10 Food Bloggers Share Their Cheapest Guilty Pleasures

We food bloggers are always being judged—our friends think that we are eating expensive food all the time. My officemates, for instance, never fail to give me a hard time whenever we eat at McDo, questioning my affinity to their cheeseburger. Or whenever we’re at SEx (Sinangag Express) and I dip my tapa on ketchup mixed with vinegar. Or when my eyes light up at the sight of fishballs. But we bloggers are also normal people—or should I say eaters—it’s just that we, in general, eat out more, are more adventurous with food and restaurants, and post more food pics on social media. But we also eat street food (the dirtier, the better—umm, sometimes) and sit in carinderias.

So I scouted for 10 awesome foodies who share this sentiment with me and came up with a list of 10 cheap items we turn to for comfort. Yes, our cheapest, guiltiest pleasures. Below are 10 food items under PhP100—a.k.a. 10 food items you never knew food bloggers eat! Enjoy reading the list, and feel free to add yours in the comments section!

Pepe’s Pick: Tokneneng from a market stall in Boni 

Amidst the carinderias, DVD stalls, and disarray of ukay-ukay in the market beside GA Tower in Boni is a humble tokneneng store selling what I think is the best tokneneng in the universe. If the flock of people—from construction workers to men wearing long-sleeves and neckties—is any indication, then I tell you this: you have to try it to believe me. Kuya’s tokneneng (chicken/duck eggs wrapped in batter) look and taste the cleanest and freshest among all the ones I tried in Manila. No wonder the lines never disappear, whatever time of day. How to locate this stall? Simply walk into the rightmost alley (facing GA) and look for the stall standing right at the middle.


My blogger friends' picks:

1. Butchiron | Beatriz Acosta of Click the City


If you have at least 30 pesos to spare while you're doing some tiangge shopping in Greenhills, San Juan, look for the rows of stalls selling native delicacies closest to V-mall and get Bea’s favorite cheap thrill: the crispy Butchiron. “Chicken never goes to waste with Pinoy food,” Click the City’s Features Editor says, and with this chicharon-like snack, you get a small packet of deep-fried and lightly salted chicken throat, with texture similar to chicharon bulaklak. They sell it in PhP50 and PhP100 packs too, and the spicy variant is addicting!


2. Balut | Yen Dreyfus of The Tummy Traveler

When you hear balut or fertilized duck egg, the Philippines always comes to mind—for it is distinctly Pinoy. It was not too long ago when Yen got introduced to this delicacy by her husband, Chuckie, and she has grown to like it, making her a suki (regular customer) of the stall outside their townhouse in Mandaluyong. Chuckie breaks the shell for her, and then she puts a little salt & spicy vinegar, sips the broth, and finishes off the entire yolk partnered with ice cold soda—crazy good! As for the sisiw (chick)? Chuckie eats it if Yen finds it too big.


3. Isaw | Guia Obsum of Food Reviews Manila

Just a stone's throw away from Resurrection Church in BF Homes in Paranaque stands a little grill manned by a guy with an easy smile. Kuya Edward proffers various skewered street food for just 5 pesos a piece. Guia’s favorites: isaw manok and isaw baboy, both of which are marinated in a sweet barbecue sauce. Each piece is devoid of any bitter taste we sometimes encounter with offal sold in other similar street corners. The next time you find yourself in BF and hankering for some tender, tasty chicken and pig intestines, look for Rolly's Canteen hidden at the back of Puregold Southpark and get Kuya Edward to grill you a dozen sticks or so. Don't forget to dip each one into their special vinegar sauce!


4. Felymar’s Special Bibingka | Eugene Constantino of Hefty Foodie 

Christmas season or not, the bibingka is Eugene’s favorite comfort food. “Felymar’s Special Bibingka beside Tayuman LRT Station absolutely nails the texture of the fluffy bibingka base”, the blogger and photographer shares. Now imagine that with extra toppings—the sweet and salty caramelization melding with burnt sugar, cheese, and bits of salted egg. I can feel Christmas already!


5. Chicken Inasal | JB Macatulad of Will Fly For Food

When I asked JB what his favorite comfort food was, he didn't think long. The answer was automatic—it’s the chicken inasal from Bacolod Chicken Parilla in Quezon City. Home to the smokiest and juiciest inasal in Manila, JB and his wife Reneé have been going to this hole-in-the-wall in the corner of Sct. Gandia and Sct. Reyes for nearly a decade now.  JB gets the paa (thigh) while Reneé goes for either the pak-pak (wings) or isol (bottoms).  Pair the inasal with some garlic fried rice and an ice cold San Mig Light, and all the week's stresses just melt away. Yum!


6. Betamax, Walkman, and IUD | B’ley Villones of Blogalag and @ManilaEatUp

For B’ley, also known as Blogalag and the founder of the highly popular Manila Eat Up (@manilaeatup on Instagram), she found forever with 3 of the tastiest street food ever. “I'm in love with offals and will forever be,” she declares. Betamax, Walkman, and IUD are her top 3 favorites, and no one does grilled chicken blood, grilled pig's ears, and grilled intestines quite as tasty as the one she gets from the street across the church in Moonwalk, Parañaque. Panalo!


7. Sisig sa Rada | Nines Licad of Nines VS Food

If you’re looking for a hearty, affordable lunch within Makati, always go for the Jollijeeps. These humble food stalls scattered across the business district offer a variation of home-cooked dishes, but if you seek after the best sisig, go to Rada Street in Legaspi Village and look for the popular “Sisig sa Rada”. A popular Filipino dish, sisig has chunky bits of pork face that has a taunting deliciousness and hints of spicy notes. Don’t be fooled by other Jollijeeps offering the same sisig + rice deal for Php45—locate the one near 7 Eleven, and if you spot a stall with long lines of yuppies in the middle of the day, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

8. Pork Barbecue | Jeng del Rosario of Food in the Bag

Jeng’s favorite is a barbecue place he’s been frequently visiting since high school days—a go-to whenever he needed a quick fix or something to bring for a party. The small BBQ stall along Filinvest 1 Access Road in Batasan Hills, Quezon City sells what Jeng says is the cheapest (PhP18 each) yet juiciest pork barbecue: the meat is moist, and the sauce a jumble of flavors. Generally, the barbecue sold here is a more sweet than savory. Jeng’s favorite part of eating it? The moment when he finally reaches the fat at the end of the stick.


9. Taho | Clarisse Panuelos of The Tummy Train

The taho is a popular Philippine snack made of silken soya, arnibal (melted brown sugar), and sago (tapioca peals)—and is Clarisse’s favorite after-school treat as a child. “I still remember back when it was just 5 pesos for a cup!” she fondly shares. Now that she’s older, she seeks it out as an after-gym pick-me-up. She regularly gets her taho fix from the manong that peddles in the Binondo area.


10. Cheesy Beef Jamaican Pattie | Renz Cheng of A Not-So-Popular Kid

If you don’t know what the Jamaican Pattie is, you have to raid any of the MRT stations and look for the bright yellow stall selling empanada-like pastries. Its Cheesy Beef variant has always been Renz’ favorite since college. “I love it because it's something I can grab for a fast on-the-go lunch or for a snack,” he says. Let's not forget to mention how delicious it is too! I know I’ve had my turn with the quail eggs, but my personal favorite is the spicy Beef Pinatubo. The bomb!

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Special thanks to my blogger friends for participating! I had a lot fun writing this post!

What's your cheapest guilty pleasure? Sounds off the comments section!

All photos (except the Jamaican Pattie) were taken from the respective bloggers with written and/or verbal permission.

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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