When you have a small amount of money and you want to eat, the first thing that comes to mind is (No. Not McDonald’s McSavers) street food. And why is that, you ask? This is because they are cheap and you can find them almost anywhere. They are found on the curb in stalls or they are sold by men or women on hand-pushed or bicycle-driven carts. You can see the anytime of the day. They are usually seen in places where there are many people who pass by like schools, churches, markets and PUV terminals.
There are many types of street foods and they sometimes vary on the location. But some don’t. Like the immortal kwek-kwek (fried quail egg in yellow batter), balut(, and balls (fishballs, squid balls, etc. ). Filipino street foods are usually skewered on a stick. They are usually fried or barbecued. Some are ready to eat while some are cooked on the spot. You can also ask the vendor to reheat the foods if it has gone cold. They are dipped in a variety of sauces. There’s Sweet Sauce, Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Vinegar, and Spicy Vinegar.
I noticed that these sauces are usually contained in used coffee jars and Stick-O jars for small time vendors and gallon containers for big stalls. . Chicken innards are one of the most popular street foods aside from kwek-kwek and balut. Ask anyone what is “isaw”(chicken intestines), Betamax(pig’s blood), and adidas(chicken feet) and they’ll tell you that these are parts of chicken on a stick. There are street foods that only appear during a specific time of the year. Like the puto bumbong (a type of rice cake which is sticky and purple in color.
It is served with grated coconut and sugar) and bibingka (type of cake made from galapong and rice flour often topped with salted duck’s egg and cheese) which is only sold during Christmastime, usually outside churches. During the summer some vendors sells different kinds of “palamig” like halo-halo and sago’t gulaman. The halo-halo is a concoction of assorted sweets with shaved ice, milk, and in some restaurants, ice cream. The sago’t gulaman is a refreshing drink consisting of tapioca, gelatin, syrup and ice.
These are popular during summer to cool off during the hot weather. Another cooler during the summer is the “dirty ice cream” or the sorbetes. It is not really dirty, it’s just a term used by people because it is sold on the street. It is sold by men in hand pushed carts while ringing a bell. Its common flavors are ube (purple yam), cheese, and chocolate. It is served in wafer cones or small plastic cups. The common reaction to street food is that they’re dirty but that problem is only with some unlicensed vendors.
Actually the rate of contracting a disease or contamination when eating street foods is pretty low. Some vendors use disposable gloves when serving food. One must remember that the food might be safe and delicious but too much of everything is bad for your health. Although some people see street foods as dirty, many people still patronize street food because of their cheap prices and availability. I personally like eating at sidewalk stalls. My favorite street food is kwek-kwek and isaw. It is nice to know that you can eat good food without hurting you wallet.