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Manila: Unique Filipino Food Culture

Manila: Unique Filipino Food Culture

by Yulian Rohmy

The Philipines is located on over 7000 islands and boasts a colourful history, cultural heritage, and beautiful beaches. Manila, the capital of the country, is a highly urbanized city and it was the most densely populated location all over the world in 2018. Manila was named after flowers and literally means 'where indigo is found'.

This city is a major tourist attraction where you can find a number of places of interest, the oldest Chinatown, hidden architectural gems, ancient churches, and secret tunnels. Visit Manila and enjoy its nightlife and go shopping in gigantic malls. It doesn't matter if you come here to feel the diverse history of the Philippines or have fun at local clubs, it's just a must to try authentic Filipino dishes made from seafood, tropical fruits, chicken or pork. Read the article and find out the best restaurants where to eat the most delicious food in Manila.

1. Versatile food
Versatile food
Lechón

Lechon is a Spanish word for a roasted suckling pig and it is a very popular dish in the Philippines. It boasts savory aroma and crispy brown-reddish skin. Lechon is usually cooked at celebrations and festive events.

#5 of 3111 cafes in Manila
Asian, Chinese, American, Filipino, Italian, Japanese
Manila Hotel, 1 Rizal Park, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Cafe Ilang Ilang is a luxurious place at the historic hotel and it offers a rich selection of cuisines, including Asian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Western and, of course, Filipino. This restaurant is well known for themed nights and an eat-what-you-can buffet. It's definitely worth visiting this elegant modern restaurant and trying its delicious lechon. It's a popular Filipino dish and it's a roasted suckling pig with perfectly crispy skin. Nobody can miss its savory aroma. Also, order exotic balut - a hard-boiled duck egg. 

2. For meat lovers
For meat lovers
Kare-kare

It's a classic slow-cook stew that originated in the Philippines. It's cooked with simmered oxtail, ox tripe, vegetables and thick savoury peanut-based sauce. Kare-kare is named after the curry dish, however, the taste differs from Indian curry.

#17 of 14707 restaurants in Manila #14 of 3396 restaurants in Pasay
Filipino
Roxas Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
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It's a must to come to The Singing Cooks and Waiters restaurant at the heart of Manila to enjoy Filipino traditional dishes and great live cooking shows and dances. The name of the places speaks for itself: the staff sings well-known songs and entertain you while serving local food. Try traditional Filipino stews - bulalo that is a stew cooked from beef shanks and marrow bones, or kare-kare which is an oxtail stew with peanut sauce and vegetables. 

3. If you like raw seafood
If you like raw seafood
Kinilaw

This raw seafood dish is a type of Filipino ceviche and it literally means 'eaten raw'. Kinilaw is usually served as an appetizer and is made from raw cubed fish marinated in a vinegar-based dressing and acid fruit juice.

#97 of 2182 pubs & bars in Manila
The Bayleaf Intramuros, Muralla St, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Visit Sky Deck located on the roof of The Bayleaf Hotel to see the entire Manila from the 360-degree view, have a talk with your friend and watch the impressive sunset. The motto of this place is 'Just make the moment count'. To make the moment even more beautiful, select a dish among local favourites. Don't miss the opportunity to try kinilaw that is a raw seafood dish similar to ceviche. It's made from raw cubed fish in a vinegar dressing and it's usually served as an appetizer. 

4. For sweet-toothed people
For sweet-toothed people
Halo-halo

It's a traditional Filipino cold layered dessert consisting of shaved ice, sweet beans, coconut strips and fruits drizzled with milk and topped with ice cream. Halo-Halo is a great summertime treat and it literally means "mix-mix".

#6 of 3396 restaurants in Pasay
Asian, European, Indian, American, Chinese, Filipino, French, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Sushi, Central European
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel CCP Complex 1300, Roxas Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
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The Spiral restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Manila. Spiral is divided into 21 dining ateliers where you can degust dishes of various cuisines: a rich selection of seafood delicacies, the finest meat and gorgeous desserts. Visit this restaurant if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy one of the greatest halo-halo worldwide. Halo-halo is a great summertime treat to cool down as it is a mix of crushed ice, evaporated milk, sweetened beans, and fresh fruits.

5. To any taste
To any taste
Prawns

Prawns are delicious, whether stir fried, tossed through pasta, cooked in spicy curry, or placed in salads. Prawns can be served on their own, as a side dish, an appetizer or a snack.

#1 of 154 steak restaurants in Pasay
Steakhouses, American
2 Resort Dr, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
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If you're crazy about grilled food, especially prawns, come to CRU Steakhouse. As its name suggests, this restaurant is well known for its hand-seasoned juicy steaks. This place introduces the dry-aging technology when the cookers keep meat in the refrigerator cooler whose specific temperature and humidity add new flavours to steaks.

6. Authentic Filipino chicken dish
Authentic Filipino chicken dish
Adobo

It's a national Filipino stew made from pork or chicken, seafood and vegetables marinated in soy sauce and vinegar, then pan-fried and then stewed in a pot until the meat becomes tender. Adobo means 'sauce' or 'seasoning' in Spanish.

#1 of 102 cafeterias in San Juan
Filipino
387 P. Guevarra St, cor Argonne, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Have you heard of adobo? It's a classic Filipino tangy chicken stew. Chicken pieces are marinated in spices and soy sauce and stewed with vegetables in a pot until the meat becomes tender. Taste one of the most delicious adobo at Chef Laudico Guevarra's. It's also famous for its morcon, Filipino-style chorizo that is marinated and rolled thin slices of beef. 

7. Traditional appetizers
Traditional appetizers
Sisig

As a rule, this native Filipino dish is cooked from juicy minced pork and chicken liver. Meat is seasoned with calamansi, chili peppers and onions. Sisig originated in the 17th century and it means 'snack on something sour' due to unripped fruits dipped in vinegar.

#3 of 7161 restaurants in Makati
Vegetarian, Filipino, Healthy food
G/F, 4980 P. Guanzon, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Sisig is a popular local appetizer that is usually cooked from juicy pork and savory chicken liver seasoned with chilly peppers, calamansi and onions. Try vegan sisig at the vegetarian Cosmic bistro in Manila. Here it's made with mushrooms, chopped onions, and fried tofu and topped with crispy vegan bagnet.

8. Filipino pork dishes
Filipino pork dishes
Crispy pata

It's a popular Filipino delicacy that is cooked from pig knuckles or trotters. Pork legs are simmered with spices until they become tender and then they are deep-fried until the meat is succulent and the skin is golden and crispy.

#88 of 17994 restaurants in Quezon City #31 of 14707 restaurants in Manila
Filipino, American, Italian
72 Mo. Ignacia Ave, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Visit the Dong Juan restaurant to eat the best crispy pata in Manila. The cooks boil pig trotters and knuckles until they get tender, then they deep-fry them until the meat becomes golden and crisp. This dish is served with a soy-vinegar dip. By the way. burgers are just incredible here.   

Have a nice meal while travelling in Manila!

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Manila: Unique Filipino Food Culture