Jollibee is McDonald's rival in fastfood in the country, it has 300 stores around the world. Yum Burger, Chicken Joy, Spaghetti, and Palabok.
America's influence is palpable in the Philippines, and you'll be hard pressed to find a mall without the requisite McDonalds,KFC, Pizza Hut, and even Taco Bell. Filipino fastfood chains that capture the essence of Filipino food compete strongly for Filipino tastebuds however, and they may be a safe place for the tourist to try the local fare. The following are a list of fastfood chains that have branches all around the Metro, and in many cases around the country.
The second of Jollibee corps' trifecta of fastfood chains, Greenwich Pizzas are your typical fare, but once again with the slightly sweeter than usual tomato sauce. Some seasonal offerings may be on offer though, like the sisig pizza, so check the menu.
A relative newcomer, Mang Inasal actually brings a variety of barbecue called "inasal" into Metro Manila from the city of Iloilo. They offer other grilled meats, as well as soups like sinigang a sour, tamarind based soup.
This where you go to get the localized version of congee called goto and lugaw, with different kinds of toppings like chicken, roasted garlic, egg, etc.
The place to go for your baked treats and sweets like mamon a spongy round cake, polvoron a tighly packed powdery treat ensaymada bread baked with cheese and sugar, and host of other delicacies for those with a sweet tooth.
Fruits & desserts
Tropical fruits abound in the Philippines. Most of the countryside produce finds its way to the metro areas and can be easily bought in supermarkets, such as:
Coconut - Although it's familiar, you should try the coconut of the Philippines, the country is the largest exporter of coconuts in the world.
Durian - smells like hell but supposedly tastes of heaven, most common in Davao but can usually also be bought in some supermarkets in Manila.
Ice scramble - Crushed ice with condensed milk.
Mais con Hielo/Yelo - A dessert of fresh sweet corn served in a glass mixed with crushed ice and milk.
Sampaloc candy - salted and sweetened tamarind fruit.
Turon' - SabaPlantain bananas in wrappers and fried and then topped with condensed milk or sugar.
Turron - Originally from Europe, a bar of cashew nuts with a white wafer.
Snack and baked goods
What's in your menu?
Adobo/Inadobo - Cooked in soy sauce
Tostado/Tostadong - Toasted
Guisa/Ginisa/Ginisang - Stir fried
Torta/Tinorta - Omelette
Asado/Inasado - Grilled
Tapa/Tinapa - Dried or smoked, tinapa usually is dried fish while tapa usually refers to "beef tapa"
Lechon/Nilechon - Roasted
Laga/Nilaga/Nilagang - Boiled
Prito/Pritong/Piniritong - Fried
Paksiw/Pinaksiw - Cooked in vinegar
Nilasing - Cooked in alcoholic beverage, from lasing meaning drunk
Sariwa/Hilaw - Fresh
Daing/Dinaing - Dried fish
Filipino cuisine has developed from the different cultures that shaped its history. As such, it is a melange of Chinese, Malay, Spanish, European and American influences. Though its cuisine is not as renowned as many of its neighbours, such as that of Thailand and Vietnam, Filipino cooking is nonetheless distinct in that it is possibly the least spicy of all South East Asian cuisines. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Filipino food is bland, though. It is just that instead of spices, Filipino food depends more on garlic, onions and ginger to add flavor to dishes. Painstaking preparation and prolonged cooking time is also a characteristic of most Filipino dishes, and when done properly is often what brings out the flavor of the food as, opposed to a healthy dose of spices. Kamayan, literally means Eating with Hands. Some Filipinos who were born and raised in rural provinces still eat with their hands, mostly at their homes during mealtimes. They would often say that Kamayan makes food taste better. Wash your hands clean before attempting this to avoid illnesses. Almost all Filipinos in the urban areas though use spoons, forks and knives. Eating with hands in public is not uncommon however if you're eating in a mid-range and splurge restaurant this may be considered rude.
To experience how the Filipinos eat in a budget way, Carenderias food stalls and Turo-turo meaning Point-point, which actually means you point at the food you want to eat in the buffet table are some of the options. Mains cost less than $1. Carenderias serve food cooked earlier and it may not always be the safest of options.
As with the rest of Southeast Asia, rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Some areas in the Visayas prefer corn but elsewhere Filipinos would generally have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Uncooked rice usually comes in 50kg sacks but can be bought by the kilogram at the wet market or at neighborhood rice dealers. Single servings of rice are readily available at fastfood restaurants or eateries.
Filipinos usually serve at least one main course accompanied by rice for lunch and dinner. At times you would have two with a vegetable dish accompanying a meat dish. On special occasions such as fiestas, several main dishes would be served, a Filipino party or a Fiesta wouldn't be complete without Spaghetti, Pasta, Fruit Salad, Ice Cream, Rice, spring rolls, cake or rice cakes and soda. Soups are also often the main course apart from being a starter. It is not uncommon for Filipinos to douse their rice with the soup and eat the meat that came with the soup alongside.
Arguably Filipino streetfood is one of the best however it may not be as clean as the ones you find in Singapore. Streetfood vendors have been criticized because of their unhygienic practices as well as unhealthy options but praised by many especially the youth because of its affordability and taste, nowadays streetfood is also found in malls but the traditional way of street vending still hasn't died out. Items are sold for as low as P5. Street food is usually enjoyed with beer or soda, usually eaten during the afternoon till night.
Adidas - More edible than the popular shoe, Adidas is actually a slang used by the locals to refer to barbecued chicken feet. It is called Adidas as feet is associated with shoes.
Adobong Mani - Salted roasted peanuts, usually sold in small paperbags by vendors.
Betamax - Again people don't cook betamax and eat them-- it's another slang for pigs blood that has been barbecued. It is called betamax because its shape is cube-like and resembles a betamax player.
Barbecue - Either pork or chicken, barbecue remains one of the favorites. It isn't only eaten as street food, but sometimes with rice as a main during dinner.
Balut - is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, baluts are mostly sold by street vendors at night in the regions where they are available. Boiled and usually eaten with a sprinkle of salt and vinegar.
Banana cue - a popular street food made of saba Plantain bananas fried in very hot oil with caramelized sugar coating. The saba bananas can also be boiled instead of fried.
Chickenballs - Chicken version of fishballs.
Fishball - Something smells fishy? As the name suggests it is the fish version of meatballs, just like meatballs it is also deepfried.
Ice Candy - Ice candy is like a popsicle stick, it comes in different flavours such as mango which is actually the most common and popular. Sold in tiangge small convenient stores in barangays as well as in the streets. It is the common refreshment for locals during the summer.
Inasal - The best Inasal would be found in Bacolod, it is usually like grilled chicken but the sweet juicy version.
Isaw - Chicken intestines barbecue.
Kikiam - Originally from the Chinese, it is pork meat with vegetables which is wrapped in bean curd sheets.
Kwek-Kwek - Quail eggs and chicken that had been battered in egg then fried, it is orange in colour.
Penoy - same as balut, but without the embryo, just the yolk.
Squidballs - Squid version of fishballs.
Sorbetes - The Pinoy version of sorbet/ice Cream. Sold in different flavours notably; ube, vanilla, chocolate, mango, coconut, cheese and sometimes durian. Filipinos like to play with their food-- you'll see people dipping french fries in ice cream floats or people eating ice cream with bread. Don't leave the Philippines without trying some of the more unusual flavors. They are kind of exotic and perhaps weird, but tasty.
Tenga - Tenga is Filipino for ear, it is pig's ear that has been barbecued.
condiments and salads
Achara - Pickled Papaya salad, it actually originates from South Indian cuisine.
Banana Ketchup - During World War II, stocks of tomato ketchup ran out and people started complaining and demands for ketchup were high, due to the high production of bananas; Filipinos thought of using banana instead of tomato. Don't worry it doesn't taste like banana at all, it is kind of like sweet and sour ketchup. Try it with chicken, pork chop as well as spaghetti.
Bagoong shrimp paste - Shrimp paste is popular throughout Southeast Asia. Some people get allergies from shrimp paste, but they still consume it despite the itchy skin problems it causes. Fish is used instead sometimes.
Patis - Fish sauce.
Radish salad - Salad based on radish, onion and sugar, enjoyed with fish.
Muslims will find it hard to find Halal food outside predominantly Muslim areas in the Philippines even though the country is one of the fastest emerging markets in exporting certified halal products. Ask if there is pork in the dish before eating it. Seventh Day Adventists would possibly find some vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines, mostly lurking in the commercial, financial and provincial capitals, and most of them use tofu instead of meat, Sanitarium products may be found in Seventh Day Adventists or Sanitarium hospitals. Hindus will find Indian restaurants which serve some vegetarian options around Metro Manila. Vegetarians and vegans will find it difficult to find a Filipino dish which is wholly vegetarian as most of the Filipinos love to add meat in every single dish they eat. Jews will also find it hard to find Kosher meals. However rabbis in the Philippines suggest some stores which sell Kosher food, visit Kosher Philippines for advice.
The word diet is non-existent in the vocabulary of Filipinos or has never existed, as mentioned before they are laid back people, they love to eat as much as they can as if there is no tomorrow. They spend most of their money on food, a Filipino teenager might at least enter a fastfood chain two or three times a week, during fiestas in a city, town, barangay, purok or subdivision Filipinos would have big parties and it would last from noon to midnight when some of the people would end up being drunk, you can ask if you can join a fiesta in a home and some might welcome you as this is a tradition. If you're visiting the Philippines it is the best time to cut your so called diet and eat to your heart's content. The Filipino diet is a lot more similar to the west than the east, with Filipinos eating less vegetables, more oil, meat and sugar than people in neighboring countries; most Filipinos aren't health conscious. Cancer and heart-related diseases are the leading causes of death here. However if you visit rural areas they use more vegetables and less meat and practice old Filipino medicine.
Some Filipinos strictly use the serving spoon rule, sharing the belief with Indians that offering utensils or food that had come contact with someone's saliva is rude, disgusting, and will cause food to get stale quickly. Singing or having an argument while eating is considered rude, as they believe food is grasya/gracia or grace in English; food won't come to you if you keep disrespecting it. Singing while cooking is considered taboo because it will cause you to forever be a bachelor or a widow for life, another belief shared with the Indians. Conservative Filipinos share another belief with the Chinese that not finishing your food on your plate is taboo and rude, you'll often see Filipino parents scolding their children to finish their food or not they'll never achieve good academic performance. Usually before a meal starts Filipinos say a prayer before food is served. Wait also till the host invites you to start eating. Also, it is rude to refuse food that the host offers or leave the dining table while someone is still eating. While eating in front of Chinese/Japanese/Korean-Filipinos don't stick your chopsticks vertically upright into a bowl of food refer to China, Japan, South Korea eat sections for more information.