If you are a fan of my posts (semi famous in The Philippines now because of my blog – kidding and yes wishful thinking) you would know that 2 things I enjoy while on travel are to meet new people and to eat dishes that are unique to the place.
These 2 activities brings me a bit closer to the culture of the place.
That even for a short amount of time I get to experience the identity of the place I visit through the people and their food.
Between the months of August and September I had the opportunity to visit Manila twice.
A Tourist in the Capital of the Philippines
The first was in August wherein Hotel Benilde invited me to stay in their hotel. Travel and food bloggers have the coolest gig right?
While the most recent one was to explore Manila together with another awesome travel blogger The Great Wander.
Related Post: The Lies About Solo Traveling
In all honesty I never had interest in visiting Manila. Traffic is bad, city is crowded and it needs more tidying up.
If not for my projects I would not have definitely gone. I guess my blog projects in Manila is one way of telling me to go explore the capital.
Well yes Manila definitely needs some tidying up – do not hate me I speak only the truth but don’t worry this is to head somewhere good (wink) – but beyond the ‘hate’ Manila is definitely a cultural food hub.
The 5 food suggestions below are not in any way ‘the best’ that Manila can offer.
These are restaurants or food stalls that I saw while exploring Manila.
Thus imagine if I exerted effort in researching for the best restaurants and places in Manila.
But that is too common and Erik the Hungry Traveller never does the ordinary (smirk).
Food trip in the Philippines: Destination # 1
The Streets of Binondo
Binondo is a district in Manila and is popularly known as the city’s Chinatown. Moreover, it is the oldest Chinatown in the world.
Being that it’s the oldest it has with it some great history which you can see throughout its buildings and its residents.
During my exploration in Chinatown I noticed that the streets were teaming with street food, fruits and dim sum sold just along the road.
This is truly a food haven especially if you love Chinese food. If you’re like me who has a sweet tooth make sure to visit Eng Bee Tin and get yourself some moon cakes and other sweet bean desserts.
Food Trip in the Philippines: Destination # 2
Wai Ying Restaurant
We are already in Chinatown so might as well pitch in this awesome hole in the wall restaurant found at the heart of Binondo.
Now I wanted to head to this restaurant during my August trip. But being that I am so great with navigation.
I was not able to locate the said restaurant.
Good that I was given the opportunity to go back. Learning from my past mistakes I brought along some company.
The place is not at all fancy both on the outside and the inside but boy oh boy the food is good!
Wai Ying is famous for their dumplings and other Dim sum short orders. We went on a dim sum food coma after.
Safe to say that if you want some authentic Chinese food without drilling holes in your pockets then try this restaurant.
Location: Buenavidez Street Binondo Manila Store Hours: Everyday 7 AM - 2 AM
Food Trip in the Philippines: Destination # 3
Hailing from Cebu which is south of Manila we do not have bagnet (or so I thought). Thus I made it my mission to taste this Luzon dish.
For those who are not familiar bagnet is made from pork belly which is deep fried to give it its crispy taste.
It was only until I saw what I ordered did I realize that Bagnet is not so uncommon to me as I previously thought.
We from the South call our Bagnet- pork liempo or close enough to be lechon kawali.
Now I am not here to compare both dish, I am here to talk about 8065 Bagnet. Again, another hole in the wall resto that is friendly to the pockets of Filipinos.
It’s a chique artistic diner found in the university belt area of Manila, thus expect to see students flocking the place.
I ordered their best seller. The taste for me was okay, nothing to die for. There may be better food places in the metro but then again for my short trip this was the best I could find.
Location: Leon Guinto St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila Store Hours: Monday to Saturday - 11 AM - 11 PM, Sunday - 5 PM - 10 PM
Food Trip in the Philippines: Destination # 4
Blocleaf is located just a few blocks away from the popular Manila bay. Right beside Hop Inn hotel.
The café can fit a maximum of 6 to 9 people and I was fortunate enough to have it all to myself during my visit.
For coffee lover’s out there this is the place to go. Their coffee is super strong which compliments their light sandwich offerings.
And oh they also sell pastries and cake which I did not buy essentially because it was 9 in the morning. I did not want to pig out during that time just yet!
Location: 1850 M. H. Del Pilar St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila Store Hours: Every day 8 AM - 9 PM
Food Trip in the Philippines: Destination # 5
Manila Street Food!
We started in the streets we should definitely end it there as well. Yes, this Hungry Traveller is always adventurous when it comes to food.
I’m a picky eater in terms of cleanliness. However, I don’t mind eating anything as long as the preparation and the place looks clean.
Manila is a hub of street food. In my Manila trips I found vendors selling fish balls, tempura, battered quail eggs and Halo Halo.
You name it Manila has it
The one meal that I definitely enjoyed eating though which was also a first for me was ordering Beef Pares.
It’s a simple beef brisket mixed with innards of the cow. Which you’d not recognize unless you ask the seller what it is.
The broth is sticky because of the beef fat and it is perfectly paired with rice. Yes, you have to pair this with rice!
You can find this interesting dish all over the streets of Manila. The vendors who sell this usually have mini signboards on their food carts saying Beef pares and noodles for sale!
I got a taste of this dish while exploring the streets of Pasay.
So there you have it the 5 unique and simple food dining experiences in Manila.
If by any chance you get to visit Manila make sure to explore the not so common dining hubs.
I assure you that is where you can taste the yummiest and affordable Filipino meals.
Till the next food trip Philippines edition. Got to get me some grub now, writing about food made me very hungry!