Every country has its own particular type of street food that people enjoy. For Filipinos, the most popular ones are fish ball, isaw, kwek kwek, turon, and many other delicious yet affordable snacks. Time and time again, you might find yourself craving for these goodies!
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about missing your favourite Pinoy snack. In fact, there is quite a number of Filipino restaurants in Dubai serving street food. Isn’t that great?!
Filipino Street Food that You can Find in Dubai
Believe it or not, you will find the following Pinoy street food, right here in Dubai! They are served in some restaurants and hotels, which offer a street food corner, buffet, or even “boodle fight” style:
1. Banana Cue
It’s fruity, sugary sweet… it’s banana cue! The term combines “banana” and “cue” (taken from barbecue), although the snack is not exactly cooked on a skewer. Banana cue is made from “saba” bananas that are coated in brown sugar, deep fried, and skewered on bamboo sticks. It is a common snack in almost every street corner in the Philippines!
Dynamite? Sounds dangerous… just kidding! Dynamite, also called “dinamita” refers to deep fried, stuffed long green chili peppers (i.e. “siling haba”) wrapped in an egg crepe (lumpia wrapper). The stuffing contains ground pork or ground beef with cheese. It’s delicious, savory, and fiery hot in taste… hence the name “dynamite.” How cool is that?!
Dynamite is usually eaten as an appetizer, snack, or as pulutan — enjoyed with a tall glass of cold beer!
No, we’re not talking about the world famous shoe brand, but feet have something to do with it! Adidas refers to chicken feet (yes, feet!) marinated, barbecued, and eaten with a special sauce or vinegar dip. Before you cringe, try it first! It’s actually tasty and delicious!
Here’s the thing: Filipinos don’t like to waste food. If it’s edible, let’s have it! Which is why you shouldn’t be surprised that “helmet” or chicken head is also marinated and barbecued. Sometimes, the chicken neck is included, too (although oftentimes this is cooked or fried separately). If you haven’t tried the helmet yet, now is the time to do so!
5. Ice Candy
Ice candy is the Philippine version of ice lollies or popsicles. Instead of being placed on popsicle sticks, however, ice candy is poured into little plastic bags, before being stored in the freezer. It comes in a variety of flavours, such as avocado, mango, chocolate, coffee jelly, buko pandan, pineapple, fruit salad, and more!
6. Fish Balls and Squid Balls
These are deep fried snacks that are served with a sweet and sour sauce, vinegar, or chili sauce. They are usually skewered on sticks, dipped into the sauce of choice, and enjoyed as is (no need for a fork or spoon!). Aside from fish balls and squid balls, other varieties include chicken balls, beef balls, crab sticks, kikiam, and fried squid.
7. Kwek Kwek and Tokneneng
Basically, these are hard-boiled eggs coated in an orange batter, and then deep fried. The only difference is the type of egg used. Kwek kwek is typically made using quail eggs, whereas tokneneng makes use of duck or chicken eggs. Like most other deep fried snacks, kwek kwek and tokneneng are best enjoyed with a sweet and sour sauce, or a spicy vinegar dip.
8. Mangga and Bagoong
Green or unripe mangga (mango) and bagoong (fermented fish or shrimp paste) has been a winning combination ever since we can remember. There’s just something about the blending of sour mangga and salty bagoong that definitely tickles our taste buds! Don’t you agree?
Oh, we’re not done with the chicken yet! Aside from the head, feet, and other parts that we don’t usually eat… there’s also isaw! This is what Pinoys call marinated chicken intestines that are barbecued and eaten with sweet and sour sauce or vinegar. Just like the adidas and helmet, isaw is often enjoyed as a snack or pulutan, with a tall glass of cold beer on the side!
Aside from all those deep fried snacks, we need something sweet. How about a glass of taho — soft tofu topped with sugary syrup and sago (tapioca pearls)? You can “drink” taho or scoop it up with a spoon to enjoy the sweet, jelly like mixture!
In the Philippines, this snack is usually peddled on the streets, with children coming out as soon as they hear the vendor shouting, “ta-hoooo!”
Other than banana cue, here’s another “fruity” snack on our list. Turon is made of saba bananas that are covered in lumpia wrapper, and then deep fried with brown sugar. It’s the perfect afternoon snack for those who have a sweet tooth!
Some street food vendors make their turon extra special with a slice of langka (jack fruit) and even cheese! Try it!
12. Lumpiang Togue
We have previously shared the recipe for lumpiang shanghai or spring rolls containing ground pork or other types of meat. The lumpiang togue is basically the vegetarian version, as it uses togue (mung bean sprouts) as the main ingredient. Once again, get your sweet and sour sauce or spicy vinegar ready, to serve as dipping for lumpiang togue!
13. Sago and Gulaman
Whew! Talking about all those sweet and savory snacks has sure made us thirsty! Let’s go for a glass of sago and gulaman — a cool, refreshing drink containing brown sugary syrup, tapioca pearls, and jellies. The perfect beverage partner for Filipino street food!
Whenever you find yourself craving for Pinoy snacks, don’t worry as all of the above are served in some restaurants and hotels, right here in Dubai! Did we miss any Filipino street food also available in the UAE? If so, please post in the comments below!
And speaking of Filipino food, have you heard of the latest bread craze that has recently hit the entire Philippines (and the world) by storm? That’s right! We are referring to ube cheese pandesal, which is purple yam flavoured bread stuffed with cheesy goodness! It is now available in some bakeries and grocery stores, but in case you want to make it yourself, here is the recipe. You can thank us later! Happy eating!