Food & Drink

Popular Snacks and Pulutan in the Philippines

Written by Patrick

The Philippines love food… so much that people enjoy “merienda” or snacks throughout the day aside from the three main meals.  Merienda foods range from anything sweet like ensaymada and banana cue or tasty such as chicharon which is typically eaten as pulutan or finger foods often partnered with beer and other drinks.

Snacks

Take a look at the most popular snacks in the Philippines…

Taho

Taho

Caption:  Taho

While it is a popular breakfast food, taho can be eaten any time of the day.  It is made of fresh or silken tofu, arnibal syrup (sweetener), and sago (tapioca pearls).  It is often served in a plastic cup and can be sipped up with a straw as it is so soft.  Vendors are known to peddle their taho around the neighborhood while shouting the signature “Tahoooooo!”.

Baguio has a strawberry version of this popular breakfast alternative.

Puto

Puto

Caption:  Puto | Image Source

Like taho, puto is also a popular breakfast and snack food.  Puto is a steamed rice cake made of milled plain rice, sugar, and coconut milk.  The mixture is placed into a mold with or without banana leaves lining.  It is then steamed until it becomes firm to the touch.  Aside from the classic version, it now comes in a range of flavors including cheese, pandan, ube, and even used to create a hybrid leche flan called puto flan.

Banana Cue

Banana Cue

Caption:  Banana Cue

Banana cue is a deep fried banana coated with caramelized brown sugar.  It is served on skewers and sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds.  It is a popular street food in the Philippines and is sold all over the country.

Instant Pancit Canton

Instant Pancit Canton

Caption:  Instant Pancit Canton | Image Source

While it is not the most healthy food available, instant pancit canton is a commodity in almost every Filipino household.  It is easy to get hooked to pancit canton as it is tasty and convenient.  In less than ten minutes, you can enjoy the snack that comes in various flavors including calamansi, chili-mansi (chili and calamansi), spicy, and extra hot.

Ensaymada

Ensaymada

Caption:  Ensaymada | Image Source

The Filipino version of brioche, ensaymada is a sweet bread known for its soft cake-like texture topped with grated cheese and sugar.  Like pandesal, it is available in most local bakeries.  Some hotels and higher end bakeries even came up with upgrades like with buttercream topping or filled with ham, purple yam, or macapuno, a coconut variety.

Pulutan

Pulutan is derived from the root word pulot which means “pick up”.  Pulutan is a Filipino term which refers to finger foods often enjoyed with ice-cold beer or any alcoholic drink.

Here are the most popular pulutan in the Philippines…

Chicharon

Chicharon Bulaklak

Caption:  Chicharon Bulaklak

Most Filipinos can’t resist chicharon, a deep-fried dried pork rind which comes in two types: with and without laman.  With laman means that there’s a bit of meat left to the skin while without laman is skin only.  This crunchy and savory food is often eaten with a dip made of vinegar and chili but it can be eaten on its own, too.  

Tusok-tusok

Fish Ball

Caption:  Fish Ball

Tusok is a Filipino term which means “poke”.  Tusok-tusok refers to deep-fried foods which need to be poked by a skewer and then dipped into the sauce of your choice.  Tusok-tusok foods include fish balls, kwek-kwek, and squid balls.  Tusok-tusok is peddled in the streets and is one of the most popular snacks and pulutan in the Philippines.

Sisig

Sisig

Caption:  Sisig | Image Source

Sisig originated from the province of Pampanga dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”.  It is made of chopped pig’s face and belly and chicken liver.  It is served on a hot plate with raw egg and calamansi which must be mixed to the dish while it is hot.  Aside from eating as a pulutan, sisig can be eaten with a cup (or more!) of rice.

Tokwa’t Baboy

Tokwa't Baboy

Caption:  Tokwa’t Baboy | Image Source

Tokwa’t baboy is the Filipino term for “tofu and pig”.  The dish is made of fried tofu and boiled pork belly and ears.  It is served with a sauce made of soy sauce and vinegar.

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

Caption:  Crispy Pata | Image Source

The mouth-watering crispy pata is made of pig trotter (culinary term for pig foot) or knuckles boiled and deep fried to perfection.  It is known for its crackling skin and savory meat.  It is often served with a dipping sauce which is commonly a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, and chili.

Other snacks commonly found in the Philippines are polvoron and sorbetes while pork bbq and roasted peanuts make for great pulutan, too.

READ MORE: Filipino Food & Drinks

What's YOUR favorite Filipino Snack or Pulutan?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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