Coming in first place is a personal favourite of mine and an overall delicious snack or meryenda called Turon. This almost dessert-like snack is made from Cavendish bananas which are halved and then rolled in brown sugar. Then some jackfruit is added and it’s all rolled up in a spring roll wrapper. This little parcel of deliciousness is then fried in oil and some more brown sugar. There are also some different variations that I have discovered recently as well, one version has chocolate sauce injected into the centre and because you can never go wrong with bananas and ice cream, there is always turon al a mode. Prices vary, but you should be able to pick up some turon for around 10 pesos a roll.
A street vendor grilling up a feast in Manila
Where you find turon you are pretty much guaranteed to find another tasty snack – Banana-cue. Banana-cue is like turon without the wrapper and jackfruit. Usually you will find it as two whole Cavendish bananas on a skewer. The bananas are friend and coated in brown sugar. These again can be picked up for around 10 pesos. Sadly, both turon and banana-cue tend to be more of a lunch time snack and disappear from the majority of street stalls once it gets dark.
Want a quick nibble on your way home? Then you can pick up some peanuts steamed in their shells or fried in oil. My favourites are the fried variety and they also come in chilli and garlic flavours, however, sometimes they can be a tad too salty. Depending on how many you get and how big the bag is they’ll cost you 5 – 10 pesos.
Photo by Scott Allford
Photo by Scott Allford
Also if you’re on the run you can grab some Dirty Ice Cream. It sounds bad but it’s not really dirty. The name comes from the fact that it’s sold in little carts on the streets exposed to pollution and served without gloves. You can get it in a variety of unique flavours: ube(yam), queso (cheese), buko (coconut), and the usual chocolate or vanilla. You can stick with one flavour or mix it up. They also come in different cones: sugar cone, wafer cone, and I’ve even heard in bread buns. Prices will differ depending on how big your serving is.
Lastly, we come to green mangoes which are not my absolute favourite because of their sour taste, but still quite delicious. These are simply unripe mangoes or Indian mangoes which are green in colour. They are usually cut in half and the seed is removed and then it is placed on a skewer. A generous helping of Bagoong (shrimp paste) is then applied and it’s ready to eat. You can pick up one slice for about 10 pesos.
All of these foods offer their own great tastes and with each street delicacy comes an interesting cultural experience that doesn’t usually get a mention in the in-flight magazines. So for your next meal, get outside to enjoy the sunny weather and grab some food from the street.