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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must try dishes when in Manila - Eating your way through the streets of Manila
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must try dishes when in Manila - Eating your way through the streets of Manila

The inviting smell of street food would invite you to take a bite, while the fancy restaurants would beckon with their gourmet dishes, when in Manila. These are a few dishes you must not miss.


Chicken adobo

Chicken adobo is one of the most popular dishes you can find in Manila. It is a simple dish with a few ingredients, but manage to capture the fancy of everyone who tries it. "Adobo" is a Spanish word that translates to "marinade". Chicken adobo is literally chicken marinated in a delicious mix of vinegar, soya sauce, and a few other ingredients that would vary depending on the person cooking. There is a pork variation of the adobo, too, if you would like to try.



Balut is a famous street food snack, but it is not for the faint-hearted. Found at any street food stall, be it adjacent to an upscale serviced residence in Manila like the well-known Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila or located in between two shops, Balut is a strange snack for the uninitiated. It is boiled duck embryo that is still in its shell. Balut is eaten with a dash of vinegar sprinkled on. All those who dared try it think it is out of the world, though a bit strange.


Kare Kare

Kare Kare is another strange addition to the local cuisine: oxtail stew. The tail and tripes of the ox are stewed with plenty of vegetables, with garlic, onions, and peanuts for added taste. This moreish concoction is then served with a delicious shrimp sauce called "bagoong''and has a sprinkling of kalamansi juice and chilli. A popular comfort food among the locals, the name "Kare Kare" is believed to be derived from the Indian "curry".



Kinilaw is a raw fish salad that has quite a tang to it. Being served with Filipino lime juice, it has a generous amount of vinegar which is supposed to "cook" the meat. The dish has onion, pepper, chilli, garlic, and ginger added to taste. The word "Kinilaw" is derived from "kilaw", which means "eaten fresh". Thus, the fish is served in the freshest form possible, raw, with plenty of taste to titillate your taste buds. Considering how light the dish is, it is best had as dinner or for a light lunch.



If you are a fan of sour flavours, this dish would be perfect for you. The primary ingredient of Sinigang is meat. A lot of vegetables are added to form a sort of sour stew that it almost becomes a vegetable soup. The souring agent used in most places is tamarind, while pork is the most commonly used authentic base. However, you do find Sinigang that uses chicken, fish, or beef as the base. Depending on the souring agent, the taste of the dish can slightly vary. For example, use of guava has a lower sourness than if tomatoes were used. Using Filipino lime gives one of the sourest undertones to the dish.