9 Fried Filipino Delicacies that are Worth the Calories

9 Fried Filipino Delicacies that are Worth the Calories

Warning: Once tasted, always wanted. Don't say we didn't warn you!

Trying out local cuisine is fun and, at the same time, a little bit daunting because some may be out of your comfort zone or may not exactly be enticing to the palate. Then again, Andrew Zimmern, chef and host of Bizarre Foods, always says, “If it looks good, eat it.”

Filipino food is a fusion of different influences, and different dishes are starting to emerge in competitive food spaces. But nothing beats fried delicacies that only a Filipino can creatively cook up.

Be warned: Once tasted, you’ll keep craving for more!

Also read: 18 Philippine Provinces for the Absolute Foodie

1. Pritchon

fried filipino delicaciesImage credit: Rose Ferrer

Roasted adult pig is great, but deep fried piglet is a whole other level of greatness. Pritchon is deep fried in a stainless steel tub. After frying, it is left to stand to drain excess oil. If this succulent porklet is not enough to kick up one’s blood pressure, we don’t know what else can.

It is served much like a pecking duck. Eating this is similar to eating a shawarma. A pita wedge is prepared with the pritchon, and one can stuff small pieces of the crispy skin, the meat, green onions, and a choice of seven types of sauces. These seven sauces can be anything from the signature and standard lechon liver sauce, hoisin, white garlic, honey mustard, sate, Tagalog, and honey lemon.

2. Bagnet

BagnetImage credit: jojo nicdao

This is a specialty from Ilocos and is loved not only by the locals but by people from all over the Philippines. It’s pork and YES, it is fried. This dish is a popular must-try for first-time visitors to the province.

Many restaurants in the metro have already started the trend of serving different variations of this deep fried pork belly dish. Hence, there’s no longer any need to travel 8 hours from Manila just to get a taste of this deep fried goodness!

3. Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata

Crispy Pata (crispy leg) is also one of the most famous Filipino pork dishes. It uses a whole pork leg, which is first simmered in water with other spices to make it tender. Rubbed with seasonings, the leg is thrown in a cooking oil-filled heavy-bottomed pot until the texture becomes very crunchy. In any party or fiesta, this fried goodness cannot be ignored.

4. Lumpiang Shanghai

Lumpiang ShanghaiImage credit: Foodista

Lumpiang Shanghai may not exactly sound Filipino, but it has become one of the mainstays of any Pinoy party. This spring roll was introduced by the Chinese as a savoury snack, and it evolved into something Filipinos eat as appetisers or as a viand.

The crepe-like pastry skin is called lumpia wrapper. Minced meat is the usual filling, but depending on the region, variations include bean sprouts, vegetables, or both.

5. Kwek-Kwek

Kwek-KwekImage credit: digipam

Do not be surprised if, while walking the streets of the metro, you see orange-battered quail eggs. These are not Pokemon eggs. Some genius mini-capitalist cum cook had a great idea to cover quail eggs in an orange coloured batter and fry them. Get some barbeque sticks, and you have a great afternoon snack. The history behind the colour will never be revealed, but Kwek Kwek is definitely a delicious snack that is high in calories (1 quail egg = 3 chicken eggs, as some adults say) with staying power in the hearts of many Filipinos. It is cheap, filling, and the orange colour adds to its quirky charm.

6. Bicho Bicho

Bicho BichoImage credit: Charles Haynes

Filipinos have a penchant for repeating names; Jen-Jen, Ton-Ton, Tin-Tin. This fried yummy goodness is dubbed as the Filipino Doughnut, and it is so good that its name has to be repeated twice. Different versions of this doughnut are spread across the country with one common denominator: great with coffee.

Bicho bicho looks like an elongated pretzel, deep fried and rolled in powdered sugar or, for upscale versions, cinnamon powder, cheese, or chocolate.

7. Ilocos Empanada

Ilocos EmpanadaImage credit: Yvette Tan

This empanada has two versions from two cities in Ilocos where it originated. Both versions are to die for. Many would prefer the lighter coloured pastry over the orange one (yes, just like the orange battered quail egg), but then again, who are we to judge the flavour based on just colour, right?

The differences between the two versions are the thickness of the pastry and the colour. Fillings consist of egg, bean sprout, and, for special orders, and the very popular Ilocos longganisa,which is wrapped in a half-moon shaped pastry and then deep fried.

Once cooked, oil is drained. Black vinegar serves as the dip for that authentic Ilocano taste.

8. Maruya

MaruyaImage credit: Shubert Ciencia

The Philippines is a known tropical country with beautiful beaches and tropical fruits, particularly bananas. It is, for some, a staple food on the breakfast table because it is healthy and filling. But since Filipinos are a creative bunch and are not afraid to experiment, a fried snack was born with banana as the main ingredient.

Maruya is a type of fritter made of saba banana. Sliced lengthwise and fanned out, it is coated thinly with batter and then deep fried. Once the oil is drained and sugar is sprinkled, it is ready to eat! Easy to prepare and delicious to eat, Maruyas are enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

9. Banana Cue / Kamote (Sweet Potato) Cue

Banana CueImage credit: Obsidian Soul

It is one if not the most popular snack in the Philippines. Any city or town, big or small, has this snack sold by side street vendors.The smell of the cooked sugar wafts in the air.

Just like its fritter cousin, the Maruya, this fried snack made of banana and brown sugar is easy to prepare but will take energy to cook. One has to be patient, for as bananas are thrown into a huge oil-brimmed pan, brown sugar is added slowly while stirring the two ingredients. This is to ensure that the bananas are coated well with the melted brown sugar.

Also read: 25 Popular Street Food & Snacks to Try in The Philippines

Once satisfied with how the melted sugar covered the banana, get some barbeque sticks, skew the fresh-off-the-pan bananas, drain the oil, and they’re ready to eat! For another version, use sweet potatoes or kamote in place of the bananas.

Aren’t you itching to explore the Philippines to try all these irresistible treats?

About Author

James Aquino
James Aquino

After visiting more than fifty international cities in three continents (and still counting), James is on a quest to visit at least two new countries each year. A registered nurse, a stage father, and a grumpy husband, he has always believed that travelling offers something that you will never learn from school. His best advice is to always take pictures along the way, but never forget the stories behind them. Read more of his travel stories and his passion project at The Panoramic Soul.


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