Top 10 Famous Street Foods in Luzon

Trying street foods is the easiest way to learn about the local dishes and culture when visiting a new country. These ready-to-eat foods are affordable and sold by a vendor or hawker in public spaces, such as streets, parks, markets, and fairs. In the Philippines, you’ll find diverse street food choices, which vary per region. But if you’re visiting Luzon, you might ask what street foods you should try first.

Whether you’re visiting the Philippines for the first time or want to recreate your favorite Filipino snacks, read on as we’ve rounded up the top 10 famous street foods in Luzon!

10. Isaw

Isaw is probably one of the strangest-looking street foods you can find almost anywhere in the Philippines, but not for the faint-hearted! It’s a skewered chicken or pork intestines often grilled or fried – a must-try Filipino street food, loved by locals for its soft and chewy texture.

Although it looks intimidating, this street food is cleaned several times before marinating to remove any food-borne pathogens. Then, the intestines are boiled and grilled or fried on sticks. To make it look more appealing, vendors apply orange food coloring to the intestines and enjoy it with spiced vinegar sauce!

9. Proben

Aside from Isaw, Proben is another famous street food in Luzon that you should try on your visit. Unlike intestines, Proben looks more appetizing, comparable with crispy chicken pops. But don’t be deceived since this street food is also made from a chicken organ. Proben is a Filipino street food made of chicken proventriculus or glandular stomach.

Before frying, the proventriculus is soaked in vinegar and salt. Then, it’s coated with batter and deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. Proben is often sold around university areas, parks, and markets – a cheap yet nutritious snack enjoyed with vinegar sauce!

8. Carioca

Carioca (Karyoka) is the perfect street food if you want to eat something sweet and filling. Also known as Cascaron, Buñuelos, or Tinudok, this sweetened and chewy treat is a traditional Filipino-style doughnut made of ground glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, and sugar. It’s often shaped into small round balls, doughnuts, or pancakes and placed in skewers.

Then, it’s deep-fried until the outside is golden and crispy. Carioca can be enjoyed plain or with sweet syrups, like caramel sauce. But it’s commonly served with the Filipino latik – a rich and creamy sauce made from sugar and coconut milk!

7. Maruya

Want to eat street foods but looking for something healthy? Then, grab the famous Filipino snack called Maruya! This nutritious and filling street food with Spanish influence is often eaten as breakfast, snack, or dessert. In Luzon, it’s called Maruya, while it’s referred to as “Pinaypay” in Mindanao and “Sinapot” or “Baduya” in the Bicol Region.

It’s Filipino-style fritters made with ripe saba bananas, coated with batter, and fried until crispy. Then, it’s served warm with margarine and lightly sprinkled with sugar – a classic Filipino merienda you can easily make at home!

6. Pancit Bihon

Another healthy street food option, Pancit Bihon, is one of the most popular Filipino dishes with Chinese origins. In fact, the dish is so famous in the country that you can find it almost everywhere, from restaurants to cafes and even on the streets. It’s a stir-fried dish that consists of rice noodles, vegetables, pork, or chicken and is seasoned with soy sauce and calamansi.

Despite being classified as a street food, Pancit Bihon is often served on birthdays, special occasions, and festivals. It’s also a favorite Filipino merienda, especially for elders, since it symbolizes “long life.”

5. Bibingka

In the Philippines, you’ll know that the holidays are nearing when the streets are filled with the aroma of this food. Like Puto Bumbong, many street food vendors make Bibingka as the Yuletide season approaches. It’s a traditional Filipino Christmas food eaten after attending the Simbang Gabi, served with a complimentary hot drink called Salabat (Ginger Tea).

Thus, you’ll commonly find this street food sold near churches. Bibingka is a Filipino cake made of rice flour and water. It’s traditionally cooked in terracotta pots lined with banana leaves, giving the dish a distinct and smoky flavor.

4. Kwek-Kwek/Tokneneng

One of the most famous street foods throughout the Philippines – Kwek-Kwek or Tokneneng, is a favorite snack among Filipinos after school, work, or a good workout. While its name doesn’t sound appetizing, fret not – since this protein-rich food is only made of boiled eggs.

The smaller variety, called Kwek-Kwek, is made with quail eggs, while Tokneneng contains boiled duck or chicken eggs. Then, they’re coated with deep orange batter and fried until crispy. You can enjoy this food with different flavored sauces, from sweet, spicy, and vinegary!

3. Taho

Taho is a favorite street food among kids and adults for its sweet, creamy, and soft texture – the perfect breakfast to warm and fill your empty stomach! This popular Filipino delicacy is often enjoyed for breakfast or as a sweet dessert. It consists of silken tofu, sweet brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls – a protein-rich street food that is vegan-friendly. 

Since it’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, you’ll have to wake up early to catch up with Taho vendors circling your neighborhood. But anyway, you can still enjoy Taho any time you want by buying at malls or online shops.

2. Halo-Halo

Halo-Halo, which translates to “mix-mix” in English, is a quintessential Filipino dessert locals enjoy, especially during the summer season in the country. This icy treat is often sold in restaurants, on streets, and in the garage or front yard of most Filipino homes – the perfect street food to beat the hot and humid weather of the Philippines!

As the name implies, Halo-Halo consists of various ingredients, including crushed iced, evaporated milk, and loads of toppings, like nata de coco, sliced bananas, beans, gulaman, pinipig, leche flan, and purple yam. Some vendors even top it with jackfruit and ice cream.

1. Lumpiang Shanghai

Claiming the first spot on our list of the top 10 famous street foods in Luzon is none other than the all-time Filipino favorite Lumpiang Shanghai! This fried spring roll is not only popular in the country since it’s recognized internationally, ranking as the 2nd Best Street Food in the World according to TasteAtlas. Originated from Chinese spring rolls, Lumpiang Shanghai is a Filipino snack deep-fried until golden and crispy.

It’s made of ground pork or beef mixed with onions, carrots, and other seasonings – served with a sweet and sour sauce, complementing Lumpiang Shanghai’s savory filling. You can find Lumpiang Shanghai being sold in street stalls across the country or by attending Filipino gatherings or events, which is a must on any occasion!

 

References

https://www.tasteatlas.com/most-popular-street-foods-in-philippines 

https://thesmartlocal.ph/filipino-street-foods/ 

https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/what-to-experience/philippines-street-food-guide 

https://nomadsunveiled.com/philippines-street-foods/ 

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