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Traditional Manila Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Manila is complete without tasting the traditional Manila food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Manila to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Atchara: pickled papaya strips.
  • Champorado: a sweet chocolate rice porridge.
  • Itlog na pula (red eggs): duck eggs that have been cured in brine or a mixture of clay-and-salt.
  • Laing: a vegetable dish with coconut milk.
  • Longganisa: a sweet or spicy sausage, typically made from pork.
  • Lumpia: pastry filled with meat (ground pork or beef) and vegetables.
  • Nata de coco: chewy, translucent, jelly-like food product.
  • Siomai: ground pork, beef, shrimp, combined with extenders like green peas, carrots which is then wrapped in wonton wrappers.
  • Ukoy: shredded papaya combined with small shrimp.


  • Batchoy: a noodle soup garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, chopped vegetables, and topped with a raw egg.
  • Binacol: chicken soup cooked with coconut water and served with strips of coconut meat.
  • Mami: a noodle soup made from chicken, beef, pork, wonton dumplings, or intestines (called laman-loob).
  • Nilagang baka: a beef stew made with cabbages and other vegetables.
  • Sinigang: a soup made from either pork, beef, chicken or seafood and other souring ingredients, such as tamarind.
  • Sotanghon: a chicken noodle soup consisting of cellophane noodles, chicken, and sometimes mushrooms.
  • Tinola: a soup made with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and chili pepper leaves or Bird's eye chili leaves in broth flavored with ginger, onions and fish sauce.


  • Ensaladang talong: eggplants, tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, spicy vinegar, salt and black pepper.
  • Kinilaw: fish or shrimp cooked only by steeping in local vinegar, sometimes with coconut milk, onions, spices and other local ingredients.

Main courses

  • Adobo: pork or chicken, sometimes both, stewed or braised in a sauce made from vinegar, cooking oil, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce.
  • Alimasag sa Gata: crabs stewed in coconut milk, long chillies and ginger.
  • Arroz caldo: a rice porridge cooked with chicken, ginger and sometimes saffron, garnished with spring onions (chives), toasted garlic, and coconut milk.
  • Bringhe: a dish made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, and turmeric.
  • Crispy pata: pata, salt, a bottle of soda, patis, baking soda, monosodium glutamate, oil, flour, water.
  • Dinengdeng: a dish consisting of moringa leaves (malunggay) and slices of bittermelon.
  • Dinuguan: stew of blood and meat (typically stomach, intestines, ears, heart and snout) simmered in a spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar.
  • Ginataang Tilapia: tilapia (fish) in coconut milk.
  • Ginisang Ampalaya: sautéed bitter melon.
  • Gising gising: spinach dish with pork and chilies in coconut milk.
  • Goto: arroz caldo made with ox tripe.
  • Kaldereta: beef, liver, onions, garlic cloves, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green and red peppers, hot chilli peppers, grated cheese, beef stock, cooking oil.
  • Kare-kare: a stew made from peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe.
  • Kiampong: fried rice topped with pork pieces, chives and peanuts.
  • Lechon: famous spit roasted pig (or piglet) with crackly crispy skin.
  • Mechado: a beef dish.
  • Pancit Buko: chicken breast, onion, garlic cloves, carrot, grated buco, shredded cabbage, stringbeans, chicken broth, chopped kintsay, patis, salt, cooking oil.
  • Pinakbet: a dish made with fish and vegetables (bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, okra, string beans, chili peppers, parda, winged beans, and others).
  • Sinigang: a soured broth with local vegetables and beef, pork, fish, or prawns.
  • Tinapa rice: fried rice served with tinapa (smoked fish flakes) and salted egg slices.


  • Bibingka: a rice cake.
  • Halo-halo: a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits.
  • Kalamay: a sticky sweet delicacy made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and ground glutinous rice.
  • Kutsinta: a brown rice cake.
  • Maíz con hielo: a mix of shaved ice, corn kernels, sugar and milk.
  • Minatamis na saging: ripe plantains chopped and caramelized with brown sugar.
  • Palitaw: a small, flat, sweet rice cake.
  • Puto: rice cake.
  • Sapin-sapin: a layered glutinous rice and coconut dessert.
  • Sorbetes: ice cream.
  • Suman: a rice cake made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana leaves.
  • Taho: a warm treat made up of soft bean curd which is the taho itself, dark caramel syrup called arnibal, and tapioca pearls.

Fast food

  • Bistek Tagalog: thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and then fried in a skillet that is typically served with onions.
  • Chicken inasal: grilled chicken.
  • Inihaw na Baboy: grilled pork.
  • Peking fried chicken: chicken, soy sauce, oil, salt, pepper, fat, chicken broth, sherry, scallions, celery, cornstarch.
  • Tocino: sweetened cured meat (either chicken or pork) that is marinated and fried.

Street food

  • Balut: a boiled pre-hatched poultry egg, usually duck or chicken.
  • Banana-cue: a whole banana or plantain skewered on a short thin bamboo stick, rolled in brown sugar, and fried.
  • Fish balls: fish balls skewered on bamboo sticks then dipped in a sweet or savory sauce.
  • Isaw: barbecued pig or chicken intestines.
  • Lechon manok: skewered roasted chicken.
  • Kamote-cue: a peeled sweet potato skewered on a stick, covered in brown sugar and then fried.
  • Kwek-kwek: hard-boiled quail eggs dipped in orange-dyed batter and then deep fried.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

Drinks (Alcoholic)

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