A favourite dessert amongst those that live in the Philippines with tropical native fruits and ice cream

Travel to the Philippines: A Brief background and Cultural history

The Philippines are located in the South-east Asia region and consist of several islands. It is one of the most heavily and densely populated countries in the world, with about 98million people living in the country. The country’s history spans several historical events, a colonisation by the Spanish Empire, then American rule and today is an independent democracy though it is experiencing some tumultuous leadership and social movements. From its time as a popular trade route the Philippines has experienced access to several foreign condiments that has influenced its food culture. As the Philippines are situated in a highly tropical climate, the country is also endowed with many tropical fruits and sea life that is prominently featured in its cuisine. Indeed, if you are travelling to the Philippines you must go on a food tour or an equivalent exploration of the local markets.

The type of BBQ food that you might find on a street vendor on a trip to the Philippines

Eateries High And Low

A good option to fully explore all sides of Philippines’ food culture is to join a tour that concentrates on eating, however if this is not your style there are some general tips to follow to get the best out of your Philippines gastronomical experience. What will probably greet you on your first day on the Philippines streets are the street vendors that offer a variety of traditional and fast Filipino eats. These include fried chicken feet(known colloquially as Adidas), barbecued meats, banana cue (fried banana with caramelisaton) and some great desserts like ice candy with natural flavourings. The street vendors are usually safe to eat from and will be most active around the evenings when Filipino will be most likely to grab a street snack. Be wary of the coconut juices, many vendors simply combine sugar and water, which may not be totally clean. Try to avoid any drinks with ice and stick to bottled water.

The Fruit Markets And Local Desserts

Fresh fruits and sweet treats are also a must when roaming the markets. Look out for anything you haven’t tried or fruits that look a little different because of the tropical climate. The country is known very well for its coconut juices, durian and several types of mangoes. You will regret leaving a trip to the Philippines without trying the green Indian mangoes of a dish using dried mango. Around such fruit markets you can also find some pastry and desert shops that make use of the fresh fruit, or host readymade deserts that complement fruits well. A lot of Filipino deserts are simple dried, candied or fried slices of fruit with pastry, nuts or in a pie or cake that tastes unbelievable delicious. 

A traditional Filipino dessert dish

Fast Food: Traditional And Western

Another part of Filipino food culture that is both an interesting and eye opening experience is the fast food that is available. If you join a shopping tour of the Philippines then you will probably notice the consumerist culture of the island and this extends to food and fast food, eating and drinking is very much a social activity and celebrated within Filipino culture. There is obvious evidence of American influence left by their occupation through several American fast food joints with a local twist that you may be interested in. There are also several Filipino fast food outlets that serve traditional dishes that are a great experience to explore.