Philippines I have never eaten before even if I grew up there to the age of 33 lol. Seems like you were just unlucky. I have never been served pastries or rice cakes for breakfast. But the oily adobo and donuts seem typical.

    Things I don’t eat even if I am Filipino because they are fattening and unhealthy:

    Ginataan (yuck!)
    Pancit Bihon
    Pancit Canton
    Pata Tim
    Tuyo
    Daing
    Danggit
    Humba
    Pinakbet (yuck!)
    Chapsuey (yuck!)
    Champurado
    Banana Cue
    Kamote Cue
    Lumpia Sariwa

    Things I miss:

    Lechon
    Crispy Pata
    Chicharon Bulaklak
    Sisig
    Kare-kare
    Fried Chicken in Ministop
    KFC ( for some reason, the chicken they use there are tastier than the one they use in Australia)
    Caviteno Mechado
    Caviteno Menudo
    Balot
    Fishballs
    Sbarro
    Elsie’s Grilled Bangus

    • I dunno, a lot of food on your “miss” list is at least as fattening as most of the food in your “avoid” list. Not that I blame you for missing it!

      Love, Lechon Kawali

  • Well, we have our own tastes so it’s kinda hard to say that you are wrong that Filipino dishes are disgusting. What I found wrong in your post is that you had generalized the whole Filipino cuisine into a disgusting one without trying the real dishes. It’s kinda your fault for trying out the wrong stores. First of all, 7/11 is not a native Filipino store so do not expect a longganisa there. Go to Jollibee or what. Also, when you asked for the breakfast, a traditional breakfast wouldn’t be bread.. rather, we eat rice. Although it differs from province to province. I recommend that you don’t eat from the side walks even if you are trying to be thrifty. you should’ve tried the -silog menus if you wanted an authentic filipino breakfast. Likewise, you should’ve went to Max’s if you want to eat authentic stuff. they have everything there.. not because it’s in the street or in the native places of the Philippines it becomes authentic.

  • Sad to hear that you weren’t able to try our classic dishes. Hopefully you change your mind on your next visit. Sidestreet/cheap food are sometimes sloppily prepared cause they are kind of for subsistence rather than enjoyment but there are local food that don’t require you to spend much. Top of my head is the buffet of Kamayan/Dads and Dencios/Gerrys. Maybe you can try ”lutong bahay” (cooked at home) with a Filipino acquaintance/friend next time. We all will be glad to show you our real cuisine! :) Happy travels to you!

  • i respect you as a food blogger. i am no food expert or what but i love trying new dishes and different type of cuisines. i myself had tried different cuisines from different countries. but guess what, i don’t try their ‘local’ food from 7/11. that is just not how it works. you should have made your research on as to WHERE to eat the good stuff. based on your pictures, i must say you just ate on what filipinos call “carinderia” on which food was mediocre and cheap. in all country and places, you get what you pay for. you can never eat quality food for a cheap price. you should have tried the food bazaars around the metro instead of settling for a ‘longonisa’ at a 7/11 convinience store. and as far as i can remember, those were hotdogs. i tried it, they looked alot different than that. you should have tried adobo or the other dishes at a much decent place. where the ‘locals’ eat is different to where the ‘locals’ think was the best place to eat the dish that you wish to try. just saying. do a proper research then give it another try. dont be cheap.

  • Title is misleading. Maybe you should use something like ‘cheap Filipino street food’ instead of Filipino food as a whole. In defense of restaurants, most value the preservation of authenticity as compared to other sources that value ‘cheapness’, so it may be safe to say that your sample of foods is biased. Just a recommendation.

  • hi agnes,

    25 dollars is about 2000 pesos so i don’t really understand why you guys only ate in really budgeted canteens… not a lot of filipinos really eat there and the only reason why you saw a lot of locals there was because they could only spend 70-50 pesos (this is only a dollar or two) a day on food. I honestly think that you guys just ate at the wrong places… people don’t really trust/ eat steetfood in the Philippines (my parents check the cleanliness of the equipment of the street vendors first before buying from them)… they only buy from stalls on the street to assuage their hunger during or after a long day of work, especially because most of them have to wait a long line to commute and stuff. if you guys really wanted to have the “full filipino cuisine experience” then you should’ve went to restaurants that cater homemade foods like “kamayan” or “barrio fiesta” because these guys actually STICK TO THE ORIGINAL FILIPINO RECIPE, their food would fit your budget, and don’t add professional “tweaks” to make it taste better or under budget/ rip you off. If you asked decent looking filipino (who are very abundant) on the street, they would recommend the same thing.

    but lol I’m 14… i still get my allowance from my parents so what do i know?

  • I’m Filipino and I live in the US and almost all of my non-Filipino workmates loves Filipino foods. You should’ve eaten at an up-class Filipino restaurants instead of those side street restaurants/ vendors. I’m only basing it on the photos you posted which looked like the foods were badly and cheaply prepared.

  • I’m also an avid traveler same as you and i totally travel for food. But honestly, you should have done your research first. The local places you went to are obviously NOT the right ones. You have to understand, just like in any other place, each region has it’s own specialty dish.

    The places you went to in Luzon (Banaue) are land-locked. Meaning fish dishes are limited so your expectations of having yummy seafood should have been satisfied say in Aklan or Davao, not in Banaue.

    You mentioned: “Top 5 famous Filipino dishes are lechon (roasted pig), longganisa (the local sausage), torta (omelette) and adobo (chicken served with soy sauce).” Err.. where did you get this list, dear? Lechon is right, longganisa is debatable (we have 25 or more variants per region of this dish, so again it depends where), Torta… err… nope, this term is pretty broad and no, it’s not a specialty dish anywhere. And Adobo, dearie, we cook adobo in sooo many ways in sooo many regions! Trust me when I say, it’s not only chicken.

    Next time you travel, do a more thorough research. We now have a lot of food blogs out there that will give you a better idea depending on the areas that you wish to visit. Plus, don’t eat street food in any southeast asian country! Your Polish stomach is not equipped to handle the germs we have here.

    Fruits being bad… honestly, the reason behind is because we usually export the nice looking fruit to other countries, that’s why we have not so good looking fruit. But to be honest, I live 50meters from a local market and fruit doesn’t look that bad… flies-wise… heck, which Tropical country doesn’t have flies?!

    Agreed on sanitation standards as being poor, but honey… it’s worst in India and China. Agreed on the locals who tend to price higher for foreigners. Gosh, I’m a Filipino-Chinese. I look foreign even though I speak 2 dialects here. Find a good tour guide and let him/her do the haggling for you, that’s the oldest trick in the book.

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but you gotta admit, you were just in the wrong place and didn’t do enough research.

    I can say the same thing with my bad experience in China and India but I will not, to the extent literally starve myself. I usually spend 3-4 days just doing research before any trip, I suggest you do the same.

  • I definitely see where you’re coming from. In most places, you are able to experience food and culture just by saddling up, walking the streets, and trying to find the most organic places to dine. The Philippines is different. The food and culture is largely centered on the family structure. In order to experience genuine Filipino culture (and food), you need a host family. I think your approach to this was flawed. Experiencing different cultures necessitate different methods of experiencing. Taking to the streets on your own in the Philippines will usually make for a poor experience. As a side note, Filipino food will definitely leave you tired and bloated.

  • Lol! That is not the traditional breakfast in the Philippines. You’ve been ripped! You should’ve asked for “tapsilog”. It’s delicious! Next time do your research right and don’t be cheap when it comes to food. Just saying.

  • I’m Filipino, a chef, and I too hate Filipino food in general due to it being greasy. If you eat at crap hole locations you get what you pay for. If you go where the locals are poor, the quality of food they can afford to serve is equal to that of their economic state. If you really want a taste of good Filipino food, don’t travel to the Philipines. Take a trip to San Fransico, CA or better go to West Covina and Cerritos, CA or any other migration location in the US or Canada. These places in CA are where Filipino’s migrated where people who are home sick for the flavores of their homeland open up restaurants to satisfy their local communities. The restaurants are held to a specific standard for cleanliness as regulated by law. The food you have in Filipino restaurants in CA are the tastes of the Philipines with better quality ingredient, depending on the place you choose to go to.

  • Typical tourists. Do more research next time please. Anthony Bourdain would slap both of you for such irresponsible journalism.

  • You should’ve gone to the province Pampanga. ‘The culinary capital of the Philippines’ so to speak. You can eat in any street you want or any house and you won’t get disappointed. Except of course if you intend to go to the trashy ones.

  • Oh dear. “Locals” in the Philippine context is a very very wide demographic. And I couldn’t help but cringe at your “Longganisa” picture. Were you at 7/11 when you were looking for one? Cause that sure looks like a typical 7/11 hotdog on a bun.

    You should’ve probably asked for a guide or a local foodie or someone who experienced a lot of Filipino food. Most Filipinos don’t even experience everything. I guess factors include location (urban, suburban, rural), province (different provinces offer different cuisines), socio-economic factors, etc. You get the idea.

    Quality of food suffers because Filipinos like it cheap, and they like it fast. Also, take into account the socio-economic status of the people who sell/prepared the food. If you’re buying from a sidewalk vendor, expect crap. If you’re buying from a well known resto, it might be better. Location really plays a crucial role here. Obviously, you’ll have a bad time if you only went with side-walk vendor. And it’s kinda stupid doing that if you’re a foreigner with a stomach that’s not used to sidewalk food. I’m a local and like many others, we try to avoid sidewalk food when we can. I mean, dude, you’re complaining about filipino food being shitty and that’s because you ate from the shitty ones. That’s not even “keeping it local”.

    What bothered me though is your opinion on overweight people in the Philippines. I don’t think there are that many fat people. I’m fat, but take that since I’m in an upper middle class family with lots of resources. we’re like 10% of Filipinos. The rest are starving, or can barely eat 2 meals a day. I don’t think the ‘overweight’ generalization is called for. Yeah, sure they don’t eat healthy (in whatever standard you put it), but they surely aren’t fattening up.

    The western phenomenon of “eating healthy/healthy living” also doesn’t exist here. Filipinos are more focused into surviving rather than “eating healthy”. When you have the abundance of food and the capacity to purchase them easily, it seems difficult to understand how “healthy eating/lifestyle” is not applicable to 3rd world nations.

    Anyway, I feel sorry for you and what you experienced. If any, I think you should broaden your horizons a bit more, especially if you’re in it for sampling the world’s cuisines. Because if not, then the rest of the world is going to be a disappointment. I don’t blame you for your opinions. I just think that you overdid it with the judgement without rethinking what you did. Just, be smart. What you did in the Philippines was world-class typical-ignorant-tourist dumbassery.

    I’m shocked how little attention this is getting from filipinos. Give it a few days, and the whole filipino people will be all up on your shit. hahaha. Anyways, I hope you don’t do the same mistake again. Good luck on your journeys and have fun! :)

  • Bad title and an even worse article. Why? Because you cannot compare LOCAL food with BAD food. You cannot
    Compare apples from oranges, case in point— you cannot compare LONGANISA (a real local dish) from a fast food HOTDOG. By the way…most of us Filipino local commenting here wouldn’t eat where you ate. It’s fine if you said you had bad food cause it was bad and that’s a fact, but it’s also a fact that you did not have PROPER local food, which is not even expensive as well.

  • Next time you come to the Philippines, my family can adopt you. We’ll feed you with the real Filipino cuisine and bring you to the right places to eat safe street food. “Eating like tramps” will be best justified here in Manila as it won’t cost a cent, had you researched better.

  • Oh, wow. Reading this article, I was initially irritated at your mistaking “street food as what the locals eat in the Philippines”, leading to a bottom line anger inciting article (sadly, the title is unnecessarily worse than it ought to be). But thinking it through, I feel really sympathetic towards you and your backpacking buddy. That initial assumption ruined your entire trip before it even started. You were bound for the completely wrong places in the Philippines.

    I completely agree with you (and you will find that many others do too), the food you ate was absolutely terrible! But honest-to-goodness, nobody considers that Filipino cuisine. That’s just a bunch of convenient stuff one can find on the road, cheap and accessible, but eaten with caution. There’s street food practically surrounding my university, but my friends and I rarely ever eat there. We locals are full aware of the possible implications of eating Filipino street food–yes, exactly what you had suffered, which is why, as I’ve seen, most of us avoid it when given the choice .

    If you are able to come back and pursue the same objective (for real this time), my suggestion is that you go to a Filipino restaurant or have a meal at a Filipino friend’s home. Now when we say ‘restaurant’–no, we do not mean posh, high-end places that would cancel out your purposes for traveling to a new country. These places where you will find good Filipino cuisine, and that are scattered practically everywhere, aren’t even really pricey to begin with; a good meal would cost about 2 dollars. Go to the mall, or restaurants surrounding a tourist spot (old churches, statues, etc.). If you do at least that, I’m convinced you won’t be disappointed.

    Wishing you’d come back and experience it for real. I love Filipino food, and I really hope you get to try it, ’cause I know you’ll love it, too, Agness :)

    Backpacking is awesome, and I admire your adventurousness! Happy traveling!

  • Before you make comments about knowing a food or cuisine of a certain cultures, you first should take it upon yourself to really research and know a culture, condensing an entire country into 3 dishes is absurd to say the least, Philippines is a melting pot of different cultures and tastes, to not even seek out a local family and dine in someones home is absurd. The statement alone at the begging of your blog shows how ignorant you are. I am a Filipino American and have eating food from many different cultures to sum up an entire culture with two weeks worth of street foods is ignorant and shows how much research you really did when you went to the country, street food in any country will give you problems even here in United States, if you really want to enjoy Filipino food I offer an invitation to my house and i would be more than happy to educate you. Thanks a poor Filipino living in the states.

  • You were looking for all the right things in all the wrong places. Yes, the stuff you were looking for were traditional Filipino dishes but sadly, no, the places you went to don’t really prepare them properly. If you want to experience a country’s cuisine for real, DO NOT EAT STREET FOOD! Anywhere in the world, street food does not represent a culture’s cuisine anymore. Because of the rise in global travel, most street food spots have become tourist traps where vendors can cut corners (oftentimes ignoring health, hygiene, safety and quality) to make a quick buck from overcharging tourists who don’t know any better and from locals who don’t really mind the poor quality since they don’t get charged as much as they would have in a good (not necessarily fancy, just good) resto.

    That being said, in all of my family’s travels (we are a family of foodies), we have found that the best way to truly experience (and hence, judge) any country’s cuisine is to sample the traditional dishes at places where the people preparing them do so with pride. Yes, some street food spots fit this description but that is very rare. Even in a country like Singapore which is world-renowned for their street food, I found that very few hawkers serve food that even remotely tastes the way that it should . Most of the time, you’re better off going into a decent restaurant/cafe/diner. When in doubt, don’t just ask a local. Ask a local FOODIE. You never know, he/she might even invite you to their home and cook for you for free instead – and THAT is the absolute best way to enjoy a country’s gastronomic culture!

    So the next time you find yourself in this part of the world, just holler. I’ll hook you up with the best f*cking adobo in the world – just like my momma makes it… because my momma will probably make it for you.

  • You are looking for Longganisa and yet you go to a convenient store? Well what do you expect? For crying out loud, you won/t even find longganisas in there.

  • I can understand the statement that Filipino “street” food didn’t live up to your expectations. When you’re poor and you don’t have the privilege or access to adequate resources, you make do with what’s in your surrounding area. And for that, Fiipinos are resourceful, creative, and innovative.

    I think my problem with this post is the inherent privilege you take for granted. To start, I’m glad you were able to take to the streets and pay for everything you could get your hands on, even if it was a bit “overpriced”. As many individuals have already stated on these comments, the quality and care of the produce is going to be less than par — but what can you expect when you’re underresourced and making a living out of what you have? I think it helps put into perspective the standard of living that various parts of the Philippines struggles with. To call it gross and disgusting is disrespectful to the communities that exist.

    Another problem I have with this is the fact that Filipino food was put on such an insulting list, “I would rather go hungry than eat this food again”. I’m glad that you are willing and able to “go hungry” than eat “(Filipino) food again”. I think such a bold and ignorant statement is where many people, Filipinos particularly (and me especially), find disagreement and even anger towards. People actually do go hungry in the Philippines and I’m glad you are able to trivialize their lived experiences into a comedic outlet for the public consumption. Additionally, you admit yourself that you were there to try the local food because you were on a budget. I completely understand a statement like that. But to generalize and lump the diverse areas and regions of the Philippines onto one colonized notion of what “Fiipino food really is” is tacky and upsetting. Think about the communities and people you exclude when writing such a post.

    As a writer myself, the next question becomes: well, what can I say? What can I write about without people hammering me with political slurs or discriminatory statements. I think it’s personally fine to speak about your experiences and your stories. I think it’s okay to write how you feel to a very honest point of view. But there is an extent to which honesty becomes ignorant, privileged, and insulting.

    Lastly, I am by no ones the one voice for the Filipino community. Like you, I speak on my experiences and what I have found to be quite rude and tasteless regarding your writings. I hope this helps put things into perspective and gives you a new lens to view culture, food, and your privileges.

  • Please don’t sum up what Filipino cuisine is “all about” after just one try. You might not have picked out the BEST places to eat. And kindly do note that the Philippines is a third-world country, so places you ate in were probably for the poorer locals (no offense meant) and thus less clean. Food in the food market is also held for sale until they start to go bad. We don’t want to throw away food as we don’t exactly have an abundance of it here. Unlike the usual food that you guys have (usually HUGE in proportions), the servings here are small. And I think your food is always clean, so I guess your stomachs aren’t used to a little bit of dirt.

    If you were a real food blogger, you should go to the recommended places to eat in the Philippines. :) It would be best to try as much food as possible, instead of judging local/ usual/ home-cooked Filipino cuisine vs fine Filipino cuisine. (Note the difference). I respect your opinions if you don’t like the food, but do take into consideration the VARIETY of places to eat here. I have a pretty good list of places to eat, you can send me an email if you’d like. I hope your next experience (if you do come back again) is much better.

  • I read the article as well as some comments and the author/blogger’s response. If it was mainly based on “local food” the titled should have been “I rather die than eat local Filipino food”. Your article title is very misleading. Becareful what you wish for you might just die eating food from a country that is not the Philippines.

  • Very good post, Agness! I was disappointed to learn that Filipino street food is not as good as in other Asian countries. Funny how defensive people get. I think the best way to get a true experience is to do what you did. No fancy restaurants, just eat where locals eat. And if it’s good, it’s good. If not, not. That’s all.

  • Very honest, direct & brave assessments.

    I agree with your comment as to poor sanitation and unhealthy food available along the streets in the Philippines but may not represented the traditional local dishes and the must tries. i agree also that whether or not you are in the correct place, sanitation & health irrespective of country should not be compromised. generally filipino food is not healthy and majority of the food preparations are not as clean as the other countries’ but it is what it is. However, best food experience during travel should have been researched aS to where it can be best experienced and at lowest possible costs.

    The thing here is that we have to consider diversity & cultural differences as to food preparation and availability. As in the Philippines, authentic & traditional food cannot be found along the street & it has to be served at home or in expensive local & traditional resto; and food along the street are the food for the general public who are suffering from poverty and who prefer to eat cheap food even if not healthy and taste junk just to survive. this is different from other countries especially if their government has capabilty to manage and control the cost of their basic commodities and provide jobs to all or majority of their people. we cannot compare philippines to other countries apple to apple as they are in different situations with different way of living.

    Therefore your observations are valid but not true as to big picture of what to expect in the Philippines. I advice not to research only on what food to try but as well as where to best find them as different places have different way of doing things and tradition keeping. thanks for visiting Philippines & we hope you’ll not be afraid to visit again but will consider the culturAl differences and probably focus.not.on food but with other best things and must experience in the Philippines. Enjoy travel… God bless!

  • I guess the title of your blog generally expresses a very strong negative connotation towards Filipino food in general that’s why some readers felt somewhat offended by it. The main purpose of your blog is being able to enjoy different cuisines on a certain budget and as a fellow traveller/backpacker it would be very helpful to know how much do I have to spend to AT LEAST get a decent meal. It’s unfortunate that you had a very unpleasant exprience with Filipino food however that was mostly due to your personal choice of eating cheap. Would be better if the subject was changed to, “WHY YOU CAN’T EAT IN THE PHILIPPINES FOR LESS THAN XXX AMOUNT OF MONEY, AND STARVATION SEEMS BETTER”. Again, your statement is subjective to only cheap food however your article creates a bigger impact than it’s intended purpose.

  • Dude, you went to a third world country and that’s what poor people eat. Philippines isn’t all lumpia and pancit. This is some straight up white racist savior BS.

  • This blog entry is hilarious and pointless! Why listen to this writer who is brainless and obviously biased with her food? First of all, her first world palate cannot compare to a third world palate. You get what you pay for. So the equivalent of that here in the US is maybe in a small town, the local teens on a budget would eat and hang out at McDonald’s or the worst of all dives. I lived in the Philippines for 13 years and where the locals go to in my community was at a KFC or a Chinese restaurant. Geez. Plus in poorer places, expect low quality food because the people are POOR. You cannot expect good quality food, not just because they cannot afford many meats and ingredients, but because of poor nutrition education as well. Poverty is a big factor. And the locals there go to those places because it’s what they can afford. Why? Because they are POOR. Locals won’t go to the better, more expensive restaurants because why? They are POOR and would rather save that money or cook at home or eat at a cheaper place that have a limited menu and would serve food that have the cheapest ingredients and easy to cook in big volumes. What a way to cyber bully a whole culture/people. This is irresponsible and unethical writing, without thinking of the ramifications of your actions. You just insulted dignified chefs who specialize in Filipino food and the people from a whole country who are proud of their heritage. Stupid insensitive title. You could have written this differently and still be honest and respectful. Is this how you feed your narcissistic ego that obviously suffers from superiority complex so that it makes you feel better? I grew up there for 13 years since I was 3 and I never ate at a stall or sidewalk. There’s obviously a reason why. I would not even drink the water there. At home, my grandparents had to boil the water. You cannot expect first world living in a third world country. That is just unfair. Have a Filipino cook it for you in a first world country or in your house. Trust me, it will still be authentic Filipino food. What’s more disgusting than Filipino street food? Your writing.

  • Hey Agness. I came across this link on facebook and the first thing I said was, “Dayummm, Agness is fiiiine”.

    I can see by the pictures taken that the Filipino food you consumed wasn’t the best of quality. It would be like comparing 5 day old Mcdonald fries to freshly made Animal Style fries from In N’ Out.

    As a Filipino, I take it upon myself to invite you to Manila where I will rock your culinary world! Seriously, we have some amazing restaurants that specialize in various cuisines. I already have a restaurant in mind that serves Filipino food, prepared the way it should be and presented with proper flatware and utensils.

    I shall woo you, like a proper Filipino gentleman should, with flowers while singing as my driver plays guitar in the background. I will sing an English song to make you feel at home. Do you like Air Supply or Bon Jovi better?

    If your interest is somewhat piqued, I am making the following disclaimer.

    “I’m allowing this website to give the writer of this article, Miss Agness Walewinder (I hope it’s Miss) my e-mail address should she request it.

    Agness, hit me up the next time you’re down Southeast Asia ;)

  • Hi Agnes :
    It seems your opinion is a bit too racist and impartial in terms of comparing food stalls across Asian countries you have been. I am an international Design consultant and I have traveled a lot in Asia as well as in Europe and to let you know..i know the life in Poland as we have some workers in Germany all coming from Poland. But fortunately – those people we met from your country displayed a higher standard of good manners and ethics.I have a good impression with People from Poland but it seems you have made it 360 degrees turned. It’s a pity.
    By nature – whatever criticism you throw to any country –you could in return receive the same package.
    Let me tell you something..reading from your lines : I wont be bothered at all if this comment comes from and ordinary taste bud as yours as you are not even a certified chef or one who is expert on food taste. What just annoyed me..is how you put those ill – mannered words to describe something which you don’t even have a full background on a birds eye view.
    YOU SAID :
    “Yes, we were, unfortunately. We love Chinese food, really. You can get a great variety of local street food and it’s cheap, nutritious and extremely yummy. I often crave baked sweet potatoes with grilled fish, Beijing’s yogurt drinks, sweetcorn, congee and soups! So glad I’m back here!”
    How often do you go to China you racist? Have you ever heard of some Asian countries like Vietnam and also Philippines starting to ban the Chinese exports of fruits as they contain a lot of chemicals? Those chemicals used to preserve the bodies of the cadavers? You heard a little or maybe you don’t have CNN net at all. Surely, those foods are tastier in the streets of China – but you don’t even have idea what comprises those food. I have been a consultant too of one French company based in Shenzhen for 5 years and we have travelled practically in all parts of China including beijing. The food is very oily and our European counterparts would feel the same stomache aches as what I did had. The food is full of MSG and so many other chemicals. You need to check out all news about China food. Am not all alarmed as to your comparison for food in Asia as I see in your blog – your information just happened overnight with a few budget on research. Have you heard about the fake milk too in China? Now I could conclude why you arrived at fake conclusions – because of too much fake intakes.
    I agree with you that Vietnamese food is good such as the soup and rolls..but that does not conclude that you have tasted all the Vietnamese specialty. And let me tell you – the best chef for 20 years now in Ho Chi Minh famous “ The Legend Restaurant “ is by chance a Filipino. Sorry to disappoint you.
    And you said you love Indonesian Food? Which food? As it is a Muslim country and I stayed there for 3 years too, Traveling different parts of Indonesia. They barely have street foods. Which places have you been? In Jakarta, Bali or you are just name dropping in order to get credibility for what you are writing? If this is a personal attack – you could have been seeing yourself in the court for libel case. So be careful with what you write and put some honesty on it as a human being. You must have been overfed with Chinese food that made you become inhuman and so fake and ill – mannered.

    One piece of advice as a rule of thumb: if you wanted to be noticed with your blogs – try to incorporate a degree of humanity on it. Its your words against you every time. That is the most important thing in a journalist creed. You can never catch a fly with vinegar – use honey and you will get one. There could be other forms of saying things to get an impact. Maybe you need good manners and right conduct from your mother very badly . Sorry for being mean to you but this is what you JUST earned for being so arrogant and nonsense. Next time when you come to Philippines – I would give my service to you for free as you need to learn way more. good Luck to your foresights… you need some repairs.

  • I think you just weren’t going to the right places to find the right dishes and good quality food. If you go the local “kainans” (or the cheap canteens, which you went to), you will inevitably find improperly served, and substandard food. Most of them are cooked with inferior quality ingredients and the people who cook them aren’t exactly the best cooks out there. These “kainans” don’t usually sell the cuisines, either, which is probably why you never got a chance to taste the real deal.

    You may need to pay a little more, but most Filipino restaurants serve the good quality Filipino dishes that are a MUST TRY for visitors such as yourself. Wooden Spoon, along Katipunan Avenue, is one of the many decent restaurants which serve Filipino food, and is owned by the one best chefs in the country. Their dishes range from about $2-$5, which is still relatively cheap if you look at it in perspective. “Abe” is another good (more exclusive) Filipino restaurant with prices that range from $6-$20, if my conversion is right. Other great choices would be Sentro 1771 ($8-$20), Mesa ($8-$20), and Elias ($6-$20), among others. Barrio Fiesta and Cabalen is also a good choice (as stated by a commenter above). Try to Google these or other restaurants like them, if ever you decide to come back.

    In my country’s defense, we do have a very delicious and delectable cuisine, you just went to the wrong places. I don’t blame you though, since it’s your first time in the Philippines. Given, there are certain street food that is a must try for visitors, like isaw, balut and fish balls, but there are just some things that you shouldn’t eat on the streets.

    PS: I think your title will create a lot of ruckus. The Filipino netizens are pretty sensitive to these things and they may find it insulting. So unless your purpose was to insult our culture, I believe it’s best to at least put a disclaimer. Not that I take anything against you. :)

    **my conversions were mere estimations they may cost more than.

  • Hi agnes,
    It seems your opinion is a bit too racist and impartial in terms of comparing food stalls in the Asian countries you have been. I am an international Design consultant and I have travelled a lot in Asia as well as in Europe and to let you know..i know the life in Poland as we have some workers in Germany all coming from Poland. But fortunately – those people we met from your country displayed a higher standard of good manners and ethics.I have a good impression with People from Poland but it seems you have made it 360 degrees turned. It’s a pity.
    By nature – whatever criticism you throw to any country –you could in return receive the same package.
    Let me tell you something..reading from your lines : I wont be bothered at all if this comment comes from and ordinary taste bud as yours as you are not even a certified chef or one who is expert on food taste. What just annoyed me..is how you put those ill – mannered words to describe something which you don’t even have a full background on a birds eye view.
    YOU SAID :
    “Yes, we were, unfortunately. We love Chinese food, really. You can get a great variety of local street food and it’s cheap, nutritious and extremely yummy. I often crave baked sweet potatoes with grilled fish, Beijing’s yogurt drinks, sweetcorn, congee and soups! So glad I’m back here!”
    How often do you go to China you racist? Have you ever heard of some Asian countries like Vietnam and also Philippines starting to ban the Chinese exports of fruits as they contain a lot of chemicals? Those chemicals used to preserve the bodies of the cadavers? You heard a little or maybe you don’t have CNN net at all. Surely, those foods are tastier in the streets of China – but you don’t even have idea what comprises those food. I have been a consultant too of one French company based in Shenzhen for 5 years and we have travelled practically in all parts of China. The food is very oily and our European counterparts would feel the same stomache aches as what I did had. The food is full of MSG and so many other chemicals. You need to check out all news about China food. Am not all alarmed as to your comparison for food in Asia as I see in your blog – your information just happened overnight with a few budget on research. Have you heard about the fake milk too in China? Now I could conclude why arrive at fake conclusions – because of too much fake intakes.
    I agree with you that Vietnamese food is good such as the soup and rolls..but that does not conclude that you have tasted all the Vietnamese specialty. And let me tell you – the best chef for 20 years now in Ho Chi Minh famous “ The Legend Restaurant “ is by chance a Filipino. Sorry to disappoint you.
    And you said you love Indonesian Food? Which food? As it is a Muslim country and I stayed there for 3 years too, Travelling different parts of Indonesia? They barely have street foods. Which places have you been? In Jakarta, Bali or you are just name dropping in order to get credibility for what you are writing? If this is a personal attack – you could have been seeing yourself in the court for libel case. So be careful with what you write and put some honesty on it as a human being. You must have been overfed with Chinese food that made you become inhuman and so fake and ill – mannered.

    One piece of advice as a rule of thumb: if you wanted to be noticed with your blogs – try to incorporate a degree of humanity on it. Its your words against you every time. That is the most important thing in a journalist creed. You can never catch a fly with vinegar – use honey and you will get one. There could be other forms of saying things to get an impact. Maybe you need good manners and right conduct from your mother very badly . Sorry for being mean to you but this is what you JUSY earned for being so arrogant and nonsense. Next time when you come to Philippines – I would give my service to you for free as you need to learn way more.

  • Agness,

    I agree with you in some points:
    – our food is not healthy as the other Southeast Asian countries or Japanese/Korean
    – street food “can” be a reflection of a country’s food culture
    – for a nation surrounded by bountiful seas, it’s ironic that we lean towards fatty, salty and sweet food — can be all at the same time in one dish

    But I have to disagree in more ways:
    – being the melting pot of different cultures (of neigbors and colonizers), Filipino food gives that very unique yet unmistakable familiarity with the food you’re tasting. You can only experience this if your palette is trained with the same ingredients used in cooking the food. Hence, that’s only if you’re Chinese, Spanish or American. Remember it’s only been less than 100 yrs since we gained national independence, so give credit to the fact that we’re still trying to find our identity in cooking.
    – our food is not the greasiest and most gross. In my opinion, it’s Chinese with Indian as the closest second.
    – you went to the wrong places. You want to experience local food? Fair. But what’s not fair is that you tried the food of people who earn less than $25 a day. Therefore, it’s not right to go eat to places where it’s literally dirt cheap that only less than minimum wage earners can afford, and obviously unsafe. Filipinos, even if poor, given the time, will cook their food at home and not buy from the street. Your budget has a long way to go for one to experience clean, decent and excellent quality Filipino food. Even my neigborhood eatery can cook a feast for you with that budget.
    – you got sick and not felt well for a lot of times, so it should only be natural to change your “strategy” in local food hunting because it’s not working anymore, correct? In your article, I didn’t find that mind exercise and you surrendered to grocery food (which is peppered with way too much preservatives. Yes, I can hear you swearing now because you did not read it in the labels).
    – looking for fruits naturally grown in temperate countries is wrong so don’t expect quality oranges and apples. On tropical fruits you found disgusting like bananas and pineapples, you should buy it from locations that are close to where it’s grown. I’m sure you’ll be ecstatic on your first bite. I must say that unfresh fruits in the market can be attributed to poor handling and supply chain. Fruits get “beaten up” before even reaching the markets and homes.
    – retailed cooked food is worst. It’s made with objective of 10% feeding you and 90% milk money from you. So unless a Filipino is left with no choice because he has no time except to get back to work ASAP, he wouldn’t eat it.
    – bottomline: all of your misadventures are self-inflicted. You did not do extensive research and re-strategize after knowing that your food hunting skills are not working anymore.

    You can blame it all you want to Filipino food because you got nothing but horror from the streets. I’ve travelled the world, but I’d say that Filipino food really has the potential to get other cuisines a run for their money, if done properly and it’s not because I am a Filipino. You first have to understand the culture of the people (history, way of life, econom, society structure) in order for you to fully grasp its food culture and the variations.

    Give it another chance, and it’ll blow your mind. I promise.

  • hi Agnes… so sorry for your unfortunate experience. i think in every culture there’s a difference of opinion when it comes to what they believe is healthy eating. Yes, most Filipino food is fatty, sweet and oily but that’s because we are more accustomed to bolder richer tastes that perhaps does not suit your palete. Realistically, almost everyone eats unhealthy food at some point in their lives and either they continue (because they like the food) or they realize that the negative effects are taking its toll. Whatever floats your boat, right?

    i understand the budget and the aim of your travel challenge but I think at 1,000php, you could have sampled decent enough local/street fare without risking too much of your health (most importantlu, hygiene) I have to say that it also depends on which part of the country you eat for a cheap price. I would not say that our food is less oily or fatty or sweet but, come to Davao next time and experience the local cuisine here. I would not suggest you eat in shady places because you are asking for troube. A small, but, clean karinderya can definitely help you taste local food without serving you death in a dumpling! :) try healthy food such as lao-uy, pinakbet, laing, bicol express- these are mostly vegetables. Adobo is really meant to be oily and fatty- it’s tradition. If you don’t like burnt fish- ask for steamed or tell the local eatery not to burn when grilled. We don’t actually sing praise of the lack of salt and flavor of some Western countries but we try our best to be polite about it.

    sorry for the hate comments that you have been getting– pride can be such a bitch :) I just wish you get to experience local cuisine and culture in the level that most Filipino enjoy and take pride of.

    again, about fatty sweet and oily food… we love it. if we die early at least, we die happy! I guess it’s all a matter of perspective! :)

    p.s.

    i would not eat in those places or sample their food even if I was on a budget… i always consider the place amd the people who man the place. ü Thank you for sharing your blog at least, people can think whether they want to live or eat like that or not. it’s their decision ü

  • Sorry you had a poor experience! I concur with many that next time you should go with people who know the right places to eat. If you roll the dice in the PI, you could get disappointed.

    As an American born filipino, I was a little intimidated my first time. But once you have people show the places to eat, Filipino food can be very, very good. The best places for someone like you with a tight budget, is to go to the open markets like Legazpi or Salcedo in Manila. These are open farmer markets with a lot of fresh food from all over the PI. You absolutely have to try Lechon, especially if its from Cebu or Pampagas region. There’s no one in the world who would not like it (Bourdain said its the best pork he’s ever had, period).

    Best of luck…hope you do try it again!

  • Hi! I am from the Philippines. I was born and grew up here. I am originally from the Northern part of Mindanao but I am now in Manila for college.

    I would just like to say that I agree in some parts and I also disagree. I just think that you were, st some point, at the wrong place to eat. I do experience this sometimes especially when I travel alone. There really are places that serve food like it was made two days ago or worse. Even the food in our cafeteria is not to my taste.

    For me, I prefer homemade food. In my case, the food that my family cooks. Most members in my family love to cook but we mostly love to eat. My family prefer our food a bit salty. We also love sour and bitter food. Not so much with sweets and spicy food. Although my mother and brother love spicy very much. We sometimes experiment with the ingredients to suit our tastes and for me our food at home is still the best. I am not saying that other Filipino food tastes bad, they’re still yummy. I just prefer out homemade food.

    I also have friends who prefer sweeter food than salty. I have two friends who actually prefer to have sweeter adobo. I also have this guy friend who told me that most of the homemade food are cooked sweet or at times very spicy. I have tried both and yeah. Too sweet to my liking and too spicy for me to continue eating. From what I know, different regions in the Philippines do cook differently (eg. adobo, longganisa, pancit, tapa, lechon, etc.). They have their signature tastes and ways of cooking making them notable than the rest. For example is my all time favorite lechon. I have an aunt who has a lechon store and I really love their lechon very much. The taste is very different from the lechon from cebu. I have not taste others but I guess some will also be different. Tinola (ginger soup) made by my grandmother also tastes different from the tinola I had here in Manila. I remember her saying once that it also depends on how the chicken or the pig (pork) was prepared or taken care of. Well, my grandmother raises her own pigs and chickens and they are very healthy and delicious when cooked.

    Anyways, just research more where to eat next time and really do check how they prepare their food. There really are some places where they prepare their food a bit rushed resulting to lack of flavor or just plain dirty.

    I hope you visit again and do try some other place for better dining experience!

  • As a former Peace corps volunteer and spouse of an american Filipino, I know people in the Philippines will try to please you by offering what they “think” you want. Depending on the season and location, you might not be able to get fresh veggies. During typhoon season the boasts can’t go out to fish locally too. Nutrition education in rural areas is also lacking so lots of oil, flies on food is often seen. If you ordered a fried fish, it was probably cooked right away. Poverty is a big influence on local food. If you had been able to eat in someone’s home, it would have been different. As far as traditional breakfast, I liked hot chocolate and suman (sticky sweet rice wrapped in a banana leaf) with fresh grated coconut on top.

  • While I agree with most points raised in this article especially how salty and oily most Filipino food are, let me just put things into perspective:

    1) The Philippines is still a developing nation. Majority of the people (around 40% of the population) live on less than US$2 a day.

    2) The ones who cannot afford a decent meal would definitely get what they pay for and will usually go to slum-like street stalls.

    3) A decent middle-income class meal usually costs US1.50-3. These are usually not found in street stalls. Even if they are, you would need to decide for yourself which street stall to choose from because not every one of them are of the same quality. I’ve gone surfing in Baler and ate at street stalls that serve decent food.

    4) Middle-income class people usually buy their food from fast food chains or cheap restaurants inside mall food courts.

    5) It’s all about knowing where to eat. Ask locals where a good food place can be found. If the people you ask look untidy or they look like they are laborers doing construction work, then don’t follow their recos. I usually ask local tourists because they are more discerning.

    6) Balut is traditionally being sold only at night. If you want one by daytime, go to a 7eleven convenience store.

    7) Adobo, asado, daing and the like cannot be found in street stalls catering the lowest income segments. The income class C,D, and E are used to eating just rice and simple fried fish or pork.

    There’s a lot of good Filipino food you can buy for cheap only if you know where to find them. Try to do a little more research next time.
    You might appreciate it more. ;)

    P.S. the title of this article is very misleading and it is generalizing Filipino food as a whole. It is very unfair to conclude things right away because you’re trying to live off less than US$25. Again, you get what you pay for. Pay cheap and you get cheap quality as well. Just my 2cents. :)

  • You visited a third world country and ate the street food. You did not have a proper guide. No wonder you had a bad food experience. My family doesn’t even let me eat street food when I’m there. You at least should have gone to the beaches and eat the street food there where it is fresh. In Manila, you have to go to the “nicer” restaurants. Since you didn’t get to try a lot of traditional foods why would you title your blog post as such? I just find it rather rude. I am Filipino American and I love love love Filipino food. Most older Filipinos I know dont like to go out to eat for Filipino food….it’s all about home cooking and family parties.

  • Please don’t starve (or insult cultures based on uninformed observations).

    I can see why your expectations were not met. Your ideal of “local” is being confused as “authentic” or “traditional” which is very different. It’s like judging American food solely by local 7-11’s, food courts, and McDonald’s.

    Many people eat out of convenience, affordability, and what’s marketed to them. To get a fuller understanding of a country’s food culture deserves a better look at a people’s economy, history, and how food often shaped by foreign and commercial expectations, too.

    Sometimes its not about just running into food, but rather, getting a better handle of your own perspective. That itself will lead you to something absolutely delicious.

  • I have to say that the the title of your post is especially rude considering that probably 1/4 of the country is literally “going hungry”.

  • Hi, how come Manila, Philippines is one of the TOP most culinary country in the whole world. Try reading some news and facts in the internet! And for your information, Philippines has a lot of provinces with different delicacies which you can only taste sometimes in that particular province that’s why if you ask for “adobo” some won’t offer it, hello! Everyday offers us different situation just like foods. Filipino foods even in U.S are being enjoyed with Americans. If you really want to try Filipino foods, try to roam around all the Islands , and you’ll find out how many great foods they can offer. Don’t stick with one place and get disappointed easily.

  • next time u may wanna try going to culinary capital of the philippines.. province of Pampanga….were the real foods are serve

  • Dear first world complainer and spoiled American,

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the Philippines. I know free speech is highly valued in America, but sometimes your words can be disrespectful to an entire culture. You claim to be a travel freak, and you give this impression that you have immersed yourself in different cultures, but that doesn’t seem the case on how cultured you sound from the way you complained about Filipino food. Let me begin with an analogy.

    The analogy of your tour is like a Filipino going to the US and saying, “we will experience the average American cuisine.” Guess what that is? That probably entails going to Subway, Taco bell, and eating microwavable food. You might say that’s not home cooked American food. Well, guess what? Street food isn’t the same as home cooked Filipino food either.

    There are lot of places to go where food is much better (and cleaner) but at similarly affordable price. Just because your sample was bad, doesn’t mean its true for the population. Its called statistics. If I was your tour guide, I would have taken you to islands like Bohol, Bacolod, and other rural areas in the Philippines. There are also places in Manila that have good food. Its unfortunate you didn’t experience one.

    Furthermore, don’t criticize a culture for loving its sugar, fat, and oil. Nobody said you have to eat our food. Go eat your Jack in the Box. I’m Filipino-American, and you have quite a nerve to criticize a culture’s food that’s not of your own. You may not like the food, that’s fine. I respect that. But you should respect the culture. If I didn’t like sushi (in real life I really like sushi), I won’t go blogging about how disgusting raw fish is because that would be insulting Japanese culture.

    You just sound like an American spoiled brat. You think you’re cultured. I think you are not.

  • Dear First world complainer,

    Im sorry. I don’t agree. The analogy of your tour is like a Filipino going to the US and saying, “we will experience the average American cuisine.” Guess what that is? That probably entails going to Subway, Taco bell, and eating microwavable food. Besides there are lot of places to go on the streets where food is much better but at a similarly affordable price. Just because your sample was bad, doesn’t mean its true for the population. Its called statistics. If I was your tour guide, I would have taken you to islands like Bohol, Bacolod, and other rural areas in the Philippines. Manila is a different beast.I see your point of doing what the locals would do, but home cooked Filipino food is not always the same as whats on the streets. Again, my Taco Bell analogy. Its truly unfortunate that you had a bad sample of Filipino food. Furthermore, don’t criticize a culture for loving its sugar, fat, and oil. Nobody said you have to eat our food. Go eat your Taco Bell. I’m a Filipino-American, and you have quite a nerve to criticize a culture’s food thats not of your own. You may not like the food, thats fine. I respect that, but you should respect the culture. If I didn’t like sushi (in real life I really like sushi), I won’t go blogging about how disgusting raw fish is because that would be insulting Japanese culture.

  • The Philippines was last colonized by the US before gaining independence. Maybe that’s why they have a love a carbs and heavy foods :p

    All that aside, I’m disappointed to hear that you had a bad eating experience over there. As others have said, street food there is not the most hygienic and you’re better off searching for good food by visiting a Filipino’s house if you want a truly “local” experience.

  • Im sorry. I don’t agree. The analogy of your tour is like a Filipino going to the US and saying, “we will experience the average American cuisine.” Guess what that is? That probably entails going to Subway, Taco bell, and eating microwavable food. Besides there are lot of places to go on the streets where food is much better but at a similarly affordable price. Just because your sample was bad, doesn’t mean its true for the population. Its called statistics. If I was your tour guide, I would have taken you to islands like Bohol, Bacolod, and other rural areas in the Philippines. Manila is a different beast.I see your point of doing what the locals would do, but home cooked Filipino food is not always the same as whats on the streets. Again, my Taco Bell analogy. Its truly unfortunate that you had a bad sample of Filipino food. Furthermore, don’t criticize a culture for loving its sugar, fat, and oil. Nobody said you have to eat our food. Go eat your Taco Bell. I’m a Filipino-American, and you have quite a nerve to criticize a culture’s food thats not of your own. You may not like the food, thats fine. I respect that, but you should respect the culture. If I didn’t like sushi (in real life I really like sushi), I won’t go blogging about how disgusting raw fish is because that would be insulting Japanese culture.

  • that 711 hotdog photo was so funny! and it is just plain stupid for you to claim that it’s filipino food well in fact, you have 711 stores in your country too. come on now!

    “Personally restaurants elaborate dishes that are not always typical or what your everyday person eats.”
    that is why we suggest that you try foods are cooked inside our homes and not in these cheap canteens. home cooked meals is what filipinos eat EVERYDAY in reality. cheap canteens’ market mostly consists of filipinos that do not really care what quality food is. most likely, they just want to put food in their stomachs just to satisfy their hunger and not their tastebuds.

    you get what you paid for sweetheart. do your research first, eat where the REAL foods are.

  • This just sounds like you went to the wrong places. And “locals” come in different varieties, just like the “locals” in US–you’ll either be pointed to a Denny’s for “local food” or to a great hole-in-the-wall. Plus, not all street food are supposed to be good, so you need to reset your expectations when traveling to different countries! Sometimes, without a local foodie guide to take you to the right spots, you may miss out on awesome finds. I’m Filipino, and I have never seen a breakfast composed of the stuff you ate at Pagudpud when I was living in the Philippines. That was just down right nasty, and they were probably effin’ with tourists. Please don’t generalize what you just experienced is “Filipino food”. Most of the stuff you posted didn’t even come close to what my aunts and mom regularly cooked.

  • Hi Agnes,

    I am Filipino so I am a little offended by your statements even though I rarely eat Filipino food. There are good Filipino foods that you should of tried but would have only found them in better restaurants. I think you have to keep in mind that the local people in the Philippines are very poor. Therefore when eating food that the locals eat, you are getting poor quality made items intended for poor people. Realize that the people that buy street food are just trying to survive which would be the same as the poor in the US buying cheap fast food. You saw most of the fat people in the richer areas. They are the ones who get the high quality restaurant food. With that in mind, fat in the Philippines does not describe poor habits and the continual consumption of greasy, fatty foods, it displays a degree of wealth. This in turn shows others that you have money. Compare this to the color of skin where dark people represented the poor that worked in the fields and the lighter skin were the rich who did not have to hard labor. I am an American born Filipino and was taught to never eat food from street vendors. It is rare for me to visit that country, but I would be very reluctant to eat what the locals eat.

  • You missed one major thing in your rather harsh analysis. Food represents the culture of a nation, which can be hugely influenced by their past, their values, and their economy. The food you were looking for are delicacies. As a Filipina in America, my family only has lumpia and lechon for Christmas, birthdays, etc. A ton of restaurants are small scale businesses that can’t afford to churn out those kinds of dishes regularly. Also, the entire way you approached this is so disrespectful to the Filipino community and their country.

  • I think your blog entry title is appropriate for you because you are more privileged than the locals you speak of. You just had an experience of what limited resources are available to the majority of poor people in the Philippines. So now you understand that people who ARE hungry (and have limited resources) aren’t afforded a decent meal. That is what you observed. And while you have an option to go hungry, the truth is, those you judged ARE hungry. To overlook that hard fact is making a mockery of the conditions of the poor. Thanks.

  • I think you should re-title this piece and make it explicit that you’re referring to Filipino “street food”. The way it currently reads is that ALL filipino food sucks, which is why you’re receiving all these negative comments. You don’t seem to be a professional writer, but you should avoid over-generalizing things. If you haven’t tried moderate-to-expensive restaurant food in the Philippines, then you can’t say that all Filipino food is bad. Just my 2 cents.

  • What a joke. Longganisa at 7-eleven? What did you expect? It’s like me asking for Balut at McDonald’s and being given a sunny-side up, and me getting disappointed. I understand- it’s your blog, your opinion. But I think the blame is on you for doing poor research. Being a “foodie”, you should have researched good places to dine out at cheap prices, instead of relying on YOUR opinion of “where the locals eat”. That wasn’t a very smart move. Your blog was honest, I’ll give you that– but due to your own poor research. I couldn’t blame you for giving a poor review because that’s what you ate; however, you have to understand that your dining experience was lopsided and one-dimensional since you didn’t properly research. You knew what to eat, but you stopped short of researching where to eat, hence the disappointment. Even I, a local, was disappointed in your food choices.

  • The problem isn’t your opinion of Filipino food, it’s the title, tone, and misleading way it was all put together.

    You admit at the end that you never really got to try traditional Filipino food, so how can you conclude that you’d “rather go hungry than eat Filipino food again”? It’s like coming to Canada and judging their poutine after ordering some from McDonalds – which, of course, does not do it justice.

    If people are upset, you shouldn’t be surprised. Change your title and start off with your disclaimer, I guarantee you’ll get less flak.

  • You’re title of this post is very misleading and quite offensive. For the first post of breakfast, you can’t expect locals to just eat this exotic, hearty, high quality meal every morning. If you haven’t noticed, the Philippines is a poor country. Secondly, you obviously did not go to the right places to eat. Poor quality of the food could have been just front the certain place you got it. The food you mentioned that you couldn’t obtain are luxuries to filipinos and probably wouldn’t be found in the regular supermarket. In this instance, you must actually go to restaurants, because that’s where you would find it. And even if you were visiting the poor places, I’m actually quite astonished that you would only see obese children. Did you notice any of the skinny children begging naked on the street? I didn’t think so. How about you go hungry, while you give the “terrible” filipino food to children in the street who are hungry.

  • Hi! I’ve seen your pictures and a bit disappointed on how you actually judge our food. Personally, i seldom eat in those places unless I truly trusted the cook or the owner. As what you have said, you’ve seen unhygienic restaurant or food establishment serving 2 day old fish. It isn’t a healthy practice to do this, but everything has a reason. Some might think on their so called “puhunan (investment)” for the ingredients the bought than the health of their customers. As you can see not all people here are well-off. However, this is not true in other decent places, but you need to pay for more. Anyway, I’m a chef and a blogger (seasonal due to my hectic sched). If you were able to visit Philippines next time, I would love to accompany you or to cook for you guys so you can experience the best of Filipino Cuisine.

  • Hi Agness,

    First I am a Filipino and I have been to many countries and being working in a foreign country for many years. While an honest assessment is very much welcomed, the title of your article is no doubt a disrespect to Filipino culture. You could have titled it “Filipino food disappoints!” and only very few Filipino will have an issue with that. I do not see the sense in what you were trying to accomplish by having such a provocative title. Hence, you have gotten a lot of negative feedbacks. It is tactless writing, I must say.

    If you want to be famous, this is one way of doing it. Imagine 100 million Filipinos and perhaps 1/3 of those are into social media. I will be least suprised if the Philippine Government declare your name in public as persona non grata and never to be admitted into the country again. There were precedents.

    I am not however disputing what you wrote but it is just that you have no idea of what the best of Filipino cuisine really looks like. 25 USD per person per day is more than enough for you to be eating in a decent restaurant offering authentic Filipino foods. Yeah you heard that right, not the expensive ones.

    It is also have to be pointed out what type of foods your body is used to. Your body reactions is not an indicator that the food is bad. It is just your body was never exposed to it before.

    What differentiates humans from animals? It is the way we say things always ensuring that we do it in proper context and at the same time respect for the culture. I am sure I had terrible experiences before not only in food but services as well but I would not have done what you did. It is simply stupid.

  • HI,

    I am a Filipino but you are right some food in North are a little bit greasy but not all, you really have to know the best restaurants there. Street Food is a big no no (Sanitary wise).

    Seems you’ve been to Cebu, food in Cebu is great from Seafoods, veggies to the famous Lechon. If you are planning to visit Philippines again, ask us Filipinos and we will try to guide you on your travel. I hope you try again Filipino food as base on your experience you havent tried the authentic Filipino food.

  • Oily, greasy, too salty, too sweet, unhygienic.

    You might as well have described the food in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China (gasps!), India, etc.

    And I am talking about local food places, not hotels. You see, you are not the only one who traveled to a lot of countries. And because your guide was probably a moron, you could have at least did your research where to find the food that you wanted to try. Instead, you blame an entire country’s cuisine because you failed to find a good place to eat in all two weeks you were in the country.

    Shame.

  • you’ve got it wrong .things you mentioned are mostly not the real Filipino food. they are street foods and hotdogs from 711? common, i think you are better than this. and food from carenderia? off course they will sell poor quality type of food.

    you are looking in the wrong place or you must be tired to go off somewhere . or you were given a wrong tip where to find it. btw that apple, banana and oranges are from china or taiwan and are not local. what we have is the sweetest mangoes, siniguelas, chico, kayomito etc.

    I am sorry but i think your research was that poor .

  • Hi. I stumbled upon this post and frankly, I found the reality of this a bit sad. But the sadder fact is that I – or any decent Pinoy – wasn’t there to guide you on where to go. I understand the importance of mingling with “where locals eat”. However, this doesn’t have to mean that you need to eat disgusting food. A lot of places here are known for their food – taste and uniqueness – while being cheap and affordable. A couple of places that come to mind: SinangagExpress, 8065 Bagnet (and 8065 Coffee Shop), Amber’s Best, Buddy’s Pancit Lucban, and so much more. If you ever come back — I’d be glad to lend a “touring” hand. I really love Manila, and I want the rest of the world to see it the way I do.

    Cheers! And thanks for visiting :)

  • I’m really sorry but it really sounds like you didn’t talk to anybody who was local and knew their food because 25 USD to spend on food would probably have gotten me a slap up meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner (just for the record, I had a proper Japanese meal with full sized portions of sushi and curry rice for about 10 USD in Makati, the central business district at a restaurant frequented by Japanese nationals. Lunch that day was barbeque pork on a stick and rice – about 4-5 USD cause I got an extra portion.). A lot of Filipinos do know that a lot of street food is really bad – did you know that a local food called pagpag is standard in some of the poorest areas? Look it up. But monetary issues prevent them from buying anything better.

    I love Filipino food, but I know I can’t just walk around crowing for adobo at the street corner because you have to be smart about where you find it. Like any country, doing your research online helps, especially when a lot of younger, more tech savvy people are blogging really frequently about their food experiences ranging from street food to high end restaurants. It honestly would have helped if you made friends with a local family and they invited you round to dinner (which is not wholly uncommon) – cause I’m pretty sure if you asked any grandma, they’d cook any Filipino dish up you asked for better than any restaurant.

  • you dont go to 7-11 and ask for longganisa. they probably laughed the minute you left. of course you will an american hotdog, because 7-11 is an american chain of convenience stores. look at the experiences of anthony bourdain where he also went to the provinces. the trick in any food trip is always to get a guide. you will never know where the gems are on your own. a guide is always crucial. in any asian country.

  • Street vendors in the Philippines have no regard for cleanliness in general. I am a Filipino and comes from a poor family but not that poor but I don’t patronize the street food peddlers because I am not confident how my fellow Filipinos prepared those.

  • Remember that scene in “Minority Report” where Tom Cruise is temporarily blind groping around the fridge? He manages to grab the single, rotten sandwich in a fridge full of food. Reading your blog post reminded me of that. A budget of $25 a day is enough for tapsilog breakfast, a decent roasted or fried fish lunch, and a kare-kare dinner at a clean restaurant, and maybe a couple of balut if you bothered to ask the right people.

  • Hi Agness,

    I am from Manila and a traveler as well. I can only imagine what you’ve been through. Its probably I have a stomach made of steel or so far have just been lucky. Whenever I travel, just like what you did, I research about what local cuisine to try.

    I enjoy eating street food but you really have to be very very like very careful where you buy. I hope this experience does not keep you from trying again. What you’re expectations about Filipino food are true. Its probably you were pointed to the wrong places.

  • Hey Agness,

    I lived in the Philippines for a decade and I’d suggest avoiding the cheap places where locals eat. Filipinos tend to discriminate against their own, especially to those that belong to the lower class social status. Let’s just say they get the things that the middle to upper class do not want.

    To be specific, there are different kinds of “locals” in the Philippines. There are the lower class locals, middle class and upper class locals. If you ate where the lower class locals ate, the ingredients they get are cheap, usually the rejected products that didn’t pass quality inspection or left overs.

    If you want to try real Filipino food that is clean and made of fresh ingredients, my suggestion is to go to this restaurant called “Namnam” ,which is a traditional Filipino restaurant located in Greenbelt mall, in the city of Makati. They’ll have almost every Filipino food you can think of.

    Greenbelt is a mall where most middle to upper class Filipinos go to, therefore, the food quality, environment quality and everything else is going to be completely different from what you’ve previously experienced when you went to the “local” places.

    Here’s what I’ve noticed during the years that I lived in the Philippines… if you go to a place where most of the population are darker skinned and/or not dressed well, it means you’re in a lower class area. The quality of almost everything isn’t going to be good, so don’t expect anything at all if you’re in one of those places.

    I hope this helps. :)

  • Sorry to read about your poor cuisine experience in the Philippines, but eating street food is NOT “what locals do.” I’m a local but I don’t eat in the street. these foods are meant for the poorest of the poor and not for foreigners with sensitive tummies like yours. you’re not Anthony Bourdain w/ his guts of steel after all. and yes he has eaten fishballs at a street corner in Quiapo, Manila w/o incident! you said you did your research – i read travel blogs often and even CNN doesn’t tell you to go and eat the street food in the phils. In fact many of these blogs properly tell you to avoid doing just that! Btw, when you go to new york, do you eat the hotdog in the streetcart? No! You go to grey’s papapya! Tanga.

  • Hi, sorry that your experience with our cuisine was a letdown. Filipino food seems to have been losing authenticity in the past years. And eating streetfood is indeed a hit and miss in Manila. However, if you plan to go back to the Philippines, I suggest you go to Bacolod and Pampanga. Your 25usd (is this per person by the way?) budget will go a long way. Incidentally, did you happen to visit Dampa while you were in the country? It’s a local market where you can buy fresh seafood and veggies and have it cooked the way you want it in the restaurants in the vicinity. As we do have a longstanding love affair with cloyingly sweet savory dishes, you can always request to hold the sugar. It’s cheap, unpretentious and an enjoyable experience.

    I’ve shown many foreign colleagues around and while they agree Filipino food isn’t the best in the world (accdg to their preference), it’s not that horrible either. So if you wish to visit again, which I hope you would, please let us know so we could suggest a few places that would meet your criteria. Sadly, most (not all) street eateries are more concerned on making profit instead of serving good food. The cuisine thing is deeply rooted with our complex history and identity. I hope the people’s hospitality though made up for your disappointing gastronomic experience. And I hope on your 2nd visit, you’ll have a lovelier time.

  • An average Filipino family has more or less than Php250 budget per day for food, you have Php1000. You can afford decent yet inexpensive food! I know a lot of places, specially in Cebu, that can give you a satisfying meal for less than Php100. And restaurants there may just look fancy but their food is really cheap! There’s a floating restaurant there that has an amazing view and great food, I brought my family there (there were 8 of us) and we were so full and had some left overs and only paid Php1900 or $42 which would make it $5 or $6/person. Please come back to the Philippines and make sure to announce it in your blog before you do so that willing volunteers will take you to places and restaurants that will fit into your budget.

  • It is true. Knowing where to eat is very important. My wife is filippina and she is selective on where to eat when we visit. We sometimes try new places but mostly on the advice of her family who still live there. My first trip in 2006 left me spending a couple of days in the hospital suffering from diahrea and vomiting. However I did not let that deter me from returning. My next trip eating the same foods, I had no ill effects at all. My doctor felt the first trip was the result of trying just too much local food for the first time. I must avail that I had not travelled outside of Canada prior to my first trip to the Philippines. Nor was I adventurous with new foods until then. Try not to let one trip leave a bad taste in your mouth for filippino cuisine. Some of the comments on here offer good advice on where to dine. Bon Appetite.

  • Very insensitive head! Look here missy, there are unfortunately a lot of people who ARE going hungry in the world, and I’m pretty sure if we cook them our Filipino dishes they would greatly appreciate them, unlike you spoiled first world brats! Ugh! You are the worst kind of tourists ever! No country would be happy to have the likes of you!

  • I read some of the comments before deciding to write my own so don’t feel like I’m attacking the validity of your “bad experience”. I can definitely agree that everyone has good & bad experiences & no one should be allowed to tell you otherwise. However, my main concern, as voiced by a couple of other commenters on this post, is that you didn’t do proper research. Continuously saying “that’s where locals pointed us to” or “street food is where people eat most at” or “street food is the most authentic” is misleading because anyone who’s done proper research (whether through websites or through your Filipino friends) would know that home cooked meals are CLASSIC Filipino. I agree with one commenter who said that going to those food stalls is the equivalent of going to a soup kitchen.

    & if you were truly an experienced traveler, you should know better than to go to 7-11. I’m sorry but I don’t care if a local pointed you there–that should have been a red flag. Truthfully, this is the first time I’ve been to your blog & I haven’t read any other article but to have that kind of title: I Would Rather Go Hungry That Eat Filipino Food Again is callous, tactless, & disrespectful, especially if you have a lot of readers.

    I also believe that half the hate comments on here is because of that title. No one is denying you your right to say that you had a bad experience but I would just suggest to be a little more mindful of your words next time because other people might not mind when their country’s foods are being degraded but again, had you done your research, the Philippines is one of the most emotional countries in the world. With a title like that, the outrage shouldn’t be surprising.

  • Hi Agness!

    It’s sad that you did not get to enjoy your first trip to the Philippines. But I agree with some of the comments here that it’s a matter of knowing where to eat local food. It does not necessarily have to be in restaurants. And a lot (if not most) of the small food stalls in Manila are not even recommended by the locals themselves to foreigners whose stomachs are not as “adjusted” as ours. haha I’m a local, and I have to be honest, when I’m in Manila, I also steer clear from the local food stalls, just to be safe. But when you’re in other provinces that are not as congested and polluted, food there is really good :)

    I also agree that it would have been better to experience a home-cooked meal with a Filipino family, because most Filipinos cook their meals instead of just buying it outside. It would provided a better benchmark for you as you began looking around for local food. Also, there’s a way of choosing the kind of viand, fruit, vegetable, etc to make sure that it’s good. And learning secret to it adds fun to the experience.

    I hope that with the amount of feedback you have received from Filipinos, both locals and raised abroad, you’d give Filipino food a second chance.

  • I guess you went to the wrong places while in the Philippines! You went to these so-called “Carenderia’s” where you cannot really expect a lot honey! though there are some carenderia’s worth trying. You must also search next time you travel the restaurants rated best for the food. Filipino foods are great actually.

  • hi Agnes :)

    i admire your honesty and hope this blog will help other tourists in their trip to our country. It must not be taken as an insult but as a challenge for our local government to keep a closer watch specially at our local food stalls (carinderias). eating street foods won’t satisfy your expectations and there’s really a big chance that you’ll get hepatitis or diarrhea.
    I hope next time you visit the Philippines you’ll never experience this again. i also do hope that you’ll find an honest and good tourist guide that will help you taste the “real Filipino food”.

    more powers and God bless you :)
    we just have to respect each other’s opinion

  • Hi. I agree with u. I experienced that too in north of Luzon when we toured our Korean friends. And they were dissapointed too coz like you they really want to taste our local cuisine. But before they depart I invited them in our house and served them our local dishes that we usually eat and they love it. So it will be good if you have some Filipino friend that can invite you to their home or you can eat at Savory Classic or Cabalen restaurant. They serve different Filipino dishes especially in Cabalen you can eat all kinds of dishes as they serve buffet style or eat all you can.

  • hi agness..
    pls feel free to come again here in the philippines..
    i think i can help you (in a small way) to bring you to proper places
    here,eat the real filipino foods ( fresh and clean ) but with cheap price:)
    i will show you the real pinoy food and show you best places here..

  • Ok here’s the thing. I don’t wanna sound defensive about my country and I don’t vast travel experience as you do but coming to a country just to try what locals eat is very risky. I’m sorry you had to learn that the hard way. And yes poverty & the economy drove some of the vendors to sell what they can whether it’s salty, sweet or oily to the masses who can afford em simply because that it’s their target market.

    Wanting to try authentic Filipino food is one but knowing where to get it is another. Most dishes are regional so I hope you could have done a lil more research as ro what to eat and where is the best spot in the city/province to have em. I know you don’t wanna go to a fancy resto to make it legit but there are a handful that offers Filipino food all in one spot. So if you’re worried about sanitataion then better play it safe.

    Another thing is when you went to the Philippines, aside from the food what prompted you to come here? Do you have a friend here that persuaded you or you just randomly picked a country out of curiosity?

  • greetings!
    i have to admit, i have had moments like yours when i find myself in certain tourist spots here that favor economy over quality.
    yes, much can be said about the awful way filipinos cut corners. especially in places where they sell cheap food. i personally stay away from those.
    but the better restaurants that offer local cuisine are musts.
    what you experienced was not filipino food per se, but the awfully cheap underbelly of it.
    i hope you will give our country another go.
    thank you for your honesty.

  • I am filipino and I would agree on what you said, Filipinos tend to like there food salty, sweet, bitter, etc. although, it isnt supposed to be the way. I work in the kitchen and tried working in different regions in the country. What I noticed and got shocked at first was I was in Luzon and they put sugar on anything, including napolitana or bolognese, cause they like everything sweet. I am not sure if that is also the case in where I come from (Cebu) but we never did that in our house.
    I think the best way to experience food in a country, is to go with a local to bring you around, since there are a lot of places that locals go to, to eat, which is not fancy, but cooks good food. There are even places where some locals does not really know where it is. Hope you go back to the Philippines and experience and enjoy the better side of the food :)

  • Great review but… I think it’s too bias to judge the food for just 2 weeks of stay.. There’s soo much good food here in the Phils, just do your research again and have it reblog. I know you guys will be in great trouble because some of us (them, filipinos) are not used to be judge quickly. But hey look at in the bright side, you guys are famous now here in the Phils but I warn you, best to have review it again. :) cheers!

  • Hello there!

    Thanks for your honest opinion. Sorry that you had a bad experience with our food. But there are other cheap restos who serve authentic and clean Filipino cuisines. And for the longganisa, you should’ve gone to Lucban or Vigan, they have the best longganisas. I hope you’d visit our country again and have a better assessment.

    ps, you look like Cassie of Skins on the first pic. :D

  • In reality, you’re nothing but a liar and fraud. Here’s proof in your writing.

    “The biggest disappointment was not trying traditional Filipino dishes. Why? We simply could not find them! We visited enormous amount of local food stands and restaurants asking for balut, adobo, asado, daing and more and we we have heard was “Not here. We have some fish and fried pork only.”, “Do you want to try noodles instead?”, “We have some boiled eggs”. So, so disappointing!”

    You admit to not trying Filipino cuisine. This negates and discredits anything else you said. Saying you couldn’t find local dishes is like saying you can’t find a soft pretzel in Manhattan or a pizza in Sicily.

    You’re certainly are not living at anywhere near $25 a day. Not if you were in the northern most town of Pagudpug. A plane ride from Manila, then a car or bus trip from the closest airport, Loag.

    You know you’re a fraud. I can tell your readers that your descriptions and explanations are written by someone who obviously didn’t step out of her 5 star western run hotel (resort).

    Do us all a favor. Stop wasting your parent’s money. Stay home in Poland. stop embarrassing those of us who truly travel and live to experience what life has to offer.

    You’re a pathetic brat and you know exactly what I mean.

    • Dear James,

      You are more than welcome to join us next time to find out that we do travel for less than $25 a day. Believe me or not, but I have never ever been to a 5 star hotel. Besides, I have been financially independent since I was 18 so if I “waste” the money, it’s the money I earn by working hard. Please, be more polite next time when expressing your thoughts and feelings.

      • You should extend the same politeness you are expecting from him in writing articles like this. They’re misleading and downright stupid.

  • HI Agness, I am sorry you were not able to enjoy your stay in our country (Philippines). I am also sorry that your experience with our food left you disappointed. You had a budget of 25 Dollars (approx. 1,025.00 pesos)but you ate at places were locals with only 1.25 dollars (50 pesos) budget ate. That is why you were not able to experience authentic Filipino dishes. We like sweet food because we like to be happy and that translates to our being accommodating and friendly. As for the other foods, it’s a matter of preference. If you happen to come back to the country, look me up and I might be able to hook you up with real Filipino foodies that will give you a really gastronomic experience the Filipino way that will be within your budget. That is an invitation.

    Anyway, I respect your point of view and enjoy your blog. Keep it up and have a great day.

  • Hi agnes,

    Im a filipino…i love the fact that you tried our food anthony bourdain style ( like how locals do) :) but please give our food another chance :)

  • Sorry for your bad luck or bad choices I should say. Street food and resturaunts can be dangerous anywhere…especially in a third world country. I have had the most delicious food in homes, hotels, resturaunts and from street vendors all over the Philippines and never once have I been sick. I eat it every day and it has the most wonderful flavors and textures.

    My advice to you is find some good filipino food and review some legit food. I love American food too, but I would review a Ram’s Horn or a Sizzler….

  • I just returned to the US from spending 3 months in the Philippines, specifically Cebu, but with a trip to Manila, the Bicol Region and Boracay. This was my 4th trip there and I enjoyed it immensely.

    That said, I am adventurous but I never eat at street stalls. It’s known they can be unsanitary, and serve the lesser cuts of meat or vegetables. All my meals were either prepared at our family’s homes or in good restaurants.

    Filipino dishes vary by region from Pinakbet in Illocos to Bicol Express in south Luzon, to Pampangan Kare Kare or Sisig, the Lechon of Cebu or Mindanaos spicy dishes. And let’s not even talk about the fabulous fresh fish, grilled tuna collars?

    All I can say is you missed the good stuff.

    When in Manila for a week we were fed three meals a day by Cousin Rita (sometimes four or even FIVE) and with the exception of rice, we seldom ate the same dish twice. Same thing when we visited Lagonoy in the Bicol Region.

    Everyone took pride in serving the most fresh ingredients and dishes.

    I am not sure you had someone to show you around, but you really didn’t eat the best the Philippines has to offer.

    Your headline “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!” is inflammatory and wrong, just wrong. It would be more accurate to say,
    “I would rather go hungry than to eat cheap street food in the Philippines again”.

  • Hmm… The choices you made were really very poor. You can’t expect “authentic” Filipino food if you opt to eat in the streets. Here are the things you need to know:

    1. Street food vendors are not really hygienic. You’ll get Hepatitis, Amoeba and all sorts of diseases if you eat street food. Since you tried street food, did you sample on the local favorites such as BBQ, “Kwek-kwek”, Pares or Mami?

    2. Balut is sold in the streets not in canteens/carinderias. There are food stands in train stations and malls that sell Balut.

    3. Some canteens don’t really mind if their food is lacking in taste and nutrition. Most of them only sell to make money. Sorry to hear that you fell into that trap. Filipinos don’t prefer to eat in easy-to-find canteens. We love home-cooked meals and we take it to work/school.
    *Tip: If you really want to try canteen food, choose a place that is always full. Filipinos love delicious food so it is most likely that the food there is good. Canteens that offer good and authentic Filipino food is not easy to find. They’re usually tucked in streets or places you don’t expect.

    4. Most Filipinos prefer to eat in malls and restaurants. So next time, go to the nearest mall and look for food stores that offer Filipino dishes. If you’re really trying to fit in your $25 budget, you can go to the Food Court and get delicious finds there.

    5. No one eats Longganisa in 7-11. This is one of the poorest choice you made on your trip. Did you forget that 7-11 is a convenience store that originated in the US? They don’t know anything about Longganisa. Go to Cabanatuan or Vigan for authentic Filipino Longganisa.

    6. Stay in a Filipino home in Pampanga. You can surely sample authentic Filipino cuisine there.

    7. For fresh seafood, go to a beach. It’s either you cook it yourself on the grill or have it prepared by a local cook.

    Everyone has different tastes. But next time, make sure that you sample on the ones that closely represent Filipino dishes before you make remarks on how crappy it is.

  • If you really want to taste delicious filipino cuisines, you have to go places like; Bicol, Pampanga, Ilocos, and other Visayas regions.

  • I understand that you’re european and that you hate americans but having americanized stuff was part of our culture and you have to deal with it. I bet no one forced you to eat/try donuts or bread/buns with sugars from the mall/streets, it was your choice in the 1st place. Our traditional sweets or dessert wasn’t cooked fast like that, try to google it and you’ll find out thay we dont use ovens. And like what the other commentors said you have to live with a Filipino family to experience the real thing so before you post this kind of title maybe you should’ve told yourself that you have to go back, stay a little longer and be friends with locals who knows best. It’s okay to vent out your opinion but your title was way to harsh to use when you have not even tried the whole Filipino food experience.

  • The Philippines is not like any other South East Asian country when it comes to food, that you could get authentic, clean, local food from food stalls and the streets. Aside from the fact that Filipino cuisine has been influenced by a other cultures (a lot from Chinese, Thai, Spanish to name a few), the cost of food from the streets is so cheap because the sellers pay little or no rent for the place, they are not regulated by any regulatory body and they customize their food and price based on how the regular “Juan” (regular Joe) can afford it. If you want to eat “authentic” clean Filipino food, go to restaurants with Filipino sounding names (like what some mentioned here – Barrio Fiesta). As a travel agent and a frequent traveler, I would say Philippines is like India when it comes to food – you have to be a local to endure the processing of street food, you will get sick if your immunity to it is not that good. 7-eleven is not local, nor Mini-stop, so you really can’t expect to them to provide authentic and cheap local food. but definitely they are clean. I hope you visit the Philippines again and give us (people who commented that came from the Philippines) an email or a ring and we will give you insider tips on where to eat, without breaking your wallet or your stomach.

  • Hi! You were right. I grew up in the North (Bulacan) and now residing in the United States for years. I was never into greasy meals. If ever you will visit again, make sure you have Filipino friends who grew up there or atleast someone decent who knows the best but cheap places to dine in. Sorry to hear about your trip. I was a local but I have a little OCD. I still enjoy the street foods but in specific places only. :-)
    That’s quite frightful indeed.

  • Key is you have to know somebody who really know where to get what you want.

    My girlfriend’s American, now she loves Filipino dishes.

    :)

  • Hello. I am so sorry you had a much regretful gastronomical experience. I would just like to share my 2 cents here for whatever its worth. Taste, like beauty is a relative matter. The taste whether the food tastes good or not varies from one person to another. That being said, I agree to most who commented here. I am a local too but I believe I have enough foreign travel experience under my belt. The food prepared and sold in small canteens here in the Philippines are clean. If it were dirty then all who ate there would have already been sick and the canteen would no longer be in business. They are not just as tasty because the purpose is to be sold to the masses, hence, the right amount ingredients are cut-short so they are able to make their price affordable to most while keeping their profit in tact. The right amount of ingredients and condiments will make their profits smaller. Those who buy from them are tolerant of the lack of taste because they are aware of the cheap price they pay for it.

    Special word of caution when you would like to try ambulant street vendors(the ones on push carts) who sell various deep fried stuff. Any food deep fried will always be oily of course. Oil boils at a much higher temperature than water, most bacteria are killed with water’s boiling point alone. So you are relatively safe on that aspect. The issue just comes in the “communal dipping sauce” used. That is where the hygiene/sanitation issue comes to fore and that is where you can really get sick.

    Most Filipinos generally are not used to eating raw or half-cooked meat, be that chicken, pork, beef etc. because we think that raw(like sashimi/sushi) or rare to medium rare steaks are still full of bacteria because it has not been heat-treated well. So burned fish skin is not really an issue because the good-stuff is in the meat. Eating charred food is not good for anyone but based on your photo, the meat seems uncharred.

    I hope I was able to somehow clarify. The adobo of one canteen might not be as sweet or as salty from the adobo of the competitor canteen. It all boils down to the intention of the one preparing the food. For guests like you, it would be safer to let a local host prepare the food for you because I am sure with that in mind, the food that will be served you will be prepared lovingly without short cuts to ingredient content.

    Lastly, when you consider returning, I strongly suggest you get a guide that knows and understands what you need. A 7-11 hotdog is not longganisa, not by a long shot.

    Cheers!

  • Hello Agnes,

    The foods you have just mentioned are basically “dirty-foods”. They are consumed by usually the jobless or the very low income population who had to make ends meet. It’s a big NO-NO if you consider your health.

    Why don’t you eat the typical household Filipino foods. Next time go somewhere like a certain province anywhere in the Philippines, ask some family to adopt you for a day or two to serve you home-cooked meals. That’s what I did, and was beyond satisfied!

  • Hello Agnes being married to a American I understand what you’ve been true even I who was born and raised there is no longer used too in filipino cuisine after living in abroad for a long time I was in the Philippines last month and also experience the same thing stomachache and so unless i know who cooked f dish or I cooked it myself I’m not eating at all. By the way not all Filipinos are cooked that way and eating in carenderias is a big no no not unless you know who prepared and cooked it,

  • Ohhhh….. Next time please get a better and trusted tour guide. :) Cheers! And do visit us again soon.

  • It’s a shame you didn’t have a good experience with the food here in the Philippines. If ever you’re in Cebu, drop me a line, let’s have some home cooked meals! :D I believe you’re friends with Noelfy. I read about you guys in her blog and she mentioned you guys, too, when I met her when she was in Cebu :)

    By the way, did you get the chance to have fresh seafood? Lechon? Sinigang (soup)? Taho? Mangoes, lanzones, mangosteen, jackfruit?

  • Sorry to hear about your bad experience. However, I disagree that trying food stalls is the best way to experience AUTHENTIC food. Maybe in some cases, but certainly NOT all – especially with a country like the Philippines. In the Philippines, the only people who eat in the streets are the poor. Everyone tries to avoid eating on the streets as much as possible – it’s subpar in all aspects. It’s similar to shopping at Walmart and target in the US expecting real culture, authenticity, and quality.
    Try the better restaurants next time – it will fit your 25$ budget for sure – with better food. :)

  • Nevertheless, it never hurts to conduct a bit more of a research before going to a place about the weather, food, language, activities, and of course the “negative” things, too… to at least know what to expect… right?

    (I imagine your blog to be featured in the local news… that’s how we are…)

    and I guess you already know by now… **LOL

  • I’m a Filipino and I’ve never eaten in places like that before. Neither do we buy our groceries from those markets. I also really believe your tour guide doesn’t care about you or your experience here. I don’t understand, for the life of me, why he’d give you a hotdog from 7-11 when you asked for longganisa. There are a lot of very affordable places to eat really good food here. But you can’t expect any random place you pick to serve you good food. Your post actually made me realize that I may have judged Vietnam too soon for the bad experience I had there. My sisters and I also got food poisoning there – all four of us. We didn’t even eat street food. But all my other friends who have been there enjoyed it.

  • To be honest, I just think you lack the company. Most of the “usual” Filipino food is served in most food joints you can find around Manila but the best ones are probably served in homes and in more particular areas. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be keen. I, along with friends, can show you a better time around town next time you are around. Cheers!

    P.S. Until you taste “real” Adobo (onw w/o soy sauce) save the verdict for later. :)

  • I can agree with you regarding the streetfoods; unhealthy, unsanitary at times, and really cheap. I’m a fan of those food since I was in gradeschool and still occassionally eating streetfood until now that I’m already part of the working class as a young professional. And I also agree with some of the comments here that you should have tried some of the household dishes. You can get invited to some local’s home to join them for a meal or two just to experience the real Filipino food. :) streetfoods were most of the times made with unfresh raw ingredients which are bought at a lower price and sold at a cheap price to enjoy higher income :D

    Before you go home, please let me show you how we, Filipinos, cook our food. Btw, I’m nowhere near the middle class(lower) but i’ll be brave enough to show and let you taste Filipino food. ;) by saying that i belong to the lower class, the ingredients that i’m always using as I cook in our home are the typical ingredients only and nowhere near the lavish spices used by restaurants. Authenticity is what I(we) can offer to you.

    Feel free to visit again and try as many food as possible :D

  • Greetings Agness,
    Although I empathize with what you had experienced with the “street” food in the Philippines I think the message that “came across” your entire blog post is what perhaps set off most of the “very sensitive” comments that I also have observed here in the comment section. Perhaps the wording could have been relayed differently? because although I respect others difference of opinions, some things can some off rude. I can understand honesty because I always stand by that but I do it in a way that doesn’t hinder the integrity of someone else’s culture :-) You say that it’s the food you criticized and not the people— but to us filipinos our food, our family and our life style IS what represents US <3
    Having said that, I can agree with you in some terms. I can agree that the street foods can be intimidating and was most definitely not the "best" quality of foods. However, if you took notice of my culture (being that I am filipina) many of the people there are poor and are not necessarily able to get the best quality ingredients. However, going to get street food is actually pretty much equivalent to purchasing a fast food meal here in the US from Burger King, McDonalds and/or Taco Bell (which in my eyes is very disgusting).
    Although you were in the Philippines for about 2 weeks, I wonder what exact location where you located in? it's important because every single island (which is more than 1,000 islands) has a different "culture" and "way" of cooking dishes! :-) We are SO diverse coming from Spain, China, Japan etc etc that our foods resemble differently amongst each other :-))) For example, in my island of Panay we make our adobo with more of a soupy consistency and I have found that in the northern areas they make it more oily. I prefer it in the way that my island makes it as others like it more oily like the northerners. Also in my island we have more soupy dishes with vegetables—which I ALWAYS loved growing up to! Like sinigang with fresh fish or beef and tons of vegetables are one of my favorites!
    I just wished you would have inquired or have a local really introduce you to our cultured food! I want you to understand that I am not being sensitive at all because I truly understand that especially when we are very new to a different country, we don't know exactly where to start! :-) I understand when you said you wanted to get a feel and the vibe of the country by experiencing the street food but if I were to really describe my culture it's that we are VERY family oriented and THE BEST home cooked meals are really at home <3 Immersing yourself in the filipino culture definitely should start in someone's home cooked meal and definitely NOT the streets :-))
    I hope this gave you some insight :-)) Thank You for making the trip to my homeland :-)
    -Alexis

  • Oh, we’re sorry for not meeting your AMERICAN standards. Many of us, myself included, are poor and as such, we tend to eat in those street stalls you’re talking about. And we’re doing fine. Food customs and choices are a cultural thing. You might want to consider that. And girl, you tend to make hasty generalizations. Obesity in children? Where have you been looking? You seem to be describing the US. Unhygienic food processing? You just looked at select places. You should visit all 7000+ islands in the Philippines before you make such generalizations. If you’re not satisfied, keep it to yourself. Stop fooling everyone with your uninformed articles. Or better yet, leave our country in peace before I throw you back to your country with my bare hands. Thanks! Don’t ever come back! :)

    • Dear John,

      I am not American, I am Polish.
      I have been experiencing different street food in many countries in Asia, so I know what to expect.

      • Just because you’ve been to places in asia for how long? Weeks? Months? It does not give you a license to generalize and to act like if you know a lot of things about a country. Even a year is not enough I can tell you that coz I’ve been there, done that. Look at you pictures, if you have a regular decent job in the Philippines you won’t even think of eating there unless you are very poor. Since you can travel I was thinking you could at least tried a half decent restaurant. How could you eat in there?

        With your answers to post that are friendly and just explaining things to you, it is obvious that you are not open-minded and you already made conclusions about Filipino food which is kinda sad to think that you are a self-proclaimed travel addict.

      • Maybe in other countries eating street food is “normal” but not in the case of the Philippines. Worst food is in the streets only the poor eat there. We don’t revel in street food – it is nothing but a convenience. Better more cultural food? Eat in well known Filipino restaurants. Really affordable and they are well known and famous with the locals for a reason. That’s where culture and quality really teems.

  • Then your title should be, I will never eat local street food in the Philippines again because your title means Filipino Cuisine is somewhat bad in general. Just because you saw a lot of poor people eating in sidewalk stalls it doesn’t mean that it is what “most locals” eat. Nobody is asking you to go to posh restaurants but a typical Filipino eats at home, homecooked meals 3 or more times a day. That is how our mothers take care of us. If parents are away, then the maid do the cooking. A regular family will have a maid, here you don’t have to be super rich to have 2 maids serving you. I am talking about Filipinos that are not very poor like the people you saw eating at those stalls. There is a lot of restaurants that offer no frills authetic dishes just what you like and they are no way posh but do not expect to pay the same amount you pay for those in your picturesI don’t like fastfood but I’d rather eat there than to eat those in the picture unless you don’t have a choice like those other people. Poor ones does not have a choice but to eat in those tables that is obviously dirty, I thought you should have noticed that before eating anything.

  • I was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 2006-2008. I’ve made several visits back to the islands over the past few years. It took me a few months to get used to the food at the beginning of my service. But I’m glad that I ate with an open mind.

    Honestly, it sounds like you needed to do some more research on the country. Or else make contact with a PCV or Returned PCV. Heck, even opening up a Lonely Planet could have helped you avoid your bad experience.

    Brian

  • “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!”

    One word “Generalization”.

    It is obvious that you have been to Luzon and Visayas but not in Mindanao. The Southern part of the Philippines, so it’s kinda not legit to generalize “Filipino Food” is bad.

    If you wanna try our Culture through Local Food, then it will be probably best to visit Provinces especially in Mindanao..

    because the food you ate are also not-legit Local Food.

    You can find and experience eating the best Filipino Local Food here in Mindanao; Bulad (Dried Fish), Balot (boiled Duck egg), Tinolang Manok (fresh fish stewed w/ few pieces of green leafy vegetables), Muslim Foods such as Pianggang (Tausug viand which is a very spicy chicken food), Tiyula Itum (beef marinated with a paste made of burnt coconut in a black spicy soup) and Satti (skewered beef or chicken served with steamed rice cubes over a generous amount of a thick, orange colored, sweet-chili sauce).

    and oh this is how it looks like cooking in a legit local food in Mindanao, the Southern part of the Philippines. (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yj_JeEq7Y4w/US3q0qeJOAI/AAAAAAAABnY/vZA668sxjXU/s1600/IMG_0756.JPG)

    not in a cheap i-don’t-care-what-you-say-just-eat non-legit Local food stands/cafeterias in Luzon/Visayas.

    Cheers!

  • I grew up exactly the way you experienced it..sadly and i hate to say, you are indeed right, from poor to average filipinos, this is what is being served to us,poor quality, unhygienic and cheap looking.

    So, just like what they say, you have to go to restaurants and pay a bit more for you to experience authentic and well served filipino dishes……

  • Making a sweeping generalization after a meager sampling of food from a country of 7,107 islands is a mark of ignorance, close mindedness and a pre-judgement that all eggs in a basket are bad after eating one egg from the surface that was not cooked. Your claim of poor quality of food is obviously based on some western standard which is not always available in all other parts of the world. Your standards are not everyone’s standards.
    I pity you for not having experienced eating raw fish fresh from a fisherman’s net, slightly washed in vinegar sourced from his own coconut tree. I pity you for missing out on fresh vegetable soup strictly made from a combination of odd numbered variants of vegetables. I pity you for not having the joy of salted and grilled pork from freshly slaughtered pig. You missed out on offal, cow’s tail, pig’s feet, chicken feet, marrow, etc. You have not searched high and low. You have not foraged our fields for gooseberries and wild mushrooms. You have not had eel or stingray stewed in coconut cream and spiced with fiery peppers handpicked from a garden. You missed out on a lot and I pity you, you world traveler with an opinion. Visit us again but leave the ignorance, prejudice, and too much dependence on Google fueled research in a bag in a dark corner at home.

  • Sorry to hear about your experience. I suggest if you go back never eat in a sidewalk or carienderia. I think most foreign are not used to this kind of foods that’s why they go sick for days. One experience in Thailand I ate their fruits from the streets with the salt and spices, it ruined my whole vacations as I was sick and in bed the whole time. Another experience is when I go for a road trip from Baguio to Pagudpud, bought a fruits along the way and from then on got stomach ache and again ruined my stay in Pagudpud. I guess I learned my lessons not to eat in some street foods that I am not sure of. It’s an adventure but next time to be more carefull on what to take.
    Go back again to the Philippines and maybe next time I can help you find the best place to eat the Filipino foods.

  • Next time you visit Philippines email me., Ill treat you a free travel tour guide and good home cooking. You’ll get that Adobo and daing that you want. Local restaurants a.k.a “Karin-dir-ya” is not the place where you want to be when looking for the best tasting dishes.

    I remember the news about this drunk guy asking for a “BULALO” on a bakery, he got served with a cup noodle… HAHA #HellFunny

  • Hello,

    I feel bad that you have had a negative impression on our food. If ever you will be returning, I’d like to turn that impression around ;)

    I just want to ask, prior to visiting the country, did you try to research on places to go for a great food experience?

    I’m pretty sure a research would not tell you to go to 7-11 for a longganisa. :) And tell me, who gave you that hotdog really? Every single Filipino knows the distinction between a hotdog and a longganisa. Every single one of us.

    Also, by the looks of the photos you have shown, the plates are from small “carinderias”, not restaurants. Those places are not the best way to experience local food. If I may make a comparison, what you did was wanting to eat the real deal ramen but buying the instant one — it will never be as good at all. Carinderias are not “where the locals eat”, we eat at our very own homes. A Filipino home is the best place to try an authentic Filipino food. That’s one of the best reason why a traveler should always make friends with the locals. They take you to the best secret places, show you the non-touristy stuff and share with you what the locals “actually” eat. :) (When I was in Hyderabad, India, Biryani is sold at every other food joint. But the best Biryani I ate was prepared by a friend’s wife.)

    The second best place to get an authentic local food would be on a reputable restaurant. Not on the streets, not on a carinderia, but on a trusted restaurant. That part, you can definitely research. We do have a lot of restaurants that serve awesome Filipino dishes.

    Also, a good thing to consider is the exact place in the Philippines where you stayed. Did you just stay only in Pagudpud? Manila? Did you go to Visayas? Mindanao? Depending on where you are, available food and number of choices for restaurant also varies.

    At any rate, I completely respect your opinion and thank you for making our country on of your choices of places to visit. I hope you found the place beautiful, if not only for the food. As I’ve said, I would like to turn around your impression on our dishes if you do come back.

    :)

    JJ

  • You get what you paid for. You went to the market where food is exposed and pre made, and you expect that it would be the shit, when it’s shit. You travel all over and don’t research the good places to eat at. You expect the locals to be good and healthy when these locals grew up with this shit. You know nothing about our culture. And yes they have you a hotdog because they figured you wouldn’t know the difference. Pls. Do your research. They could have given you a cat meat inside a bun and call it sooooo.

  • Hi Agnes,

    Filipino here, thanks for the honest blog, I have to agree, our food is oily, salty etc..

    But you really haven’t experienced “THE” Filipino cuisine yet.

    Adobo for example, yes it’s meat commonly cooked with soy souce, but there is another way, adobo sa gata translating to meat cooked with coconut milk, as well as sinigang a soup dish composed of meat or fish with a sour broth, a lot of ways to cook, may the broth soured with tamarind, guava, calamansi (local lemon), unripe mangoes etc. Bulalo, Sinaing na Tulingan, Kaldereta, Sinigang sa miso, Okoy, Mami, Lomi, Ensaladang talong…If I continue the list of foods, it may take days… :D

    Someone should have informed you about our street foods really, it’s not clean, but we are used to it because those are the foods that we are exposed when we are growing up. You could say that our bellies have been accustomed to. :D

    And the breakfast you ate at Pagudpud? I actually laughed, why? it’s not the breakfast we usually eat, we Filipinos usually eat pandesal, a small bun that’s being sold in every bakery there is… or the typical combi break fast food like “tosilog” (tocino sinangag itlog), “longsilog” (longganisa sinangag itlog), “tapsilog” (tapa sinangag itlog), or just simple “silog” (sinangag itlog). The person that gave you the breakfast did not understand you obviously.

    For the tourists who wants to experience the local food here, stay away from street foods, and do what a guy posted here, find a family that can adopt you, that can cook good Filipino food. They may even teach you how to prepare the food.

    Maybe you could also watch Anthony Bourdain’s “No reservations” experience here, or Andrew Zimern’s “Bizaare Foods”.

  • Hi Agness!

    It seems to me that you ate either in convenience stores or local canteens. To experience real Filipino food though, it’s best to befriend a family and taste a home-cooked meal. Barring that, there are popular restaurants (not fast food) that serve Filipino food the way it should be served, all at very affordable prices. Also, there are several food blogs about the Philippines that talk about “hidden gems”–whole streets with great local fare.

    I think your guide ripped you off, and I do hope despite this experience, you come by here again. If you do, I’d be one of the people very willing to be a guide, or else cook for you myself. :) I can personally attest that Filipino fare can in fact be very healthy.

    Also, what you were served is NOT a Filipino breakfast! We have this chocolate-based porridge called champorado, based off of the Spanish recipe for hot chocolate. That’s one breakfast meal. Others include tapsilog (tapa + rice + scrambled egg), corned beef (not the European version–I would think this has more in common with corned beef hash, and is served sauteed in tomatoes and onions), and longganisa (which is actually a unique, sweet sausage, most famous in Vigan, Ilocos Sur). Your guide definitely ripped you off there!

  • The title of this blog is very misleading, like you have tasted every Filipino food in decent locations to have that kind of generalization. If you went for cheap, what do you expect? So much like, if you go for a cheap Italian, would you expect the best of italian? I dont think so. If I’d get diarrhea eating street food, not knowing how they were prepared I would not even go. Common sense? It shouldn’t even be just about Filipino food.

  • Know what to eat next time you visit our country. Me, myself won’t recommend you to eat on the streets. You dare not sure what you can get. Go to a local restaurants or ask the locals where to eat good food. It might surprise you!

  • You’ve been to the Cheapest parts of the Philippines and you’re expecting a great meal? That’s not Longanisa, that’s 7-11 Hotdog! I mean seriously? Who eats at 7-11 and expects to be blown away?

  • Hi Agness,

    You should watch Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episode the Philippines. Then maybe visit those same places, or similar places.

    What you ate really isn’t reflective of local cuisine, it is cheap fast food.

  • I am really sorry for your bad food experience but I realized that you were totally unaware of the food culture here in the Philippines. Street Food is unhygienic and not eaten as a meal. It is snack food for people looking for something cheap. For true meals, go to reputable recommended restaurants. I guess you did not have a Filipino friend to help you go to nice cheap places. There are a lot but I am curious why you did not mention the most common breakfast place in the Philippines, Jollibee. For around $1.25 you can get the most common breakfast fare in the Philippines in a nice cheap hygienic setting. They serve Silog (a contraction of the base ingredients SInangag – Fried Rice and ItLOG – Fried Egg). They have Longganisa (sausage), tocino & tapa (cured pork) and bangus (fish) for breakfast. And also you should try our food courts in the malls. They are the best places to try the local dishes since (again) hygienic and there are food stalls that specialize in specific dishes or cooking styles. Try the Lechon (roast pig) at Lydia’s or Adobo at Adobo Republic. As for seafood, try going to a dampa. These are places where there’s a wet market at the front where you can buy fish, crabs, & other seafood by the kilo. Bring your purchases inside and for a cooking fee they will cook it in any style you want. Grilled, Baked, thermidor or Sinigang (cooked in a sour broth made with tamarind or guava and vegetables). But I really recommend going out next time with a knowledgeable foodie. Hoping that you will visit my country again and have a better food experience.

  • Hi,

    For me you better not no travel anymore in anywhere else than to insult one’s culture. You should respect every nation that you have experienced to travel.
    If you will give your own opinion especially if it is negative even in your own website see to it that your approach is still in positive way. You will not get any respect from people if you blog very negative approach. If i were you, i will be going to revise my blog.Here is a quotation for you
    “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
    —– Ayn Rand——–

    • I do respect people, their culture and traditions, including the food. However, I still have a right to express my disappointment with things I dislike, don’t understand or don’t support as long as it does not insult anyone. In my opinion, I am not insulting anyone.

  • Hi Agness!

    Well, I’m a Filipino. And based on your story, I’d have to agree that you really did have a really bad experience. For one thing, Filipino food is magnificent. I’m not an expert on the matter but our ingredients are used not only for taste but also for preservation.

    Here’s a quick tip for the next time you visit. Actually, this is a tip for all your future adventures. Food is like real estate. The the most important things you should consider are location, location, and location!

    If you hated the food in the City of Manila, you have great taste. The food there is disgusting and it does not even come close to the way those dishes are supposed to be cooked. This applies to a lot of places where the cost of living is high. You got the standard prices but not the standard quality.

    F*ck. I just remembered I needed to do something. So as much as I’d like to tell you more, I must stop. But just in case you’re planning on giving our food a second chance, you can contact me and I can be your guide.

    I’m not a professional tourist guide, I’m a tourist too. So as long as you can bring me where you want to go, I can be your guide for free*.

    *You just have to feed me. Hehehe.

  • Dear Agnes,

    I would like to invite you to visit my hometown in the philippines. Iloilo is a great city and it is well known for having a delicious delicacies and foods.. just google this food stuffs : Batchoy, halo-halo.
    i hope you can give as another chance.

    from philippines with love,

    sheila

  • Hi. I came to USA when I was 14, in early 70s. Filipino food in my home town, Imus, Cavite, around 50 kilometers from Manila, is the best as I remember. My grandmother and just about every neighbor cooked real well. Fresh lumpia (not fried) all fresh vefetables, beef tapa, casilyo (fresh white cheese much like fresh mozzarella cheese), sauteèd young garlic with its leaves in tofu and bean sprouts, de sarza (beef in tomato sauce base cooked in Spanish chorizo). All of those and much-much more were my pride and joy of my home town. When I visited in ’94 & ’96, I was as disappointed as the writer/visitor in the article. I could not eat it or even imagine they do not keep the flies away from food. I was crushed. I could only keep quiet and pretend I wasn’t hungry. All food quality including cooking skills around were gone. none of those food I mentioned were found- they all know of it, but no one knows who still makes them. My wife and I enjoyed some of these food served in a higher end restaurants. Indonesia and Thailad were the other countries we visited then. The quality of food are much better than in the Philippines. Although, my wife and I came back to Thailand in 2013, I must say, some of the quality have changed in Thailand as well. It must have had something to do with the quick rise in their economy. Anyway, I’m sorry that you gius didn’t find a good experience. But, for the most part, the Philippines are very poor country, where much of the street food standards are less than poor. I wouldn’t even try and eat there at some of the places you mentioned. Please be careful what and where you eat. I can only commend and thank you for visiting my old home. Many places are still beautiful, the beaches in remote islands… But they now cost a lot to get there. Take good care.

  • Hey Agnes, long time lurker, just wanted to comment on the piece.

    Anyone who has had bad experience with our food, in my opinion, looked for it at the wrong places. I mean, I don’t like eating out at carinderia’s too (little food stalls), just out of safety. It’s amazing that you didn’t get much worse. Most of the prepared food here are just done in quantity, not quality. If you visit again, and ate at some of the best spots with a credible tour guide, you’ll have a great time. If you want, my family prepares some of the best dishes where we’re from, we’ll be happy to serve you some of our best dishes! :)

  • There are things that you don’t have to post on-line or any social media. I know you are just sharing your experience but please be mindful and sensitive enough. Also just to let you know, you already had a lot of bashers on social media (and counting).

  • Well, the Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands, 17 regions, each with different versions of adobo. Each regions has its own specialty/ies. Filipinos do love to eat sweets. but what you bought is very commercialized. i was also disgusted by that breakfast, it was obvious you stayed in a very cheap hotel. so dont expect 5 star meals. The Philippines is a tropical country and i was surprised you included apples in your blog. those apples are from China because apples dont grow in the Philippines. As for the pineapples, just so you know, the Philippines is one of the exporters of the finest pineapples. DOLE Pineapples are from South Cotabato, Philippines. I was travelling abroad and i saw our pineapples, bananas and mangoes being sold worldwide. To sum it all up, i was offended by how you described Filipino cuisine. it was clear you did not do a lot of research. I do understand that not everybody will appreciate Filipino cuisine. But i think its very unfair that Filipino foods will be represented by this poorly written blog.

  • All street foods are gross! Including those from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, etc. Even burgers and hotdogs in the United States. They are generally not healthy.

  • Sorry you didn’t get to try those famous dishes. I rarely see stuff like Adobo and Karekare in small shops in the metro lately. It might be a good idea to visit some cafeterias in office buildings to get stuff like that instead of markets.

    I suggest not buying fruits from markets without a companion who’s familiar with the stores there. I’m a local and I’m not confident enough to get a good deal on good, fresh fruits. Also, I suggest not buying anything that’s already been peeled but that’s just me, I don’t really like other people I don’t know touching things I’ll be putting in my mouth.

  • Actually if you want proper Filipino food you should make friends with a Filipino family and eat at their home.

    Me as a Filipino from Zamboanga you learn more from conversing with families and the taste of each type of food especially Adobo is different from region to region. I come from a mixed lineiage of Boholano and Zamboangano they do have weird and different taste and actually food from the North is too oily and too salty for my liking. Except for the chinese places in China town great food.

  • Hello!

    Let me take you to some of the many good restaurants/food places in Manila or anywhere in the Philippines with the best Filipino food when you visit my country again. Imho, you guys just didn’t know where to go. And that’s the saddest part about this.

    Best,
    Pau

  • I’m a Filipino and one thing is for sure, do not eat at “karideryas” b/c they have nasty/dirty food there (not all though) I saw a picture that you have posted and it looked like one, next time you are looking for some good Filipino cuisine try dining in a legit Filipino resto so you know it’s clean.

  • Hi Agness,

    I did eat street food in the Philippines and I got sick with hepatitis several years ago. Many or almost all are not very healthy. If you say what most locals eat, well, most locals are poor and can only afford cheap street food. You are right that many dishes are high in sugar, salt, and fatty but there have been many changes lately and people are eating healthier food.

    This doesn’t mean however that authentic Philippine food is really bad. You should have compared the food quality from other sources like good restaurants in the area.

    Your conclusion on “better to go hungry than eat Philippine food again” is simply unjustified and very misleading. The amount of money you had on your adventure was also not well-spent btw.

    I know it is your opinion and I respect that but my suggestion would be to try to be more responsible on how you label things. I had many bad food experiences in other countries but I won’t say that I would rather die of hunger than eat their food again, do you get my point? Or maybe you had to use that title to get more media attention hehehe :)

    Your blog is good and your adventures seem fun and i can tell you are just being honest but a little responsibility won’t hurt. I look forward to your other blogs and maybe even bump into you here in China. Thanks for reading this. Good day. Ma pani piękny dzień.

  • I’m sorry; despite your efforts to give no offense, your blog was offensive from the beginning, starting with the title.

    First of all, while I can appreciate that you want the “authentic” Filipino food experience, you got exactly that, because most of the Filipinos in the Philippines are the working class proletariat who make the equivalent of approximately $6 USD per day as mandated but the Philippines minimum wage. They don’t dine in fine restaurants on a regular basis, nor do they eat adobo, kare-kare or lechon everyday, because those “fiesta” dishes are expensive to make so they only eat them on special occasions.

    You placed your stock in eating from food vendors on the street, when even Filipinos are wary of street vendors selling food. Filipinos don’t eat from these stalls because it’s good, they eat from them because it’s cheap and because they’re poor. When you live in a makeshift shanty on the side of railroad tracks and you’re leeching electricity from the closest power pole, a few centavos for some food all of a sudden becomes a means of survival. This is the harsh reality of the Philippines and third world countries around the world, so I would’ve thought that in your research you would’ve figured this out. Tourism is almost 70% of the Philippine economy, so they don’t cater to foodies trying to save a buck by eating in street vendor stalls. In fact, if you were a true foodie, you would’ve identified that what you were eating was not good, and ask where the dishes that you were in search of were to be found. Especially when you ask for longanisa and someone hands you a hot dog, it should be pretty obvious that it wasn’t what you wanted, so you probably should not have eaten it.

    You complained that if you wanted “healthier and more Western” food that it was expensive. I’m sorry, but why would you travel to a foreign country to eat food from your own country? Furthermore, in case you missed it, brown bread (in which I assume you’re referring to “whole grain”), brown rice, oatmeal and all the other foods you claim are healthier for you, as well as the small apples and oranges you mentioned, are not native to the Philippines, so of course you’ll have to pay a premium to have them. These food items need to be imported, and so the price for them drives upwards. And I apologize if the archipelago of the Philippines isn’t covered in an abundance of lettuce over the volcanic rock that the islands originate from, but apparently they didn’t know you were coming to judge the Filipino cuisine based on your street stall experiences. Again, a real foodie or world traveler would understand these issues and realities; you’re complaining that the food wasn’t healthy enough for you.

    You claim that you went to plenty of local restaurants, so why did you not discuss what you ate in them and why it was good/bad? The presentation of your article leads the reader to believe that ALL Filipino is of the same poor quality that you got from the food stalls. Was the food in the restaurants the same? What dishes did you eat? Did you take pictures? Do you understand the regional differences in Filipino cuisines, and how access to fruits, vegetables, spices, meats and seafood play the larger role in what dictates the regional cuisine, and not who they think is coming to dinner to judge their cuisine? Also, did you drink the water? Did you have ICE in your drinks? This could be the source of your stomach troubles, diarrhea, lethargy and other things. The water is not clean, and even Filipinos will not drink it unless absolutely necessary. Again, research would’ve come up with this for you.

    Also, you complained about the flies and the less-than-hygenic conditions in the local markets. Here’s a news flash for you- they are also for the poor people who cannot afford to shop in the big supermarkets. You said the fruit was old and of poor quality- do you want to know why? Because all of the good quality fruits and vegetables don’t get sold or distributed at local markets whose vendors can’t even afford to buy them themselves; they get sold to the hotels and resorts so that tourists like you can pay for them, just like in any other economy (did you not learn this in that Econ class of yours?). I’ve been to these markets all across Asia, and for the most part, they are all dirty and have flies; that is the nature of open air markets for locals.

    You claim that Filipinos are overweight because of their diet. I’d like to know which Filipinos you were looking at, because whenever I go to the Philippines, I’m surrounded by skinny, half-starving, barefoot kids wearing worn out hand-me-downs asking me to buy a bottled water, a few chiclets or cigarettes so they can put a few centavos in their pockets that already have holes in them.

    I’m sorry your food experience did not live up to your expectations, but I can honestly say that you went about your food mission completely in the wrong way. Why? Because you wanted these famous dishes like lechon, kare-kare and adobo, but you looked for them in food stalls that are predicated on feeding people who can’t afford to eat those things regularly. Furthermore, because of its proximity to the equator and the blistering temperatures, meat, fruits and vegetables go bad quickly, especially when their is a lack of refrigeration (i.e. in the open air markets). Filipinos do not waste because they know what it’s like to go hungry. I’m not defending the spoiled or rotten food, I’m explaining where it comes from.

    Finally, if you’re going to blog for the world to see and want to be accepted as a credible source of information, you can start by properly editing your pieces before posting them, freeing them from all spelling and grammatical errors, that way people, like me, take you seriously as opposed to some pretend foodie shot thinks that she’s worldly because she traveled a few places and blogged about it.

    If you are the average person reading this person’s blog, I would highly recommend that you do NOT do what she did for the authentic Filipino experience. Go their for vacation, stay in the resorts and hotels, enjoy the beaches and waterfalls, eat the regional dishes, and stay away from the food that she blogged about, because that’s not all what the Philippines has to offer.

    Sincerely,

    A Proud Filipino Named Alex

  • I stayed in the Philippines for seven years for school, I experienced what most foreigners want to experience in terms of local cuisine and authenticity. Street food is not authentic local cuisine, it is not what most locals eat. Authentic local cuisine is home cooked. Locals in the Philippines can’t really afford to buy food in the street, it’s a lot cheaper to just cook it themselves. Even locals don’t go to the street vendors to buy their meals. The only street food I eat are Kwek-Kwek, Fishball, and Kikiam, that’s it. It’s funny when people visit the Philippines and say they want to try the local cuisine and assume that street food is local. It is not. You don’t have to go to expensive restaurants to eat local cuisine, you get it home cooked. When I visit the Philippines I have my wife’s grandma cook food for me, that’s how you get real local food, not on the streets. Even here in the US, local cuisine is not really on the streets, maybe a couple of restaurants are local cuisine, but not all of them. I assume you went to Cebu, Cebu sucks in the first place, unless you actually go to the touristy area. Best places to experience the Philippines is up in the north, not Manila. Go to Baguio, Pampanga, Laguna, Cavite, don’t go to the big cities.

  • Hi Agnes and readers!

    Let’s face the facts: Filipino Food are Salty, Fatty and may I add MSG ridden? The truth is, we as Filipinos love it the way it is BUT it doesn’t mean every single person, let alone a foreigner, should too.

    Agnes is (sort of) correct in trying to eat street food the way she did because that’s the usual way you do it in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, and (I think even Singapore and Malaysia).
    The quality of food is almost usually the same and you enjoy eating this way while backpacking.

    And dear lord, read the tagline. $25/day. She was honest about her experience so get over it. She didn’t need to sugarcoat it for the benefit of you.
    She’s travelling, and if you do travel EXTENSIVELY and not the sort of going to a country for 3-5 days, you will know the sentiment of sticking to a budget.

  • Seriously we should learn to accept negative issues. I am a filipino. They are just one of the food bloggers in the entire world. I’m sure people would read other blogs or reviews about filipino cuisine. Probably nobody told them not to eat at a carinderia. It says that they went to banaue, are there any good restaurants to eat there aside from turo-turo since it consists mostly of mountains?
    I was in pagudpod before ans the resort i stayed in cooked dinner for us and it’s one of the best ilocos food i’ve tasted. I bet they don’t even have a guide because they are on a budget. So it’s more on a DIY trip and probably they stayed at a transient type of accomodation so don’t expect they would serve you breakfast. I think it depends on a person’s taste buds. I’ve been to bangkok and my tour guide was telling me to try this and that but when i tried it, it taste awful and one of them resemble atsara. One of filipino food.
    About the obesity issue, young people get obese when fast food was introduced in the Philippines. I guess if you’re going to compare our obesity rate to other countries, we wouldn’t be on the top lists.

  • eat all the bugs of thailand and cambodia and why not try those street foods of kolkata and delhi and pray to all the gods you wont be hospitalized! eat those food and dont go hungry. you went to the wrong places in the philippines

  • I’m sorry you had to experience that. I guess there has been some neglect in food sanitation by our gov’t officials due to political problems for the past decade.

    I hope you’ll try our food again in the future and we’ll do our best to inform authorities to help improve food preparation.

    I highly suggest you stick with our restaurants instead of trying streetfood for now.

  • Why don’t come to my place and I will prove it to you that you are wrong. Once you try my cooking, you will say OMG’s this filipino food??? And I’m going to tell you this right now, that your going to say this. OMG’s LOVE FILIPINO FOOD.!!!!
    1 min · Like

  • Wow. Congrats! You are now famous ‘coz of this rubbish blog of yours. Now I understand your purpose in writing this blog. I just want you to know that 2 weeks is not enough to know everything in a country.
    Good luck!

  • I am a Filipino, and judging by the pictures you have posted neither i will eat in those places that you went to. Heck, I wouldn’t even ask my driver to eat there.

  • Hi. I lived in the Philippines my whole life and has experienced what you have experienced. Most Filipinos really do not eat at the local ‘Karinderias’ or where you ate, we usually eat at home where our Moms or Grandmothers (in my case) cook food. Trust me, it tastes a lot better than those in the streets. People usually eat there because they don’t have packed lunch from home or wants to save money therefore eating at a local food stall. I suggest you stay with a Filipino family during your stay here again.

  • I am an American but have spent a lot of time in the Philippines. Like you guys, I have also traveled the world extensively and most of Asia and SE Asia.

    Many people have already corrected you on this, but let me try to put it into a foreign perspective.

    Who on earth advised you that Filipino street food was good? Guidebooks may mention some of the more “interesting” examples of Filipino street food as an example of adventure, but when talking about the fusions and mixtures and diverse culinary influences, I highly doubt they were referring to street food.

    You have experience with places like Thailand (and Taiwan) that have amazing street food which locals partake of regularly and are proud of. Based on this street food, you think you can judge the whole cuisine. In some places of the world, street food is often the first option for eating because it is quick and cheap and DELICIOUS.

    The problem is, that the Philippines just does not work that way. Street food is a last option, it is for the very rushed, the very desperate, the very poor, or as an occasional snack. You are absolutely right that Filipino street food sucks, but unlike Thailand or Taiwan, it does not directly correlate with the quality of the country’s cuisine.

    That said, some of your more general points are true: Filipino food is often of a poorer quality because it is a poor country and they like overly sweet things too much. But that doesn’t change the fact that your error is the same as judging the quality of an American hamburger by a stop at McDonald’s. Just because it is quick and easy and cheap, does not mean it is representative of a real American hamburger.

    It is difficult to find the typical Filipino fare in the streets, because the average Filipino is not wealthy enough to eat out regularly. Your best representation of typical Filipino food will be found in a decent home-style restaurant (not an extravagant one). That said, I still don’t think you will be blown away by typical Filipino food – it doesn’t compare to Thai or Indian or Vietnamese. But it is definitely not as bad as you think.

    You just approached your experience with the wrong mindset and as you continue in your travels, I encourage you to reevaluate your preconception that “street food = what the typical locals eat” or that “street food is somehow automatically more authentic than restaurant food”. As an example among many other countries, I can guarantee you that it would be impossible to judge American cuisine by its street food.

    Some last notes: those “dumplings” are Filipino versions of “emapandas” which are very common in the Hispanic world. This shows me that you still need more exposure to some parts of the world. And as many others have said, there is no way an honest Filipino would have sold you a 7/11 hotdog as a longanisa. You must have run into someone lazy and/or incompetent. Real longanisa is found, again, at a restaurant, or very specialized stalls or shops – and is actually one of the decent Filipino foods.

  • Agnes,

    First of all… this piece of article really caught my attention. If this is a way of you being recognize, bravi! you’ve done a great job. I also have my own blog and I’m a content writer on a great company so I totally get you. But if what I’ve read on your blog is really what you want others to think about. Then let me say, it’s really disappointing.

    If you really want to experience Filipino food, don’t go grumbling on every street you could pass. That’s not how Filipinos really live up to our cuisine. Might as well meet some Filipinos and dine with them.

    I myself love to cook Filipino dishes and I would really like to disagree on the things you’ve shared on this post. As I’ve said, “DINE with us” and I’ll assure you…your “BAD/DISGUSTING food experience” on our country will be forgotten JUST-LIKE-THAT.

  • Wow. Here is the thing. The Philippines is a one-of-a-kind country if you want to understand why you did not eat good food you have to understand the background and history of our country not only were we colonized by many other major countries but you also have to take into consideration the type of society that makes up the Philippines, our geography, our practices before you can begin to understand why your trip did not work as planned. none of these comments were trying to suggest to you that you should eat at a posh restaurant. you have to consider that local food doesn’t mean it is found on the street. take for example if you were living in New York City what there would be considered local food. it is very ignorant for you to think that street food is the food that everyone eats and is the food that we have become famous for. geographically the Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands and the last I checked there are over 70 dialer

    so for you to say such unkind things about the Philippines and our food based on your tiny Perception of what Filipino food is, and before you slander our culture, which you HAVE done, with something that seems so minimal to you, perhaps you need to take a more educated approach to your succeeding journeys before you release such an ill and derogatory
    opinion.

  • Hi Agnes, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with Filipino food. I see where you’re coming from, but if ever you decide to visit Manila again, please feel free to get in touch and I will be happy to show you around and even feed you at my home. Healthy yummy eating can be affordable here, but hard to find. You really have to find people who can guide you on this. I have personally experienced this disappointment when traveling around local beaches– wondering why I’m eating cheap fast food and unable to find fresh seafood when I’m right beside the ocean! On the other hand, I’ve also experienced eating amazing fresh, healthy, delicious food in some places. On one memorable trip to a nearby province, we were feted with hearty beef broth (“nilaga”) made using fresh ingredients from the farm. Delicious and nutritious! Their local municipality was actually supporting the small family-owned farms and promoting grass-fed farm animals.

    Anyway, in case it helps anyone– I have included a link to my blog sustainablemanila.com where I’ve listed a shopping guide / directory for healthy eating in Metro Manila.

  • Sad but true , but hey what can we say this is our food and we love it cause we grew up from eating this delicious foods that u dont like .. Just like how u say u love your food but others criticise on them its the same for us .. I am filipino but i live abroad and i hate most of thier food cause im not accustomed to the foods but thats me cause im not used to it ., but what u experience is just so far from local foods cause even we,us filipinos prefer to eat in a decent restaurant that serves local foods as well cause we know that street foods are just as bad as the food that we dont like or hate .. But making such comments about our food is not right cause what u experienced is far from what ur supposed to experience cause u havent really tried our local foods .. U went on the street foods but thats not we call local because in philippines local foods is what u eat at home, cooked at home and share together with everyone .. And besides its because u tried something ur not used to unlike us filipinos as what u can see in the streets people survive with the dirty surroundings .. I just hope that u should have tried something else like eating in a restaurant with filipino foods or eat at home with filipino friends so u can actually try our local food ., its not great but at least its not so bad as what u think .. And thanks for pointing out and saying what we have in our country at least next time u do visit or others they dont have to try the foods in street to avoid getting sick .. Thanks for ur honesty ..

  • I think you missed the fact that the separation between the rich and the poor in the philippines is extreme. What you have experienced is what poor people eat – yes, it’s local but most people not considered poor would not eat the food you ate. We know what you experienced, and we avoid those lol. They are not what you have read. You go to malls or decent restaurants and order the famous dishes Filipinos are known for – yes, that’s also local food. There’s various kinds of longganisas and you got served hotdog? You got scammed. Yes, that happens too. I do agree the dishes tend to be fatty and salty, and I usually avoid it when preparing to do something active.

  • I’m sorry that you had an bad experience with Filipino food. Looking at the pictures posted, I couldn’t help but laugh because it was obvious they were from what we call “hepatitis joints” in the streets. I am Filipino too and I have tried that kind of food many times before and I must admit it’s not a pleasant memory. The only time I eat in those places is when I’m either really broke or really drunk. I hope you had the proper vaccinations before you embarked on your culinary adventure in the Philippines. But I wish you were more discriminating in your choice of eating places. You missed a lot on good Filipino cuisine there.

  • I do respect your opinion about Filipino Food. It seems that you are looking for the best way you can spend your bucks in all your trips which I would do the same thing – affordable is better. However, it seems that you may be lacking ‘research’ in a sense that you spent mostly buying street food that may not be good for you as they lack quality standards. Good research, I should say is the most important thing that you should have considered doing before visiting places. Another thing, what isn’t good for you, may be good for others. OR vice versa. Adobo may not satisfy your taste buds but this is what we are known for as this contain soy sauce that we have obtained from our Chinese heritage. We are a mixture of cultures – from Spanish to Western. Just like Americans loving hamburgers, we love our adobo/lechon. We may not be 100% loving everything but we are proud of our food as they not only constitute our being but also represent our ancestors. Again, I’m sorry that our food does not satisfy your palate. But then again, One Size Doesn’t Fit All..In retrospect to your title/content, we were just hopeful that it could have been more elegantly written as to not hurt/harm our tourism/locals. Your opinion is mostly misleading, the longganisa photo is not even our longganisa – and I just hope that when gathering information, please give the best effort to make it more factual – mostly, the food posted are not the exceptional/authentic Filipino dishes but merely for mass production. A two-week stay and very low budget won’t give you much. No offense, just an opinion, too. We are not being defensive..But how would you feel if we broadcast in every aspect only but DISGUST about your homeland? Yes, blogging is all about honesty but it’s also about fairness – showing compassion and being sensitive to those who might be affected by the weblog content.

  • Don’t travel on a very tight budget. Else, you won’t really enjoy a thing from that country. Plan it well. Research where to eat the real deal good Quality food because no one from that country will appreciate your blog. My countrymen might have been posting your blog now on Facebook for bringing down our Filipino cuisine ( which is the reason why I actually get to come across your blog btw after seeing it on FB ). I don’t really think that’s totally cool at all. Spend more money next time to enjoy! Just saying :)

  • I agree with some of your points. But, saying I WOULD RATHER GO HUNGRY THAN EAT FILIPINO FOOD isn’t fair, don’t you think? That’s harsh to generalize the whole cuisine like the Philippines only has ONE chef or that Filipinos cook the same? You went to small eateries and cheap places and what do you expect?

    It’s ok to complain about bad, disgusting food. I had my share of having those but really, using THAT as a title to this blog entry? Where’s the open-mindedness in that? As a traveler, you should know that better.

  • I think we should just ignore this blog… Lets respect her opinion and move on with life.

    I’m Filipino, btw.

  • Hi Agnes, this post just saddens me because you’ve been given a very unfair food experience of our country. I’ve read that you guys ate street food because it’s where we locals usually eat, but the truth is, we don’t. We cook our own food because dishes that come from a carinderia (small “restaurants” along sidewalks) are not cooked traditionally and are prepared in the most less expensive way that’s why they taste bad. They usually only cater to public transportation drivers who just need to fill their tummies with something so they could survive the day. No offense meant, but for a traveler who really wants to experience the culture of a place, we usually contact a local and interact with them, maybe live with them even for just a day. I’m sure a local host will be more than willing to cook you the best just to change your opinion of our cuisine. I just had to post my comment because if I saw that you were rating our food based on the right sources, then all I can do is shut up, but I see that you didn’t and just went for the what you thought was “our culture”.

    P.S. Balut are really not offered in restaurants. They are sold by Balut vendors usually carrying ratan baskets and walk the streets at night. Maybe a better research next time or just don’t go claiming that you’ve done research and yet you were disappointed.

  • You made your research??. You should know where to go and eat the best street food that everyone eats. And maybe your guide ripped you off! Really 7/11, its not even a quality food joint!

  • Hi, as with all the comments before, I think your judgement on the cuisine is a bit harsh.

    Point taken, you didn’t like the food that was served to you, however, the sorry state of the food that you tried in the Philippines was more of a function of the places where you ate, rather than the actual characteristics of Filipino Cuisine as a whole. Whilst I agree with your assessment that “eating where locals eat” MAY provide a more in-depth experience of the local cuisine, I don’t think its fair to make it seem that those particular experiences summarize wholly the characteristics of Filipino Food.

    Do you really expect that the quality of food served in side-stalls to be the same as those that are dutifully prepared in a restaurant’s kitchen? Even if these were the same dishes, there is a different preparation, precision, and time exercised in serving dishes in an actual Filipino Cuisine Restaurant than by the streets. Any food connoisseur would know this.

    You generalize the cuisine based on what you experienced, which isn’t necessarily complete, and using it as a basis to lambaste the food.

    The title of your article “You’d rather go hungry than eat Filipino Food Again” is a tremendous discredit to those who take the time and preparation to serve and present Filipino Cuisine at an international standard.

    This is a little bit biased, and a whole lot insulting.

  • I dont know why you ate at those places? YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE ELSEWHERE WHERE THE LOCALS REALLY EAT.. THAT IS NOT WHERE THE AVERAGE FILIPINO EAT. Please do research before making ignorant comments

  • The thing that bothered me about this blog is not the statement that showed me that you got a raw deal with your guide but rather… that you never mentioned where you got your food from… if it was a place that didn’t have a name (which would have been a red flag already) then you could have taken note of the street you were on. The thing is, I believe, a good travel blog doesn’t just give you ideas of the experience but also gives info. I mean, if you had enjoyed the food, how will people know where to try it. If you’re saying that the food was terrible, how will people stay away from it when they don’t know where to stay away from? You want authentic filipino cuisine? I have a friend there in Poland who can whip you up some if you promise to take back your general statement if you like it. E-mail me if you’re interested. Suggestions for a new title: I’m never eating there again… places to avoid eating at in the Philippines
    Its more specific and less insulting to most Filipinos… Also, some comments are right. Make a Filipino friend abroad then ask them if you can stay with them for a few days in the Philippines. We generally enjoy housing visitors (unless we’ve already adopted the culture of the country we stayed in) and really love cooking up a storm for them. :-)

  • I am surprised with your blog. I am a Filipino here from Pampanga which is known for their food. Next time you go back to Philippines or just wanna try Filipino food anywherelse, let me know. I will give you a complete details on what to eat.

  • You ate spot on with your observations about the food. It was well written and you opinion. Unfortunately many people here will object to your opinions and follow offended unless everything is shown in a good light. Believe me most people ftpm

  • That’s okay, Agness. Most Filipinos would probably eat bland Polish food than go hungry in Poland. We don’t like getting hungry.

  • I’m sorry that you had a very bad experience with the street food in manila. Admittedly we do not have a very good or exciting street food scene. This had to do with the local economy. People are poor and can’t afford decent food. The best produce are sent abroad.

    Real filipino food is found at home. Cooked for the family, shared with family and guests.

    Please come back to manila. Email me when and your choice of ten of those top fifty and I will cook em for you. Plus such traditional filipino creole fare as morcon, embotido and hamonado, the way our grandmother used to prepare. You shall be my guest at our house for lunch and dinner.

    I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that our food deserves a second chance.

  • If you don’t cook, you don’t eat…if you don’t eat you die!…=] Pinoy Dishes that you experience on the street are mostly not good, but if you have a good local guide you can experience a good food that within your budget. Next time you travel back here…Try in PATEROS…we have a FIESTA every 2nd week of February. In carenderia its just like a fast food that if you don’t have time to cook you tend to eat there. But if you try to eat in (lutong-bahay)homecooking style that with tourguide or local friend then you can tell the difference.=]

  • You should have searched for restaurants that serves authentic filipino food. I hope next time you’ll be able to appreciate how unique our cuisine is. And by the way, you don’t go to 7-11 for longanisa. :) Haha

  • You did your research?? Then you should know where to go and eat (safe) street food! (If you dont want to go to a restaurant!) Or maybe your guide ripped you off. Really 7/11, its not even a quality food joint!
    There’s a lot of good food in the philippines!

  • Filipinos always feel mistreated (probably because we really are because we’re in a 3rd world country) that’s why so many Filipinos hate this blog. Anyway, I totally agree with everything you said. I also love to travel to try different dishes from different places. I must say you didn’t have any luck in finding local “legit” foods. What you ate are foods locals eat to get by the day. They are usually pork, fish and vegetables drowned in canola oil and MSGs. It’s like fast food for locals because at the end of the day, hard working filipinos with low paying jobs don’t have the energy to cook for themselves that’s why these foods exist.

    I’m not telling you to try the costly restaurants in manila. As a local, we have what we call “foodtrip”. It’s something we do to pig out. We usually have a low budget and find something to eat in the streets. We eat something like isaw (BBQued pig, cow or chicken intestine) fishballs, squidballs and kwek-kwek (quail eggs). It’s what locals usually eat to “foodtrip” and not just to get past the tiring day. It’s like eating to have fun. We usually eat in “lutong bahay” kind of canteens to eat legitimate lechon, adobo and kare kares (which are not drowned in oil). If you do the right research you can find those canteens.

    I recommend watching this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-i4fxhMjLA
    He’s a celebrity in our country who travels and do foodtrips. It’s called “Biyahe ni Drew” (Drew’s Trip). He always finds ways to search for authentic street foods and he tells people how to get there. If you plan to go here again (and I recommend you do), watch his series. Just search him in youtube and search the place you will go. He probably have an episode or two of that place.

    I’m saying, you didn’t have luck finding these kind of local restaurants. Good blog though. Next time you go here, you say to people “Ate/Kuya, where do we go to foodtrip?” Cheers! :)

  • Hi, Agnes!

    I commented a while ago about taking you to some of the many good restaurants in Manila that serve the best Filipino food. I am offering you another option. My grandmother (lola) cooks the best Pinoy meals. She whips out the best kaldereta, afritada, kare-kare, adobo, sinigang na baboy, kinilaw, nilagang baka, etc. My lola is not a cranky lola. She may be a bit timid but she’s very accommodating and hospitable.

    After reading your blog post and commenting on it, I called her to tell her about your sad story. Her initial reaction was that you’ve been deprived of a good experience. She also mentioned that she will be more than willing to cook for you to turn your opinion around because she thought it’s unfair that you blame your misfortune and, clearly, naivety or lack of research about Filipino foods on her beloved meals. She came short of saying that the blame is on you. This is not the so-called “Pinoy pride” that’s talking here.

    Anyway, if you’re up for her offer, you can shoot me an email and I’ll be glad to arrange this feast for you.

    Best,
    Pau

  • Incredible.. you two are very RUDE! Shame on you two! I have tried Polish food and I am part Polish! I can say as many bad things about Polish food! One day you two will get what you deserve…

  • Hey, I’m a Filipino and I’ve lived in the Philippines my entire life.
    I’ve read some comments and I agree with some of their points.
    Firstly, the ‘locals’ or well other people who aren’t as fortunate as some have grown up used to places you visited, they are very much accustomed to the food they eat.
    Second, the best of the best Filipino food could be found in Filipino homes, and in certain Filipino restaurants(keep in mind not the side street, hole in the wall places).
    Third, here in the Philippines it would do you, and other people well to actually do more research and learn where and when you should buy certain things(ingredients, fruit, vegetables, etc)
    I do not mean to be insulting or offensive, I’m just simply staying my opinion.
    I hope you get another chance to come back and enjoy real good Filipino Cuisine.
    And good luck and God Bless in your future travels(:

  • i’m sorry if this was already answered
    why did you ask for a longganisa in a 7/11 store?
    I know that they only sell hotdogs there
    and how were you not able to find a balut?

    I’m half Filipino and Chinese so i can agree that chinese food are better, I had my taste buds tingling when i visited China. All the street food there were delicious and affordable unlike in the Philippines were everything that is healthy and delicious are expensive.

  • Agnes probabaly doesnt know the difference of local filipino dishes from a street food. Try to do a research sweetie prior to posting such review.. :))

  • I’m Filipino and I find this quite funny, the comments I mean. But I agree with you. Filipino food IS too salty, too sweet. But that’s how we like it I guess, and it’s what makes it FILIPINO. Too bad you weren’t able to try the good stuff though (dinuguan, tuyo, REAL longganiza, Bicol Express). Well hopefully, you’ll enjoy your next gastronomic trip to the Philippines! Just find a good tour guide and you’ll be ready to go. Also, i really appreciate how honest and direct to the point your blog post is, but i think it’s the title that just made headlines. LOL. Mabuhay!

  • Hello! :D

    A friend linked me to your post, and I’m sorry you had that experience in my country. ^_^;;

    But yes, Filipino food could take a bit of getting used to. I have an Italian fiance who moved here to Manila six months ago, and he’s been adapting to the local cuisine pretty well, though I had to give him many, many pointers, LOL.

    I also agree that street food is one of the best ways to experience a country’s culture. I have to admit, though, that even though I’ve lived here my entire life, I’m still pretty picky about which roadside eatery (“carinderia”) I eat at. Some places are cleaner and tastier than others for the same price. I also wondered if some of the food that you were served weren’t prepared properly (it happens at cheap places). We often joke that there are establishments that require a stomach made of asbestos to eat at, or at least years of inoculation, LOL.

    My suggestion would be that one of the best ways to experience Filipino food is through home-cooked meals, prepared for you. If you ever decide to visit again (and I hope you do), perhaps it might be a good idea to find a host. ^_^

    Laters! :D

  • for starters, you should eat at Aristocrat restaurant in malate, manila. there you’ll find traditional food truly loved by the locals. its been there since time immemorial. street food is often a miss, than a hit. people usually eat there for the price not for the quality.

  • I’m filipino myself – and the stuff you posted, I wouldn’t eat those myself. LOL. gotta learn where to eat :) yeah, hygiene/food preparation here is poor that you have to choose where to eat – unlike places in Korea or Vietnam where you seem more confident eating even on the sidewalks. :)

    Anyway, hope you enjoyed the other stuff offered by my country.

  • Hello there. When i read your post, i wasnt sure whether to laugh, get annoyed, be puzzled, or feel sorry for your terrible experience. Going out on the street like that to get a sampling of “authentic” filipno food is akin to goin out in the us for hotdogs. In other words, you get cheap junk. Not sure where you did your prior research but my guess is its from a travel book written by a foreigner who stayed in the philippines for a few weeks on assignment. But thats just my guess.

    Im a filipino myself but my family immigrated to canada when i was 9 years old thhen i moved back in and out for a total of over 10 years starting when i was 19. so i sort of know what authentic filipino food is and yes id be more picky about cleanliness than other more typical filipinos so i can understand why you sounded grossed out by what you saw because thats precisely the reason i dont eat at those stalls you mentioned. That said, let me say this to anyone out there planning to go on a similar foodie mission….the truth is, it is rather difficult indeed to get a taste of “authentic filipino food” because locals tend to have their personalized versions and most cannot afford to have the ingredients that it ought to have. Commercially on the other hand, you will need to be willing to spend a bit more than 4usd to even get close to authentic because unfortunately, most people are below poverty line and eat junk. So, there are basically two options how to taste decent authentic filipino food (take note i didnt bother to say “good” because itll really depend on your taste tho in my opinion, if u know the right place, you will be hooked!):
    1) ask a filipino friend who isnt below the poverty line to cook for you or take u to some nice restos that are not in a food court
    2) if youre in a major city, ask where is the “high end” mall because that is usually where youd find restaurants that would spend enough on quality ingredients. If in manila, i would suggest abe in serendra, kamayan(easier to find since this is a franchise…buffet style so not quite as good as abe), ebun in greenbelt3 makati, or (put a star on this one)… i most highly reconmend go to “dampa” along macapagal blvd near mall of asia where you shop at the fresh seafood market then choose any of the adjacent “we cook for you” restaurants to cook it for you for a nominal fee. Try the different types of lobsters and fish. So delicious.

    Best of luck.

  • such a bad experience for you in the philippines agnes. however there are some points here that i would like you to know. id say you went to the wrong places im sure there are a lot of good restaurants in the metro, you mentioned 25 dollars a day, you can at least eat in a descent resto there such as in malls. i agree, food stalls on the streets is not hygenic and i, myself wouldnt eat there. filipino authen