Guide to Food in Manila

James Chan

My trip to Manila was not a pleasant one I dare say. Why?

  1. I was afflicted with a high fever for a good 3 days, leaving me feeling weak and unable to leave the room for a bulk of the holiday.
  2. Said fever came with a cold and cough which messed up my tastebuds when it came to tasting filipino food.
  3. I didn’t get to do any touristy things.
  4. Oh, and I lost money.

Taking into consideration that I was in no condition to fairly review any of the eateries I dined at, I’ll be listing a couple of local filipino food dishes that you should not miss out if ever you find yourself in Manila. (Or any part of the Philippines for that matter)

Always ask for less salt or less sugar in your dishes, them Manilans go a wee bit overboard with their salt and sugar. This coming from my pink-of-health friends mind you and not just from the sick dude.

The Filipino Food List


Filipino Food Sisig

Pork Innards (that’s what it said in the menu) marinated with Calamansi and Chili Peppers

I had this on my very first day in Manila and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Conventionally, this dish comprised of the less popular parts of the pig like the snout, the brain and liver. Still sounds good to me though!

It can get a tad “gelat” due to its richness in flavor but the sour Calamansi alleviates that just ever so slightly. Still not something I would eat by myself that’s for sure.

Beef Kaldereta

Filipino Food Beef Keldereta

Beef stewed with vegetables in a tomato based broth

There are Chicken and Pork variations to this but with a table full of beef lovers, just gotta have that beef!

Most restaurants serving meats in Manila have “fall-off-the-bone” claims and they definitely do not disappoint. Many spotless bones littered our plates as we tackled this dish piece by piece with gusto.


Filipino Food Bulalo

Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Soup

Look at the size of that beast! Isn’t that the biggest “Tulang” you’ve ever seen in your life? You’d expect to have a huge payout with the marrow but not from this bone. I think we got enough marrow to cover the surface area of 2 fifty cent coins.

Give it a little Singaporean spin with some Chili Padi or maybe just some pepper. I think it’ll taste less one dimensional. Still, it’s a good dish to have when you’re sick.


Filipino Food Fried Bangus

Deep Fried Milk Fish

With a dash of vinegar, the fried milk fish is addictive and tasty. Be wary of small little bones that have escaped the eyes of the chef though.

Pair this with an ice cold glass of San Miguel (their local beer). Oh yeah!

Fried Lumpia

Filipino Food Fried Lumpia

Meat Springrolls

It might take awhile for your dishes to arrive so why not start of with some springrolls? Not the kind that we’re used to in Singapore mind you, the ones in Manila have pork meat stuffed in them.

Might sound like a light dish but try a couple and you’ll be alarmed at how full you feel even before your mains are out.

Pork Adobo

Filipino Food Pork Adobo

Pork Stomach marinated in Soya Sauce and Vinegar

Definitely my all-time favorite dish in Manila for sure. This is the Filipino version of our “lu rou” that we find in all Teochew porridge stalls.

I personally prefer Adobo though, the meat is tender, the portions are generous and every bite is just simply sinful.

That’s All Folks!

Having these Fiipino food dishes tucked away somewhere in the crevices of your memory could be beneficial in the future. Impress your friends, impress the waiter/waitress and have a great time feasting in Manila.

Remember! Ask for LESS SALT & LESS SUGAR!