Manila - Food and Drink
There’s no shortage of American fast-food chains if you crave the familiar, but Manila also caters for connoisseurs of Asian cuisine.
Filipino favours salads, fruit and desserts sitting alongside hot dishes, noodles and fried rice. Meatball soup is recommended, hearty and filling, while rustic specialities from Pampanga province offer a real taste of the country's lush interior - with pork dishes like the meaty longanissa sausage, abodo's braised chicken or pork in garlic and soy sauce, and hamonado - pork in a sweet and sticky pineapple sauce. Harbor View, on the jetty, gives you the chance to look out across the bay while downing traditional Filipino dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.
Chinatown is, of course, the natural destination for aficionados of Chinese food. The Chinese noodles and dim sum are both excellent, as is the Sinigang - meat or seafood in a sour broth.
If you fancy Italian, the city won't disappoint, either, especially around Rizal Park and Padre Burgos Street.
Street food is readily available and wonderfully varied, but should be treated with caution by those not blessed with a cast-iron digestive system and adventurous taste-buds. If you want to try street-style specialities prepared at establishments with a proven hygiene record, try Nanay Q (branches at EDSA Central and Robinsons Pioneer) or Balut Eggspress at the MRT Ayala Station. Dishes on offer include sisig (pig’s head and liver seasoned with kalamansi and chilli peppers) and a barbecued chicken and pork combo, while Balut Eggspress serves kwek kwek – boiled duck, chicken or quail eggs deep fried in batter – and one-day old chicks marinated and fried in hot oil and eaten whole, bones and all.
Jaded by restaurant fare, or a devoted cook who loves to inspect the local produce? Head for the organic farmers market in the park at the corner of Toledo Street and Leviste Street, or make for the fruit, sweet and roast chestnut stalls in Carvajal Street, an alley off Quintin Paredes Street in Binondo. Quinta Market sells fish and meat as well as fruit and veg, while Salazar’s Bakery will satisfy your craving for the smell of fresh-baked bread. It also offers a large choice of filled rolls, ready wrapped if you don’t have time to linger. San Andres Market is open 24/7, which is great if you fancy exotic fruit at 2am, but only if you don’t possess an aversion to the classic whiff of drains. Those preferring a more salubrious food-shopping experience may prefer Rustan’s Supermarket.