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Instant Gastronomic Encounters: A Taste of Manila"s Street Food

Manila is home to some of the most interesting street foods. These include orange egg tempuras, grilled pig or chicken blood, and green mangoes topped with sautéed shrimp paste.

Some people have already heard of balut, but you must know that there is more to Manila's street food scene than guiltlessly consuming a tasty fertilized duck egg. To know what else to taste during your vacation in the Philippines' capital city, go over our list of the most interesting snacks you can find along its streets.

Silken tofu is a common Asian dessert base. Its Philippine street food version, taho, is served with syrup made with brown sugar and vanilla, topped with mini tapioca balls. Vendors of this warm, sweet treat in a cup walk the streets of Manila with two aluminum buckets hanging on either side of a pole, usually on early mornings.

Green Mangoes
The sweetest mangoes come from the Philippines, but that doesn't mean Filipinos cannot make the most of unripe mangoes. Here, you'll find jars filled with skewered mango cheeks. The mere sight - or thought - of this sour goody is already mouth-tingling for most people. Some eat it with rock salt, but most people like topping it with a big dollop of thick shrimp paste sautéed with brown sugar - a sinful mixture of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.

Kwek-kwek and Tokneneng
Basically, these are egg tempuras made with orange batter. The only difference is the type of egg used. Kwek-kwek, which probably got its name from a duck's quack, uses duck or chicken eggs. Tokneneng, however, uses quail eggs, which are a lot smaller. These deep fried snacks are best eaten with spiced vinegar.

Isaw is probably the most famous street food in Manila, and in the whole Philippines for that matter. It is made by marinating and skewering pig or chicken intestines, then letting them sizzle and slightly char atop a grill. A serving of isaw with spiced vinegar is already satisfying, but some people fancy having it with a bottle of cold beer.

Filipinos always find ways to never waste any part of an animal killed to be feasted on. This might be why betamax was invented. No, this is not the obsolete VCR technology. Betamax in the Philippines is made by skewering and grilling cubes of curdled pig or chicken blood. Some people easily get turned off by it, but most of those who decide to have a bite always go for a second stick.

Grilled chicken feet is popular in Asia, but having it in here is probably best, because you can savor it and enjoy the humor of its name at the same time. You might already be wondering how people eat Adidas, considering the fact that it is all-skin-and-bones. But, its almost addicting, gelatinous texture is already enough to complement hearty conversations with friends.

Any tropical country has its own signature refreshing treat. In the Philippines, one example is scramble. This is flavored crushed ice with powdered milk, chocolate syrup and an assortment of toppings. Today, scramble kiosks can be easily found not only along busy streets, but also in malls.

These gastronomic goodies are among the reasons why tourists from the world over visit the city. Luckily, there are condotels in Manila [], like Leesons Residences, where guests can enjoy staying in comfortable and affordable rooms. This, while experiencing the best of the city, including the very intriguing Manila street food scene.

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