For those new to Filipino cuisine, it will be delighting to find that, aside from its scrumptious meals designed for sharing, the country also has an equally enticing snack culture.
Eternally peckish Pinoys love to munch on snacks so much that there's always room to have merienda throughout the day.
While in Spain, Merienda means a "light meal," in the Philippines it is used as a catch-all term for any snack enjoyed between meals.
Ahead, we've rounded up some of our favorite Filipino snacks, from street food to mid-morning eats, that we know you'll enjoy, too!
Imagine this: a native, sweet saba banana and slices of jackfruit tucked inside a flour wrapper then drizzled with brown sugar and deep fried to perfection. Craving yet?
image: @cactusandbrunch instagram account
Much like turon, this delightful snack is a street food favorite. It's made with saba, a sweet banana variety found in the Philippines, which is coated with brown sugar and then "barbecued" until it caramelizes.
Though popularly known as breakfast food, taho can also be enjoyed at any time of day. What's in it? Silken tofu, sago, arnibal (syrupy sweetener) and brown sugar are some of the main ingredients of this local favorite.
Ihaw, which means grilled in Filipino, is one of the street foods you absolutely have to try. Some of the most popular ihaw-ihaw snacks are isaw (chicken or pork intestine), betamax (chicken blood, so named for its shape), adidas (chicken feet). We promise that they taste better than they sound!
image: @ihawanph Instagram account
Kakanin or rice cakes are some of the most iconic Filipino delicacies you should try at least once. Traditionally, it's made with rice, coconut milk, or a variety of root vegetables.
Some of the most popular ones are suman (lightly seasoned rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves), sapin-sapin (made with glutinous rice, flour, and coconut milk), and the mildly sweet puto, which is a perfect match for rich dishes like dinuguan and pancit.
6. Sweet corn
The humble corn gets a delicious spin with this Filipino favorite snack. Imagine extra sweet corn on the cob that's seasoned with butter and salt before being boiled or grilled. It can also be shredded and sprinkled with cheese powder. It tastes as good as it sounds!
images: foodterest_ph instagram and pxhere
7. Green mango with bagoong
Though known for their super sweet mangoes, the Philippines also has a delightful variety of tangy, sour mangoes. This is often paired with bagoong (shrimp paste) and it's so good it'll make you shudder...literally. Though not for everyone, it is a definite must-try for those who want snacks with a zesty punch.
image: tofuprod on Flickr
This baked treat, of Spanish influence, are soft, fluffy rolls topped with butter and sprinkled with sugar. They're often paired with coffee for a mid-morning snack or brunch. But they can be enjoyed any time of day!
Fish balls, squid balls, tempura---these are just some of the streetside snacks you can enjoy in the Philippines as tusok-tusok or skewered, deep fried snacks. Take your pick from sweet, spicy, or sweet and spicy dipping sauces.
images: @dwightfool instagram account and youtube
This national dessert favorite has a little bit of everything, quite fittingly living up to its name which, in Filipino means "mix mix.”
A typical halo-halo will have shaved ice, ube halaya, leche flan, nata de coco, sweet beans and other richly flavored and textured ingredients.
image: Jonathan Valencia (Flickr)
11. 'Dirty' ice cream
The sorbetero is an iconic figure in Filipino culture, perhaps because of the fond memories we associate with hearing him ring his bell in the afternoon. Don't be fooled by the name, 'dirty' ice cream is quite a pleasant experience. They earned the title because of the old, rickety carts they use to peddle their wares. The most popular flavors are ube, chocolate, and cheese. But these days, you can get more varied flavors, like oreo and avocado.
images: @lwellacastillo and @jewpsjupei instagram accounts
12. Pancit canton
These stir-fried noodles can be both a full meal or a quick snack, depending on your appetite. One thing's for certain, though, it's the best partner to warm bread, eggs, and drizzled with calamansi (Philippine lime).
Ice scramble, or Iskrambol, is a popular childhood snack which can be likened to slushies. It's made with shaved ice, condensed milk, food colouring, milk powder, banana essence, marshmallows and chocolate syrup.
14. Buko Pandan
This rich, creamy snack is also often served as a dessert. It's made with tropical palm fruits, gulaman cubes, sago pearls, and shredded young coconut in condensed and evaporated milk.
image: @i_rine87 instagram account
These mouthwatering pork cracklings are a national favorite, which are best dipped in vinegar and enjoyed with a bottle of soda. If you're watching your cholesterol, there are other options out there, like mushroom chicharon.
We at Chibundle believe that there's something in Filipino cuisine for everyone, including tasty snacks!
Discover the best flavors of the Philippines with us today.