Those who are planning their vacation in the Philippines will surely have heard about Cebu, the Queen City of the South, and all its heritage attractions and pristine beaches.
But more than these attractions, locals are just as proud of the thriving food scene on the island. With unique flavours that they have made their own, it’s no wonder that Cebu cuisine has built up its own fanbase over the years.
If you are looking for a place that has it all, then look up Cebu and make your way to this tropical island. For now, let’s get to know the top 10 local foods to eat in Cebu Philippines during your stay!
1. Puso Rice
Rice cannot get any more portable than this. More commonly known as “hanging rice”, Puso rice is boiled and wrapped in coconut leaves, and you will most likely notice them hanging in batches in local eateries.
The coconut leaves impart flavour and serve as an easy package that you can carry anywhere. The versatile Puso rice can be paired with street foods, Lechon, or anything else you can get your hands on.
Available at almost any decent restaurant in Cebu.
2. Lechon de Cebu
Cebu claims to have the best-roasted pork in the Philippines, offering up Lechon as proof. This dish is quite the local trademark for Cebuanos. You can buy a whole pig, and have them chop it into manageable pieces.
Some Lechon houses have made provisions so that their product can be carried through air and land travel. Make sure to ask about it, as this makes for one unique souvenir.
House of Lechon: Acacia Street, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 231 0958 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
Rico’s Lechon: Unit 3 & 4 Mactan Promenade, Airport Road, Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 231 5580 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily, Dine-in), 6am – 10pm (Daily, Take Out) | Facebook | Website
Coming from the Spanish word which means “stew pot”, Pochero is another dish that you should watch out for in Cebu, especially during the rainy season. There is nothing better than to indulge in a hot bowl of beef soup during cold weather.
Some other Filipinos might know of this dish by its other name, Bulalo. But as it is now, Cebuanos have made it their own by incorporating their own local flavour. There are several restaurants in Cebu which have become institutions for their Pochero dish.
You can even try the sizzling version, which is served with gravy rather than soup, but features the same rich taste.
Marjo’s Pochero: Gorordo Avenue, Kamputaan, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 236 4385 | Opening Hours: 10am – 12midnight (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
All around the city, you will find flourishing stalls which serve this street food. Check out the Siomai sa Tisa restaurant while you are in Cebu for an invitation to Siomai heaven.
Besides notable restaurants, Siomai can usually be found in hawker-style eateries and are popular for those looking for a warm, filling snack on a budget. Choose among the steamed or fried varieties, and enjoy!
Siomai sa Tisa (stalls): Tisa, Labangon | Opening Hours: 6am – 12midnight
This staple is comparable to the famous spring roll, and it’s deep fried and mainly made of Ubod (bamboo shoots) and ground pork. Each place has its own unique mix of Ngohiong, so don’t expect them all to be the same.
You can eat them with other well-known street foods like squid balls, tempura, chorizo, and many more. With its strong flavour, this dish goes really well with a bowl of rice.
Ngohiong Express: Juana Osmena Street, Kamputhaw, Cebu City | Opening Hours: 24 hours (Daily)
Sutukil is a local wordplay on “Sugba” (grill), “Tula” (stew), and “Kilawin” (to cook in vinegar). Basically, the concept of this is that you get to pick one fish for example and have it cooked in three different ways. Tourists have grown very fond of this local style because it allows them to sample the different styles all at the same time.
One must-try is the kinilaw, the local version of sashimi! The best part is that since they are cooked by locals, these dishes will not be commercialized, and tourists are able to taste the best of what Cebuano cooking has to offer.
STK ta Bay!: 6 Orchid Street, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 253 4732/+63 32 256 2700/+63 32 263 1191 | Opening Hours: 9am – 3pm (Mon – Fri), 5pm – 10pm (Sat & Sun) | Website
SM Seaside Branch, 3rd Floor Skypark, Behind Bowling Centre, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 230 7989 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily) | Website
7. Mango Pizza
This odd combination works surprisingly well. This one-of-a-kind delicacy is made from mangoes, cashew nuts, green bell peppers, and of course, cheese. This one might be a hit or miss for some food lovers with its sharp flavours.
Be prepared for the sour and spicy, but also sweet taste that this pizza will give.
The Pitstop Restaurant: Don Jose Avila St, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 32 254 3550 | Opening Hours: 6am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
8. Barbecued Everything
Cebuanos love their grilled food, and this is clear from the barbecue restaurants all over the city. From pork, fish and chicken, you can choose your favourite meat, and have it grilled fresh. It makes for a great meal when you want to try the best of what Cebu has to offer.
Each restaurant usually has their own blend of sauces and style of cooking, so you won’t be bored even as you try out different places! This is another one of the cheap eats you can try without breaking the budget during your vacation.
Yakski Barbecue: 268-B Don Mariano Cui Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu Philipines | Tel: +63 32 254 3977 | Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm (Mon – Sat), 5pm – 12midnight (Daily) | Facebook | Website
AA BBQ: Salinas Drive, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 032 416 7272 | Opening Hours: 11am – 1am (Daily)
9. Puto Maya & Sikwate
A popular breakfast in the region, Puto Maya is made from glutinous rice mixed with ginger and coconut. This is usually paired with “Tablea”, concentrated cacao with added sugar and the famous Cebu mango.
With the blend of sweet and savoury, every bite promises a mixture of all things good. Grab one and you are all set for the day of indulgence ahead.
Tablea Chocolate Cafe: Ground Floor JY Square Salinas Dr, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 032 343 6669 | Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Daily)
While other countries have their shaved ice, the Philippines also has its own version called Halo-Halo, literally meaning “to mix”. This dessert is made up of different types of ingredients like tapioca, gelatin, banana, Ube, milk, beans, leche flan (pudding), and many more. They are all then mixed together into a dessert dish of epic proportions.
Each restaurant prepares their own version so make sure to give them a try after eating a hearty meal of Cebuano food.
Melton’s Halo-Halo: 515 Katipunan Street, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines | Opening Hours: 1pm – 11.30pm (Daily)
Mang Inasal: 2 General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines | Tel: +63 932 916 7291 | Opening Hours: 24 hours (Daily)
Are you convinced to make your way to Cebu yet? These eats are merely the tip of the iceberg because there is still so many more to discover!
The unique and local flavours will assure you of a great overall vacation. The local food scene will always give you a glimpse of culture so try to mingle with the locals as you enjoy your stay in this quaint island. For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, check out Trip101.
*Contributed by Trip101.