Food in the Philippines is lacking in variety, but there are a few good dishes.
Honestly the majority of meals are in need of flavour, and fresh veg.
What to Expect
Boiled rice plays a huge part of the Filipino diet and is usually served with every main meal. Filipinos eat it up to 3x a day, including for breakfast (which I couldn’t stand). I tried as much as possible to eat local foods throughout the day, but there is a point where your body cannot take anymore stodge, or fried food.
Everything is fried.
I went for a month, craving fresh vegetables. I found very few western restaurants that offered boiled vegetables, but when I did, I ate them all day and it was incredible. If you are also fed up of fried food and boiled rice, head to our post about The Best Western Restaurants in The Philippines for some inspo.
There are a few signature dishes that you have to try when you’re in the Philippines, as with all countries. Pollo Abodo is their main dish and it is chicken in soy sauce, with vinegar and a sugar mix. The other main dish basically involves eating an egg with an unborn chick inside (I couldn’t do it).
There is a lot of fish available. Many places tend to fry the fish but there are a number of restaurants that BBQ the fish instead!
On the day tours you are served a lovely meal with fresh fish, [rice], fried chicken and vegetables, with plenty of fruit. These tours offered the best local food we tried throughout the whole of the Philippines.
Speaking of fish, apparently eating the eye of a fish is seen as a delicacy here too. A Filipino lady on our tour, pulled the squishy part out of the socket and ate the whole thing in front of us.
Fruit in the Philippines
The selection of fresh fruit in the Philippines is amazing and probably saved me. I had a fresh fruit smoothie nearly every day. They have exotic fruits such as mangoes, dragon fruit, rambutan, etc…
I must say though, the mango-pineapple combo is definitely the best one!
TIP! If you like to be healthy, make sure you order the smoothies without sugar, as they tend to add both sugar and syrup to them if not.
Speaking from experience, without any offence intended, you will soon get fed up of eating rice just like anywhere else in Asia (it’s totally normal). Sometimes your body just needs a taste of home and can’t handle the quantity of rice that is generally served throughout the day. Luckily there are a number of restaurants around the islands that serve western food alongside local dishes. Visit our Restaurant Reviews page to find the best westernised places to eat in the Philippines.
** Note that food in the Philippines varies in price depending on which island you are on. The food in El Nido is a lot more expensive than anywhere else in the Philippines. The average price for a standard meal is 200php where as it is around 400php in El Nido **