Finding Good Food in Philippines & SE Asia
Someone told me the articles are a bit girl / sex heavy lately so mixing up my range with something else – finding good food in Asia! If you’re a fan of western food like me eating out can be a bit difficult sometimes.
Especially when you’re served what looks like rat on a stick, rice wrapped in leaves, some chilli peppers and a jug of vinegar.
That said if you ask around online you can usually be pointed in the right direction. Walking into an unknown restaurant may not have been the best idea.
The malls generally have some pretty good food and would be a good clean option if you are in a new city and don’t know where to go.
The Beef Sucks
If you love to eat things like steak and burgers then Asia may not be for you. I almost never order any beef dishes. 75% of my meals are chicken, and 25% are pork.
The only times I really ever have beef would be burgers, and I generally cook them at home. In Cambodia I found one good burger at Beach Club Hotel. I also found a good one at Wobbly Boot in Angeles City.
But outside of those I can’t really remember having any good ones. And with hamburger still being cheap at the grocery stores here you can make two burgers at your home for around $2 with the bun and cheese included.
If you order a meat dish at a restaurant that you haven’t been referred to for having good beef you will likely be unimpressed. Sticking with chicken and pork options is a much safer play.
Lechon (pork) stand by Cebu IT Park
Great Fruit Options
There is lots of fresh fruit here and most of it is really cheap. Watermelon, pineapple, mangos, apples, and oranges can all be found for very good prices.
In the grocery stores they will be a bit overpriced, though I usually will pay the extra for some cut up pineapple and watermelon. 50 cents for a big helping of either is certainly worth not doing the work yourself.
Apples or oranges are generally a lot better value if you purchase them from fruit stands on the side of the road. Grapes are generally a bit overpriced but from time to time you can get some good deals on them.
Certain imported foods are just terrible value. One of the best examples of this is chocolates. They sell Snickers bars that are smaller than the normal bars for like 75 cents.
Instead of paying that you should try Cloud 9 Overloaded bars. They are like 95% as good as a Snickers but cost 20 cents. Sadly that is about the only cheap Filipino Chocolate I have found.
The same goes for things like chocolate cakes, don’t even bother buying them from a local bakery. Also don’t try the donuts from places like Mr. Donut.
On the other hand I have had some very good donuts and cinnamon rolls from local bakery’s. Since they only cost less than 10 cents they are worth the investment.
Milk, cheese and other dairy products are also overpriced making it more expensive to cook some dishes from home than it should be. This is one of the reasons I would rather eat at restaurants instead of cooking from home.
Other Food Tips
You really won’t save that much money cooking it yourself since the ingredients for western foods aren’t that cheap.
Why spend 30 minutes cooking and 10 minutes cleaning to save a dollar?
The best Filipino food I have found is Pork Adobo. It is better at some places than others, and if you are in Angeles City I suggest trying it at Patch’s Place.
The best Cambodian food I found was beef luk-lak. Since this is a beef dish it can be hit or miss depending on the quality of the beef. In Phnom Penh try it out at Chat N Chew.
Imported juices can be quite expensive here. In the Philippines look for Ceres Juices. They are $2 for a carton and have many different flavors all of which are good.
Finding good foods in Asia can take some time, but do your research and you will be able to eat well eventually.