15 Best MERIENDA in the Philippines (Delicious Filipino Food) (2023)

More than its breathtaking natural wonders such as pristine beach destinations, majestic mountains, sparkling waterfalls, and many more, the Philippines is also known for a whole lot of other things! There’s its extremely rich and colorful history, infectious culture and traditions, and of course, notable Filipino icons such as Jo Koy, Jordan Clarkson, and the one and only boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao.

But there’s still another famous distinction heralded to the Philippines and it’s none other than our country’s iconic cuisine. Yup! Filipino Cuisine is making rounds all over the globe and currently trending on social media as one of the most delicious cuisines in society. People are loving the unique taste and most importantly the flexibility, adaptability, and creativity of Filipino dishes that consistently impress foreign tourists.

As an archipelago that’s surrounded by thriving waters and abundant supplies of different seafood, Filipino cuisine is mainly known for its seafood specialties. Despite that, you still shouldn’t underestimate its other dishes consisting of pork, chicken, beef, and vegetables! Some of the most famous Filipino dishes of all time are Sinigang, Caldereta, Sisig, Lechon, and of course, Adobo. Trust me, there are literally countless must-try Filipino dishes and delicacies. You’ll be able to discover a new delicious dish each time you visit a new place!

Well, the dishes I’ve mentioned above are just some of my all-time favorite Filipino main courses. An interesting thing about us Filipinos is that we’re used to eating more than three times a day! Sometimes we even eat four, five, or even six times a day because of our traditional siesta time or merienda time. These are usually held around 10:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon. And guess what? We have a separate set of delicious foods created specifically for merienda. Well, lucky for you because that is exactly what we’re talking about today in this article!

Prepare to go on another gastronomic adventure with me as we discover and taste the 15 Best Merienda in the Philippines! I hope you’re hungry because everything on this list is super irresistibly delicious. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s do it!

Content

1. Turon

First on the list and definitely one of the all-time favorite merienda dishes of Filipinos is the iconic Turon. These are ripe Saba bananas wrapped with spring roll wrappers, and then deliciously coated with brown sugar before being deep-fried. The yummy, crunchy, and addicting flavor combination of Turon truly is something you should try!

To make it even more special, strips of langka or jackfruit are added to the mix, this gives the Turon a more unique flavor and texture which makes it extra delicious. You can usually spot Turon vendors around crowded places in the Philippines like transport terminals, schools, and local markets. They usually start selling Turon in the afternoon. That’s why it really is a perfect merienda snack!

2. Banana Cue

Up next, when you mention Turon as one of the most popular merienda dishes in the Philippines, it’s impossible not to include Banana Cue in the conversation! Banana Cues are essentially the twin sister of Turon because they’re made of the same exact ingredients except for the spring rolls.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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Instead of rolling the Saba bananas with spring roll wrappers, the fruit is directly coated with brown sugar and then deep-fried. And then, the bananas are skewered into wood sticks in groups of two or three bananas. See? That’s already a heavy meal for some people! Filipinos usually like to pair their Banana Cue merienda with an ice-cold bottle of soft drink, just to beat the summer heat!

3. Camote Cue

Yup! There is indeed another famous Filipino street food that’s very similar to our first two entries, Turon and Banana Cue. Wanna take a guess? Ah, I’m sure you’re also very familiar with this, the Camote Cue! This yet another classic merienda dish is made in the same way as a Banana Cue.

The only difference is that the main ingredients used are sweet potatoes or camote/kamote. So just like the cooking process of Banana Cues, these are made by coating slices of sweet potatoes with brown sugar and then deep-fried to perfection. Camote Cues are also skewered in wood sticks for a more convenient way of eating, a perfect merienda indeed!

4. Maja Blanca

Ah, this time we’re trying a different kind of Filipino merienda that uses yet another abundant agricultural product of the Philippines. Maja Blanca is essentially a Filipino dessert that has a gelatin-like consistency and uses coconut milk and corn as its main ingredients.

The richness and creaminess of this merienda dish truly are so outstanding that Maja Blanca became a usual dessert served during special occasions like birthday parties, festivals, and wedding receptions. Oh, and it tastes better with toasted coconut bits on top!

5. Taho

“Tahooo”, anyone? If you try to live in the Philippines even for just a couple of days in the city, I’m sure that you would hear a loud voice in the neighborhood every morning shouting the word Taho in a lengthy and catchy manner. Well, that has been the tradition that every Filipino grew up in.

Photo from foxyfolksy

Taho is an iconic Filipino snack or merienda that’s made of a perfect combination of fresh silken tofu, small white pearls, and sugar syrup or arnibal. You can easily spot Taho vendors anywhere around the country because they’re carrying two tin containers and shouting the word Taho every time!

6. Binatog

Next up, Binatog is also a very popular merienda that Filipinos absolutely love. It’s made from waxy corn kernels that are usually topped with plenty of flavors like grated coconut meat, butter, sugar, and sometimes salt. It’s actually a heavy snack already because the corn kernels are high in carbohydrates.

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Photo from Casa Baluarte

Binatog vendors or more popularly known as magbibinatog can also be spotted easily because they’re carrying small tin cans containing the fresh ingredients to make binatog. You can also spot these delicious snacks around malls nowadays, so better give it a try!

7. Pancit

Ah, absolutely! Another iconic Filipino merienda that you really have to try is Pancit. Now, there are countless different versions of pancit in the Philippines, I think every province has its own special recipe for it. But to make things simpler, pancit or pansit is the traditional noodle dish of the Philippines.

It may vary based on the type of noodle used, the location it originated from, or even the method of cooking. Some of the most popular varieties of pancit in the country are Pancit Canton, Pancit Bihon, Lomi, and many more! These can be made of different tasty ingredients like pork, chicken meat, chicken liver, and vegetables. The wonderful thing about pancit is that it can serve as a merienda or the main course for a family’s meal. It’s usually served with calamansi to perfectly compliment the flavors.

You can buy pancit from essentially anywhere around the country such as local eateries, restaurants, and vendors. Pancit has also become an all-time favorite merienda by Filipinos because of its affordability and delicious taste.

8. Empanada

Empanada is another special Filipino merienda that became known in the country for its different delicious flavors that can easily fill up your tummy. The empanada is essentially a turnover that can either be baked or fried with pastries and different fillings inside.

Photo from Yummy PH

In the Philippines, it can be made of chicken, tuna, pork, cheese, and such. The name Empanada actually came from the Spanish word “empanar” which means “enbreaded” or to be wrapped in bread. You can usually buy cooked empanadas from different stores around the country, especially outside crowded places like schools, local markets, and malls. Just a bite of this goodie and you’re absolutely ready to go!

9. Ginataang Bilo-Bilo

Next up, another classic and special Filipino merienda is Ginataang Bilo-Bilo. This sweet delight is made up of coconut milk, tapioca, ube, camote, langka, and of course the main ingredient, bilo-bilo or glutinous rice balls. It takes a lot of time and patience to master or even cook this traditional Filipino dessert, that’s why it’s usually served on special occasions like fiestas.

Photo from Create with Cream

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So if you’re able to find a vendor selling Ginataang Bilo-Bilo nearby, I suggest that you grab the chance and buy some! Trust me, you’ll never regret your decisions because you’ll be satisfied with its delicious taste and on top of that, you’ll have a full belly!

10. Lugaw

Ah, yes. The one and only favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and merienda dish of Filipinos, Lugaw! Lugaw is essentially a rice porridge that’s made of either glutinous or regular rice. Plain Lugaw can be made of only rice, water, and salt. But to make it even more special, adding chicken meat, garlic, onion, ginger, or egg really does take it to another level.

Photo from SCMP

Eating Lugaw as your merienda is very calming and satisfying especially during the rainy season. You can easily spot stores or what Filipinos like to call “Lugawan” in almost every street and corner in the country. Some are even open 24/7 to serve the cravings of hardworking Filipinos!

Oh, and just a quick tip! It’s best to pair your Lugaw with the traditional Tokwa’t Baboy as your side dish. And you can add some special toppings as well like toasted garlic, fresh onion leeks, and even chili oil to add some spice!

11. Puto

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without including one of the most famous delicacies of the Philippines, Puto or Filipino Rice Cakes. Now, there are many kinds and varieties of Puto all throughout the history of Filipino cuisine, but the main thing is that the traditional recipe of puto is made of rice flour.

These fluffy rice cakes can be made extra special by adding some toppings like cheese, salted egg, and butter. And to give you an idea, some of the popular versions of Puto are Puto Calasiao, Puto Kutsinta, and probably the most famous, Puto Bumbong, which is an iconic merienda during the Christmas season. But no matter what version you like the most, I’m sure that you’ll agree that Puto is indeed one of the best Filipino merienda of all time.

12. Buko Pandan

More than being a fan-favorite dessert of Filipinos, Buko Pandan also grew to become one of the most sought-after merienda in our culture. Buko Pandan, or sometimes called Buko Pandan Salad, is made using coconut milk, coconut cream, sago pearls, gulaman, and of course, pandan leaves.

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Photo from Create with Cream

These are best served cold because they are absolutely refreshing and addicting at the same time! In case you’re wondering, Buko Pandan is usually served on special occasions like festivals, birthday parties, and wedding celebrations. Because it’s relatively easy to make, Filipinos choose to make their own Buko Pandan Salad at home. But if you really want to try and taste it right away, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some in local eateries, restaurants, and food halls!

13. Chicharon

Ah, there it is! The ultimate merienda and pulutan choice of all Filipinos, the Chicharon! These are pork rinds or pork belly deep-fried to crunchy, crispy, and tasty perfection. Every bite of this irresistible Filipino delicacy can make all your worries away! I suggest that you prepare a vinegar filled with chili as your dipping sauce as it makes eating chicharon even more special.

Photo from Kawaling Pinoy

You can easily buy chicharon from local vendors, food outlets, and popular brands anywhere in the country. Oh, and there’s also another kind of chicharon you definitely shouldn’t miss when you have the chance, the Chicharong Bulaklak. These are made of deep-fried pork intestines that are best consumed right after cooking! Yum!

14. Siopao

Along with many other delicious dishes and delicacies, one of the most influential foods shared with us by the Chinese is Siopao. Filipinos absolutely love Siopao, trust me. Whether it’s in the classic Asado, Bola-Bola, Tuna, Chicken, and all sorts of flavors, it will definitely be one of the top merienda choices of Filipinos.

Siopao is essentially a type of dumpling with traditional sweet pork filling. And aside from being the main dish for merienda, it’s usually paired with noodle dishes like Wonton Soup, Lomi, and Beef Mami. Ah, those are all definitely a must-try!

15. Suman

Finally, last but absolutely not the least is Suman. It is a rice cake usually made from glutinous rice cooked perfectly in flavorful coconut milk. It’s traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and served with a sprinkle of brown sugar or latik, a delicious caramel sauce.

It’s famously known as a sticky rice delicacy prepared by Filipinos during occasions like fiestas, baptismal celebrations, weddings, and such religious celebrations. But they can also be bought as a pasalubong from different parts of the Philippines so make sure to check out your next travel destination!

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FAQs

What are the top 10 famous food found in the Philippines? ›

10 Filipino Food that Will Have You Drooling
  • Adobo. No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo. ...
  • Sinigang. If we were to describe the taste of Filipino cuisine, it would have to be mostly sour rather than spicy. ...
  • Sisig. ...
  • Kare-Kare. ...
  • Lechon. ...
  • Crispy Pata. ...
  • Bulalo. ...
  • Kansi.

What is the best merienda? ›

Here is a list of some of the most popular Filipino snacks for merienda of all time:
  1. Bilo-Bilo. ...
  2. Binatog. ...
  3. Buko Pandan. ...
  4. Champorado. ...
  5. Chicharon. ...
  6. Empanada. ...
  7. Ensaymada. ...
  8. Green Mango + Bagoong.

What is Pinoy merienda? ›

In the Philippines, merienda (Filipino: meryenda) is a generic term encompassing two light meals: the first is a morning snack that may correspond to either brunch, elevenses, or second breakfast; the second one is the equivalent of afternoon tea.

What are healthy Filipino snacks? ›

Below are ten healthy snacks in the Philippines and healthy chips you can eat on the go while keeping the calories in check.
  • No cholesterol, no transfat rice bars. ...
  • Gluten-free, non-GMO sweet potato chips. ...
  • No Cholesterol, no trans fat kale chips. ...
  • High-fiber tofu chips. ...
  • Muscavado-filled piaya. ...
  • Antioxidants, healthy fats nuts.
May 29, 2017

What is the number 1 Filipino dish? ›

1. Adobo. No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo. A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it's Mexican in origin.

What are Pinoy favorite foods? ›

Traditional Filipino Food
  • Chicharon (Deep-Fried Pork Belly)
  • Lumpia (Spring Rolls)
  • Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg)
  • Torta (Omlette)
  • Longganisa (Sausage)
  • Adobo.
  • Lechon (Roasted Pig)
  • Sinigang (Tamarind Soup)
Dec 12, 2021

What is traditional Filipino food? ›

As in most Asian countries, the staple food in the Philippines is rice. It is most often steamed and always served with meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Leftover rice is often fried with garlic to make sinangag, which is usually served at breakfast together with a fried egg and cured meat or sausages.

Why Filipino food is the best? ›

Filipino cuisine is popular for its delicious taste and appetizing aroma. You can easily tell apart Filipino food from other cuisines due to its color and the manner it is served too. Its distinctive colors, aroma, and flavors result in a full sensory experience with each bite.

What's your favorite Filipino dish? ›

Chicken adobo: the famous Filipino dish

Chicken adobo is the most famous and popular of all Filipino foods, known and loved by everyone. It's also one of the best examples of how the country is such a rich melting pot of different historical influences.

What's a healthy afternoon snack? ›

Plain yogurt snack makes a great snack. Try Greek yogurt, which delivers more protein than regular yogurt. Banana and peanut butter together make a filling snack with lots of protein. Skip the two slices of bread and have an open-face tuna sandwich.

What are some healthy snack ideas? ›

  • Mixed nuts. Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack, providing the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. ...
  • Red bell pepper with guacamole. ...
  • Greek yogurt and mixed berries. ...
  • Apple slices with peanut butter. ...
  • Cottage cheese and fruit. ...
  • Celery sticks with cream cheese. ...
  • Kale chips. ...
  • Dark chocolate and almonds.

What is Filipino kakanin? ›

Moreover, the term kakanin comes from two Tagalog words: “kain” (to eat) and “kanin” (rice). So, it's an umbrella name for sweets produced from sticky rice and coconut milk, two ingredients abundant in tropical nations like the Philippines.

What time is merienda cena? ›

Merienda Cena is available every Friday to Sunday, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., for Php 1,500 net per person and Php 1,950 net for guests who opt to add free-flowing rosé. Explore the menu here.

What should I ask for pasalubong Philippines? ›

But for now, I'll keep the list to the easily transportable packaged goodies that make great “pasalubongs”.
  • Dried Mangoes. You can also find dried banana, dried jackfruit, dried papaya, etc but mango is really what the Philippines is all about. ...
  • Polvoron. ...
  • Otap. ...
  • Tablea Chocolate. ...
  • Rosquillos. ...
  • Piaya. ...
  • Hopia. ...
  • Pastillas de Leche.
Apr 7, 2017

Where did merienda originate? ›

It is a light meal that originated from Spain and a customary meal eaten in other countries such as the Philippines, Argentina, and Croatia. The term merienda came from the Spanish merendar, which means “to eat snack.” It is usually eaten to relieve hunger when it is not yet lunchtime or dinnertime.

What is the national drink of the Philippines? ›

(CNN) — San Miguel may be the Philippines' national beverage, but there's more to the islands' drink culture than a 100-year-old beer. The flavors of the Philippines -- its tastes, ingredients, even tributes to landmarks -- are increasingly being used in craft cocktail concoctions.

What is a Filipino snack? ›

The standard Filipinos snack is ring shaped and come in several varieties coated in either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. Milk or dark chocolate versions feature a light colored biscuit. White chocolate versions feature a dark brown biscuit. These can be purchased in large rolls.

What is Chichirya? ›

[noun] chips; snack; snack foods; junk food.

What is a typical Filipino breakfast? ›

A typical Filipino breakfast is usually eggs, sunny side up; fried rice and any or all of the favorite Filipino breakfast staples: tocino or sweetened pork strips; tapa, a kind of beef jerky or tuyo, dried salted fish. These dishes are fairly easy to cook. They require only minimal cooking skills.

What junk food has the least calories? ›

Ice cream tops our list of low-calorie snacks. The key is to look for slow-churned or double-churned varieties. This refers to a process that reduces fat and calories while retaining the creamy texture of full-fat varieties, so 1/2 cup has just 100 calories.

What is the healthiest vegetables in the Philippines? ›

Generally speaking, the healthiest vegetables in the Philippines are amaranth, malunggay, bell peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash, chard, and Brussel sprouts.

What goods are the Philippines known for? ›

Philippines´ Main Exports
  • Coconut oil. In 2018, coconut oil from the Philippines dominated the export market with 1.2 million tones ahead of Indonesia's 885,000 tonnes and India's 390, 000 tonnes. ...
  • Petroleum Products. ...
  • Electronic Products. ...
  • Refined Petroleum. ...
  • Cars. ...
  • Office parts and integrated circuits.
Apr 14, 2020

What is the most popular dessert in the Philippines? ›

1. Halo-Halo. Perhaps the most popular Filipino dessert, halo-halo is a supreme shaved ice dessert.

What is the famous food in Luzon? ›

One of the more iconic dishes in the Southern Luzon region of Bicol, Laing is stewed taro leaves cooked with pork, shrimp, chilies and coconut milk.

What do Filipinos usually eat for dinner? ›

Just like the other meals, everything is served with rice. For a dinner a typical meal consists of rice, a dish of any variant. Usually, the set-up is the same as lunch only some prefer to have a lighter meal during night time or sometimes they would reheat the leftovers from what they had for lunch.

What is a female Filipino called? ›

Filipino is the Hispanized (or Anglicized) way of referring to both the people and the language in the Philippines. Note that it is also correct to say Filipino for a male and Filipina for a female.

Why is Filipino food not popular? ›

When compared to other Southeast Asian cuisines, Filipino food — with its lack of spice, use of unorthodox ingredients such as offal, and focus on sourness and linamnam — may be deemed by these outsiders as not “exotic” enough to be worth their interest, as being both too alien and too “bland.”

Is Filipino food the best in the world? ›

Filipino food is among TasteAtlas' Top 50 Best Cuisines in the World in 2022. Garnering a 4.39 rating, Filipino cuisine is ranked 19th in the food encyclopedia's top best cuisines.

What Filipino dish do you think should become our national dish? ›

Many Filipinos consider adobo, the national dish of the Philippines. The perfect adobo lies in the delicate balance of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and spices (bay leaves and fresh ground peppercorns). Others use salt or patis (fish sauce) to enhance flavors. Recipes vary from different regions in the Philippines.

What are the top 10 most popular foods? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!
  • Potato Chips.
  • Donuts.
  • Ice Cream.
  • Chicken Tenders.
  • Soft Drinks/Soda.
  • Pizza.
  • Oreo Cookies.
  • French Fries.
Sep 7, 2021

What should I ask for pasalubong Philippines? ›

But for now, I'll keep the list to the easily transportable packaged goodies that make great “pasalubongs”.
  • Dried Mangoes. You can also find dried banana, dried jackfruit, dried papaya, etc but mango is really what the Philippines is all about. ...
  • Polvoron. ...
  • Otap. ...
  • Tablea Chocolate. ...
  • Rosquillos. ...
  • Piaya. ...
  • Hopia. ...
  • Pastillas de Leche.
Apr 7, 2017

What's a healthy afternoon snack? ›

Plain yogurt snack makes a great snack. Try Greek yogurt, which delivers more protein than regular yogurt. Banana and peanut butter together make a filling snack with lots of protein. Skip the two slices of bread and have an open-face tuna sandwich.

What is Filipino kakanin? ›

Moreover, the term kakanin comes from two Tagalog words: “kain” (to eat) and “kanin” (rice). So, it's an umbrella name for sweets produced from sticky rice and coconut milk, two ingredients abundant in tropical nations like the Philippines.

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