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Philippines Foodie Bucket List: 21 Dishes To Try Before You Die

The Philippines is a country jam-packed with colourful cuisine, and with more than 7,000 islands in the archipelago there’s unlimited dishes to try.

We’ve done the greedy good deed of finding the 21 best dishes from restaurants and food markets around the country, so all you have to do is turn up and eat each incredible plate of Philippines food. Whether you want sweet or savoury, you’ll find some fantastic things to eat in Manila and the rest of the country.

Which will you order first?

1. Prime Ribeye Steak – Cru Steakhouse, Pasay City

At the Marriot Manila hotel you’ll find a hefty yet flavoursome US ribeye steak at Cru Steakhouse. It’s delectably juicy and will make any meat lover very happy. Go on a Sunday for the unlimited steak promotion.

Cru steakhouse

2. Lechon – Elar’s Lechon, Quezon City

The ultimate Filipino party dish, lechon is a whole pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce. Usually cooked at home for special celebrations, it’s to die for.

Elar Lechon

3. Adobo – Abe Serendra, Taguig City

The restaurant serves traditional Filipino food and gourmet dishes inspired by Abe’s travels around the world.  Get the garlicky version of the lamb adobo at Abe restaurant for serious flavour.

4. Roast Duck – Kam’s Roast, Metro Manila

Kam’s Roast, the Michelin-starred restaurant from Hong Kong, is a must-try Chinese spot for its droolworthy roast duck. Perfectly crispy skin and tender meat will have you licking the plate.

kams roast
IG: @microsalt.ph

5. Halo Halo – Milky Way Café , Makati City

Halo-halo is a popular Filipino cold dessert of crushed ice, evaporated milk and various toppings such as jelly or fruit. Milky Way Cafe has been making the city’s best treat since the 1960s, so you just know you’re in safe hands.

6. Kinilaw – Seaside Dampa, Luzon

Similar to Latin America’s ceviche and Hawaii’s bowls of poke, Kinilaw is the Philippines version of raw fish made with onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and chilies. Go to the Seaside Dampa market to pick out your own fresh seafood and have a stall mix up a plate of Kinilaw for you.

7. Abalone with Dried Scallop – China Blue by Jereme Leung, Pasay City

This elegant restaurant does a modern interpretation of traditional Chinese cuisine. The signature Abalone dish is unmissable here. Satisfyingly rich yet with a lightness that only comes from great cooking.

8. Truffle Tagliatelle – Va Bene Pasta Deli, Makati City 

This cosy Italian deli restaurant might not look impressive at first, but they serve the best pasta in the Philippines. Authentic Italian cooking combines with fresh pasta and high quality ingredients.

9. Burger –Zark’s Burgers, Metro Manila

With a food truck set up, the vibe is very American. Alongside their burgers, which are absolutely world class, they probably do the best fries in Manila and their fried chicken is also a must try.

10.  SMEGG Pizza – Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, Quezon City 

Pizzas here are charred, chewy and slightly crispy, just the way they should be. While all the pizzas on the menu here are worth ordering, the SMEGG with Homemade Sausage, Mushroom, Eggs, Gouda and Cream is super special.

11. Escargots à la Bourguignonne  – Antonio’s, Tagaytay City

Easily one of the best restaurants in the country, Antonio’s is a fine-dining food haven in a lush oasis setting. Excellent food features on a creative menu that shows off local ingredients to their best.

12. Pintxos – Bar Pintxos, Muntinlupa City

Come to Bar Pintxos for a taste of hip Spanish food and superb wine. Choose from chorizo with quail egg, padron peppers with spicy honey or caviar and salmon. Delicious.

13. Porterhouse Steak – Mamou, Taguig City

Mamou Kitchen is known countrywide for its fantastic cuts of beef, but it’s the Porterhouse to share that steals the show. The dry aged beef is produced in the U.S.A for 28 days and cooked until rich and juicy.

14. Tasting Menu – Gallery by Chele, Metro Manila 

Galley by Chele uses local flavours of the Philippines and the Southeast Asian to create short and long tasting menus that can be customised with signature dishes and vegan and vegetarian options.

15. Omakase Kaiseki – Inagiku, Makati City

Discover authentic, world-class Japanese food at this restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel that will blow your mind with its tasty creations. Premium ingredients come fresh from Japan so you can expect only the best from this 9-course set menu.

16. Cipolla Caramellata – FOO’D by Davide Oldani, Manila

A beautiful Italian restaurant that’s formal yet still fun, the menu here goes above and beyond what you expect. Get the signature caramelised onion dish, with 24 months Grana Padano and hot cream. You’ll be thinking about it for weeks.

17. Chicken Inasal – Aida’s Chicken, Bacolod City

This mouthwatering BBQ chicken specialty is at its best from Aida’s in Bacolod City. They flavour it with orange oil and it tastes incredible. You will get to eat every part of the chicken, from paa (drumstick) to corazon (heart).

18. Lechon Cebu Tacos – Enye by Chele Gonzalez, Cebu City

They do Spanish dishes with a Filipino twist here, like the creative lechon Cebu tacos with mango salsa, jalapeño frijoles mousse and sour cream. The menu is in two sections: traditional and contemporary, so you can have a great mix of dishes.

19. Stuffed Milkfish – Salcedo Saturday Market, Makati

This traditional dish is stuffed with spices and vegetables. Get it super fresh at this local market. Whether you want an indulgent street cheat meal or a healthy snack, this is a must-visit.

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20. Kare-Kare – Beggang Resto Grill, Luzon

Kare-Kare is a popular oxtail stew with a thick savoury peanut sauce. Banana blossom, eggplants and string beans add extra texture and flavour. Try this version for a real feast.

21. Foie Gras – Mecha Uma, Manila

This trendy Japanese restaurant  will make your mouth water just by reading the menu. Plates look like works of art and come with edible flowers and lots of colour. The foie gras is miso-cured and smoked. Absolutely heavenly.

Want to see more amazing things to eat in the Philippines? Check out the best burgers in Manila here and the best bars in Manila here. You won’t be able to resist…

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