They say the only way to truly know a city is through its food. Don’t get me wrong, a fancy restaurant is nice from time to time. But there’s a certain kind of authenticity that you get from the good ol’ street food. And surely, Cebu is definitely a city of gastronomical adventure.
We have the famous Balot (duck embryo) readily available in every corner. But that’s not all the city has to offer. For locals, these picks are almost a staple. For tourists, it’s definitely a must-try.
- Be mindful of where you eat.
- Be more cautious if you have a sensitive gut.
- A forgiving palate is appreciated – not all will please you.
- An adventurous spirit is key.
Banana Cue or Pinaypay
Fried banana coated in sugar, served two-ways – caramelized or drizzled. This is a popular afternoon snack for students. Just before the classes end, banana cue vendors set up their carts just along the school’s gates, frying up a hand of bananas in a boiling pot of oil. For only 10 pesos (12 pesos in some areas), the subjectively healthy snack is best consumed hot with a glass of Buko (Coconut) Juice.
Where to find: Almost anywhere in the city, near schools.
Peanuts aren’t really new or exciting to anyone, especially when you can have it at almost any part of the world. However, we, Filipinos, like to serve them in variety – steamed, fried, salted or spiced. You can get a bag for as low as 10 pesos up to 25 pesos, depending on the size. And if you ask nicely, the vendor can give you an extra scoop more. Score!
Where to find: Almost anywhere in the city. Beside University of San Jose Recolletos – Main Campus.
Sa-ang (Boiled Spider Shell)
Not many would be too keen for its taste and looks (probably), but if there’s one thing you must try on this list, it is this. A common source of protein for many locals in Cebu and Bohol, Sa-ang or Spider Shells is an interesting find. Housed in a spiral shell, Sa-ang is extracted, boiled and strung together in a banana stick. Don’t forget to dunk it in spiced vinegar and pair it with Puso (Hanging Rice).
Where to find: Freedom Park
Now this one is not for the faint of heart. So, prepare for a rough gastronomical adventure. Proben is a deep-fried proventriculus of a chicken, dipped in cornstarch. That sounds sketchy, doesn’t it? But many Cebuanos swear by it, especially when it’s paired with its special sauce.
Where to find: Back of Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. Near Cebu I.T. Park
A popular dish at Pungko-pungko (food stalls), Ginabot is a deep-fried pig intestine that is coated in cornstarch, also known as Chicharon Bulaklak. Best paired with vinegar with a handful of white onions and chili. Locals can guarantee that a taste of the crispy pork crackling will make you forget what it’s made of. Yes, it is THAT good.
Where to find: Near Redemptorist Church. Capitol Site. Across Apple Tree Suites. Salinas Drive.