Monday, March 24, 2014

A taste of local Filipino flavor for a budget of $25 a day

On a budget, but want to go to the Philippines to have a bite of the famous Filipino cuisines. Having been named by host of Bizarre Foods Andrew Zimmerman as the next best thing, it wouldn't be a wonder why many have been wanting to try some Pinoy cuisine. 

We have made this list that will help you spend $25 or P1250 (assuming that the dollar exchange rate is P50 for $1) a day for some local flavor.

- Pandesal (Pinoy bun) in local community bakeries may cost about P2 to P5. But, if you are wary of anything, you may try Pan de Manila, there are many branches of this bakery scattered all over the metro. It may be a bit higher than the community bakeries, but the size and quality will make up for  the P6 a piece bread
- Longaniza, Tocino, Tapa are available in carinderias. If you want to know if the place you are eating to is safe, be discerning enough to observe the foods served as well as the number (and type) of people who eat there. Don't want to try a carinderia, try Jollibee (worth P73 to 89), Adobo Connection, and even Mc Donald's (breakfast meal only, which serves between 4am to 10am)

(this will no longer be classified into food but by restos, since you are in a budget, we included fast food chains)
Jollibee - This is a local fast food chain (about 800 branches) that not only serves western favorites such as hotdog and burgers, but also serves Pinoy faves such as Pansit Palabok (P62 to 78), Daing na Bangus (P89 to 99), among others. If you want to try the Pinoy spagetti (which is sweet), you can do so here!

Mang Inasal- Grilled chicken Filipino Style! Also try their Halo-Halo, which Anthony Bourdain comments, "Oh, yes, halo-halo. Dig deep and you hit delicious stratas of red beans, white beans and chickpeas, cubes of red and green jell-o, young white coconut, shaved ice, and is that flan? It makes no goddamned sense at all. I love it.”

Adobo Connection - The name is a definite give away of what this resto serves.  But don;t go judging that easily as there are amany ways to cook adobo as this food chain shows us: Traditional Adobo, Adobo sa Gata, Adobong Kangkong, and even Adobo Flakes. Price range: P50 to P200.

Max's Restaurant- though this restaurant became popular because of its fried chicken, best with Banana Catsup (a Pinoy orginal), it wouldn't hurt to try other Filipino dishes such as sinigang, Kare-Kare, and nilaga that ranges from P200 (can serve 2 to 3 persons) to P800 (there are set meals available). I included this with the fast food chains as there are abound within the whole country.

Chicharon,Cornick, are all avaiable in convenince stores such as 7-11 and Mini Stop.

Apart from Mang Inasal, do try the Halo Halo of Chowking!

Dampa - this isn't exactly a high-end resto, but Sarah Jessica Parker did try Pinoy food here and said she loved it. This is a unique experience as you have the option of buying what you wanted cook in the Dampa market, and having it cooked the way you preferred alongside the different carinderias. Princes may vary depending on food stalls and canteens. Be sure to haggle!

Aristocrat, Dencio's, are other restaurant you can try to sample the local flavor. Dencio's will satiate your sisig yearning while Aristocrat is best known for its Fried Chicken.

Kamayan, Cabalen, Kamay Kainan offers buffet meals for about P300 to P800.

Have about a P1000 left try: Romulo's, Fely J's, Sentro, this all serve Filipino cuisines and even offer a fusion of local favorites.

Now if you want some street foods, without thinking if this will give you hearbum (:D), try:
Mercato Centrale ( a night market in uptown Fort), Cucina Andare (located in Makati CBD). Based on my experience you can get isaw (innards) , betamax (pig blood), and other street food favorites which are incredibly big in serving for 3 for P100.

Do note that the best way to eat Filipino food, as some people say, is to be invited in a Filipino home, where people will serve you local dishes made with their unique twist to a long living recipe.

Click on the links to find out more about the restos as well as the different branches.

This is in response to the Polish bloggers ranting about Filipino street food. Their excuse was that they were travelling on a budget and that locals pointed them towards that certain type of food. So, this list will hopefully serve as a guide for people like these two tramps, who should have done research first before saying that they would rather go hungry than eat the Filipino food.