Chilean Food: 40 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Chile

Look at a map of Chile and its shape instantly stands out. It’s a long and narrow coastal country measuring about 4,329 kilometers (2,690 miles) from north to south.

With all that coastline, it only follows that seafood plays an important role in the Chilean diet. Since pre-colonial times, its been home to a diverse array of fish and seafood, not to mention a wide range of agricultural products like potatoes, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores came wheat, livestock, and wine, all of which have become vital components of Chilean cuisine. Today, Chile is consistently one of the biggest producers of wine in the world.

With so much going for it, Traveleaters doing a South American food tour will have plenty to look forward to in Chile.


If you’re planning a trip to Chile and want to really dive into the cuisine, then you may be interested in going on a food tour.


  • Chilean Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Chile

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Chilean food can best be described as a fusion of Spanish influences with local Mapuche culture and ingredients. Thanks to its diverse geography and oxygen-rich waters, it’s home to a wide range of agricultural products and a unique variety of fish and seafood.

Since colonial times, Chilean lunches have been the biggest and most important meal of the day. It typically starts with a fish, meat, or poultry dish followed by a stew with choclo and potatoes. Three types of bread often accompany meals which usually end with dessert and herbal tea to aid in digestion.

Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Chilean government actively encouraged immigration. This led to the arrival of immigrants from countries like Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Croatia, Belgium, and Greece. They left an indelible imprint on the local cuisine and helped steer the course of Chilean gastronomy.


This article on Chilean food has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Starters / Sides / Snacks
  2. Soups / Stews
  3. Bread / Pastries / Sandwiches
  4. Meat / Poultry / Seafood
  5. Desserts / Drinks
  6. Chilean Food Tours


1. Huevos Revueltos

What better way to start your day in Chile than with a breakfast of huevos revueltos or Chilean scrambled eggs? It’s a popular breakfast dish in the Chilean countryside where it’s often served with fresh tomatoes and pan amasado (Chilean kneaded bread).

Photo by Blinovita

2. Humitas

Humitas refers to an ancient pre-Hispanic Andean dish consumed in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and northwest Argentina. Similar to tamales, it consists of mashed corn mixed with basil, onion, aji verde (green chili pepper), butter or lard, and spices. The mixture is wrapped in fresh corn husks and either steamed or boiled.

Chilean humitas are typically plain in taste but they can be seasoned to be more savory, sweet, or sweet and sour. They’re often enjoyed as is or paired with a side or ensalada chilena or pebre salsa.

Photo by Blinovita

3. Papa Rellena

Papa rellena refers to a type of croquette popular in the cuisines of many Latin American countries like Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. It consists of an oblong-shaped mass of potato dough filled with spiced ground beef, onions, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.

Photo by Blinovita

4. Niños Envueltos

Niños envueltos literally means “wrapped children” and can refer to both Chilean steak rolls (pictured below) or stuffed cabbage rolls. The former is made with pieces of steak wrapped around a filling of vegetables, while the latter consists of ground meat and rice wrapped inside cabbage leaves.

Chilean steak rolls are especially popular among children. Recipes vary from household to household but they’re typically made with flank steaks stuffed with chard leaves, zucchini, and carrots. The steaks are rolled and held together with toothpicks before being browned in a pan and stewed with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and vegetables.

Photo by LieselF

People familiar with Balkan food may recognize this variation of niños envueltos as the Chilean version of sarma. It’s a form of wrapped dolma that’s popular in the cuisines of many countries throughout the Balkans, Central Europe, the South Caucasus, and the Middle East.

Like sarma, niños envueltos are made with blanched cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling of ground beef, rice, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. The rolls are formed into cylinders and cooked in tomato sauce.

Photo by jabiru

5. Chochoca

Chochoca (or chochoyeco, trotroyeco, trutru) refers to a Chilean festival dish originally from Chiloé. It consists of a dough made with potatoes and flour wrapped around a metal cylinder that resembles a large rolling pin. Like roast pig, the cylinder is rotated slowly for about thirty minutes to roast the dough over hot charcoal.

When cooked, the chochoca is sliced into pieces and eaten on its own or filled with chicharrones. As you can imagine, it isn’t the type of dish that’s typically made at home, but reserved for festive occasions like fiestas and food fairs.

Photo by Blinovita

Here’s a look at the chochoca as it roasts. There are two variations of chochoca depending on the type of dough used – a black version and a white chochoca.

Black chochoca is the more traditional of the two and made with grated raw potatoes mixed with ground cooked potatoes, salt, and lard. The white version is more common and made with equal parts wheat flour and ground cooked potatoes.

Photo by Blinovita

6. Pebre Salsa

Pebre salsa is an often used Chilean condiment made with aji peppers, coriander, onions, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. Similar to Mexican pico de gallo, it’s typically served in a clay dish and enjoyed with warm bread like marraqeuta (Chilean bread) or used as a condiment with meat dishes like choripan.

Piterquin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7. Cochayuyo

Cochayuyo (or rimurapa) refers to a large species of southern bull kelp (Durvillaea antarctica) found in the waters of Chile, southern New Zealand, and Macquarie Island. As you can see below, cochayuyo is known for its internal honeycomb structure that helps keep it afloat and prevents the kelp from being damaged by strong waves.

Archaeological evidence suggests that cochayuyo has been a staple Chilean food for thousands of years. It’s a protein-rich plant that’s often added to Chilean stews, salads, and ceviches. It’s relatively mild in flavor but its unique honeycomb structure imparts a chewy texture and natural brininess to Chilean dishes.

Photo by ildi_papp

Pictured below is a type of fresh Chilean salad made with cochayuyo, tomatoes, cucumber, herbs, and olive oil.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

Here’s a version of pebre salsa made with the addition of cochayuyo.

Photo by ildi_papp

8. Quinoa

Quinoa has been a dietary staple for people living in the Andean region for thousands of years. For much of its history, it’s been stigmatized as low status “Indian food” though it’s developed a reputation in recent decades as a type of superfood.

Quinoa is often mistaken for a grain like wheat and barley but it’s actually an herb derived from a flowering plant. Aside from its many nutritional benefits, it’s championed for its pleasant flavor and versatile cooking qualities.

In Chile, quinoa is used in a multitude of dishes like salads, soups, rellenos (stuffed dishes), pudding, and ceviche.

Photo by ezumeimages


9. Valdiviano

After a night of drinking in Santiago, you’ll probably want to tuck your head into a bowl of valdiviano, a traditional Chilean soup from southern Chile. Originally from the city of Valdivia, it’s become popular throughout the country where it’s often touted as a hangover cure.

Chilean recipes for valdiviano vary but it’s typically made with thin strips of charqui (Chilean beef jerky) or leftover beef cooked in a soup with onions and various herbs and spices like oregano, parsley, cumin, and paprika. Depending on the cook, other ingredients like potatoes and eggs may be added as well. When made with potatoes, the dish becomes known as ajiaco.

Valdiviano is said to have been invented at the turn of the 17th century. Spanish soldiers stationed in Valdivia were supplied with large amounts of charqui from central Chile which they used to create this soup.

Photo by Blinovita

10. Carbonada

Carbonada is a hearty Chilean stew made with beef, rice, and vegetables like corn, carrots, pumpkin, bell peppers, peas, and red potatoes. It’s seasoned with different herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, paprika, parsley, and cumin.

Chilean carbonada is a thick stew that’s substantial enough to be served as a main dish. Depending on the season, you’ll typically find different vegetables in a carbonada. In the summer, corn and green beans are preferred while in winter, peas and frozen vegetables are often used.

Photo by Wirestock

11. Cazuela

The term cazuela can refer to a traditional Chilean dish and the cooking vessel used to make it. Popular in South American countries like Chile and Peru, cazuela describes a family of soups or stews made with different meats and vegetables cooked together in an unglazed earthenware pot called a cazuela (Spanish for “casserole” or “cooking pot”).

Chilean cazuela can be made with different proteins like pork, goat, lamb, turkey, or llama, but the most popular versions are made with chicken (cazuela de ave) or beef (cazuela de vacuno). It’s made by boiling the meat with chopped onions and carrots in one pot, while the rest of the ingredients are boiled separately in individual pots. Only when the dish is served do all the components come together.

Upon serving, a bowl of cazuela typically includes squash, potatoes, corn, and rice to go with the meat. It’s usually garnished with fresh parsley, coriander, or aji verde (spicy green sauce). After the meal, leftovers are usually saved and used to make carbonada.

Speaking of carbonada, the ingredients in a Chilean cazuela are also known to change with the seasons. In the summer, cazuela de ave (pictured below) usually contains corn, green beans, and peas while winter versions of the dish are often made with the addition of rice or polenta.

Photo by ildi_papp

Pictured below is cazuela de vacuno, or cazuela made with beef. In the summer, corn, peas, green beans, and tomatoes are often used while in winter, it’s usually made with potatoes, carrots, spinach, or chard. No matter the season, it’s a hearty and filling soup that goes well with crusty bread and pebre salsa.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

12. Pantrucas

Pantrucas is a simple but filling Chilean soup made with dumplings cooked in a vegetable or beef broth. The dumplings are made with flour, water, and salt and cut into irregular squares before being boiled in the broth.

Pantrucas is popular in winter and can be made with different types of meat like beef, pork, or turkey. Recipes vary from cook to cook but other common ingredients include potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and eggs. It’s typically seasoned with oregano, chili, and cumin and garnished with fresh parsley.

Photo by lenyvavsha

13. Porotos Granados

Porotos means “beans” so porotos granados refers to a thick and hearty stew that’s often consumed in the Chilean countryside. It’s made with ripe cranberry beans, corn, and squash mixed with other ingredients like onions, pumpkin, cumin, basil, and oregano. It’s typically made in the summer to coincide with the harvest of corn and summer squash in central and southern Chile.

Traditionally, porotos granados is made with cranberry beans though they can be substituted with other Chilean beans like tortola, coscorron, or bayo. Vegetable broth is most common though chicken or beef broth can also be used.

Photo by lenyvavsha

14. Porotos con Riendas

As you can probably tell from its name, porotos con riendas is a traditional Chilean stew made with beans. It’s a popular winter dish consisting of beans cooked with spaghetti, chorizo, squash, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.

Unlike porotos granados which is traditionally made with a specific type of bean, porotos con riendas can be made with any type of bean like white, navy, or pinto. Its name literally means “beans with reins” and is in reference to the use of spaghetti in the recipe.

Originally, porotos con riendas was made with strips of pork skin. But as the dish grew in popularity and became a staple in Chilean households, the pork was often replaced with strands of cooked spaghetti.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

15. Caldillo de Congrio

Caldillo de congrio literally means “conger chowder” and refers to a popular Chilean fish soup made with conger eel as its main ingredient. It can be made with either congrio dorado (pink cusk eel) or congrio colorado (red cusk eel), cusk eel species that are common in the Chilean Sea.

To make caldillo de congrio, pieces of chopped and cooked eel are boiled in a pot of water to produce the broth. The broth and eel (and optionally cream) are then added to a sautéed mixture of chopped onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. When ready, the soup is garnished with parsley, coriander, or scallions and traditionally paired with crusty bread and a glass of Chilean wine.

Caldillo de congrio is such a beloved part of Chilean cuisine that Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda famously wrote an ode dedicated to this beloved Chilean soup called “Oda al Caldillo de Congrio“.

Photo by [email protected]

16. Caldillo de Mariscos

Like caldillo de congrio, caldillo de mariscos refers to a traditional Chilean seafood soup. It can be made with different types of seafood like mussels, fish, shrimp, and squid cooked in a broth with onions, potatoes, white wine, and various herbs and spices like red pepper, paprika, bay leaf, and oregano. It’s typically garnished with fresh parsley and served with a spritz of lemon juice.

Photo by lenyvavsha


17. Marraqueta

Marraqueta is the most popular type of bread in Chilean cuisine. They’re crusty and crunchy like French bread – hence the alternative name pan francés – and known for their distinctive shape and large-ish size that allows them to be easily divided into four segments. It basically looks like four bread rolls merged into one.

Marraqueta is a staple Chilean food that’s consumed everyday in Chile. Also known as pan batido (whipped bread) or pan francés (French bread), they’re often eaten for breakfast, enjoyed with pebre salsa or mashed avocado, or used as sandwich bread.

According to some historians, marraqueta may have originated from Valparaíso sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During that time, this major port city received thousands of European immigrants, among them two French baker brothers with the surname Teran-Marraquett. They invented this bread which would soon become a staple food throughout Chile.

Today, marraqueta is a cornerstone in Chilean cuisine and culture. Its importance is best illustrated in this popular saying: “Nació con la marraqueta bajo el brazo”. Similar to having a “silver spoon in one’s mouth”, this means “to be born with a marraqueta under his/her arm” and describes a child that has his/her future secured.

Aside from Chile, marraqueta is consumed in many other countries throughout South America like Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay. It can also be found in Portugal, Mallorca, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Photo by Blinovita

18. Hallulla

It was interesting to learn that the average Chilean eats over 90 kg (200 pounds) of bread per year, making Chile one of the biggest bread consumers in the world. After marraqueta, hallulla is arguably the second most popular bread in Chile.

Hallulla refers to a simple but rich-tasting Chilean bread made with a dough enriched with lard or vegetable shortening. They’re often used to make sandwiches like chacareros and aliados but they can also be served as a side dish to bigger Chilean meals.

Hallulla is very popular in Chile and also consumed in other South American countries like Bolivia and Ecuador.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

19. Pan con Palta

Pan con palta refers to a simple but comforting Chilean dish made with mashed avocado spread over bread, usually marraqueta or hallulla. As far as comfort food goes, you can think of it as the Chilean version of American peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s a Chilean tradition and especially popular with children.

Photo by manams

20. Empanada

The empanada is a hugely popular dish consumed in many former Spanish colonies like Argentina, Venezuela, Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. In Chile, it’s considered by many to be a national dish.

If you’ve never had one, an empanada is a baked or fried turnover pastry filled with a variety of savory ingredients like meat, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Originally from Spain, its name stems from the Spanish word empanar which means “to bread” or “to wrap something in bread”.

Empanadas exist in countless variations and can vary in size, shape, and filling. They’re typically small in size and consumed as a snack but in Latin America, some are big enough to be eaten as a main meal. In Chile, among the most popular are empanadas de pino. It refers to a large Chilean empanada generously filled with minced beef, onions, olives, raisins, and hard-boiled eggs.

Though many people think of empanadas as savory sancks, they can be made with sweet fillings as well. Some of the most popular sweet Chilean empanadas include empanadas de pera (pear) and empanadas de manzana (apple).

Photo by marcelo

21. Sopaipilla

A sopaipilla (or sopapilla, sopaipa, cachanga) is a type of fried pastry or bread popular in many South American countries like Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay. They’ve been a Chilean tradition since the 18th century, often made at home or sold as street food.

Sopaipilla varies from country to country but the Chilean version consists of round and flat pieces of leavened wheat dough enriched with vegetable shortening (or butter) and cooked ground pumpkin. The dough is allowed to rise before being rolled out and cut into circular shapes. They’re then deep-fried in oil which causes them to puff up and form a hollow pocket in the center.

Chilean sopaipillas can be savory or sweet and enjoyed with various condiments like pebre salsa, ketchup, mustard, avocado, jam, honey, butter, or cheese. A variation of the dish called sopaipillas pasadas can also be made by boiling them in chancaca sauce, a type of homemade syrup made with panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), cinnamon, and orange peel.

Photo by ildi_papp

22. Churrasco Italiano

Churrasco italiano refers to a messy but delicious sandwich made with slices of steak, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and mashed avocado. The sandwich is Chilean in origin but it gets the “Italiano” in its name from the color of its ingredients. They’re said to represent the Italian flag – mashed avocados for green, mayonnaise for white, and tomatoes for red.

Photo by Dalaifood

23. Completo

If you like American comfort food, then you’re going to enjoy completo, the Chilean version of the famous hot dog. It’s one of the most popular street foods in Chile and can be made in dozens of variations, some of the most popular being the italiano, clasico, and dinámico.

The completo was introduced to Chile in the 1920s by Eduardo Bahamondes, a Chilean national who got his first taste of American-style hot dog on a business trip to the US. He wanted to introduce it to the Chilean people so he opened a restaurant called Quick Lunch Bahamondes in Santiago’s historic center shortly after returning to Chile.

Pictured below is the traditional completo or completo clasico. It’s made with a boiled wiener sausage served in a soft bread roll topped with chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, and a generous helping of mayonnaise.

Photo by ildi_papp

The most popular type of Chilean hot dog is the completo italiano (pictured below). Like churrasco italiano, it gets its name from the color of its ingredients – mashed avocados for green, mayonnaise for white, and tomatoes for red. In addition to these three toppings, many Chileans will often add ketchup, mustard, or hot sauce to their completo italiano.

Aside from the clasico and italiano, be sure to these other popular versions of completo in Chile:

Completo Dinámico: Topped with chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, avocado, and a green sauce made from chopped parsley, mayonnaise and a carrot, onion and pickle relish.

Completo Gringo: Topped with tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, onions, and mayonnaise.

Completo el Brasileño: Topped with melted cheese and avocado.

Completo Falso: Vegetarian version made without the sausage.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

24. Choripán

The choripán is a type of sausage sandwich popular in many countries throughout Latin America like Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, and El Salvador. It consists of a grilled sausage served in a crusty bread bun.

Choripán is typically made with chorizo but in Chile, it’s made with longaniza. It’s traditionally served in marraqueta and topped with pebre salsa, mayonnaise, and aji pepper sauce.

Photo by Blinovita


25. Pastel de Choclo

Like the empanada, pastel de choclo is a Chilean national dish and one of the most representative of the cuisine. It refers to a type of corn pie made with a sweet corn or choclo topping covering a mixture of ground beef, chicken, black olives, onions, raisins, and hard-boiled eggs.

To make pastel de choclo, sweet corn is ground into a paste and mixed with chopped basil before being pre-cooked with milk and a bit of lard. It’s then poured over the ground beef mixture in a traditional clay pot before being baked in an oven. As it cooks, the corn layer caramelizes and creates a salty-sweet combination that’s reminiscent of shepherd’s pie.

Photo by ildi_papp

26. Lomo a lo Pobre

Lomo a lo pobre (or bistec a lo pobre, bife a lo pobre) refers to a dish of beef tenderloin served with fried eggs, french fries, and fried onions. Popular in Chile and Peru, it’s basically the South American equivalent to American steak and eggs, but instead of being eaten for breakfast, it’s typically consumed for lunch or dinner.

Photo by Blinovita

27. Chorrillana

Chorrillana is a dish that’s very similar to lomo a lo pobre. It consists of beef served with french fries, caramelized onions, and fried eggs. But unlike lomo a lo pobre which is served with beef tenderloin, chorrillana can be made with a mix of cheaper cuts of beef and sausages.

Chorrillana is a popular comfort food in Chile and almost always served in hefty portions for sharing, often with beer. Made with a base of french fries and beef, it varies from restaurant to restaurant and can be served with different ingredients like scrambled eggs, frankfurter sausages, chorizo, and tomatoes.

Photo by JuanPonceH

28. Salchipapa

The name salchipapa is a portmanteau word for salchicha (sausage) and papa (potatoes) and refers to a popular Latin American street food dish made with pan-fried beef sausages and fries. It’s originally from Lima, Peru but has become popular in many countries throughout Latin America like Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecudaor, and Colombia.

Photo by hansgeel

29. Costillar de Chancho

Costillar de chancho refers to South American pork ribs. Unlike beef ribs that are typically seasoned with just salt, costillar de chancho is marinated for several hours in a mixture of garlic, ground pepper, sweet paprika, cumin, oregano, olive oil, and red wine vinegar before being slow-roasted in an oven or grill.

In winter, costillar de chancho is traditionally served with spicy mashed potatoes but in summer, salads are generally preferred.

Photo by [email protected]

30. Prietas con Papas Cocidas

Prietas con papas cocidas refers to a simple but hearty Chilean dish made with prietas, boiled potatoes, and caramelized onions. The prieta is a type of Chilean blood sausage made with pig’s blood, chopped onions, spices, and other ingredients.

Photo by Blinovita

31. Pollo Arvejado

Pollo arvejado is a classic Chilean dish made with chicken and peas stewed in chicken stock with garlic, onions, carrots, green peppers, and bay leaves. It’s a popular and easy-to-make dish that’s traditionally paired with steamed white rice or potatoes.

Photo by fanfon

32. Pastel de Jaiba

If you love crab, then you need to try pastel de jaiba. It refers to a rich crab pie or casserole made with stone crab meat mixed with bread, garlic, onions, milk, cream, breadcrumbs, white wine, and spices. Like pastel de choclo, it’s traditionally baked in shallow clay pots and served with grated cheese and a side of crusty bread.

Photo by Blinovita

33. Curanto

Curanto is an ancient method of food preparation that originated in Chile’s Chiloé archipelago. The word curanto means “stony ground” and refers to the method of cooking seafood, meat, and potatoes in a pit lined with rocks.

To make curanto, a hole about a meter deep (3.3 ft) is dug into the ground and lined with stones. A wood fire is lit to heat the stones. Various ingredients like shellfish, meat, sausages, and potatoes are loaded into the hole before it’s covered with wild rhubarb leaves, damp sacks, and dirt. As the shellfish cooks, the shells open and release a liquid that sizzles on the hot stones to help steam the food.

Summers are the best time to try traditional curanto in Chile. During the wetter winter months, restaurants will offer curanto en olla or “curanto in a pot” which is a stovetop version of this ancient meal.

The ingredients aren’t constant but a proper curanto needs to be made with a variety of potatoes cooked in three ways – whole steamed, dumplings (chapaleles), and pancakes (milcaos).

Photo by YAYImages

34. Ceviche

Ceviche is a widely consumed South American dish consisting of fresh raw white fish cured in citrus juices. It’s originally from Peru or Ecuador but it’s become popular throughout the Pacific coastal regions of Latin America and beyond.

Traditionally, ceviche is prepared with the juices from bitter oranges but it’s now more common to make it from lime or lemon juice. The citric acids from the fruit causes the fish to become denatured, giving it the appearance of being cooked.

In Chile, ceviche is typically made with halibut or Patagonian toothfish (commonly marketed as Chilean sea bass) marinated in a mixture of lime and grapefruit juices, finely minced garlic, and red chili peppers. On Easter Island, it’s more commonly made with tuna marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk.

Photo by ildi_papp

35. Picoroco

We love trying new and exotic food and picoroco, like percebes, is exactly the type of dish we’d fly for. Meaning “beak in the rock”, picoroco refers to a giant barnacle that lives along the shores of Chile and southern Peru. They attach themselves to rocks and develop hard calcite layers that resemble dual-pronged beaks, hence the name.

When cooked, picoroco tastes sweet and briny. They’re crab-like in flavor and have a slightly chewy interior surrounded by a creamier outer layer. They frequently make their way into curantos or soups and are often baked into creamy pasteles.

Photo by Blinovita


36. Chilenitos

Chilenitos are a Chilean variation of alfajores, the beloved confection made with rich and creamy dulce de leche sandwiched between two round shortbread cookie sandwiches. What makes chilenitos different is that they’re traditionally covered in meringue.

Chilenitos are said to have been invented in Curacaví. This city was an obligatory stop for people traveling between Santiago and Valparaíso. At the time, inn keepers would offer sweets to their guests so they began baking alfajores coated in meringue to help them last longer.

Photo by bunbomi

37. Calzones Rotos

These oddly-shaped pastries resemble breeches, which help explain the funny-sounding name. Calzones rotos means “torn underwear” and refers to a crispy fried pastry made with a dough enriched with almonds, Chilean pisco brandy, and citrus zest. They’re European in origin and very similar to chruściki or Polish cruller cookies.

It’s likely that calzones rotos got their name from their distinctive shape, but a more humorous origin story suggests otherwise. According to legend, a woman was selling traditional pastries at the Plaza de Armas in Santiago when a gust of wind blew up her skirt, revealing her torn panties.

Regardless of how it got its name, calzones rotos are a delicious Chilean dessert that’s especially popular in winter.

Photo by PantherMediaSeller

38. Pan de Pascua

The name of this cake may be confusing at first. Pan de pascua literally means “Easter bread” but it describes a cake that’s traditionally eaten for Christmas in Chile. This is because the word pascua can refer to both Easter and Christmas in Spanish.

Pan de pascua is a rich and dense Chilean holiday cake that’s said to be derived from Italian panettone and German stollen. Similar to a fruit cake, it’s flavored with rum and spices and filled with candied fruits, raisins, almonds, and walnuts.

Pan de pascua is traditionally paired with cola de mono, a Chilean holiday beverage made with warm milk infused with cinnamon, cloves, coffee, and aguardiente.

Photo by ildi_papp

39. Mote con Huesillo

Mote con huesillo is the perfect Chilean drink to cool off with in summer. Sold from street food stands and mobile carts everywhere in Chile, it refers to a traditional summertime drink made with hulled wheat (mote) and a sweet nectar-y liquid derived from dried peaches (huesillo).

To make mote con huesillo, dried peaches are rehydrated and then cooked in a sugar and water mixture. The hulled wheat is cooked separately in water until tender and then added to the sweet huesillo mixture. The drink is chilled before serving, usually in a glass with a spoon for easy consumption.

Huesillo and mote both have a long history in Chile. Mote dates back to colonial times while huesillo has been sold in Chile since the late 18th century. Mote con huesillo is so important to Chilean culture that a popular play exploring Chilean identity called “El Mote con Huesillos” has been touring the country since 2012.

When describing something that’s quintessentially Chilean, there’s a local saying that goes “Más chileno que el mote con huesillo”, meaning “More Chilean than mote con huesillo”.

Photo by Blinovita

40. Pisco Sour

Pisco sour is a classic Chilean cocktail made with pisco brandy, a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored brandy made by distilling grape juice into a high-proof spirit. It can be mixed into many cocktails though none are more popular than pisco sour, which is considered the national cocktail of Chile and Peru.

Recipes vary but at its most basic, Chilean pisco sour is made with a base of pisco brandy mixed with pica lime juice, simple syrup, and ice. The Peruvian version differs slightly in that it’s made with freshly squeezed lime juice and extra ingredients like egg whites and bitters.

Photo by bhofack2


It’s fun exploring the local cuisine on your own, but if you really want to learn about the food in Chile, then you may want to go on a guided food tour. Not only will a local guide take you to the city’s best restaurants, markets, and street food stalls, but they’ll be able to explain all the dishes to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of food and drinking tours in Santiago and other cities in Chile.


South America has a rich culinary tradition and Chilean food is a testament to that. The cuisines of Peru, Brazil, and Argentina may be more celebrated, but as this food guide shows, there’s just as much to be excited about in Chile. Don’t miss it.


Some of the links in this article on Chilean food are affiliate links. If you make a booking, then we’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by ildi_papp. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Food in Kazakhstan: 15 Traditional Dishes to Look Out For

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was verified by Aruzhan Kenessova, an executive assistant and Kazakh food expert based in Aktobe, Kazakhstan.

Borat put Kazakhstan on the map. In the years after its release, tourist visas to Kazakhstan rose tenfold. You remember the fake mustache and funny accent but how much did that movie really teach you about this country in Central Asia?

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world with one of its lowest population densities. It lies mostly in Central Asia with a small portion crossing the border into Eastern Europe. It’s favorable climate and large areas of grassland have made Kazakhstan’s terrain ideal for a nomadic lifestyle.

Historically, Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic Turkic groups who migrated seasonally to find pasturage for their livestock. In fact, the name Kazakh comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, meaning “to wander”, while stan means “land” or “place of”, so Kazakhstan literally means “land of the wanderers”.

With nomadism being such an important part of their culture and identity, traditional Kazakh food had to be well-suited to this nomadic way of life. As a result, you’ll find that portability, durability, and a heavy lean on meat and soured milk products are common threads in traditional Kazakh cuisine.

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Traditional Kazakh food is nomadic food. For centuries, Kazakhs were herders who raised horses, sheep, cows, and Bactrian camels. They relied on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food, developing cooking techniques and methods of preservation that facilitated their nomadic lifestyle.

Being able to produce food that was portable and long-lasting was important to the Kazakh way of life. Food needed to withstand many months on the road so salting and drying meat became a necessity. Milk was soured to improve its shelf life while boiling was the most practical and commonly used method of cooking.

The nomadic lifestyle made raising crops difficult so meat has always formed the biggest part of the Kazakh diet. Mutton and beef were considered everyday food while horse and camel were regarded as festival meats. Horse and mutton are the most popular proteins in Kazakh cuisine and figure prominently in many dishes, including Beshbarmak, the Kazakh national dish.


1. Kurt

Kurt is a hardened fermented ball of cheese and one of the best examples of nomadic Kazakh food. It’s one of many fermented dairy products Central Asian herders have been preparing since the Middle Ages, to create a source of sustenance that can withstand many seasons on the road.

To prepare, soured milk from a sheep, mare, cow, goat, or camel is strained into soft curds and then shaped into small balls or disks before being left to harden in the sun. This creates a portable high-calcium snack that can last for many seasons and withstand long trips.

Kurt is an incredibly salty snack that’s best enjoyed in small doses. It can also be crumbled into stews, soups, and salads or dissolved in kumis (fermented milk drink) or water to make shalap. Because of its high salt content, it also makes for great bar chow.

Some Kazakhs joke that kurt gets its intense saltiness from being rubbed under someone’s armpits. Not the prettiest picture but you get the analogy.

Photo by photos_adil

2. Shubat

Shubat is a drink made from fermented camel’s milk. It’s a Turkic beverage popular throughout Central Asia, particularly in Turkmenistan (chal) and Kazakhstan, where it’s a staple summer drink.

To prepare, fresh camel’s milk is poured with a prepared starter into a leather wineskin bag or ceramic jar. It’s left to ferment for the next few days before the soured milk is gently stirred until it takes on a thick, homogenous consistency.

Shubat is touted as having a multitude of health benefits. It’s beneficial to the digestive system and pancreas and great for people suffering from anemia. When applied topically, it’s said to have a moisturizing effect while nourishing the skin with vitamins, proteins, and minerals.

Photo by photos_adil

3. Kumis

Kumis (or koumiss, kumys) is a popular Kazakh drink made with fermented mare’s milk. It’s been an important source of refreshment and nourishment for Turkic and Mongol nomads for thousands of years.

Mare’s milk is naturally high in sugar and lactose. It has a severe laxative effect when consumed fresh but it’s high sugar content makes it easy to ferment. To prepare, fresh mare’s milk would be kept in vats until it acidified and alcoholic carbonation was produced. Nomads would then transport the liquid in leather bags and punch it from time to time to keep the kumis agitated.

Historically, kumis has been a culturally significant drink for Central Asian nomads. At the beginning and end of every milking season, it was customary for nomads to invite friends and family to drink kumis. They shared in the first and last kumis of the season while exchanging blessings and well-wishes.

Like shubat, kumis is known for its many health benefits. It’s good for the gut and nervous system and is said to be effective in the prevention of tuberculosis. Mothers would even give their babies a milder form of kumis that was low in, but not completely devoid of alcohol.

Kumis was traditionally made with a higher alcohol content but modern versions contain only about 2% alcohol. Commercial versions are now commonly made with fortified cow’s milk, but in rural areas, you’ll find kumis still made in the traditional manner using fermented mare’s milk.

Photo by photos_adil

4. Shalap

Shalap is a type of fermented drink made with water, salt, and either qatiq (yogurt) or kurt. Traditionally, it was made with regular water but modern versions of shalap are often made with carbonated water instead.

Shalap is also popular in Kyrgyzstan (chalap) and Uzbekistan (chalob). Though not often, it can sometimes be made with herbs which gives it the appearance of a cold soup. Like shubat, it’s a popular and refreshing summer drink whose taste has been described as pleasantly salty, sour, and smokey. For some westerners, it may be an acquired taste.

Photo by fanfon

5. Tandyr Nan

Tandyr nan is a disc-shaped bread popular in Kazakhstan and in other parts of Central Asia. It’s essentially a Central Asian version of naan bread traditionally cooked in a tandyr (tandoor). Depending on where it’s from and how it’s made, it goes by many different names like tandir non, tonur non, patyr nan, and lepyoshka.

About the size of a dinner plate, tandyr nan is characterized by its raised edge and decorated indented center. It can be prepared in a number of ways – plain, enriched with egg, or dusted with sesame or nigella seeds. Plain or seeded versions are typically eaten for breakfast while heavier versions are enjoyed for lunch or dinner with salad and meat dishes. At Kazakh restaurants, you may be served smaller, highly-decorative versions called damdy nan.

In spite of its name, it’s interesting to learn that the Kazakh version of tandyr nan wasn’t traditionally made in a clay tandoor the way it is in Uzbekistan. Instead, it was baked between two metal pans, either in an oven or more traditionally over a dung fire. It’s essentially a portable mini-oven that was well-suited to a nomadic lifestyle.

Photo by Doriti

6. Shelpek

Shelpek is a type of Central Asian flatbread widely consumed throughout the region. It’s made with a dough consisting of flour, milk, sour cream, butter, baking soda, sugar, and salt. The dough is formed into balls and rolled out into discs before being fried in hot vegetable oil till golden brown.

In Kazakhstan, there’s a tradition of giving out seven or more shelpeks on Fridays, the holiest day of the week in Islam. They’re given to friends and neighbors, left at mosques, or consecrated by reading The Koran. This practice of commemorating the dead is common to many Turkic nationalities.

Photo by fanfon

7. Baursak

Baursak (or boortsog) are puffy pieces of fried Kazakh bread. They’re essentially Central Asian donuts made with flour, yeast, eggs, margarine, milk, water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil. Shaped into triangles or spheres, they’re usually served with tea and eaten as a dessert with sugar, honey, or butter.

As tempting as they look, baursak isn’t an everyday Kazakh dish. It’s typically reserved for special occasions like weddings and memorials. According to legend, the aroma from the oil and frying baursak floats into the heavens so that your deceased loved ones can enjoy them with you.

On 7 September 2014, a Guinness World Record for the most baursak ever made was set in Almaty. To celebrate Mother’s Day, 856 kg (1,887 lbs) of baursak were cooked in a competition consisting of seven mother-in-law / daughter-in-law teams.

Photo by civil

8. Manti

Manti refers to a type of dumpling popular in Turkic cuisine. It’s widely consumed throughout Central Asia, the South Caucasus, the Balkans, and beyond.

Manti exists in different shapes and sizes depending on where they’re from, but they’re typically made with a spiced meat mixture, usually ground lamb or beef, that’s wrapped in thin dough and either boiled or steamed. They’re similar in appearance to Mongolian buuz, Chinese baozi and jiaozi, Tibetan momo, and Korean mandu.

The exact origins of manti are unclear but the strongest theories suggest it may have originated from the territories of the Mongol Empire. Others trace it back to the Uyghur people of northwest China while some believe it may have originated in the Middle East.

In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, manti is commonly filled with minced lamb but it can be made with beef or horse meat as well. The minced meat is usually spiced with black pepper and mixed with chopped pumpkin or squash. It’s typically served with butter, sour cream, and an onion or garlic sauce, but when sold as street food, it’s usually sprinkled with hot red pepper powder.

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9. Lagman

Lagman refers to a hand-pulled Uyghur noodle dish made with meat – usually lamb, goat, or beef – and different vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, green beans, garlic, and potatoes. It’s common throughout Central Asia and northwestern China where it goes by different names like laghman, lag’mon, and lengmen.

Lagman is especially popular in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan where it’s considered a national dish of the Uyghur and Dungan ethnic minorities. Interestingly, no native Turkic words begin with the letter “L”, so it’s believed that the name lagman is derived from the Chinese “lamian”, though its taste and preparation are distinctly Uyghur. This seems to indicate that the dish originated in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China, though Bukharian Jews also lay claim to the dish.

Lagman exists in many forms throughout the region, as a soup, stew, or stir-fry. In Kazakhstan, stir-fried lagman is one of the most popular versions of the dish.

Photo by fanfon

10. Lagman Shurpa

Lagman shurpa is essentially the soup or stewed version of lagman. Shurpa refers to a meat and vegetable soup common in Central Asia, so lagman shurpa is a type of shurpa made with lagman noodles.

Photo by fanfon

11. Plov

Plov (or palau) is the Central Asian version of pilaf, a dish consisting of rice cooked in stock or broth with spices and other ingredients like lamb, onions, and carrots. It’s typically cooked in a kazan, as a common family meal or when entertaining a large number of guests.

Photo by AlexelA

12. Kuurdak

Kuurdak is an ancient Central Asian dish made with roasted or fried meat, offal, onions, garlic, and potatoes. Originally from Kyrgyzstan, it’s widely consumed throughout the region where it goes by different names like qýyrdaq, gowurdak, qovurdoq, and qordaq.

Kuurdak can be made with different types of meat depending on where it’s from. In Kyrgyzstan, it’s most commonly made with mutton or beef but Kazakh versions of kuurdak are typically made from sheep offal like liver, heart, kidney, and lungs. It’s usually prepared immediately after slaughtering the sheep.

Photo by fanfon

13. Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kazakhstan. It consists of boiled meat served with thin pasta sheets and a sauce (chyk) made from onions, meat broth, salt, and pepper. Horse and mutton are most often used but it can be made with beef as well.

Beshbarmak is one of the most culturally significant Kazakh foods. Even the manner in which it’s served is dictated by ritual (ustukan). When an animal is slaughtered in a guest’s honor, the host serves the different cuts of meat to people according to their age, gender, and social rank. The oldest people and honored guests are always served the best cuts of meat.

For example, the oldest men receive the thigh bone (jambash) while the oldest and most respected women are offered the tailbone (kuiruk or kuymulchak). The smaller bones are reserved for the daughter-in-law of the house. The legs and shoulders are given to younger adults while the children are left with the animal’s spine (omurtka).

One of the best parts of the animal – the head (bash) – is given to the guest of honor or the eldest or youngest male, to cut pieces from it and distribute to other people. Other parts of the animal like the shin bones, femur, and ribs are apportioned according to tradition as well.

Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan but it’s widely consumed throughout the region. It goes by different names like naryn, turama, dograma, tullama, and khorkhog. The name beshbarmak literally means “five fingers”, in reference to how nomadic people traditionally ate the dish using their hands.

Photo by civil

14. Kazy

Kazy (or qazi) refers to a type of horse meat sausage popular in parts of Central Asia like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. It’s traditionally made with the meat and fat taken from the animal’s ribs.

To prepare, the horse’s ribs with the meat still attached are hung to dry for several hours. When completely drained of blood, the meat is seasoned with garlic, pepper, and salt before being stuffed into the animal’s cleaned and brined intestines. The sausages are then smoked for several hours or left to dry for a week in an area exposed to the wind and direct sun.

Kazy is boiled and sliced before serving. It can be eaten cold as an appetizer or incorporated into other Kazakh dishes like beshbarmak.

Photo by photos_adil

15. Zhaya

Zhaya refers to another Kazakh dish made with horse meat. It consists of salted, dried, and smoked meat derived from the horse’s hip or hind leg. Often served with onions, zhaya is typically enjoyed cold as an appetizer but it can be incorporated into other dishes as well.

Photo by photos_adil


Kazakh cuisine is a great reminder why food is one of the best communicators. It can tell you so much about the local culture and Kazakh food is the perfect example of that.

Looking at dishes like kurt, beshbarmak, and kazy, you know this was a cuisine and culture heavily shaped by nomadism and a strong sense of community. Food was simple but it was made to last, it was meant to be shared, and nothing was left to waste. Even horse hair was saved and braided into rope.

Dishes like kazy and zhaya may not be for everyone, but keep an open mind and the food in Kazakhstan will show you what life was like on the plains. At the very least, it’ll do a better job than Borat.

Cover photo by lenyvavsha. Stock images via Depositphotos.

12 Different Types of Sushi in Japan You May Not Be Familiar With

EDITOR’S NOTE: Traveleater James is a sushi enthusiast and owner of a sushi blog called Easy Homemade Sushi. He has been to Japan numerous times and loves Japanese food and culture. He is also a passionate writer and likes to share his experiences and knowledge through his blog.

A trip to Japan is not just your ticket to discovering the fascinating culture of the country, but also experiencing their highly intriguing and varied traditional cuisine. Talk about food in Japan, and the first thing that comes to mind is sushi.

It’s not until you visit Japan that you realize how tough it can be to order a plate of sushi. You’ve probably gorged on sushi roll after sushi roll at the Japanese restaurant close to your office or home, but tasting sushi in Japan is something you will likely hold close to your heart and remember for the rest of your life.

Everything from the feeling of entering the holy temple of sushi to watching a master Japanese chef prepare the different types of sushi in front of your eyes is an experience to cherish. Some restaurants may have just one or two kinds of sushi, but there are other places where you will be simply spoilt for choice.

If it’s your first time in a dedicated sushi bar or restaurant in Japan, then you may feel overwhelmed with the many different types of sushi available to you. Some types of sushi may not be familiar to you even if you consider yourself the expert back home.

To make it easier for you to understand what’s on the menu and on your plate, we have created this first-hand sushi guide to help you get to grips with the different types of sushi you can get in Japan. Read on to find out more about this tempting dish of rice, nori seaweed, and everything in between and over it.

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Before anything, let’s quickly describe what sushi is. Sushi is a Japanese dish consisting of specially prepared vinegar rice mixed with some type of fish or seafood. The seafood is usually raw but it can sometimes be cooked.

When people think of sushi, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the piece of raw fish, but the most important part of sushi is actually the vinegared rice. The word sushi refers to the slightly sour flavor of the vinegar rice. If you mix raw fish with regular rice, then it isn’t sushi.

How the sushi is made and what ingredients it’s made with determines the different types of sushi we’ll describe in this article. There are several kinds but the two main types of sushi in Japan are nigiri sushi and maki sushi.


Outside of Japan, many people make the mistake of adding a big dollop of wasabi in soy sauce and mixing it into a cloudy mess. We then take our beautiful piece of sushi and dunk it in the wasabi-soy sauce mix. Many of us are used to doing this but it isn’t the proper way to eat sushi in Japan.

Sushi chefs will already put the right amount of wasabi in your sushi so all you have to do is dip it ever so lightly in the soy sauce. If you want a little more burn, then you can rub a small amount of wasabi directly onto the raw fish. But be sure to do this sparingly as some sushi chefs in Japan may be offended by this. To them, the sushi was already seasoned perfectly so there’s no need for gratuitous flavorings.

Sushi pros will pick up the sushi with their chopsticks and put it in their mouths upside down, in one bite, with the raw fish against their tongue. It’s also perfectly acceptable to eat sushi with your hands in Japan, as long as you clean your hands first using the moist towel.

Any typical sushi restaurant will have fresh ginger at the table. Be sure to eat a few pieces between bites of sushi to cleanse your palate.


If you’re not from Japan and love eating sushi, then you’ve probably had your fair share of popular sushi rolls like the California roll, spicy tuna roll, Philly roll, rainbow roll, shrimp tempura roll, and spider roll (fried soft shell crab). But you may be surprised that many of your favorite sushi rolls are western creations and not as readily available in Japan.

To help expand your knowledge and love for sushi, we’ve left out out the dragon rolls and spider rolls to focus on the more unique, interesting, and traditional types of sushi you can find in Japan. Some of these types of sushi are available only in Japan so we urge you to try as many of them as you can while you’re there.


1. Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi (hand-pressed) is the most common type of sushi in Japan and is shaped by the chef’s own hands to give it a unique shape. It comprises of a bed of vinegared rice compressed into an oval shape, molded by hand, and topped with neta (fish).

The typical options of neta here are tuna, salmon, sea eel, freshwater eel, tamago, squid, or octopus. It is served with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger. As described, the chef already adds the right amount of wasabi and sauce to sushi, so you must refrain from overdoing it when eating.

The term nigiri means “to hold, grab, or squeeze”, and it refers to the chef’s hand motion when shaping the sushi rice with his fingers.

2. Maki Sushi

Western sushi rolls like the Philly roll, spicy tuna roll, spider roll, and rainbow roll may not be as easy to find but that doesn’t mean sushi rolls aren’t one of the most popular types of sushi in Japan. They are. They just exist in more traditional and often simpler versions like the tekka maki or tuna roll pictured below.

Like nigiri sushi, maki sushi rolls are among the most common types of sushi in Japan. They refer to fish, vegetables, and other ingredients rolled inside a sheet of nori (seaweed) with vinegar rice and then sliced into round bite-sized pieces. The maki roll is basically the same thing as the sushi rolls you find at home but less fancy and with fewer ingredients.

The most common types of maki sushi rolls in Japan are tekka maki, kappa maki (cucumber sushi roll), and futomaki (large sushi rolls with multiple ingredients). Many sushi restaurants in the west serve these but some of the less common types of sushi rolls that you may not have heard of include kanpyo maki (dried gourd sushi roll), natto maki (fermented soybean sushi roll), and oshiko maki (pickled daikon sushi roll).

Photo by ryzhkov86 via Depositphotos

3. Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi is one of the most comforting sushi types in Japan, and it’s so named because it comprises ingredients scattered in a bowl. In Tokyo, this type of sushi may be also called kaisen chirashi sushi or edomae chirashi sushi due to slight differences in their arrangement.

The most common type of chirashi is sashimi nicely arranged over sushi rice, while the other variation has all of the ingredients mixed together. Besides the sushi rice, other ingredients may include kanpyo (gourd strips), bamboo shoots, fish cakes, inari age, avocado, green beans, sakura denbu (seasoned codfish), and tobiko (flying fish roe).

Chirashi sushi is the easiest type of sushi to prepare and is a popular dish during festivals, parties, and family gatherings.

Photo by deeblue via Depositphotos

4. Narezushi

The term “Narezushi” is believed to have been coined in the 10th century when the first ever forms of sushi appeared. It was used as a method of preserving fish by pickling it with rice and salt. In those days, rice was discarded and only fish was consumed.

Although sushi has come a long way since it was first invented, even today you can find traditional narezushi dishes in many sushi restaurants. The name itself is an ode to its creation and ancient history, so it’s worth trying during your trip to Japan.

This ancient type of sushi looks nothing like modern-day sushi because it is served as a whole fish and covered in a yogurt-like sauce. The fish is sliced into patterns and arranged over a bed of vinegar rice. We should warn you that this type of sushi could either make or break your appetite, as you typically need an acquired taste to appreciate its flavors.

Kida Yasuo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

5. Kaburazushi

This is another form of Narezushi that is made using salted buri wrapped with seasoned kabu (turnips). The dish is then pickled in kouji or amazake, so it takes a lot of time to prepare. The resulting taste is quite simply unique.

Kabura Sushi is highly regarded as one of the best winter foods in Kanazawa City and Toyama. The locals have their own unique variations to the traditional recipe, with some also using mackerel in the dish. It is also considered as the staple dish served traditionally at New Year.

6. Hako Sushi

In Japan, you will find sushi packed in quick takeaway boxes at grocery stores known as hakozushi. Hako means box and zushi is sushi. It has a typical square-shaped presentation comprising of fresh pieces of cube-shaped sushi rice topped with fish or tobiko.

These boxes are presented in an elegant way, making them a popular choice in Japan. It’s worth noting that the process for preparing hako sushi is often time-consuming and labor-intensive.

While hakozushi has become one of the more rare sushi types these days, you can still find several outlets that offer a variety of styles and flavors. Besides presentation, the quality of ingredients is also important while making hako sushi. Some common ingredients include fish, meat, and vegetables.

Photo by f11photo via Depositphotos

7. Oshizushi

Oshizushi, also known as pressed sushi, is probably the oldest type of sushi that you will find in various parts of Japan, especially at airports. Also known as box sushi, oshizushi packs sushi rice and mackerel tightly in boxes for takeout.

This type of sushi is traditionally prepared using a wooden mold called oshibako. These days, plastic molds are also used at eateries to make quick sushi for travelers. They contain alternating layers of seasoned sushi rice, condiments, and toppings.

8. Temarizushi

These tempting sushi balls are not only delightful to eat but also exotic in their appearance and overall appeal. Designed like a traditional Japanese embroidered ball, they look like edible decorative ornaments with bright and colorful toppings.

Temari consists of two main parts – sushi rice as the base and toppings ranging from raw fish to assorted vegetables. There are also cooked toppings such as smoked salmon, boiled crab, grilled meat, and boiled shrimp.

Vegetarians or vegans can also enjoy delicious temari sushi comprising of their favorite vegetables served fresh, grilled, or roasted.

Photo by Oksana6299956 via Depositphotos

9. Sasazushi

If you thought sushi could only be wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed then this may be a surprise to you. Sasazushi is a type of sushi that comprises of sushi rice, condiments, and toppings such as bamboo shoots, zenmai, warabi, and pickled vegetables.

This is a popular type of sushi that can be served in two main ways. The bamboo leaves can either be wrapped like nori around the sushi rice and toppings, or they can be used as a base plate with the ingredients served on top.

Photo by stephanebdc via Depositphotos

10. Temaki Sushi

If you have never seen temaki before then the format may slightly perplex you, because it’s nothing like traditional sushi. Often referred to as a sushi hand roll, the nori seaweed is rolled into a cone shape with a variety of ingredients packed into it.

These ingredients include sushi rice, avocado or cucumber slices, and fish which all spill out of the wide end. This type of sushi is best eaten by hand instead of with chopsticks and comes in one piece instead of the typical eight on a plate.

The world is going crazy about temaki sushi, with some big outlets popping up in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., to name a few. While you are in Japan, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try these delicious sushi hand rolls in the land that started it all.

11. Inarizushi

In this unique type of sushi, the creators dropped the sheet of nori and substituted it with aburaage or deep-fried tofu instead. If you love sushi but the taste of nori puts you off, then you may try out this kind of sushi at one of the many inarizushi outlets in Japan.

For those who are unaware, boiled aburaage has a salty-sweet taste and comes in the shape of a bag stuffed with vinegar rice and other typical sushi ingredients. Some examples of common ingredients used are mushrooms, carrots, and kanpyo, or dried gourd shavings.

In some Japanese restaurants, aburaage may be stuffed with chirashizushi as a take-out option. Interestingly, inarizushi is known by different names in different areas of Japan depending on the shape and types of ingredients used.

Photo by topntp via Depositphotos

12. Gunkan Maki Sushi

Invented at the Ginza Kyubey restaurant in 1941, gunkan maki is a special type of nigiri sushi that uses finely chopped ingredients over a bed of sushi rice, and a sheet of nori seaweed on the outside to cover the perimeter. Also known as battleship sushi, it is so named for its boat-like shape.

If you have ever been to Japan, you will know that this is one of the most common types of sushi you can get in the country. It comprises of a hand-formed clump of vinegared rice that has soft toppings that are often scooped in with a spoon.

Some common examples of toppings are fish roe, tuna, or even oysters. You can find this dish in almost every sushi shop and specialty sushi restaurant in Japan.


If you’d like to learn more about the different types of sushi in Japan, then you may be interesting in going on a sushi tour. No one knows sushi better than the Japanese so you’ll have the benefit of a guide explaining the different types of sushi to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of sushi tours in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other cities in Japan.


Going on a sushi tour is great but if you’d like a more hands-on experience with sushi in Japan, then you may be interested in taking a sushi-making class. It’s one thing to eat sushi but it’s quite another to learn how to actually make your own sushi roll. Check out Cookly and byFood for a list of sushi-making classes in different cities throughout Japan.


Now that you are well aware of the different types of sushi you can get in Japan, you can go ahead and treat your taste buds with the many exotic flavors and aromas these traditional dishes offer.

Popular types of sushi rolls like the spicy tuna roll, Philly roll, spider roll, and rainbow roll will always be there waiting for you at home, so we challenge you to go for the more interesting and less accessible types of sushi while you’re in Japan. Itadakimasu!


Some of the links in this sushi guide are affiliate links. We’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel guides. Arigato gozaimasu!

Peruvian Food: 30 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Peru

When many people think of Peru, the first thing that comes to mind is Machu Picchu. It’s without a doubt the most famous tourist destination in Peru.

But not far behind is Peruvian food.

For all but one year from 2012 to 2019, Peru was voted the Best Culinary Destination in South America by the World Travel Awards. It’s known for its agricultural diversity and multitude of global culinary influences that have helped make Peruvian food one of the tastiest and most interesting cuisines in the world.

For many travelers, Machu Picchu is what draws them to Peru. But as these next thirty dishes will show you, traditional Peruvian food is what makes them come back for more.


If you’re planning a trip to Peru and want to learn more about the cuisine, then you may be interested in going on a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Peru
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Peru

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Photo by jgfotografia


If you were to describe Peruvian cuisine with just one word, it would be multicultural. It’s a mix of indigenous, Spanish, Moorish, Chinese, Japanese, and African influences that have come together to create one of the world’s most interesting food cultures.

When immigrants settled in Peru, they didn’t have the usual ingredients they were accustomed to at home so they modified their recipes using local Peruvian ingredients. This gave rise to newer culinary traditions within Peruvian cuisine like Creole, Nikkei, and chifa cooking. These cooking techniques would develop over the generations and become very much a part of Peruvian cuisine.

Thanks to its long multicultural history, many food writers have described Peruvian food as the truest example of fusion cuisine.


A list of 30 dishes can be difficult to digest so I’ve organized this guide on traditional Peruvian food by category to make it easier to go through. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Seafood
  2. Meat
  3. Poultry
  4. Vegetables / Grains / Tubers
  5. Desserts
  6. Peruvian Food Tours
  7. Peruvian Cooking Classes


1. Ceviche

There’s no better way to start this Peruvian food guide than with ceviche. It’s a Peruvian national dish that’s become popular throughout the Pacific coastal regions of Latin America and beyond, including the Philippines.

Originally from Peru, ceviche refers to a dish made from fresh raw white fish cured in citrus juices. Historically, it used to be made with the juice from bitter oranges but modern versions are more commonly made with lemon or lime juice.

The citric acid from the fruit causes the fish to become denatured, giving it the appearance of being cooked. It’s typically spiced with aji (Peruvian capsicum), chili pepper, red onions, coriander, salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

Because ceviche isn’t cooked, it needs to be made with the freshest fish (sashimi-grade) and consumed immediately. It’s typically eaten as an appetizer though it can be enjoyed as a main course with various Peruvian side dishes as well.

Though ceviche is widely accepted to be a part of Peruvian cuisine, it’s exact origins are unclear. One of the most accepted theories is that it was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Andalusia. They accompanied the conquistadores and brought with them a dish that evolved over time to become ceviche.

Photo by ildi_papp

2. Tiradito

Tiradito refers to a ceviche-like Peruvian dish made with raw fish sliced like sashimi and served with a spicy citrus sauce. It’s often referred to as “Japanese ceviche” and is perhaps the most popular example of Nikkei food. Nikkei cuisine refers to dishes made with Peruvian ingredients prepared or cooked using Japanese techniques.

Unlike traditional Peruvian ceviche which is cubed and cured, tiradito is sliced into thin, sashimi-like strips and served raw. It’s usually made with fish like tuna, sea bass, salmon, or corvina and served with a side dish of sliced sweet potatoes and choclo (sweet corn kernels).

Photo by danielsanmartin

3. Leche de Tigre

Leche de tigre refers to a milky Peruvian drink made from lime juice, fish juice, onions, chili pepper, coriander, salt, and pepper. It’s an acidic, spicy, creamy, and invigorating drink often served in a small glass alongside Peruvian ceviche. It’s believed to be a hangover cure and aphrodisiac, hence the libidinous name leche de tigre, meaning “tiger’s milk”.

Originally, this milky drink was enjoyed as the leftover marinade from ceviche. Peruvians would spoon the leftover liquid after consuming the fish. They enjoyed it so much that they started to make it on its own, as a drink, so they could have more of it.

Today, leche de tigre is enjoyed throughout Peru and comes in many variations. It can be made with pureéd fish to make it thicker and creamier, or milk to balance out the acidity of the lime juice. Some contain chunks of fish and shellfish while others are made with peppers like aji amarillo (yellow chili) or rocoto.

This invigorating assault on your taste buds can be enjoyed everywhere in Peru, from humble roadside stalls to the most expensive restaurants in Lima.

Photo by Blinovita

4. Chupe de Camarones / Langostinos

Chupe is the generic term used to describe a thick South American soup or stew. It’s especially popular in the cuisines of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, and can be made with a variety of proteins like chicken, beef, fish, and seafood.

Chupe de camarones is a type of spicy Peruvian chupe made with crayfish, rocoto pepper, potatoes, vegetables, milk, and a poached egg. It’s originally from Arequipa in the southern coastal region of Peru. It’s traditionally made with crayfish but it can be made with shrimp as well (chupe de langostinos).

Photo by marktucan


5. Lomo Saltado

Like ceviche, lomo saltado is one of the most popular and beloved Peruvian foods. It’s a great example why Peruvian food is often described as being one of the world’s truest fusion cuisines.

Lomo saltado refers to a stir-fry dish made with marinated strips of steak (usually sirloin), french fries, onions, aji amarillo, soy sauce, herbs, and spices. Lomo saltado is typically eaten with fried or white rice and is one of the best examples of Chinese-Peruvian fusion cooking.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of Chinese nationals from the province of Guangdong in East Asia immigrated to Peru to work in agriculture. After their contracts ended, most would settle in Lima and along the coastal regions of Peru.

The first Chinese-Peruvian restaurants would open shortly after in Lima’s Chinatown. They introduced the wok and the concept of stir-fry cooking to Peruvian cuisine, giving birth to fusion dishes like lomo saltado and arroz chaufa. These restaurants, along with the type of food they served, were referred to as “chifa”. It’s unclear where the word chifa came from but it may be derived from a Chinese term meaning “to eat rice”.

Chifa quickly caught on and became an important part of Peruvian cuisine. Like arroz chaufa, lomo saltado is one of the tastiest and most well-known examples of chifa cooking in Peru.

Photo by lenyvavsha

6. Cuy Frito / Cuy Chactado / Cuy a la Piedra

For outsiders, cuy is one of the most curious dishes in Peruvian cuisine. It refers to the guinea pig or cavy, a type of rodent found in the Andean Mountains of South America. While guinea pigs are kept as pets in western society, in South American countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, they’re raised as livestock.

Cuy are domesticated for their meat which has been likened to rabbit or dark chicken meat. Because of their small size and rapid reproduction rates, they’re easy to keep as livestock and can be farmed even in urban environments. They’re known for being high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol.

Cuy are typically grilled, fried, or roasted. The term cuy chactado refers to guinea pig that’s been cooked under a stone. The guinea pig is deep-fried under the weight of a stone which doubles as a frying lid.

It’s estimated that 65 million guinea pigs are consumed in Peru every year. They’re a common ingredient in pachamanca and are celebrated in the annual religious festival known as jaca tsariy (“collecting the cuys”). In fact, they’re so ingrained in Peruvian culture that a famous painting in Cusco’s main cathedral depicts Jesus and the twelve disciples feasting on cuy.


7. Anticuchos de Corazón

Anticuchos refers to skewered and grilled meat dishes. They’ve existed in the Andes region since pre-Columbian times, but modern versions of the dish are now widely consumed throughout South America.

In Peru, anticuchos are commonly sold from street carts and street food stalls known as anitcucheras. They can be made with any type of meat marinated in vinegar and spices like garlic, cumin, black pepper, and aji chilies, though the most popular version is made from beef heart (anticuchos de corazón). Anticuchos de corazón are typically served with boiled potatoes, corn, and sauces made from aji pepper.

Anticuchos in Peru can be traced as far back as the 16th century. At the time, they were made with llama and alpaca meat. Spanish conquistadores who encountered the dish replaced them with beef and introduced garlic into the recipe.

Photo by asimojet

8. Empanada

Empanada is a type of baked or fried turnover common in the cuisines of many countries in Central and South America, including Peru. Recipes vary but it’s typically made with dough folded over a filling of meat, vegetables, potatoes, egg, raisins, spices, and other ingredients. The name empanada stems from the Spanish word empanar, meaning to “roll in pastry dough”.

Empanadas are a popular street food in Peru. They can be baked or fried and usually made with minced beef, olives, and hard-boiled egg. Other common ingredients include onions, chives, garlic, cumin, coriander, and pepper.

Photo by ildi_papp

9. Lomo a lo Pobre

Lomo a lo pobre refers to a Peruvian and Chilean dish made with steak topped with fried eggs and served with a side of fries. Unlike steak and eggs which is typically a breakfast dish, lomo a lo pobre is usually consumed for lunch or dinner.

Pobre means “poor” but it’s unclear how this dish got its name. One of the most popular theories speculates that lower-income families in Lima were known to eat meat with eggs, rice, and other carbohydrates, while upper-class families enjoyed steak only with vegetables. Today, it’s consumed by all classes in Peru with no negative stigma attached to the dish.

Photo by Blinovita

10. Pachamanca

Pachamanca refers to a traditional Peruvian dish cooked with hot stones over an earthen oven called a huatia. It consists of meat and tubers buried in a pit with river stones heated by a wood fire. It’s a culturally significant dish and cooking method that’s existed since the time of the Incan Empire.

Pachamanca is typically made with a variety of meats like cuy, llama, alpaca, mutton, lamb, beef, pork, and chicken marinated in different herbs and spices. They’re wrapped in marmaquilla or chincho leaves before being buried and cooked in the huatia for about 40 minutes to 1.5 hours. Different potato varieties and other root crops like cassava, corn, plantains, habas (lima bean pods), and chili peppers are often added and cooked with the meats.

Historically, pachamanca was made primarily within three regions in the central Peruvian Andes – the upper Huallaga valley, the Mantaro valley, and Ayacucho. Today, its consumption is more widespread throughout Peru with different regions developing their own recipes for the dish. Meats and ingredients may differ but the cooking method and spices used remain mostly the same.

Declared a part of Peru’s National Cultural Heritage, pachamanga is an important Peruvian dish that’s usually reserved for special occasions.

Photo by a35mmporhora

11. Salchipapas

Salchipapa refers to a hugely popular Peruvian street food dish that first appeared on the streets of Lima. It’s made with thinly sliced pan-fried beef sausages served with french fries. It’s usually served with ketchup, mustard, and aji sauce along with garnishes like a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Salchipapa is a portmanteau word for salchicha (sausage) and papa (potatoes). It’s originally from Peru though it’s become popular in other Latin American countries as well like Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Argentina.

Photo by bhofack2

12. Chicharron

Chicharron refers to fried pork belly or pork rinds. It’s a popular dish that’s widely consumed throughout the Americas and the Philippines.

Chicharron is a dish of Spanish origin. Before the mass production of vegetable oil, people used to cook with animal fat so they’d fry the pork in its own fat to extract the lard for future use. The leftover pieces of fried pork would become chicharron.

However, chicharron is a little different in Peru. The crunchy rind and attached fat typically isn’t used. Instead, the pork is boiled with seasonings and then fried in its own fat.

Chicharron is so popular in Peru that you’ll find many restaurants called chicharronerías specializing in the dish. One of the most popular Peruvian dishes made with fried pork is pan con chicharron.

Pan con chicharron exists in many variations throughout Peru but the most traditional Lima version is made with slices of fried sweet potato and a spicy onion and chili pepper relish known as sarsa criolla. It’s traditionally served in a soft bread roll called pan francés and usually eaten for breakfast.

Photo by ildi_papp

In Peru, chicharron can also refer to fritters made with fish, seafood, or chicken. Fish fritters are known as chicharron de pescado. They’re often served at cevicherias with a side of salsa criolla and aji amarillo, rocoto, or tartare sauce.

Photo by mirceadobre78

13. Carapulcra

Carapulcra is an ancient Peruvian dish that’s been prepared by the Quechua and Aymara people of the Andes for centuries. It refers to a pork stew made with dried potatoes, diced pork, ground peanuts, aji panca (red aji), mirasol peppers, garlic, and spices.

Carapulcra’s name in the Aymara language is qala phurk’a, meaning “stew made with hot stones”. This is in reference to the way the pork stew is cooked in a clay pot over special pre-heated cooking stones. Because of its ancient origins, it’s believed that carapulcra was originally made with llama or alpaca meat before Spanish conquistadores changed it to pork.

Aside from the way it’s cooked, what makes carapuclra interesting is that it’s made with papa seca or dehydrated potatoes. Using a centuries-old process, Andean people would dice boiled potatoes before laying them out in the harsh Andean sun to dry. This served as a preservation method that also changed the flavor and texture of the potatoes.

According to some sources, carapulcra had been looked down upon by members of Peru’s upper classes for decades, but it’s now a dish enjoyed across all socioeconomic classes in Peru.

Photo by fanfon


14. Pollo a la Brasa

Pollo a la brasa is an immensely popular roast chicken dish from Peru. In fact, it’s one of the country’s most popular dishes along with ceviche, salchipapas, and chifa. Available at rotisserie chicken restaurants called pollerías, it refers to spit-roasted chicken that’s usually served with thick-cut french fries, salad, and condiments like aji sauce, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.

Pollo a la brasa is a relatively recent creation that was invented sometime in the 1950s by Roger Schuler and Franz Ulrich, two Swiss nationals who were residing in Peru. Schuler settled in the town of Santa Clara, just outside Lima, where he started breeding chickens.

He roasted some of the chickens and began offering them to the public on an all-you-can-eat basis at a low cost. Easy on the taste buds and your wallet, the concept took off which inspired him to open a restaurant – La Granja Azul – which continues to stand at the very same spot to this day.

At first, his chef would spit-roast the chickens by hand, but in order to meet growing demand, an acquaintance would build him the first ever pollo a la brasa rotisserie oven. By the 1990s, pollerías were everywhere in Peru.

The Peruvian government estimated that 371 million servings of pollo a la brasa were sold throughout the country in 2010 alone. That averages to about one serving of roasted chicken for every Peruvian per month!

Pollo a la brasa has become popular in the cuisines of Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela as well.

Photo by ezumeimages

15. Arroz con Pato

If you like arroz con pollo, then you’ll probably enjoy arroz con pato as well. Literally meaning “rice with duck”, it’s a popular duck and rice dish from Chiclayo, a city north of Lima.

Arroz con pato is very similar to arroz con pollo and is known for its rice that can range from a muted to an intense green in color. The rice gets its color from a generous helping of cilantro.

To make arroz con pato, the duck is lightly fried for a few minutes before being cooked with some broth, beer, and pisco, a type of grape brandy made in Peru. It’s then served with the cilantro rice and a side of salsa criolla.

Photo by Wirestock

16. Aji de Gallina

Aji de gallina refers to a spicy and creamy chicken stew. It’s made with shredded poached chicken smothered in a thickened stock made from aji amarillo, garlic, onions, milk-soaked bread, parmesan cheese, and ground walnuts or pecans. Aji de gallina is a comforting Peruvian dish that’s usually served with white rice and garnished with olives and hard-boiled egg.

Traditional recipes for aji de gallina use older hen meat (gallina). However, old hens are tougher and take longer to cook so people started using regular chicken meat instead.

Photo by Wirestock

17. Caldo de Gallina

Caldo de gallina is a type of Peruvian chicken noodle soup. It’s a boldly flavored soup that’s often enjoyed in the morning as a hangover cure.

To prepare, potatoes and old stewing hens are boiled for hours to create a rich and starchy soup. Gallina is preferred because they can stand up to the long boiling process better than young chickens, which tend to disintegrate and dry out.

When ready, the soup can be seasoned with chili peppers, chives, and a spritz of Peruvian lime for even more flavor.

Photo by shinylion

18. Juane

Juane refers to a traditional dish from the jungles of Peru. It’s sold wrapped in waxy bijao leaves that look like green money bags when unopened. When you cut the string at the top, the leaves unfurl to reveal a ball of sticky yellow rice inside.

Juane is made with gallina meat, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, and rice seasoned with various herbs and spices like turmeric, cumin, and oregano. It’s commonly sold at traditional restaurants and markets and often eaten with cassava or boiled bananas.

The dish is believed to get its name from Saint John the Baptist (San Juan) who’s recognized as the patron saint of the Amazon. During the annual Festival of San Juan on June 24, extra large juanes are traditionally served and eaten by the riverside.

Interestingly, the way the dish is packaged may be a reference to the severed head of Saint John, who was executed by Herod.

Photo by ildi_papp


19. Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina is a popular Peruvian appetizer of boiled yellow potatoes smothered in a creamy and spicy cheese sauce known as Huancaina sauce. It’s typically served cold over lettuce and garnished with black olives, hard-boiled egg, and parsley.

What makes this Peruvian potato dish special is the sauce. It’s made from queso fresco (fresh white cheese), aji amarillo, evaporated milk, vegetable oil, and salt. It can be made with other ingredients as well like garlic, onion, and crushed crackers that act as a thickener.

Papa a la Huancaina is named after Huancayo, a city in the Peruvian highlands, but it’s believed to have originated in Lima. Its exact origins are unclear but one theory claims that the dish was invented during the construction of Peru’s Central Railway. Huancan women preparing food for the workers would boil potatoes and serve them with a sauce made from cheese, milk, and pepper. This dish would catch on and eventually become known as papa a la Huancaina.

Another story asserts that a dish of potatoes smothered in a spicy cheese sauce may have been served at railway stations between Lima and Huancayo. It came to be known as  “potatoes that you eat en route to Huancayo”, which would later become papa a la Huancaina.

Photo by ezumeimages

20. Arroz Chaufa

Like lomo saltado, arroz chaufa is a hugely popular chifa dish. It refers to Peruvian-Chinese fried rice made with egg, vegetables, dark soy sauce, and some type of meat cooked in a wok at very high heat. The name chaufa is derived from the Chinese term chǎo fàn, meaning “fried rice”.

Recipes vary but arroz chaufu is typically made with beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp, but it can be made with other proteins as well like duck, fish, and jerky. Some versions are even made with alligator or lizard meat.

Whatever protein its made with, you should definitely order a plate of arroz chaufa with lomo saltado for the ultimate Peruvian chifa meal.

Photo by Redav

21. Tamales

The tamale is an ancient Mesoamerican dish enjoyed in many parts of the Americas, the Philippines, and Guam. It’s made with maza (maize dough) wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and filled with a variety of ingredients like meat, vegetables, cheese, fruit, and chili pepper.

Their exact origins are unclear but tamales may date back to as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. It’s believed that they spread from the indigenous cultures of Mexico and Guatemala to the rest of Latin America.

Tamales were a convenient and portable food that could be carried long distances. They were also considered sacred and played significant roles in festivals and rituals.

In Peru, there exist many different types of tamales. In Lima for example, tamales filled with chicken is popular. It’s typically eaten for breakfast with salsa criolla and coffee. Other common types of Peruvian tamales include creole tamales, serrano tamales, chinchano tamales, and Cajamarca tamales.

Photo by denismantilla

22. Causa Rellena

Causa rellena refers to a traditional Peruvian potato casserole dish made with mashed yellow potatoes, chicken or tuna, aji amarillo, avocado, mayonnaise, and lime juice. The mashed potato is typically molded into discs with the filling sandwiched in between.

Causa in Spanish means “cause” while rellena means “stuffed”. It’s believed that causa rellena got its name from José de San Martín, an Argentine general who was known as the Protector of Peru during the fight for Peruvian independence from Spain.

San Martín called for Peruvians to support the cause by providing food for the soldiers. At the time, this layered potato casserole dish was one of the most common dishes. From then on, it came to be known as causa rellena.

Photo by Blinovita

23. Rocoto Relleno

If you’re a fan of stuffed pepper dishes like dolma or pimiento relleno, then you’ll surely enjoy rocoto relleno as well.

Rocoto relleno refers to a Peruvian stuffed pepper dish originally from Arequipa. It’s derived from a Spanish dish made with stuffed bell pepper. The same sweet peppers weren’t available in Peru so they used the much hotter rocoto pepper instead.

To make rocoto relleno, rocoto peppers are first boiled in water and vinegar to remove as much heat as possible. They’re then filled with various ingredients like seasoned meat, egg, vegetables, tomato sauce, and queso fresco. A milk sauce mixture is poured over the rocoto relleno stuffed peppers before they’re placed in an oven and baked.

Photo by milla74

24. Papa Rellena

Papa rellena refers to a type of Peruvian croquette made with a filling of ground beef, onions, olives, hard-boiled egg, cumin, and other spices. They’re popular in Peru and in many parts of Latin America like Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

In Peru, papa rellena is typically eaten with salsa criolla or aji sauce. They’re commonly sold as street food though they’re widely available at restaurants and often made at home as well.

Interestingly, papa rellena may have been invented during the War of the Pacific. Peruvian soldiers needed food that was durable and portable, so they’d cook seasoned meat and stuff it into hollowed-out potatoes before frying them. After the war, they took the dish home with them and it’s since become one of the most popular snacks in Peru.

Photo by ildi_papp

25. Tacu Tacu

Tacu tacu refers to a Peruvian rice dish that’s often made with leftover rice and beans. The leftovers are mixed with sauteed onions, garlic, aji amarillo, herbs, and spices before being formed into a pancake-like patty and served with meat, seafood, a fried egg, fried plantains, and salsa criolla.

Tacu tacu is one of the best examples of cocina criolla or Creole cuisine. Though the present-day version of the dish was shaped by the African community, its name is said to be derived from the Quechua word takuy, meaning “to mix two things together”.

Photo by alexmillos

26. Solterito

Solterito refers to a traditional Peruvian salad originally from Arequipa. It exists in many forms in Peru but common ingredients include rocoto pepper, fava beans, onions, queso fresco, tomatoes, corn, olives, parsley, red or white wine vinegar, and olive oil.

In some parts of Peru, the dish is called soltero, meaning “single man”. Solterito is a diminutive form of soltero, so it literally means “little single man”. The reasons for the dish’s name are unclear but some believe it may have something to do with how easy it is to prepare, making it an ideal dish for single men.

Photo by Hannleonphoto


Be sure to check out our article on Peruvian desserts for more sweet treats to try in Peru.

27. Picarones

Picarones are Peruvian doughnuts made with squash and sweet potato drenched in chancaca sauce. They’re said to be derived from buñuelos, a type of doughnut brought to Peru by Spanish conquistadores.

The ingredients for buñuelos were too expensive at the time so Peruvians started substituting them with squash and sweet potato. The dish caught on and it’s since become one of the most popular dessert snacks in Peru. They’re often eaten for dessert with anticuchos though personally, I’d love to have them with some queso helado (Peruvian ice cream)!

Photo by Peruphotoart

28. Mazamorra Morada

Mazamorra morada refers to a popular Peruvian dessert made with purple corn (maiz morada). Known for its characteristic deep purple/burgundy color, it’s a pudding-like dessert made with various fruits like raisins, prunes, apricots, peaches, pineapple, and sour cherries. Maiz morada is also used to make the popular Peruvian corn drink known as chicha morada.

Photo by ildi_papp

29. Alfajores

Alfajores are cookie sandwiches made with buttery cookies and a sweet filling, usually dulce de leche. They were brought to Peru from Spain and have become popular in many countries throughout the Americas, especially in Argentina where it’s regarded as a national symbol.

Depending on where they’re from, alfajores can come in many shapes and forms. In Peru, most cookies are typically about 1-2 inches wide and made with equal parts corn starch and white flour. They contain a good amount of butter and are sandwiched together with manjar blanco (dulce de leche).

Some of the most notable types of alfajor in Peru include alfajores from Cajamarca and Arequipa. Cajamarca alfajores are about 4-5 inches wide and made with fried instead of baked cookies, while alfajores from Arequipa consist of thinner and crunchier cookies filled with milky caramel or honey.

But perhaps the king of Peruvian alfajores is the aptly named King Kong alfajor from northern cities like Chiclayo and Trujillo. These measure about 5 inches wide and high and are made with a variety of fruit-flavored manjar blanco fillings.

Photo by ildi_papp

30. Cocadas

Cocadas refer to coconut macaroons popular in many parts of Latin America. Their main ingredient is grated coconut but they can be made with other ingredients as well like chopped nuts and dried fruit.

Cocadas exist in many variations and can vary greatly in shape, size, color, flavor, and texture. In Peru, they’re sometimes made into sandwiches and filled with manjar blanco, like alfajores.

Photo by Paulovilela


Needless to say, no one knows traditional Peruvian food better than a local, so what better way to experience the food in Peru than by going on a guided tour? A knowledgeable guide can take you to the city’s best restaurants, markets, and street stalls so you get the best and most authentic Peruvian dining experience possible.

If you’re visiting Peru, then check out Get Your Guide for a list of food tours in Lima, Cusco, and other cities in Peru.


Aside from food tours, a great way to learn about Peruvian cuisine is to take a cooking class. Food tours will lead you to some of the best places to eat in Peru, but taking a cooking class and actually working with Peruvian ingredients will give you a more intimate look at the cuisine.

If you enjoy cooking and want to learn more about traditional Peruvian food, then check out Cookly for a list of cooking classes in different cities in Peru.


Thirty dishes represents a minute fraction of Peruvian cuisine but it’s more than enough to demonstrate just how diverse and interesting traditional Peruvian food really is.

From its indigenous dishes to its Nikkei and chifa cooking traditions, people who travel for food have much to be excited about in Peru. No wonder it’s been declared the best culinary destination in South America almost every year!

With two Lima restaurants firmly in the top ten of the world’s 50 best restaurants, that isn’t a trend that looks to reverse anytime soon.


Some of the links in this Peruvian food guide are affiliate links. We’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at no added cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel guides. Muchas gracias!

Cover photo by shootme. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Food in London: What People in London REALLY Eat

EDITOR’S NOTE: We know about high tea and fish n’ chips but do we really know what Londoners eat? Traveleater Martin Dunne of Travels with My Belly shares this insightful look on 6 London food favorites that locals love to eat.

Welcome to London! It’s grey and raining? Yeah, it kind of does that. You’re hungry?! Gawd blimey (as we don’t say) well, we don’t want anybody hangry (hungry/angry) in this fair city. You want some local food when you visit London? You came to the right place, my friend…

I was born and have lived here in London all my life. I want to share with you six foods Londoners REALLY eat. Much of this list features foods you won’t find listed in other articles.


Eating at local restaurants is great, but so is going on a food tour. Check out some of the most popular food-related tours and activities in London.


  • Food Tour: 3-Hour Secret British Food Tour
  • Pub Tour: West End Beer Tasting Pub Tour
  • River Thames Dinner Cruise: River Thames Dinner Cruise with Live Jazz
  • Hard Rock Cafe: Skip-the-Line with Set Menu
  • Chocolate Tour: 3 Hour VIP Chocolate Tour

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  1. Not Everyday Food in London
  2. What People in London Really Eat
  3. London Food Tours


From Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding to the “ultimate traditional British dessert” sticky toffee pudding, many guides have been written on what to eat while visiting London. But I think most of these articles are misleading for those that want to truly eat like a local.

Much of the things listed, while they are eaten, and they are tasty, are not common everyday foods we eat here in London. For most people they will be occasional treats.

These articles are missing a lot of the food that is wildly popular and widely eaten.

Pie, Mash, and Liquor

First, let’s take the famous pie, mash, and liquor. These restaurants are dying out. Today there are few, they are vanishing from our streets.

Pie and mash shops, even in their heyday, were only found mostly in East London. Traditional pie, mash, and liquor isn’t something most Londoners eat. There are many Londoners that have never tasted it at all!

“The Pie and Mash Club is a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly in pie shops across London and the south-east. Anyone brought up in London before the 1970s or 80s would be familiar with pie and mash. When the club formed 25 years ago, there were 57 pie and mash outlets with London postcodes. The latest closures reduce that number to 22.”

London Loses its Appetite for Pie and Mash, The Financial Times

The Full English Breakfast

The famous full English breakfast, aka the fry up is another example. What is a fry up? This is a large serving of fried proteins and carbs on a plate that will make your doctor weep and your undertaker rub their hands with glee.

Although it can vary, a fry up normally consists of sausages, bacon rashers, fried eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, fried potato of some form, baked beans, and a grilled tomato so we can pretend it’s a tiny bit healthy.

Do we eat fry ups in London? Yes, and it is popular! The thing is though, it’s not something that people eat on a regular basis. It’s an occasional treat. Generally most people are not eating this sort of thing every day or even every week. You would be dead within a year or shopping at a tent shop for your clothing.

Afternoon Tea

For those unfamiliar, it’s a tower of cakes, sandwiches, and scones served with a pot of tea at lunch time. For those that are familiar, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but most of us are not eating that.

It may be a thoroughly British tradition but for most of us, it’s viewed as quite a touristy thing or an occasional rare treat. To give you some context and perspective, I have only ever eaten this once in my entire life.


1. Nando’s

Nando’s is a chain restaurant with branches worldwide. It’s a Portuguese chicken restaurant born in South Africa but embraced in the UK culture with an enthusiasm and devotion that’s hard for outsiders to fathom. Come to think of it, I’m not really sure that I understand it either.

Currently a London man is attempting to eat at every Nando’s in the world. Nando’s is so ingrained in our culture that it’s entered our language in the form of “cheeky Nando’s.” It’s inspired memes, jokes, music, art, and more. Even Prince William loves Nando’s.

So what is this force of nature? Nando’s serves flame grilled peri-peri chicken. Peri-Peri is a spicy sauce that the chickens are marinated in. You can get your chicken marinated in various degrees of Peri Peri spice heat or opt for a mild lemon and herb. A particular selling point of the chain is the bottles of various peri peri based hot sauces to which customers can help themselves to.

2. Greggs

Greggs started out as a bakery but now concentrate on the eating-on-the-go market. They sell hot savoury baked goods and cakes along with sandwiches and salads.

They are insanely popular but I don’t think they’re really known about outside of the UK. The world blindly goes about its business without knowing the joys of a steak bake or sausage roll.

“The bakery chain – born in 1951 – has seen a 25% rise in recent profits and has a bigger UK presence than McDonald’s and Starbucks.”

The Guardian

I like to describe them as the McDonald’s of Britain because they are so ubiquitous and popular. Indeed, McDonald’s has around 1,300 compared to around 2,000 Greggs stores!

Greggs is an insanely popular and well loved brand. It’s particularly famous for it’s sausage rolls. Britain recently lost it’s mind when Greggs released vegan versions of it’s famous sausage roll and steak bake!

“A Gregg’s vegan sausage roll at West Croydon Station.” by bob walker, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

3. Kebabs

Another London food favorite is the kebab. Kebabs are eaten from lunch till dinner and beyond but it’s enshrined in our culture as drinking food. Pretty much every culture has “drinking food.” This is food that either goes with alcohol or consumed after a night out or in the morning to help with the inevitable hangover.

The kebab is the food in London that you get on the way home after a night out. You’ll find most kebab shops open way into the night after many other choices have shut. So if you want a taste of our culture (covered in chilli sauce) head to the kebab shop after a night at the pub!

“Since the first official kebab shop opened in North London in 1966, there are now over 20,000 kebab outlets in the UK selling around 2,500 tonnes of lamb and chicken doner a week.”

Culture Calling

A kebab is a Turkish or Greek dish depending on who you ask. Both have kebabs but the one we primarily have here in the UK is the Turkish version.

A kebab, for those unfamiliar, is skewered meat cooked over heat which is then stuffed into a pita bread along with vegetables. The most common choice here is the doner kebab. Minced meat is packed into a log shape and cooked on a rotating spit before it’s sliced into thin ribbons.

4. Curry

Thanks in part to its huge South Asian population, curry is a massively popular food in London . The most popular dish is chicken tikka masala which has often been voted Britain’s most popular food and is always in any top 10 list.

Chicken tikka is just as much a part of British culture as fish and chips or a Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding. Indeed, chicken tikka is often regarded as the UK’s national dish.

“It is widely considered the country’s national dish, and in 2001 British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook gave a speech in which he hailed chicken tikka masala as a symbol of modern multicultural Britain.”


Surprisingly chicken tikka is actually British in origin. An example of fusion food. Its exact origins are a little murky, as with most food inventions, but the most popular story is that chicken tikka masala was invented in Scotland.

Apparently an Indian chef decided to cater to a customer’s western tastes and combined a standard chicken curry with cream or tomato soup (depending on the version) and the legend was born.

5. Sandwiches

There is a British food so ubiquitous around the world that you probably don’t even know it’s British – the sandwich. The story goes that it was invented by The fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu in the 18th century. The lord was a notorious gambler who loved to play cards. Apparently one night he was so into his game of cards that he didn’t want to stop to eat.

He called for some meat placed inside two slices of bread to enable him to eat and play cards at the same time! The town still exists today and is in fact called Sandwich after the Lord and his invention. And yes, sandwiches are a local speciality.

Britain loves sandwiches.

About 11.5 billion sandwiches a year are eaten in the UK.”

British Sandwich Association

There’s a British Sandwich Association which even holds it’s own sandwich Oscars style awards every year called The Sammies.

The pre-packaged sandwich was also invented here in the UK to satisfy our hunger for sandwiches! Marks & Spencer, a UK department store, was the first to come up with the idea of packaging the sandwich to go.

“In 1979, the British store chain Marks & Spencer introduced a small range of chilled, pre-made sandwiches sold in wedge-shaped boxes, sealed to keep them fresh. As they proved popular, a small experiment involving five stores rapidly grew to more than one hundred stores. Within a year, the store was looking for ways to manufacture sandwiches at an industrial scale. By the end of the decade, the British sandwich industry had become worth £1bn. In 2017, the British sandwich industry made and sold £8 billion worth of sandwiches.”


Obviously, sandwiches are available just about everywhere but Pret is a well-loved and popular sandwich chain you could try if you want a more sophisticated sandwich. Pret A Manger (mostly shortened to just Pret) is extremely popular.

6. Fish and Chips

For the last entry, I wanted to include something that always gets featured on lists that we actually DO eat a lot of but eat differently here in London and the south. At the time of writing there are currently over 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK!

“382 MILLION MEALS FROM FISH AND CHIP SHOPS EVERY YEAR. That’s six servings for every man, woman, and child.”

National Federation of fish and chips

However, there are some regional differences. “Up north” they like gravy with their chips. They also enjoy “scraps” which are bits of batter left over from frying the chips. The chips, are often cooked in lard rather than sunflower/vegetable oil that’s common in the south. The preference of battered fried fish is also different.

So what’s popular in London? Well, firstly we prefer cod rather than haddock. Although both are available along with rock and plaice. We don’t have gravy on our chips but a pot of curry sauce is extremely popular.

Many chip shops (chippies) here in London are run by people of Chinese heritage. Quite a few chip shops are also Chinese takeaways. Here you can get your chips with a pot of Chinese BBQ sauce to pour over your chips! Many of these places also offer fusion combinations such as the carb-tastic fried rice and chips. There are many different combinations.

So order like a local Londoner and get cod and chips with a pot of curry sauce! If you would like to read a little bit more about the fish and chip north/south divide you can do so by clicking here.


It goes without saying that no one knows the food in London better than a local, so what better way to experience London’s food than by going on a food tour? A food-obsessed guide will take you to London’s best restaurants and markets and explain all the dishes to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of London food and drinking tours.


So hopefully you’ve enjoyed this article on the food in London and next time you’re in town you can eat like a local! I think it’s interesting that only two of the six foods listed are from British cuisine. London is multi-cultural like perhaps no other place on Earth. I often see people surprised when they come here just how many nationalities there are.

This is probably London’s biggest foodie plus point. We don’t have a particularly strong food culture of our own. We’ve embraced the foods and traditions from so many peoples and places. Some were blown here along trade winds from spice islands and tropical paradise. Some came with refugees or immigrants looking for work and a better life.

There has to be few places on this earth that has such a vast array of foods from around the world. Go to a street food market here in London and you probably won’t find any British food there. You’ll find vendors selling Japanese, Moroccan, Russian, Italian, Polish, Thai, Chinese, African, and any number of other cuisines.

Those following me for a while will be fully aware of my love for Thai food. I’m often asked if it’s difficult for me to cook Thai here in the UK. The answer is no! Most of the ingredients I need are available at any standard supermarket. Not just Thai, you can buy Polish meats and breads, Chinese sauces, Caribbean jerk seasoning, Indian and Pakistani foods, and much more. London is a culinary magpie.

So another answer to the question of how to eat like a local is to enjoy anything and everything that the cuisines of the world has to offer because most of it is available here in London. Nothing says home like food. Nothing says friendship like sitting and eating together. To know each other’s food is to know each other.


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Photos by Martin Dunne

Filipino Food: 45 Traditional Dishes to Look For in the Philippines

Have you ever tried Filipino food? I’m not surprised if you haven’t because for one reason or another, Filipino cuisine hasn’t caught on internationally as much as other Asian cuisines like Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Thai.

So what exactly is Filipino food? Visitors trying the food in the Philippines for the first time may find it similar to Spanish food. Some will pick up on the strong Chinese influences while others will recognize localized versions of American fast food like Filipino-style burgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken.

Because of the country’s colonial history, Filipino food has evolved into a melting pot of eastern and western influences, so much so that some writers have described it as “Asian fusion before Asian fusion even existed”.

If you’re visiting the Philippines and looking to really dig into the cuisine, then I hope this list of 45 popular Filipino dishes leads you to some fantastic meals. If you’re planning on cooking Filipino food at home, then you’ll find a link to a recipe under almost every dish. Kain na!

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Photo by nifty50gallery and hendraxu


Filipino food is characterized by the combination of three flavors – sweet, sour, and salty. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, spices and heat don’t figure as prominently in traditional Filipino cuisine. Garlic, ginger, bay leaves, and black pepper are most often used while spicy food is common only in two regions – Bicol and Muslim Mindanao.

What makes Filipino food interesting is its mix of different influences. It’s similar to Indonesian and Malaysian food thanks to its Austronesian origins and has been shaped by centuries of migration and colonialism to become the multi-faceted cuisine that it is today.

Because of the Chinese diaspora, Filipino food is heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, mainly by immigrants from the Fujian region of China and the Cantonese. It was also significantly influenced by the country’s colonizers, like Spain who ruled the Philippines for 333 years and the Americans who controlled the country for nearly half a century.

To a lesser extent, Filipino food was also influenced by Japanese, Indian, and Mexican cuisines. Japan occupied the Philippines from 1942 till 1945 while Indian influences made their way into Filipino cuisine by way of Indian sepoys brought by the British during a 2-year occupation.

This isn’t as well-documented so it was interesting to learn how Mexican cuisine influenced Filipino food. Because of Mexico’s ties to the Spanish empire, different fruits, vegetables, and ingredients were brought in via the galleon trade. Many of the first settlers to the Philippines were in fact Spaniards who were already established and living in Mexico.

Aside from the foreign influences that helped shape Filipino cuisine, it’s also important to note that traditional Filipino food is a reflection of its archipelagic makeup. Like Indonesian food, Filipino cuisine is highly local and regional. There exist hundreds if not thousands of regional dishes, along with common dishes that can be found throughout the country, sometimes with names and preparations that vary from region to region.


A list of 45 dishes can be difficult to digest so I’ve organized this Filipino food guide by category to make it easier to go through.  Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Starters / Sides
  2. Meats / Poultry
  3. Seafood
  4. Rice / Noodles
  5. Desserts


1. Chicharon

In many Spanish-speaking parts of the world, chicharon refers to a snack made with deep-fried pork rinds. In the Philippines, it refers to that too but it can also refer to other similarly deep-fried dishes usually made with either pork or chicken.

Some of the most common examples of chicharon in the Philippines include chicharon bituka, which refers to pork intestines that have been chopped up into bite-sized pieces and deep-fried. Chicharon manok or chicken skin chicharon refers to deep-fried chicken skin. It’s technically a type of chicharon though most Filipinos refer to it simply as “chicken skin”.

It’s hard not to like anything crunchy and deep-fried but my absolute favorite type of chicharon is chicharon bulaklak (pictured below). It refers to a type of chicharon made with pork mesentery. The mesentery is the thin, web-like membrane that supports the small intestine. When the mesentery is detached, it forms a frill or ruffle-like ornament resembling a flower. Chicharon bulaklak literally means “flower chicharon”.

Chicken skin and chicharon bulaklak are my favorites but deep-fried pork rinds are definitely the most popular and readily available type of chicharon in the Philippines. If you say “chicharon”, people will assume that you’re asking for deep-fried pork rinds. They usually come in two varieties – with fat and without fat. Chicharon with fat tastes so much better but it’s also a lot more sinful.

No matter the type, chicharon in the Philippines is usually served with vinegar to help cut the fat and give it a nice sour kick. It’s often enjoyed as a snack or as a bar chow dish with beer.

RECIPE: Chicharon bulaklak

2. Pork Sisig

If you had to try just one dish in the Philippines, one dish to represent Filipino cuisine, the I’d probably tell you to try pork sisig. It’s a hugely popular bar chow dish made with chopped pork face, ears, and chicken liver served on a cast iron sizzling plate.

Sisig is originally from Pampanga province which is the (unoffiial) culinary capital of the Philippines, but it’s become ubiquitous throughout the Philippines. It was invented by Aling Lucing’s restaurant in Angeles City around the mid-1970s when a surplus of discarded pig’s heads from a former US air base gave her the idea for the dish.

To prepare, the pig’s head is boiled, broiled, and then grilled before being chopped up and seasoned with vinegar and calamansi juice. It’s served with chopped onions and chicken liver on a sizzling cast iron plate to keep the fat from going cold and turning into lard.

Sisig is traditionally made with pork though you can find other versions these days made with other proteins like tuna, squid, mussel, or oyster. You can even find more exotic versions made with crocodile or ostrich but pork sisig is still the best and the one you should try.

Recipes vary from place to place so it isn’t uncommon to find sisig made with things like mayonnaise, raw egg, ox brain, and chicharon bits. It’s usually consumed as a shared appetizer or bar chow dish but personally, I like to eat it as an entree with white or garlic fried rice. It’s so good.

Pampanga is considered the sisig capital of the Philippines so in my opinion, it’s still the best place to try it. The original Aling Lucing’s restaurant is still in business but you can find excellent sisig anywhere in the Philippines. If you’re visiting Manila, then I suggest trying it at the Trellis restaurant. It’s owned by a prominent Kapampangan culinary family credited for popularizing sisig in Manila.

RECIPE: Pork sisig

3. Lumpia

Lumpia is the local version of spring rolls. It’s a popular Filipino dish that’s often served as an appetizer at celebrations, gatherings, and sit-down family meals.

Filipino lumpia is made with a thin paper-like crepe filled with a variety of ingredients. It’s usually deep-fried though fresh versions called lumpiang sariwa are also popular. Lumpiang sariwa literally means “fresh lumpia” and is very similar to Fujianese/Teochew-style popiah that’s become popular in many Asian countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.

Lumpia is popular throughout the Philippines and comes in many forms. Lumpiang Shanghai is one of the most common. It’s typically filled with sauteed ground pork, onions, carrots, raisins, and other vegetables. In spite of its name, it did not originate in Shanghai or anywhere else in China.

Lumpia can be made pretty much with anything and usually takes the name of its main ingredient. Some of the most popular types of Filipino lumpia include lumpiang ubod (heart of palm), lumpiang tinapa (smoked fish), and lumpiang togue (bean sprouts).

At Filipino bars, you can often find lumpia made with cheese or stuffed long green pepper. Cheese lumpia is usually referred to as “cheese sticks” while lumpia made with pepper is called “dynamite”. No matter what it’s made with, deep-fried Filipino lumpia is usually served with a vinegar-based dipping sauce or banana ketchup.

RECIPE: Lumpiang Shanghai

4. Okoy

Okoy (or ukoy) refers to a type of Filipino fritter made with glutinous rice batter, unshelled small shrimp, and a variety of vegetables like julienned carrots, spring onions, bean sprouts, kalabasa (pumpkin), sweet potato, and cassava. The patty is deep-fried till crunchy and served with a vinegar-based dipping sauce to offset its oiliness.

Okoy is a popular Filipino street food dish that’s also commonly served as an appetizer at Filipino restaurants or made as a snack at home. You can find it anywhere in the Philippines but one of the most famous regional variants is from Vigan in Ilocos Sur.


5. Tokwa’t Baboy

Tokwa’t baboy is a classic and hugely popular Filipino dish made with deep-fried tofu, pork belly (and/or ears), and a dressing made from vinegar, soy sauce, onion, and chili pepper. It’s usually made with boiled pork though it can be made with fried pork (pictured below) as well.

Tokwa’t baboy is short for “tokwa at baboy”, which literally means “tofu and pig”. Like sisig, it’s a popular Filipino bar food or appetizer that’s also commonly eaten as a side dish to rice porridge dishes like lugaw, goto, or arroz caldo.

RECIPE: Tokwa’t baboy

Photo by MikeEdwards

6. Laing

Laing refers to a famous Filipino dish made with shredded or whole taro leaves cooked with coconut milk, pork or seafood, chili peppers, and a host of aromatics like garlic, onions, ginger, and lemongrass. It’s a rich, creamy, and often spicy dish that’s commonly eaten as a side dish with grilled pork or fish and steamed white rice.

Laing is widely consumed throughout the Philippines but it’s originally from the Bicol region where it’s known as pinangat na gabi. Bicolanos are known for their liberal use of chili and coconut milk. Unlike in other parts of the country where laing is made with shredded taro leaves, the original Bicolano version is made with whole leaves that are wrapped around the meat or seafood mixture to form parcels that are then steamed in coconut milk.


Photo by bugking88

7. Torta

Torta is a Spanish culinary term that can mean many different things. Depending on where you are, it can refer to cakes, pies, flatbreads, and sandwiches but in Filipino cuisine, it refers to a type of omelette.

Torta in the Philippines can be made with egg and different ingredients. Often served as a side dish with banana ketchup, it usually takes the name of its main ingredient like tortang giniling (ground beef or pork) or tortang talong (eggplant, pictured below).

I like all kinds of torta but my favorite is definitely tortang alimasag (blue crab). It’s basically the Filipino version of crab cakes. Crab meat is sauteed with various ingredients like garlic, potatoes, onions, and seasonings before being mixed with egg. The mixture is then stuffed back into the crab shells and pan-fried.

RECIPE: Tortang talong

Photo by lenyvavsha

8. Pinakbet

Pinakbet (or pakbet) refers to a famous Filipino dish made with pork belly and different vegetables sauteed in fish or shrimp sauce. It’s originally from the Ilocos region where it derives its name from the Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning “shriveled”. This is in reference to the vegetables being stewed over low heat until shrunken or shriveled.

Pinakbet is typically made with a host of vegetables and root crops like ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant, okra, string beans, and kamote (sweet potato). In the northern Ilocos region, it’s traditionally seasoned with bagoong balayan or fermented fish paste, but in the south, bagoong alamang or fermented shrimp paste is preferred.

RECIPE: Pinakbet Tagalog

Photo by junpinzon

9. Manga at Bagoong

Manga at bagoong refers to a simple but hugely popular dish of unripe green mango and bagoong alamang. Bagoong alamang is a paste made with fermented shrimp or krill. It’s popular in similar forms throughout Southeast Asia and is known for being an extremely pungent condiment that’s used in many popular Filipino dishes like pinakbet and binagoongan.

To prepare, tiny shrimp or krill are brined and salted before being fermented for about 1-3 months. This fermentation process creates a by-product called patis or fish sauce which is another often used ingredient in Filipino cuisine. As described, a fish-based version of bagoong (bagoong balayan) can also be made by fermenting salted anchovies.

Green mangoes with bagoong alamang is a beloved snack that’s enjoyed throughout the Philippines and often sold as street food. Some people make their own bagoong but bottled versions are readily available at supermarkets so you can easily enjoy manga at bagoong at home.

2013 Angeles Philippines Trip Day 5 by tofuprod, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

10. Balut

Balut is one of the most famous – or should I say infamous – dishes in this food guide. Even if you’ve never had Filipino food, chances are you’ve at least heard of balut. It refers to a fertilized duck egg embryo that’s been incubated for 14-21 days, boiled, and then eaten directly from its shell.

Balut consists of four parts – the “soup”, the yolk, the embryo, and the albumen which can often be too hard to eat. Depending on how long it’s been incubated before being boiled, you’ll find balut with the embryo in different stages of development. The ideal incubation period is said to be exactly seventeen days. At that stage, the embryo is completely soft and unrecognizable save for its developing feathers.

With that said, it isn’t unheard of to get balut that’s been incubated longer. Those will have much bigger embryos that already resemble ducklings. They’re still soft and edible but they may have harder beaks that you’ll need to spit out. Thankfully, I’ve never gotten one with bones that were already developed.

You might also come across a version of balut called “penoy”. These are the balut eggs that didn’t properly develop after 9-12 days. Balut penoy is like a hard-boiled egg with no separation between the yolk and egg white, kind of like a semi-scrambled egg still in its shell.

Balut is a popular Filipino street food dish that’s a cheap source of protein and calcium. I rarely eat them but I did grow up with people who did so I don’t find them off-putting or weird. If you do find them challenging, then not to worry because many Filipinos do as well. Ren for example, loves the soup and yolk but she won’t touch the embryo.

To eat, balut is often seasoned with salt and/or a chili, garlic, and vinegar mixture, but I’ve always eaten it as is. Some restaurants these days will even serve them in a more elevated way. I’ve seen them served adobo-style, on sizzling skillets, even in a souffle.

We Filipinos know how off-putting balut can be for many tourists so we get a kick out of challenging them to eat it. Most chicken out.


11. Longganisa

Longganisa is derived from the Spanish word longaniza and refers to Filipino sausage. It’s one of the most important dishes in Filipino cuisine with dozens of variants throughout the Philippines. Longganisa is so popular and integral to Filipino cooking that many regions in the country hold annual festivals to celebrate and promote it.

Longganisa is typically made with pork and commonly eaten for breakfast as longsilog. When consumed as a breakfast dish, it’s enjoyed with sinangag (garlic fried rice), a fried egg, atchara (pickled green papaya), and a vinegar dipping sauce. Dozens of varieties exist but they usually fall into one of two general categories – de recado and hamonado. De recado refers to savory sausages while hamonado longganisas are more savory-sweet.

We love longgaisa so we’ve been meaning to do a tour of the Philippines to document the country’s best and most interesting longganisas. Listed below are some of the most famous types of longganisa in the Philippines.

Vigan Longgnaisa (de recado) – This is my favorite type of longganisa. Originally from Vigan in Ilocos Sur, it’s smaller than most longganisas and is known for its liberal use of garlic.

Lucban Longganisa (de recado) – Originally from Lucban in Quezon province, Lucban longganisa is known for its use of oregano and its garlicky and vinegary taste. You can find them skinless or with the usual sausage casing.

Calumpit Longganisa (de recado) – Hailing from Calumpit in Bulacan province, Calumpit longganisa is made with lean pork, pork fat, garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and paprika.

Alaminos Longganisa (de recado) – Originally from Alaminos in Pangasinan, Alaminos longganisas are made with achuete (annatto) seeds, giving them a yellowish or orange hue. They’re one of the more easily identifiable longganisas thanks to their color and the coconut leaf midribs that hold the sausage links together.

Tuguegarao Longganisa (de recado) – Tuguegarao longganisa is from Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province. Often more yellowish or orange in color, it’s made with coarsely ground pork, garlic, black pepper, coarse salt, and cane vinegar. 

Cabanatuan Longganisa (de recado or hamonado) – Cabanatuan longganisa (or batutay) is from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija. They can be sweeter (hamonado) or more garlicky (de recado) and unlike the vast majority of longganisas, they’re made with beef instead of pork.

Pampanga Longganisa (hamonado) – Hailing from the culinary capital of the Philippines, Pampanga longganisa is the most popular type of hamonado longganisa in the Philippines. Usually thinner and longer than the average longganisa, it can be prepared with or without the casing and is often tinted orange or red from achuete seeds.

Chorizo de Cebu (hamonado) – Chorizo de Cebu (or longganisa de Cebu) are more spherical in shape and have a distinct reddish color from the use of achuete seeds. As its name suggests, it’s from the province of Cebu.

Photo by audioscience

12. Pork Barbecue

Like longganisa, pork barbecue is one of the most popular dishes in Filipino cuisine. It refers to marinated pieces of pork skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal. You can think of it as the local version of Indonesian or Malaysian sate.

Pork barbecue is a popular Filipino street food but it’s also served at many gatherings and celebrations. It’s a staple dish at chilldren’s birthday parties where it’s served alongside other party favorites like Filipino-style sweet spaghetti and red hot dogs. At Filipino buffets or catered events, you’ll often find a chafing dish filled with sticks of pork barbecue.

I don’t know if you can see it below but sticks of pork barbecue will usually have one piece of pork fat at the bottom. Like American pizza crusts, some Filipinos will eat it while others never do.

RECIPE: Filipino pork barbecue

13. Chicken Inasal

Chicken inasal is one of our favorite Filipino comfort foods. It refers to chicken marinated in calamansi, vinegar, pepper, and achuete before being grilled over charcoal while being basted with the marinade. Chicken inasal is originally from Bacolod City and the western Visayas region but it’s become hugely popular throughout the Philippines.

You can think of chicken inasal as a variant of lechon manok. But unlike lechon manok which is spit-roasted whole, inasal is cut up into pieces and usually skewered on bamboo sticks before being grilled. When served at a restaurant, you can order it by part – ie paa (thigh), pecho (breast), pak-pak (wings), or isol (butts).

Chicken inasal is usually served with white rice and a dipping sauce made with vinegar, soy sauce, chili pepper, and calamansi. Good inasal restaurants will also have a bottle of chicken oil at every table that you can pour over your rice and/or mix into your dipping sauce.

RECIPE: Chicken inasal

14. Crispy Pata

Crispy pata refers to a famous Filipino dish of deep-fried pork trotters or knuckles served with a dipping sauce made with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onions, sugar, and ground black pepper. To prepare, the pork leg is boiled to tenderize the meat before being deep-fried till golden brown and crispy.

When cooked well, crispy pata is crunchy on the outside with moist and tender meat. It’s usually served as a main dish with white rice or as bar chow.

RECIPE: Crispy pata

15. Sinigang

Sinigang is another popular and important dish in Filipino cuisine. It refers to a type of soup or stew characterized by its sour and savory flavors. It’s usually tamarind-based though other acidic Filipino fruits can be used as souring agents like batuan, guava, kamias, and santol.

Sinigang is usually made with different vegetables and some type of meat or seafood like pork, beef, shrimp, or fish. It’s usually paired with white rice and served with patis (fish sauce) as a condiment.

Like many of the dishes in this Filipino food guide, sinigang can refer to both the dish and the cooking method. There are many versions of sinigang and their names are usually derived from the main ingredients used in the dish. Some of the most popular types of sinigang include sinigang na isda sa miso (fish and fermented soybean paste), sinigang na baboy (pork, pictured below), and sinigang na hipon (shrimp).

RECIPE: Sinigang na baboy (pork) with gabi (taro)

This is a type of sinigang na hipon made with ulang or giant freshwater prawns. You can’t really tell from this picture but these prawns were massive, about 30 cm (12 in) each!

16. Kare-Kare

Kare-kare is another popular and interesting Filipino dish. It refers to a curry-like stew made with different meats and vegetables served in a thick and savory peanut sauce.

To make kare-kare, different cuts of meat like oxtail, tripe, pork hocks, and pork trotters are simmered for hours till fork tender. The kare-kare sauce is then flavored with ground peanuts (or peanut butter) and thickened with toasted ground rice (or rice flour) before being colored with achuete and served with blanched vegetables like Chinese cabbage, long beans, banana heart, and eggplant. Kare-kare is usually served as a main dish with steamed white rice and eaten with bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) as a condiment.

The origins of kare-kare are unclear, but one of the more interesting theories claims that it was invented by South Indian sepoys who were stationed in the Philippines during the British occupation. They made use of whatever spices and ingredients were available to create a dish called kari-kaari, which eventually became known as kare-kare.

RECIPE: Kare-kare

Photo by Create Hot Look via Shutterstock

17. Dinuguan

Dinuguan is another interesting and perhaps somewhat weird Filipino dish that’s best reserved for the more daring. It refers to a Filipino stew made with diced pork or offal cooked in a dark gravy made with pig’s blood, vinegar, garlic, and chili. The name dinuguan is derived from “dugo”, which is the Filipino word for “blood”.

Dinuguan can be made with diced pork and/or offal but if you can, then I suggest trying the version with offal. It’s tastier with more interesting textures. Typical organ meats used for dinuguan include pork lungs, kidneys, intestines, heart, snout, and ears. Unlike most Filipino viands which are eaten with rice, dinuguan is best paired with puto or steamed rice cakes.

If you travel through the Philippines, then you may find that dinuguan is called by other names in different regions of the country. For example, it’s also called tid-tad in the Kapampangan areas, sinugaok in Batangas, dinardaraan in Ilocos, dugo-dugo in Cebu, and tinumis in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

RECIPE: Dinuguan

18. Adobo

Adobo is one of the most well-known Filipino foods and perhaps the single most important dish on this list. It’s often regarded as a Filipino national dish.

Like sinigang, the word adobo can be used to refer to both the dish and the cooking method.  To make adobo, meat, seafood, or vegetables are marinated in a braising mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorn, bay leaves, and garlic. It’s typically made with chicken and pork that are left to simmer over low heat until they break down and become fork-tender in a thick, flavorful sauce.

The name adobo stems from the Spanish word adobar, which means “to marinate”, but the dish or cooking method wasn’t introduced by the Spaniards. It dates back to the pre-Hispanic period when early Filipinos would cook their chicken and pork by immersing it in vinegar and salt, probably as a means of preservation. The dish got its name from Spanish colonizers who encountered the cooking process and called it adobo de los naturales, or “adobo of the native peoples”.

Though chicken and pork adobo are the most common, there are many versions of the dish. Depending on what they’re made with, they can be served as a main dish with rice or as a side dish. Listed below are some of the most popular types of adobo in the Philippines.

Chicken and Pork Adobo – The most popular version of adobo made with both chicken and pork (pictured below).

Adobong Pusit – This is my favorite type of adobo. It’s made with squid and its ink mixed into the braising liquid, resulting in a beautifully black and incredibly delicious adobo.

Adobong Kangkong – This is the most common non-meat version of adobo. Also known as apan-apan, it’s made with kangkong or water spinach as its main ingredient though some places will serve it with bits of pork mixed in. It’s a great side dish to have with grilled meats like liempo or inasal.

Adobong Puti – This version of adobo is flavored with sea salt instead of soy sauce. Much lighter in color (puti means “white”) than soy-sauce-based adobos, it’s been described as the closest version to the original pre-Hispanic adobo, before Chinese traders introduced soy sauce to the Philippines.

Adobong Dilaw – Meaning “yellow adobo”, adobong dilaw is flavored with turmeric, giving it its distinct yellowish color. It’s said to have originated in Taal, Batangas.

Adobo sa Gata – Popular in Bicol and in other parts of Southern Luzon, adobo sa gata is made with coconut milk and substitutes black peppercorns with green finger chilis.

Adobong Pula – Adobong pula means “red adobo”. It’s an Ilonggo version of adobo noted for its reddish tint that comes from the use of achuete seeds.

RECIPE: Pork adobo

19. Bulalo

Bulalo is a light-colored soup made with leafy vegetables, corn on the cob, and beef shanks filled with bone marrow. It’s basically a type of nilaga dish (boiled meat and vegetable soup) made specifically with beef shanks containing marrow. To prepare, the beef shanks are simmered for several hours until the collagen and fat melt into the clear broth.

Popular in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite, bulalo is a beloved Filipino comfort food that’s usually paired with rice and a dipping sauce made with fish sauce and calamansi.

RECIPE: Bulalo

Yvette Tan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

20. Bopis

Bopis is one of my favorite dishes in the Philippines, though like dinuguan, it may not be for the faint of heart (pun intended). It refers to a spicy dish made with minced pork heart and lung sauteed in garlic, onions, and chili peppers.

Like many famous Filipino dishes, recipes for bopis may vary from region to region. I’ve heard of saucier versions made with tomato sauce but personally, I prefer the Kapampangan version which is mostly dry and made with vinegar. Bopis is often paired with steamed rice or eaten as bar chow.


21. Bicol Express

If you’ve been disappointed by the lack of heat in Filipino food so far, then you’re going to love Bicol express. As its name suggests, it’s a specialty of the Bicol region where it’s known as sinilihan, meaning “made with chili”. Bicolanos often cook with chili and coconut milk so if you want spicy (and creamy) Filipino food, then you need to try Bicol express.

Bicol express is a stew made with pork belly, coconut milk/cream, bagoong alamang (shrimp paste), and generous amounts of finger chilis and siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili). It’s spicy and creamy and best eaten with steamed rice to help tone down the heat.

Interestingly, Bicol express got its name from a cooking competition in Manila in the 1970s. The contestant credited for inventing the dish had ties to Bicol and was inspired by the sound of a passing train from the Philippine National Railway. She named it Bicol Express after the train that traveled to and from Manila to Legzpi City, the regional center of Bicol.

RECIPE: Bicol Express

Photo by lenyvavsha

22. Papaitan

Papaitan is another interesting dish that isn’t for the meek. It refers to a well-known Ilocano soup made with goat innards. The name papaitan is derived from the word “pait”, which means “bitter” in Filipino, and is in reference to the bitter bile used in the soup.

Papaitan is traditionally made with goat innards but it can be made with ox and beef offal as well. Recipes vary but bile is the key ingredient which gives the soup its characteristically bitter flavor. It’s definitely an acquired taste, even for Filipinos who didn’t grow up with it.

RECIPE: Papaitan

Obsidian Soul, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

23. Lechon

Like adobo and longganisa, lechon is one of the most beloved and culturally significant Filipino foods. It refers to spit-roasted pig and is the de facto food of choice at fiestas (festivals), holidays, and celebratory gatherings. Lechon is a Spanish word meaning “roasted piglet” but in the Philippines, it refers to a full-grown roasted pig. Roasted piglets are referred to as lechon de leche.

There are two general types of lechon in the Philippines – Luzon lechon (or Manila lechon) and Visayas lechon (or Cebu lechon). Luzon lechon is prepared simply. It’s usually seasoned with just salt and pepper so much of the flavor comes from the sarsa or liver sauce it’s served with. Sarsa is made with mashed liver, vinegar, garlic, onions, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

Cebu lechon on the other hand, is stuffed with herbs and spices like lemongrass, bay leaves, black peppercorn, garlic, scallions, and salt while roasting. It leads to a much more flavorful lechon that doesn’t need anything in the way of sauces.

I’m from Manila so I grew up eating Luzon-style lechon. I never liked it because I thought it was bland and I didn’t care much for the sweet-savory liver sauce. Cebu lechon is so much better. It’s the type of lechon that the late great Anthony Bourdain once famously declared as the “best pig ever”.

Photo by FrolovaElena

When Filipinos say “lechon”, they always mean roast pig. But lechon can also refer to other spit-roasted livestock like lechon manok (chicken, pictured below) and lechon baka (calf).

Lechon manok is available everywhere, usually from takeout kiosks, but lechon baka is a much more special type of lechon that’s reserved for truly special gatherings. It isn’t uncommon but you don’t see it nearly as often as roast pig.

Photo by Al.geba

24. Tinola

Tinola is a popular Filipino soup dish made with chicken, wedges of unripe papaya, malunggay (moringa) and/or siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili) leaves. It’s usually made with chicken but it can be made with fish, seafood, or pork. Chayote or calabash can also be used as a substitute for green papaya.

Tinolang manok (chicken tinola) is classic Filipino comfort food that’s best paired with steamed rice and patis (fish sauce) as a condiment.

RECIPE: Tinolang manok (chicken)

Photo by junpinzon

25. Inihaw na Liempo

Liempo is pork belly. It’s a popular dish that can be enjoyed with rice as an entree or as bar chow with beer. It’s usually served with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce and vinegar or vinegar with garlic and chili.

Technically speaking, liempo means just pork belly but when Filipinos say it, they usually mean inihaw na liempo or grilled liempo. Recipes vary but strips of pork belly are marinated overnight with garlic, chili, calamansi, and soy sauce before being grilled over charcoal.

RECIPE: Inihaw na liempo (grilled)

Photo by bugking88

26. Maskara

I don’t know if this qualifies as a traditional Filipino dish. It’s more of a novelty bar chow dish made with a boiled and deep-fried pig’s head. Maskara means “mask”.

The picture below is of a whole roasted pig’s head but maskara is deep-fried. To prepare, a pig’s head is split in half and boiled with herbs and spices to flavor and tenderize the meat. It’s then scored before being deep-fried to make it nice and crispy. Maskara is also referred to as crispy ulo (head).

I included maskara in this Filipino food guide because it isn’t a dish you can have just anywhere. Only a few places carry it so I suggest trying it if you can. Crunchy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside, it goes very well with beer.

Photo by Rostovdriver

27. Kaldereta

Kaldereta (or caldereta) refers to goat meat stewed in tomato sauce. Like many Filipino dishes on this list, the term can refer to the dish or the cooking method. Kaldereta made with goat is called kalderetang kambing but it can be made with other proteins like beef, chicken, or pork as well.

To prepare, the goat meat is sauteed with garlic, onions, and tomatoes. It’s then stewed in tomato sauce with liver spread and different vegetables and root crops like tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Kaldereta is served as a main dish with steamed rice.

Kaldereta gets its name from the Spanish word caldera, meaning “cauldron”. It’s similar to Spanish meat stews and is another example of Spain’s influence on Filipino food.

RECIPE: Beef kaldereta

Photo by fanfon

28. Binagoongan

Binagoongan is another Filipino culinary term that can refer to both the dish and the cooking method. It refers to any meat or vegetable dish that’s sauteed or braised in bagoong alamang (shrimp paste). It’s usually made with pork but it can be made with chicken or beef as well.

As described, bagoong has a strong pungent flavor and aroma so binagoongan is always eaten with steamed rice. If you like robust flavors in your food, then you’ll probably enjoy binagoongan.

RECIPE: Pork binagoongan

Judgefloro, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom


29. Tinapa

Tinapa is the Filipino term for smoked fish. It’s usually made with galunggong (blackfin scad) or bangus (milkfish) that are brined for several hours before being air-dried and smoked.

In the Philippines, tinapa is commonly eaten as breakfast fare with salted egg, tomatoes, and rice, but it can also be used in other Filipino dishes like lumpia and ginisang munggo (mung bean soup). It’s often used in pasta dishes as well.

Photo by MNStudio

30. Paksiw

Paksiw refers to Filipino dishes cooked in vinegar and garlic. It means “to cook and simmer in vinegar” and can be used to describe both the dish and the cooking method. It’s a very common dish that’s enjoyed as an everyday meal throughout the Philippines.

Paksiw na isda (fish) is perhaps the most common type of paksiw but it can be made with pork as well. Paksiw na pata is made with pork trotters while paksiw na lechon is made with leftover lechon.

RECIPE: Paksiw na isda (fish)

Photo by MikeEdwards

31. Kinilaw

Kinilaw is the Filipino version of ceviche. The term is used to refer to both the dish and preparation method that entails curing raw fish in vinegar and/or citric fruit juices. It’s usually made with fish like tanigue (wahoo), bangus, or tambakol (yellowfin tuna), though it can be made with other types of seafood as well like squid, shrimp, clam, and oyster.

To prepare, cubes of raw fish are mixed with vinegar and a souring agent like calamansi, kamias, or tamarind. It’s typically seasoned with ginger, onions, chili pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper before being served as an appetizer or as bar chow.

When you visit the Philippines, you may come across the term kilawin. Kinilaw and kilawin are sometimes used interchangeably but kilawin actually refers to a similar but different dish. Kilawin is prepared by marinating cooked meats like pork, goat, or beef in a vinegar mixture while kinilaw refers to raw fish cured in vinegar.

RECIPE: Kinilaw na tanigue (Spanish mackerel)

Photo by junpinzon

32. Bangus

Bangus refers to milkfish which is the national fish of the Philippines. As you can imagine, it’s a hugely popular fish used in many recipes in Filipino cuisine.

Pictured below is one of my favorite preparations for bangus. It’s called inihaw na bangus (grilled) and is prepared by stuffing the fish with chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger, and calamansi before grilling over charcoal. Other popular Filipino dishes made with bangus include sinigang, daing na bangus, paksiw, pesang bangus, totsong bangus, and rellenong bangus.

Bangus is one of my favorite fishes but it’s known to have many tiny thorn-like bones. They’re annoying and can make it a pain to eat but thankfully, pre-thorned versions sold as “boneless bangus” are common at supermarkets.

RECIPE: Inihaw na bangus (grilled)

Photo by bugking88


33. Silog

Silog refers to a family of Filipino breakfast dishes made with some type of meat, garlic fried rice, and a fried egg. The dish takes the name of whatever meat it’s made with so silog made with tapa (cured beef) for example, is called tapsilog. Tapsilog is a portmanteau word for tapa (cured beef) + sinangag (garlic fried rice) + itlog (egg).

Tapsilog and its variants are among the most popular breakfast dishes in the Philippines. Like Malaysian nasi lemak, they’re typically eaten for breakfast but they can be enjoyed throughout the day. Personally, I love tapsilog though I prefer having it for lunch or dinner.

There are many types of silog like cornsilog (corned beef), bangsilog (bangus), spamsilog (SPAM), and hotsilog (hot dog), but the three most popular are tapsilog, longsilog (longganisa), and tocilog (tocino). No matter the type, silog meals are usually eaten with a vinegar dipping sauce.

Pitcured below is tapsilog. It’s made with fried or grilled cured beef and was the very first version of silog. Depending on the cook, it can be savory, a little sweet, or spicy. Tapsilog is so popular that you can find it pretty much anywhere – in Filipino homes, restaurants, hotels, and fast food chains.

RECIPE: Tapsilog

Photo by aldarinho

Longsilog is my favorite type of silog. It can be made with any type of longganisa but personally, I like it best with Vigan longganisa. Longsilog with Vigan longganisa is a strong contender for my hypothetical last meal.

Tocino means “bacon” in Spanish and refers to sweetened and cured pork belly. Tocilog used to be my favorite type of silog when I was a kid because of the sweetness and tenderness of the meat.

Recipes vary but tocino is usually made by curing strips of pork belly (or shoulder, butt, or ham) for several days in a mixture made from salitre (saltpeter), sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic. The salitre acts as a curing agent and food preservative and gives the tocino its characteristic pinkish red color when cooked.

Photo by junpinzon

34. Pancit

Filipinos love rice but we also love pancit. It refers to a family of Chinese-inspired noodle dishes usually made with rice noodles, vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Pancit is often eaten during holidays and gatherings and is almost always consumed to celebrate someone’s birthday. This practice stems from the Chinese belief that noodles represent long life and good health. Despite pancit being a filling meal in itself, it’s rarely eaten on its own. Instead, it’s usually enjoyed as a side dish with rice and other viands.

There are many different versions of this beloved noodle dish in the Philippines. More often than not, when Filipinos say “pancit”, they’re usually referring to the dry verions of the dish but soupy versions of pancit do exist as well. Listed below are some of the most popular types of pancit in the Philippines.

Pancit Bihon Guisado (dry, pictured below) – Pancit made with bihon (rice vermicelli) stir-fried with soy sauce, calamansi, patis (fish sauce), vegetables, and meat.

Pancit Canton (dry) – This is basically the local version of Chinese lo mein. It’s made with egg noodles stir-fried with cabbage, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, and slices of pork. It’s usually seasoned with soy sauce or oyster sauce and drizzled with calamansi.

Pancit Palabok / Luglug (dry) – Pancit palabok and pancit luglug are basically the same dish. They’re both made with noodles covered in a thick shrimp sauce and topped with slivers of hard-boiled egg, chicharon bits, tinapa flakes, whole shrimp, and chopped green onion. The only difference is that palabok is made with bihon while luglug, a Kapampangan version of palabok, is made with thicker canton noodles.

Pancit Malabon (dry) – A type of pancit originally from Malabon City in Metro Manila. It’s made with thicker rice noodles topped with a yellowish-orange sauce flavored by achuete seeds, shrimp broth, patis (fish sauce), and aligue (crab fat). It’s typically garnished with slivers of hard-boiled egg, chicharon bits, toasted garlic bits, cabbage, tinapa flakes, and different types of seafood.

Pancit Habhab (dry) – Originally from Lucban in Quezon province, pancit habhab is an interesting type of pancit made with stir-fried egg noodles. It’s traditionally served on a banana leaf without utensils so you’re expected to slurp up the noodles directly into your mouth.

Pancit Lomi (wet) – A favorite in Batagnas province, pancit lomi is made with thicker and chewier egg noodles served in a thick soup with vegetables, kikiam (Filipino version of lor bak), shrimp, and pork.

Pancit Mami (wet) – You can think of pancit mami as the local version of chicken noodle soup. It’s made with egg or wheat flour noodles served in a broth flavored by beef and chicken bones. It’s usually served with cabbage, hard-boiled egg, shredded chicken or beef, and wontons.

RECIPE: Chicken pancit

Photo by AS Food studio via Shutterstock

35. Batchoy

Batchoy refers to a Filipino noodle soup dish made with egg noodles in a broth flavored with pork and beef stock and shrimp paste. It’s usually served with pork innards, chicharon bits, pork slices, and pork liver. Batchoy is the prized dish of La Paz in Iloilo City and is often referred to as La Paz batchoy.

Personally, I think La Paz batchoy is one of the best noodle soup dishes you can have in the Philippines. It’s so tasty. Before serving, it’s often topped with fried minced garlic and a raw egg that you mix into the soup.

I’ve never tried it but it’s worth noting that you may encounter another type of batchoy in the Philippines called batchoy tagalog. It’s made with misua noodles, pork slices, pork innards, and chili pepper leaves in a ginger-based broth.

RECIPE: Batchoy

La Pa Batchoy by pulaw, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

36. Lugaw

Lugaw refers to Filipino rice porridge. It’s made with boiled glutinous rice seasoned with salt, garlic, and ginger.

When served as is, it’s known simply as “lugaw”. When served with beef and pork offal like tripe and intestines, it’s called “goto” (pictured below). When served with chicken, it’s referred to as “arroz caldo”. It’s a beloved Filipino comfort food that’s typically eaten for breakfast or on cold rainy days, usually with a side of tokwa’t baboy.

It’s interesting to note that there are sweet versions of lugaw, one of the most well-known being champorado. It’s a type of lugaw made with chocolate and milk. It can be eaten as is or paired with tuyo (dried fish).



For more sweet treats, be sure to check out our guide on the most delicious Filipino desserts.

37. Kakanin

Kakanin is one of my favorite dishes, or family of dishes, in Filipino cuisine. It’s the umbrella term used to describe an entire range of desserts or snacks made with galapong or glutinous rice paste. The term kakanin is derived from the word “kanin”, which means “rice”. You can think of it as the local version of Indonesian or Malaysian kuih.

I like kakanin because it’s colorful and often associated with Filipino festivals and holidays. You can find them all throughout the Philippines in many shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. Many are difficult to make which is why they’re usually reserved for special occasions or celebrations.

There are dozens of varieties of kakanin in the Philippines, but some of the most well-known and popular include puto, suman, bibingka, kutsinta, biko, espasol, and palitaw. I’ll talk about a few of them in more detail below.

Pictured below is puto, arguably the most common type of kakanin. This bite-sized steamed rice cake is usually white (putong puti) but it can be colored to indicate what it was flavored with. For example, puto made with ube (putong ube) is a deep purple while puto made with pandan (putong pandan) is green. The puto below is made with cheese (putong queso) hence the yellowish tinge.

Kakanin is a broad enough term but puto alone has many variants. Other than the types already mentioned, some of the most popular varieties of puto include puto bumbong, puto maya, putong pula, and puto kutsinta. Puto can be eaten on its own or paired with savory dishes like dinuguan.

RECIPE: Cheese puto

Photo by MikeEdwards

This was my favorite type of kakanin growing up. It’s a type of puto called kutsinta, which is frequently sold with putong puti and eaten with grated coconut.

Although it looks quite different, it’s similar to putong puti except it’s made with lye which gives it a chewier, stickier texture. It gets its orange color from food coloring or achuete seeds.

Photo by inotm5

Like puto, suman is one of the most popular and widely available types of kakanin. It’s made with glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, which is then wrapped tightly in banana leaves before being steamed. It’s usually eaten with a sprinkling of sugar on top or drizzled with latik, which is a type of caramelized syrup made with coconut cream.

Suman is an important dish in Filipino cuisine and culture so you’ll find different varieties throughout the country. I’m only familiar with the basic kinds (suman malagkit) but explore the Philippines and you’ll find more exotic suman made with ingredients like black rice, chocolate, and pinipig (toasted and pounded immature glutinous rice).

Photo by bugking88

Sapin-sapin is one of the more eye-catching types of kakanin. Its name means “layered” in Filipino and is in reference to the brightly-colored layers that make up the dish.

Lesser versions will be made with food coloring to achieve the layers, but quality sapin-sapin will be flavored with things like ube, langka (jackfruit), and pureed corn. It’s usually drizzled with latik and sprinkled with toasted desiccated coconut flakes before serving.

Photo by inotm5

Puto bumbong is one of the prettiest and most festive types of kakanin. It’s a variant of puto that’s steamed in bamboo tubes and typically eaten only around the Christmas season.

Because of its rich purple color, some people may think that puto bumbong is made with ube but it isn’t. It gets its color from a unique heirloom variety of glutinous rice called pirurutong. It’s naturally a deep purple to almost black in color.

Puto bumbong is traditionally served on banana leaves and slathered with butter or margarine before being topped with muscovado sugar and grated coconut. It’s a special dish for many Filipinos because of its association with Christmas.

Photo by junpinzon

Bibingka is a different type of kakanin from the previous dishes because it’s baked instead of steamed. A clay pot is lined with banana leaf before being filled with the glutinous rice paste and cooked between two layers of pre-heated charcoal.

Like puto bumbong, it’s special to many Filipinos because it’s usually eaten during the Christmas season. It’s topped with butter or margarine, sugar, cheese, or grated coconut. My favorite versions are made with salted duck egg.

Photo by junpinzon via Shutterstock

38. Taho

Taho is a famous Filipino dish that conjures fond childhood memories for many Filipinos. It’s the Filipino version of douhua, a Chinese snack of fresh silken tofu that’s served in many parts of Asia. What makes taho uniquely Filipino is that it’s served with arnibal (simple syrup) and sago pearls (similar to tapioca).

Filipinos from suburban areas of the Philippines grew up with taho. Everyday, either early in the morning or later in the afternoon, the taho vendor would call out “tahooooo!” as he went through the neighborhood with two aluminum buckets on either side of a bamboo pole. One bucket had the silken tofu while the other carried the arnibal and sago. He’d walk down your street at roughly the same time everyday so it became part of our daily routine to eat taho.

Classic taho is made with arnibal and sago but these days, you can find versions topped with boba and made with flavored syrups like strawberry and ube.

39. Ensaymada

The ensaymada is a Spanish pastry that’s become a staple food in the Philippines. Originally from Mallorca, it derives its name from the root word “saim” which means “pork lard”. Spanish ensaimada is made with lard but what makes the Filipino version unique is that it’s made with butter instead.

Filipino ensaymada is made with brioche bread baked with butter and topped with buttercream and grated cheese, usually queso de bola (edam). It has ties to the Christmas season, where people often give boxes of special ensaymada as gifts, but it’s widely available and consumed throughout the year.

RECIPE: Ensaymada

Photo by nuitgarden

40. Sans Rival

Sans rival is one of the more unique cakes or pastries in the Philippines. It consists of three layers of cashew nut meringue held together with buttercream. Once assembled, it’s coated with more buttercream and topped with chopped cashews. It’s then kept in the freezer before serving to give it a uniquely crunchy texture.

Based on what I’ve read, sans rival is a type of French dacquoise that makes use of cashews instead of almonds and hazelnuts. It’s said to have become a part of Filipino cuisine in the late 19th or early 20th century, when many Fiipinos traveled to France and brought cooking techniques back with them.

RECIPE: Sans rival

Photo borrowed with permission from Dude for Food

41. Halo-Halo

Halo-halo is perhaps the most beloved and internationally recognizable dessert in this Filipino food guide. The term halo-halo means “mixed” and refers to a crushed ice dessert made with evaporated or condensed milk and a spectrum of ingredients like sweetened beans, ube, coconut strips, kaong (sugar palm fruit), macapuno (young coconut), leche flan, and plantains sweetened with sugar, among many others.

Halo-halo is often served in a tall parfait glass so you can easily see the multi-colored layers of ingredients. To assemble, the different ingredients are layered in the glass before being covered with crushed ice and topped with leche flan and/or ube (either halaya or ice cream). Evaporated or condesned milk is then poured into the glass of halo-halo before serving.

There’s no predetermined set of ingredients in halo-halo so you’ll find different ingredient combinations from restaurant to restaurant. For many Filipinos, the more colorful the halo-halo, then the better it is.

RECIPE: Halo-halo

Photo by Kayea29 via Shutterstock

42. Ginataan

The term ginataan actually refers to a whole range of dishes cooked with gata or coconut milk. Ginataan dishes can be both savory and sweet. Because they’re made with coconut milk, laing and Bicol express are types of ginataan.

In our household, and I believe in many parts of the northern Philippines, when someone says “ginataan”, they’re often referring to sweet ginataan . If you wanted to refer to a savory ginataan, then you’d call it by its complete name like ginataang kuhol (snail), ginataag gulay (vegetables), or ginataang manok (chicken).

The sweet version of ginataan consists of a soup thickened with coconut milk and filled with various ingredients like langka (jackfruit), saging na saba (plantains), tubers, and sago pearls. It’s traditionally eaten hot though it can be enjoyed cold from the refrigerator as well. My favorite type of ginataan is also made with sticky glutinous rice balls called bilo-bilo.

It’s worth noting that there are other common types of sweet ginataan as well, like ginataang mais (sweet corn and glutinous rice), ginataang munggo (mung beans), and ginataang saba (plantains).

RECIPE: Ginataang halo-halo

Obsidian Soul, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

43. Leche Flan

Leche flan has always been one of my favorite Filipino desserts. It’s the Filipino version of creme caramel made with condensed milk and plenty of egg yolks.

As you can see in the picture below, leche flan usually comes in an oval shape because it’s traditionally steamed in a tin mold called a llanera. It’s a hugely popular dessert that’s often served at many family gatherings.

RECIPE: Leche flan

Photo by imwaltersy

44. Turon

Turon is a beloved Filipino snack or dessert made with thin slices of plantain dusted with brown sugar and deep-fried in lumpia wrapper. It’s commonly sold as street food though it’s often prepared at home as well, usually for merienda (mid-day snack).

I never thought of it that way but turon is actually a type of sweet lumpia. Many Filipinos only think of lumpia as savory, but because turon is deep-fried in spring roll wrapper, then it definitely qualifies as a type of lumpia.


45. Ube

I credit ube for being one of the dishes that brought Filipino food to the mainstream. Thanks to its versatility and rich purple color, it’s become a favorite subject on social media platforms like Instagram.

Ube halaya refers to a jam made from boiled and mashed purple yam. It’s a versatile ingredient that’s been used in many desserts like ice cream, cakes, croissants, cookies, and pies. When we were growing up, there weren’t many ube desserts available so we’d get our fix by scooping ube halaya from a jar and eating it directly from the spoon. It’s still my favorite way of enjoying ube to this day.

If you’ve read through this entire Filipino food guide, then you can probably guess what these are. They’re putong ube or steamed rice cakes made with ube halaya.


This Filipino food guide was both the easiest and hardest food guide I’ve had to write. It was easy because I grew up eating Filipino food. I know it better than any other cuisine so I put a lot more pressure on myself to write a guide that represented Filipino cuisine well and did it justice.

My goal in writing this Filipino food guide was to help first-time visitors get a balanced and well-rounded food experience in the Philippines. Many non-local articles on Filipino food list only the most well-known (boodle fight, ube) or sensational (balut) Filipino dishes. As a local, I wanted to come up with a guide that not only directed you to some of the best and most interesting food in the Philippines, but to also describe whenever I could what those dishes mean to us culturally.

In any case, I hope I succeeded. If you’re planning a trip to Manila or anywhere else in the country, then I hope this Filipino food guide leads you to some terrific meals in the Philippines. If you have any questions, then let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and have a delicious time in the Philippines!

Cover photo by MikeEdwards. Stock images by Depositphotos.

10 Essential Things to Do in Takayama, Japan

There are plenty of things to do in Takayama. It’s a small city compared to Tokyo and Osaka but it’s a destination that oozes with character. When you’re in Takayama, you’ll feel like you’re in a time capsule.

Personally, we visited Takayama as a base to explore Shirakawa-go but the town itself offers plenty for first-time visitors. It’s beautifully preserved old town dates back to the Edo period and serves as an ideal backdrop for one of Japan’s most beautiful festivals – the Takayama Matsuri festival.

Often referred to as Hida Takayama to differentiate it from towns of the same name, the city is located in the mountainous region of Gifu prefecture, making it a prime jumping-off point into the northern Japan Alps.

As charming as it is, Takayama is small so you won’t need more than a day or two to explore it. Whether you’re attending the festival or just passing through, listed below are ten of the most popular things to do in Takayama.


To help you plan your trip to Hida Takayama, I’ve compiled links to popular tours and activities here.


  • Sightseeing Tour: Takayama Night Tour
  • Shirakawa-go Tour: Private Shirakawa-go Day-Trip with Transport
  • Food Tour: Takayama: Food and Sake Tour


  • Visa Services
  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Japan Rail Pass
  • Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass

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1. Explore Sanmachi Suji

Exploring Sanmachi Suji is on of the most fun things to do in Takayama. When people think of Hida Takayama, the first image that comes to mind is of Sanmachi Suji. It refers to a network of three streets located in the heart of Takayama’s historical district.

Sanmachi Suji is characterized by remarkably well-preserved cypress and cedar merchant houses, some dating back to the early 17th century. It’s regarded as one of the most beautifully preserved Edo period districts in Japan.

Along Sannomachi are many shops, restaurants, teahouses, and sake breweries, some of which have been open for centuries.

Many of the buildings in Takayama old town date back to the dawn of the 17th century. They harken back to a time when Takayama thrived as a town of wealthy merchants.

Walking around town, you’ll find that most of the buildings are painted in dark brown colors, almost black, to replicate how they looked during the Edo period. Some of the buildings in Sanmachi Suji are over 400 years old but you wouldn’t know it from their remarkable state of preservation.

Sanmachi Suji is the heart of the old town and a popular tourist hotspot, but venture away from the area and you’ll find that much of Takayama looks like this.

I don’t know how the city is divided but I was walking to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine and came across this lovely neighborhood called the Houmeitaigumi Preservation Area. Like Sanmachi Suji, many of the houses in this neighborhood are probably over 400 years old.

You won’t find many shops or restaurants outside the Sanmachi Suji area but you won’t find any tourists either. As beautiful as it is, Sannomachi can get annoyingly crowded so don’t be afraid to venture farther and explore on your own.

Exploring some of these more deserted pockets of town, I felt like I truly was in Edo period Japan.

2. Eat Hida Beef

Walking around Sanmachi Suji, you’ll quickly realize what the town’s specialty is – Hida beef. Every restaurant it seems advertises some form of Hida beef, whether it be Hida beef skewers, Hida beef croquettes, or my personal favorite, Hida beef sushi.

Hida beef refers to wagyu produced from black-haired Japanese cattle raised in Gifu prefecture. To bear the Hida beef brand, cattle needs to be fattened for at least fourteen months and earn a meat quality grade of 3, 4, or 5 from the Japan Meat Grading Association.

Like Kobe beef, Hida beef is considered one of the most prized beef brands in Japan, revered for its intense marbling and juiciness. Compared to Kobe beef which tends to be more balanced in its meat and fat distribution, Hida beef has more of the latter, giving you a truer melt-in-your-mouth experience.

We enjoyed Hida beef in various forms like croquettes, rice balls, steamed buns, and sausages, but our hands down favorite was the sushi.

Served raw as nigiri (about JPY 800 for two), it was absolutely sensational and one of the best things we’ve eaten in Japan. They weren’t kidding when they said it melts in your mouth. Wow!

A distant second would be this grilled skewer of A5 grade chuck eye roll (about JPY 1,000). It was smokey, tender, and supremely delicious but the Hida beef sushi was just that good.

If you’d like to try Hida beef in a burger, then check out Center4 Hamburgers on Ichinomachi Street. You won’t appreciate the beef’s marbling as much but they do make some tasty burgers.

Regardless of how you like your beef, trying Hida Beef is one of the absolute best things to do in Takayama if you travel for food like we do. One bite and you’ll probably want to have it as often as you can.

Operating Hours: 11AM-2:30PM, 6-9:30PM, daily
Admission: About JPY 2,700 for a Hida beef burger

3. Visit Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Located in the northern part of the old town, Sakurayama Hachimangu is a top Takayama attraction and the oldest Shinto shrine in the city. It’s said to date back to as early as the 4th century, to the reign of Emperor Nintoku who was the 16th emperor of Japan.

Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine is in a quiet wooded area that’s much more peaceful than Sanmachi Suji, but in autumn, it becomes the most festive part of Takayama.

Every October, the shrine plays host to the Takayama Autumn Festival which is the second of two annual festivals that constitute Takayama Matsuri. Together with Chichibu Yomatsuri and Gion Matsuri, it’s considered one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan.

Both the spring and autumn Takayama festivals feature about a dozen large and heavily decorated yatai or festival floats. I read that up to a million people visit Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine during festival time, but you can see replicas of the floats at Matsuri No Mori or Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan at any time of the year.

Operating Hours: 24 hrs
Admission: FREE

4. See the Floats at Matsuri No Mori or Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan

If you’d like to see the Takayama Matsuri floats but can’t visit in the spring or fall, then you can see replicas on display year-round at Matsuri No Mori and Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall.

I didn’t go to either one but based on pictures, the Matsuri No Mori museum looks to be the more impressive of the two. Not only will you find life-sized replicas of festival floats, but also on display are karakuri puppets and several huge taiko drums, both of which play key roles during the festival.

Matsuri No Mori looks more interesting but it’s harder to get to. It’s located about 15 minutes south of Takayama Station by bus, so if you’d rather not make the trip, then you can visit Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan instead.

Located right next to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, on display are four of the eleven floats used during the autumn festival along with miniature models of Nikko’s Toshogu Shrine.

Photo by Pop Navy via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, daily (both museums)
Admission: JPY 1,000 (each museum)

5. Visit Takayama Jinya

Takayama Jinya is another historical attraction in Takayama. It refers to a surviving Edo period jinya that served as the government headquarters for Hida province under the Tokugawa Shogunate.

A jinya referred to the administrative headquarters of smaller domains. Similar to castles, they served as the residence of administrative heads though were much smaller in scale. Larger domains had castles while smaller domains, like Hida province, had jinyas.

Takayama Jinya was declared a National Historic Site in 1929 and opened to the public as a museum in 1969. Inside are a series of well-maintained tatami mat rooms that once served as offices, conference rooms, and residential spaces for Edo period officials.

Photo by cowardlion via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 8:45AM-5PM, daily
Admission: JPY 440

6. Go Shopping at a Morning Market

If you like markets, then you’ll want to get up for these two morning markets that are held every morning from 7AM till around 12NN.

The Miyagawa Morning Market is set up along Miyagawa River while the Jinya-mae Morning Market is held in front of Takayama Jinya. On sale at these markets are locally made crafts, flowers, snacks, and fresh produce like fruits and vegetables.

Photo by NavinTar via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 7AM-12NN, daily

7. Buy Sarubobo Dolls

I brought home three small versions of these cute and colorful sarubobo dolls. A sarubobo is a human-shaped but faceless doll associated with Takayama.

The word sarubobo literally means “baby monkey”. They’re traditionally made by grandmothers who give them to their grandchildren as dolls for protection, or by mothers who give them to their daughters as good luck charms before marriage.

Sarubobo were traditionally made in red but they’re now available in a variety of colors and sizes, each color representing a different wish like good health, love, fertility, and money.

Photo by Ear Iew Boo via Shutterstock

8. Spend the Day in Shirakawa-go

If you’re planning a trip to Takayama, then you probably know about Shirakawa-go. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses.

Shirakawa-go is often visited on a day trip from various Japanese cities in the central region, but one of the easiest and closest jumping-off points is Takayama. From Takayama bus terminal, it’s less than an hour to Shirakawa-go.

You can refer to our comprehensive Shirakawa-go travel guide to help you plan your trip. If you’d like to go on a guided tour, then you can book one through Get Your Guide or Klook.

Personally, I’ve been to Shirakawa-go twice – the first time on our own and the second time on a press trip using a Takayama Hokuriku Pass. If you’re planning on exploring Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and the rest of the Chubu region, then a Takayama Hokuriku Pass may be a good investment. Check out our 5-day Chubu itinerary to help you plan your trip.

9. Visit Hida Folk Village

If for some reason you can’t visit Shirakawa-go, then you may be interested in going to Hida Folk Village instead. It’s an open air museum with over thirty traditional houses that showcase the architecture of the Hida region.

It’s important to note that the houses in Hida Folk Village weren’t constructed for the museum. They were functioning houses built during the Edo period and relocated from their original locations to create the museum in 1971. It features logging huts, storehouses, and a number of gassho-zukuri farmhouses, all of which you’re free to enter and explore.

Hida Folk Village is located about 2.5 km southwest of Takayama Bus Terminal. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to get there on foot or 10 minutes by bus. If you’d like to join a guided tour, then you can book one through Klook.

Photo by Various images via Shutterstock

Operating Hours: 8:30AM-5PM, daily
Admission: JPY 700

10. Explore Hida Furukawa

Accessible via a quick 15-minute train ride from Takayama, Hida Furukawa is a small town with a similarly traditional feel. Like Takayama, it became prosperous because of the high-quality timber found in the region.

Compared to Takayama, Hida Furukawa receives far fewer tourists and is much quieter. When we were there, it felt like we were the only tourists in town. In some ways, it’s more pleasant than Takayama and makes for an easy side trip.

Like Takayama, Hida Furukawa hosts an annual festival which features large drums and elaborate floats. The Furukawa Festival is held a week after the Takayama Spring Festival so you could conceivably visit both on the same trip.

What look like ordinary train tracks to you and I may have significant meaning to fans of anime. If you’ve seen the hit anime film Kimi no Na wa, then you may recognize these tracks from the movie.

Fans of Kimi no Na wa will be pleased to learn that a few sequences from the film were based on actual locations in Hida Furukawa. If I remember correctly, we visited four stops that inspired scenes in the movie.


One of the things I love most about Japan is its dichotomy of the ultramodern and the traditional. One day you could be interacting with robots in Tokyo then on the next day find yourself lost in an Edo period town like Hida Takayama.

It’s an intriguing contrast that makes Japan the endlessly fascinating culture that it is. They’re always moving forward and innovating while simultaneously preserving tradition and culture.

No matter how many times we’ve been, we can’t get enough of Japan, and much of that has to do with time capsule towns like Takayama.

Thanks for reading and I hope this guide on the best things to do in Takayama helps you plan your trip. Have an amazing time in central Japan and the Japanese Alps!


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9 Restaurants to Visit for the Most Delicious Food in Prague

Meat and gravy. You’ll find it served at many of the traditional Czech restaurants in Prague.

I don’t have much experience with Czech food but one thing seems clear, roasted meat dishes heavy on gravies, starches, and root vegetables figure prominently in traditional Czech cuisine. It’s the type of food you’d expect from countries that experience harsh winters.

Navigate to the “traditional Czech” section on a Prague restaurant’s menu and you’ll find plenty of roasted meat dishes, mostly pork, drenched in a heavy sauce and served with a variety of dumplings and cabbage.

They’re hearty and filling meals that keep you warm and happy and go exceptionally well with Prague’s beverage of choice – pilsner beer.

If you’re visiting Prague and have an interest in Czech cuisine, then I hope this food guide with nine of the best restaurants in Prague leads you to some memorable meals. Na zdravi!


To help you plan your trip to the Czech capital, we’ve put together links to popular hotels, tours, and other useful travel-related services here.


Recommended hotels in Stare Mesto (Old Town), one of the most convenient areas to stay in Prague.

  • Luxury: Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague
  • Mid-range: Unitas Hotel
  • Budget: Pension Karlova


  • Food Tour: Eating Prague: Half-Day Food Tour
  • Beer Tasting Tour: Czech Beer Tasting
  • Medieval Dinner: Medieval Dinner with Unlimited Drinks


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfers
  • Prague City Card


If you’re planning a trip to Prague, then be sure to check out our detailed Prague travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – like which area to stay, what to do, how to get around, etc. – to help you plan your trip.

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1. Krcma

Krcma was the very first restaurant in Prague I went to and coincidentally, it was also the most traditional. Located in the dungeon basement of a building in the Old Town, I felt like I was having lunch in King’s Landing!

Krcma is one of the best restaurants in Prague Old Town to have meat dishes like grilled rib eye, chicken breast, roasted duck, sausages, and pork. They offer a meat-centric menu consisting mostly of different cuts of roasted pork.

I had read about their roasted pork back knee but their smallest serving is 1.2 kg. I didn’t want to be eating pork all afternoon so I asked my server for alternatives and he recommended this more manageable 150 g plate of pork roast with bread dumplings and red cabbage.

The roast pork was good but the most interesting part for me were the knedliky or Czech dumplings. It was my first time to try knedliky, a staple food in Czech cuisine made with bread, potato, or fruit.

It’s one of the dishes that best represents Czech cuisine and something you’ll probably have often at many restaurants in Prague, even if you don’t order it directly.

Bread dumplings are made with slightly stale bread that’s formed in a roll before being boiled or steamed, and then sliced. It’s often served as a side dish soaked in gravy.

Aside from knedliky, one of the things I was most excited to try in Prague was the beer. A Russian friend of mine told me that Prague has the best beer in the world, and much of it had to do with the city’s pipes.

I washed down my pork roast and knedliky with a mug of Pilsner Urquell light lager. It was crisp and clean and definitely one of the best beers I had ever tasted in my life. Man was this good!

The Czechs are the biggest consumers of beer in the world with pilsner light lagers being the most common type.

Krcma is located in basement of this building in the Old Town. You can jump to the location map at the bottom of this guide to see exactly where it is.

Krcma is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee with an impressive 4-star rating and almost 2,200 reviews. When it comes to traditional meat dishes, Krcma has to be one of the best restaurants in Prague.


Address: 4, Kostečná 925, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia
Operating Hours: 11AM-11PM, Mon-Sat / 12NN-11PM, Sun
What to Order: Roasted pork back knee
Expect to Pay: About CZK 200-250 per person

2. U Parlamentu

U Parlamentu is one of the best restaurants in Prague to go to if you’re interested in traditional Czech food. I had this fantastic grilled pork chop served with golden chanterelle sauce and a side of buttery spaetzle.

Moist and juicy, it was a good-sized 250 gram cut of meat that left me feeling full and happy. This was one of my favorite meals in Prague.

Ren had the rabbit roast in garlic sauce with spinach, potato dumplings, and onion jam. Potato dumplings are prepared in much the same way as bread dumplings, but they come out more dense and moist.

The rabbit was fantastic. It was slide-off-the-bone tender and very tasty.

Located in the Old Town, U Parlamentu is known for being one of the best restaurants in Prague so be prepared for a wait. They’re a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee with a near-perfect 4.5-star rating and almost 2,800 reviews.

U Parlamentu

Address: Valentinská 52, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Operating Hours: 11AM-11PM, daily
What to Order: Grilled pork chop, roast rabbit
Expect to Pay: About CZK 250-350 per person

3. Nase Maso

Nase Maso was the only place we visited more than once in Prague, and with good reason. It’s a shop that’s part-butcher and part-restaurant that serves some of the best meat in Prague.

A big reason I was so excited to eat at Nase Maso were these dry-aged burgers I kept reading about in their reviews. Made from dry-aged Czech piebald cattle beef, they serve it rare topped with red onions, mayonnaise, pickles, and grilled cheese.

Juicy and perfectly cooked, it was absolutely delicious and one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. It was so good that we had to go back to Nase Maso a second time to have it again.

Another dish that’s often recommended is this buttery and fatty roasted bone marrow with toasted bread and parsley salad. It doesn’t seem to be printed on the menu but you can ask for it. It’s unctuous and delicious.

On our second visit, we had this beautiful juicy steak. If I remember correctly, it was a bone-in ribeye recommended to us by one of the butchers.

Nase Maso is a butcher shop so I believe their offerings change on a daily basis. Their printed menu lists just a few dishes so be sure to ask the butchers for suggestions.

Aside from their terrific selection of meat, Nase Maso serves Albrecht Pale Lager 12° on tap. We had lager at every restaurant in Prague and this craft beer was one of our favorites. It’s perfect with the meat.

Nase Maso is located in the Old Town, directly opposite another popular restaurant in Prague – Bistro Sisters. Unfortunately, Bistro Sisters was closed for renovations when we were there.

Nase Maso is a small shop with just one sit down table which you have to reserve in advance. Everyone else sits on benches by the walls of the shop and eats their food on small cocktail tables. There’s also a counter outside where you can stand and eat.

Nase Maso isn’t the most elegant restaurant but it’s one of the best restaurants in Prague when it comes to steaks and other meat dishes. It’s very popular and considering its limited seating, it may be a good idea to go at a slightly off-hour.

They’re a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee with an exceptional 4.5-star rating and almost 3,000 reviews.

Nase Maso

Address: Dlouhá 727/39, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Operating Hours: 9AM-7PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Dry-aged cheeseburger, roasted bone marrow, beef tartare, salsiccia
Expect to Pay: About CZK 250-300 per person

4. Lahudky Zlaty Kriz

Bistro Sisters is known for being one of the best restaurants in Prague to try a traditional Czech dish called oblozene chlebicky. But since they were closed, I had to find another shop. Thankfully, I found Lahudky Zlaty Kriz.

Oblozene chlebicky (or chlebicky for short) is a type of open-faced sandwich popular in Czech cuisine. Butter is spread over sliced bread then decoratively topped with any number of ingredients like ham, salami, salmon, hard-boiled egg, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and cream cheese.

Aren’t these pretty? Every chlebicky at Lahudky Zlaty Kriz was so artfully arranged. It was like eating little works of art!

It’s funny, I was enjoying my chlebicky when a group of Spanish tourists walked into the shop. They didn’t seem to know what chlebicky was so when they saw them on display in the vitrine, they all started saying “Oh pintxos! Pintxos!” then walked out. Ha!

I guess you could say that the chlebicky is like a Czech version of Spanish pintxos. You should definitely try chlebicky in Prague. They’re delicious, light, and easy to eat.

Lahudky Zlaty Kriz is located in the New Town, about a 3-minute walk from Mustek Station.

Lahudky Zlaty Kriz

Address: Jungmannova 750, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Operating Hours: 7AM-7PM, Mon-Fri / 9AM-6PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Chlebicky
Expect to Pay: About CZK 40 per chlebicky

5. Parek v rohliku – Ladislav Cerveny

Ren loves hot dogs so when I found more than one article describe this stall’s hot dogs as the very best in the city, I had to add it to our Prague itinerary.

Parek v rohliku – Ladislav Cerveny’s hot dogs are indeed delicious. It has more snap than an American hot dog and is served in a crusty enclosed bun with a hollow middle. You can get it topped with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, or chili-ketchup.

Conveniently, Parek v rohliku – Ladislav Cerveny is located in Namesti Miru Square, where you can catch the scenic Tram 22 to Prague Castle. You can have a quick snack here while waiting for the tram.

Like the reviews said, when it comes to hot dogs, it really is one of the best places to eat in Prague.

Parek v rohliku – Ladislav Cerveny

Address: Vinohrady, 120 00 Prague 2, Czechia
Operating Hours: 9AM-7PM, Mon-Fri (closed Sat-Sun)
What to Order: Hot dog
Expect to Pay: About CZK 25 per hot dog

6. U Kunstatu

Do you know what’s better than beer in Prague? Six beers in Prague.

We were set to have beer flights at the ultra-popular Prague Beer Museum when we found U Kunstatu, a similar gastropub in the city center with well over a hundred craft beers on tap. It’s partially hidden location and patio setting drew us in so we went here instead.

Beer flights are a popular way of enjoying beer in Prague. At least four varieties of beer (typically 4-8) are served in small 3-5 oz glasses arranged in a wooden board called a beer flight paddle.

You can choose any six from the hundreds that U Kunstatu has on tap. They offer several different types of beer like light lager, wheat beer, Belgian ale, stout, porter, and sour beer. You can basically think of it as a tasting menu of beer.

Once you’ve made your choices, they’ll arrange them from light to dark as this is the order in which you’re encouraged to drink them.

Beer flights are a great way of sampling as many beers as you can without having to drink a full glass every time.

U Kunstatu offers a few dishes on their menu to enjoy with your beer, like this fantastic juniper-spiced deer sausage served with bread, gherkins, pearl onions, horseradish, and mustard. Delicious!

U Kunstatu is located through this archway. You can’t really see the seating area from the outside so it’s easy to miss. I’m happy we found it.

U Kunstatu

Address: Řetězová 222 3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
Operating Hours: 11AM-8PM, daily
What to Order: Beer flights, sausages
Expect to Pay: About CZK 350 for a flight of 6 beers

7. Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy is a beautiful neo-renaissance cafe that’s been open since the late 19th century. It’s often cited as being one of the best restaurants in Prague to have breakfast. However, I was here for their pastries, specifically the vetrnik.

A vetrnik is a type of caramel-glazed chou pastry that’s filled with a rich and luscious vanilla and caramel whipped cream. Crunchy on top but light and airy in the middle, you can think of it as the Czech version of a cream puff. It’s amazing with coffee.

Many people think that the vetrnik is the best pastry you can have in Prague, with Cafe Savoy’s version being one of the best if not the very best.

This article is five years old but Taste of Prague did a taste test of Prague’s 14 best vetrnik pastries, and Cafe Savoy was the clear winner for them.

Cafe Savoy is located on the other side of Vltava River, just past the Legion Bridge. It’s a lovely cafe and one of the best restaurants in Prague to have coffee and pastries or a full breakfast.

Cafe Savoy

Address: Vítězná 124/5, Vítězná 5, 150 00 Praha, Czechia
Operating Hours: 9AM-7PM, daily
What to Order: Vetrnik, breakfast
Expect to Pay: About CZK 183 for vetrnik and coffee

8. Creme de la Creme

Gelato is one of the best things you can have while on holiday. There are many gelaterias in and around the Old Town square but read the reviews and you’ll find many people calling the gelato at Creme de la Creme to be the best in Prague.

I don’t remember what flavor we got (coffee maybe?) but I do remember it being delicious. It was rich, creamy, and very gooey. Creme de la Creme offers many interesting flavors, including fruit sorbets and a few vegan options.

Ren loves cake so we tried a slice of this orechovy dort, which I believe is a type of Czech honey walnut cake. It was good too, though the gelato is clearly the draw here.

Creme de la Creme is located in the Old Town, not too far from U Kunstatu. It’s a popular place so be prepared for a line, though it does move fairly quickly.

Creme de la Creme is a Certificate of Excellence awardee with a stellar 4.5-rating on TripAdvisor.

Creme de la Creme

Address: 12, Husova 231, Staré Město, 110 00, Czechia
Operating Hours: 11AM-10PM, Sun-Thurs / 11AM-11PM, Fri-Sat
What to Order: Gelato
Expect to Pay: About CZK 45 per scoop

9. EMA Espresso Bar

In the words of Prague’s official tourist webpage, EMA Espresso Bar is “the most popular, the busiest, and definitely one of the best espresso bars in Prague.” They’ve won a number of industry awards and are known not just for their coffee, but also for their homemade baked goods.

If you click through to Taste of Prague’s article on the best vetrnik in Prague, you’ll see that they conducted their taste test here at EMA Espresso Bar.

We had espresso, affogato, and a cinnamon roll. Their pastries are laid out on the counter so I believe what’s available changes daily. Everything was good.

EMA Espresso Bar is located in the New Town. It’s a bright space with big tables so if you need to get some work done, then this is a great place to go.

EMA Espresso Bar

Address: Na Florenci 1420/3, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Operating Hours: 8AM-6PM, Mon-Fri / 10AM-6PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Coffee, pastries
Expect to Pay: At least CZK 50 for a cup of coffee


No one knows the food in Prague better than a local, so what better way to experience Prague’s Czech cuisine than by going on a food tour? A knowledgeable guide will take you to Prague’s best restaurants and bars and explain all the dishes and Czech food traditions to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Prague food and beer drinking tours.


To help you navigate, I’ve pinned all the Prague restaurants recommended in this guide on an interactive map. It includes a few backup restaurants as well.


As beautiful as the Old Town is, it’s also very touristy, which is why we did plenty of research to find some of the best restaurants in Prague. We didn’t want to wind up at any tourist traps!

We enjoyed a decently well-rounded and satisfying introduction to Prague food, but as always, one visit barely scratches the surface. I’m happy with the food we experienced but we did miss out on a few dishes.

The chlebicky at Bistro Sisters eluded us, as did svickova, the Czech national dish of spiced sirloin steak boiled with double cream. We enjoyed bread and potato dumplings but we missed out on fruit dumplings which is the non-savory version of knedliky. It would have been great to go to a fine dining or Michelin star restaurant as well, one that offers a seasonal tasting menu.

If any of these dishes or experiences sound interesting to you, then you may want to seek them out on your own. We will for sure on our next visit to Prague.

In any case, thanks for reading and I hope this Prague restaurant guide leads you to some exceptional meals in Prague. Na zdravi!


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Taylor’s Port Winery: Where to Go Wine Tasting in Porto

If you drink wine, then port tasting is one of the best things you can do in Porto. After all, port wine is one of Portugal’s most famous exports, one that gets its name from the city of Porto.

There are many port wine cellars to choose from in Vila Nova de Gaia. I was hoping to find an established winery that didn’t just offer tastings, but had a reputation for bottling great port as well.

Being such a popular activity, I wanted to avoid any tourist traps so I did my research and found Taylor’s Port (aka Taylor Fladgate), one of the largest and oldest port wine houses in Porto.

Founded in 1692, Taylor’s Port has been producing some of the best vintage port wines in Portugal for over three centuries. Clearly, this was the right place to go.

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Port wine, also known as vinho do Porto, is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively from grapes grown in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. It’s made by adding brandy to the wine as it ferments, giving it its characteristic sweetness.

Port is typically made from red grapes though it does come in white varieties as well. It’s traditionally served with cheese at the end of Portuguese meals as a dessert wine, though some styles – like white port – can also be enjoyed as an aperitif.

Though similar styles of wine are produced in other parts of the world, wines need to be produced in Portugal from grapes grown in the Douro Valley to be labeled as “port”. This is due to the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) guidelines.

The Douro Valley is a protected region with the name “Douro” being an official appellation, so any wines labeled as “port” but produced outside of this region are not true port wines.


Port is made from about thirty varieties of grape native to the Douro Valley. The best known varieties include Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz, most of which produce small thick-skinned berries. They’re harvested by hand around mid-September and taken to the winery for crushing.

After being inspected and de-stemmed, the grapes are placed in granite treading tanks known as “lagares” where they’re trodden by foot. The grapes are thoroughly crushed before the fermentation process begins.

When about half of the grape juice’s natural sugars have been turned into alcohol, brandy is poured into the wine to begin the fortification process. About 115 liters of 77% alcohol brandy is added to 435 liters of fermenting wine.

The fermentation process is stopped before all the juice has been turned into alcohol, thereby preserving some of the natural sweetness of the grape. This is what gives port its distinctive sweetness.

Wine is kept at the winery in the Douro Valley for several months before being shipped to Porto’s Vila Nova de Gaia in the spring of the following year. It used to be shipped on the Douro River on special boats called “barcos rabelos”, but all shipments are now done over land.

Although port wine is produced in the Douro Valley, it gets its name from Porto because this is where the wine is aged in casks or vats before being blended, bottled, and exported.


Because of its ageing potential, there are many different styles of port. Port aged in wooden casks for example, will mature more rapidly than port kept in bottles.

When left long enough, port wine loses its deep red color and becomes the amber-hued style of port known as tawny. All port wine will eventually lose its color but the speed in which it does so is determined by how its aged.

Depending on the ageing process, port can be classified into two basic types – wood-aged port and bottle-aged port. There are three styles of wood-aged port – red, tawny, and white – and two styles of bottle-aged port – vintage and crusted.

Wood-aged Port

RED PORT – Full-bodied and fruity, red port is aged for a relatively short amount of time in large oak vats. This includes ruby port (aged for 2-3 years), reserve port (aged for slightly longer), and late bottled vintage port (aged 4-6 years).

TAWNY PORT – Tawny port is aged for longer periods in oak casks, anywhere between 10-40+ years.

WHITE PORT – Made from white grapes, white port is typically aged for 2-3 years in large vats and is available in sweet or dry varieties.

Bottle-aged Port

VINTAGE PORT – The best wine produced in a season is labeled vintage port. It’s unfiltered and aged in vats for only about two years before being bottled. Vintage port will mature and improve with age for decades and is considered one of the most long-lasting of all wines.

CRUSTED PORT – Crusted port refers to port made from wines from different seasons. It’s unfiltered and left to age in bottles, eventually forming a natural sediment or “crust” over time.


As described, there are many port houses you can choose from in Vila Nova de Gaia but I went with Taylor’s Port because it’s one of the oldest and largest. It’s also one of the highest-rated. Taylor’s Port is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee with a 4.5-star rating and over 2,750 reviews.

Another reason I chose Taylor’s Port is because of their self-guided audio tours. For EUR 15, you can tour the facilities with an audio guide (available in twelve languages) at your own pace. There’s no schedule so you can come at any time, and it includes two port tastings.

You can purchase tickets at the gate, which is what I did, or buy them in advance online. You can also arrange for private tours via their website.

The Taylor’s Port winery is situated on a hill in Vila Nova de Gaia so it isn’t as easy to get to. It’s quite a walk from Dom Luis I Bridge so I suggest plotting your trip using Google Maps. Just input your starting point for directions on how to get there using public transportation.

After paying for the tour, you’ll be given an audio guide and led to this large port wine cellar. The first half of the tour happens here and the second half in a museum-type space with a few exhibits. This for me was the more fascinating part.

At one end of the cellar is this gigantic oak vat. If I remember the audio guide correctly, it’s the largest vat they have at the port house.

You can have your picture taken in front of this vat using an automated camera system. Just key in your email address on a touch screen monitor and the picture will arrive in your inbox within minutes.

The “angel’s share”. I’ve heard that phrase before but it wasn’t until this tour that I learned what it meant. The angels’s share refers to the portion of wine that naturally evaporates during the ageing process.

During the first few years, the amount of wine that evaporates can be as much as 2%. The portion that doesn’t evaporate – aromatic compounds, sugars, and acids – becomes more concentrated over time and gives the wine its unique character.

After decades of evaporation, the tiled roofs of port houses are often blackened by a sooty growth known as “angel’s share fungus”.

How keen is your sense of smell? Each of those barrels against the wall has a hole where you can stick your nose to try and identify what you’re smelling. Port aroma ranges from fruity and berry-like to leathery and nutty.


When you’re done with the tour, you can proceed to the wine tasting room. You get two port tastings with your tour, one red and one white. The red port is a Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) while the white port is a Chip Dry – Extra Dry White.

I’m not an expert on wine so I’m not going to attempt to describe how they tasted, but I enjoyed them both. If I’m looking at the right bottles on Vivino, the Late Bottled Vintage has a rating of 4.0 (out of 5) while the Chip Dry White is lower at 3.5.

If you’ve never had port before, it’s much sweeter than red wine. It tastes rich and sweet, almost berry-like or caramel-y in flavor.

It doesn’t come with your tastings but you can order ala carte off the menu to pair with your port. Bread and cheese go very well with port as it helps cut the wine’s sweetness.

I didn’t take a picture of it but there’s a shop right next to this tasting room where you can buy souvenirs and bottles of port. I brought home this handsome 20-yr old tawny which has an impressive 4.3-rating on Vivino.


With port wine being one of Portugal’s most well-known exports, I think port tasting is something you need to do in Porto. But you shouldn’t go to just any port house, lest you don’t mind walking into a tourist trap.

We were in Porto with friends and they had their own port tasting experience. It was part of a hop on hop off sightseeing tour and they were taken to a place that claimed to be the oldest port house in Porto.

I knew right away it was bullshit when they told me the date. It was sometime in the mid-1700s. How can that place claim to be the oldest when Taylor’s Port was established in 1692?

I’m sure there are snake oil salesmen in Vila Nova de Gaia so if you want to have an authentic port tasting experience, one at an established and respected winery, then Taylor’s Port is definitely one to consider.

The fact that they have a bottle on virtually every “best port wine” list pretty much speaks for itself.

Taylor’s Port

Rua do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (map)
Operating Hours: 10AM-6PM, daily (cellars) / 10AM-7:30PM (tasting room and shop)


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Taiwanese Night Markets: The 13 Best Night Markets for Street Food in Taiwan

Anyone who’s been to this East Asian country can tell you that visiting a Taiwanese night market is an essential part of the Taiwan experience. It’s such an important part of Taiwanese culture.

For me, going to Taiwan without eating street food at a night market is like going to Paris for the first time ever and not making time for the Eiffel Tower. It has to be done.

There are dozens of night markets in Taiwan and not all are created equal. Some are better than others so choosing the right night market is important if you have limited time in Taiwan.

We’ve explored the best and most popular night markets in nearly every major city to come up with this list of the thirteen best night markets and street food neighborhoods in Taiwan.

If you don’t have much time and only want to visit the best night markets, then this list will be useful to you.


If you’re visiting Taiwan and want to really dive into the local cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Taiwan
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Taiwan

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  1. A Brief History
  2. Taipei
  3. New Taipei City
  4. Taichung
  5. Sun Moon Lake
  6. Chiayi
  7. Tainan
  8. Kaohsiung
  9. Hualien
  10. Night Market Tips


Night markets in Taiwan have a long history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Night vendors would gather around urban street corners or temple plazas to sell handicrafts, traditional medicine, and Taiwanese street food called xiaochi.

In the 50s and 60s, migrant urban workers made up a large base of night market customers, but the sale of xiaochi began attracting a wider demographic which included the local elite. Food was the catalyst that brought people together.

Over time, night markets prospered and modernized. Low quality garment stalls gave way to gift shops while neon signs were put up to attract more customers.

Today, night markets have become lively hubs of food and pop culture. They attract locals and tourists throughout the country, offering a wide selection of trendy and traditional snacks and games, even name brand shoes and apparel.


We’ve made a few trips to Taiwan and have visited several major cities in the country. We love Taiwanese street food so when possible, we try to visit a different night market every evening.

You’ll find many of the same Taiwanese dishes at different night markets so there’s no need to visit every one. Some of the smaller markets may not be worth it. To save you time, I’ve highlighted what many consider to be the biggest and best night markets in Taiwan.

I’ve included some of the most popular street food neighborhoods as well. These are famous areas like Jiufen Old Street that also open during the daytime.


Of all the cities in Taiwan, Taipei has the most night markets. There are over a dozen night markets in Taipei but easily the biggest and most popular are Shilin and Raohe night markets.

1. Raohe Night Market

As described, Raohe night market is one of Taipei’s most popular night markets. It’s known for having a great selection of food so if all you want to do is eat, then this may be the very best night market in Taipei. However, due to its popularity, it can get pretty crowded.

Things to Try: Stinky tofu, oyster omelette, flame-torched beef, pepper buns
Pros: One of the best selections of food
Cons: Can get crowded, walking paths aren’t as wide

Flame-torched beef cubes are among my favorite things to eat at Taiwanese night markets. They’re so tasty and tender! You can get them with your choice of seasoning like teriyaki, salt, pepper, or cumin. We always got ours with cumin.

You’ll find many trendy dishes at Taiwanese night markets these days but you can always count on finding classic xiaochi dishes like this oyster omelette. It’s made with fresh oysters and topped with a mild sweet and sour tomato sauce.

Raohe Night Market

Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, daily
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Songshan Station (Green Line, Exit 5). The night market entrance will be to the right across the street next to the temple.

2. Shilin Night Market

Shilin night market is one of the largest night markets in Taiwan. It was established in 1899 and still going strong.

Shilin has a fun, carnival-like atmosphere with arguably the best mix of food, games, and shopping stalls. If you want to have a complete night market experience in Taipei, then you should definitely go to Shilin. Just be prepared to elbow your way through the crowds.

If you’d like eat your way through Shilin Night Market with a guide, then you may want to book this Shilin walking tour through Klook.

Things to Try: Hot Star fried chicken chop, flame-torched beef
Pros: Huge night market, lots of shopping, great selection of food and games
Cons: Can get very crowded, harder to navigate

When we visited Shilin Night Market in 2014, there was a stall called A Piece of Gayke which offered these scandalous-looking penis waffles. You could get them filled with things like red bean or peanut and glazed with a frosting of your choice.

I read that the stall may no longer be around but you can find similar pre-made penis waffles sold in boxes throughout the market.

Fancy some pig’s blood cake? Pig’s blood cake is a popular Taiwanese street food snack made with pork blood congealed with sticky rice. It’s covered in a sweet soy sauce before being coated in peanut flour and coriander.

Shilin Night Market

Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, Mon-Fri / 3PM-1AM, Sat-Sun
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Jiantan Station (Red Line, Exit 1). Diagonally cross the street to the left to enter the night market.


3. Jiufen Old Street

If you’ll be spending enough time in Taipei, then the mountain town of Jiufen in Northeastern Taiwan makes for a great day trip.

Located about an hour east of Taipei, Jiufen is a former gold mining settlement that’s become a popular tourist destinaton because of its resemblance to the town in the critically acclaimed anime film Spirited Away.

People who come to Jiufen do two things – take pictures and eat, both of which they do in abundance.

Things to Try: Taro balls, glutinous rice cake, peanut ice cream roll, ice cream puff
Pros: Charming atmosphere, good selection of street food
Cons: Always extremely crowded, food prices seem higher, about an hour from downtown Taipei

There are many “must-try” Taiwanese street food dishes along Jiufen Old Street, though perhaps none more popular than these glutinous rice cakes from Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake.

It’s an interesting Hakka dish made with a glutinous rice casing filled with a variety of ingredients like sweet red bean, salted vegetable, and preserved turnip.

Another popular dish in Jiufen is this bowl of taro balls from Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls. Served hot or cold, you’ll get a bowl of sweet soup filled with chewy handmade taro balls, green tea balls, sweet potato balls, and kidney beans.

Jiufen Old Street

Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Operating Hours: Around 7AM-9PM, daily
How to Get There: From Taipei, take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (Blue/Brown Line, Exit 2). Outside the Sogo department store, take Bus 1062 (Keelung) bound for Jinguashi and get off at Jiufen. Walk up the steps to Jifuen Old Street.

4. Tamsui Old Street

Like Jiufen, Tamsui is a great place to visit and spend the day from Taipei. Located at the end of the MRT’s Red Line, it’s a charming seaside town known for interesting regional delicacies like ah-gei and iron eggs.

Things to Try: Ah-gei, iron eggs, tower ice cream
Pros: Pleasant atmosphere, unique food items, great place to spend the day
Cons: About 40 mins from downtown Taipei

If you visit Tamsui, then be sure to try ah-gei. It’s a specialty of Tamsui District and consists of fried tofu skin stuffed with cooked green bean noodles and sealed with surimi, a fish paste mixture.

Many places along Tamsui Old Street offer ah-gei, but one of the best places to try it is at the Original Ah-Gei shop which is credited for inventing the dish in 1965.

Like ah-gei, iron eggs are a specialty of Tamsui. They’re chicken, pigeon, or quail eggs that have been repeatedly stewed in a tea, soy sauce, and spice mixture before being air-dried.

The stewing process shrinks the eggs and turns them a dark brown color, almost black, making them chewier and more concentrated in flavor.

You’ll find iron eggs sold in vacuum-sealed packs like these throughout Tamsui.

Tamsui Old Street

Address: Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 251
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Tamsui Station (Red Line). Make a left after exiting and walk along the waterfront to Tamsui Old Street.


5. Fengjia (Feng Chia) Night Market

Described as the largest night market in Taiwan, Taichung’s Fengjia night market is home to an estimated 15,000 shops, restaurants, and stalls.

Like Shilin or Raohe night markets in Taipei, it’s a hugely popular night market with a wide selection of food. If you’re keen on visiting just one night market in Taichung, then Fengjia night market is the one you should go to.

Things to Try: Grilled abalone, sausage with sticky rice, fried chicken chop
Pros: Big night market, great selection of food
Cons: Can get crowded, no MRT system in Taichung so it’s a little harder to get to

On the grill at Fengjia night market are many different types of seafood like scallops, clams, squid, oysters, sea snails, and abalone.

We had this huge fried chicken chop from a popular stall at Fengjia night market. Chicken cutlets the size of your face are dredged in flour and deep-fried to golden perfection before being flavored with your choice of seasoning like salt and pepper, chili pepper, sweet and sour, or teriyaki.

Fengjia Night Market

Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
Operating Hours: 4PM-2AM, Tue-Sun / 4PM-1AM, Mon
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system in Taichung so the fastest and easiest way is to go by Uber (about 20-25 mins from Taichung TRA Station). It’s cheaper than taxis. If you’d prefer to take the bus, then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to get to Fengjia Night Market by bus from wherever you are.

6. Zhongxiao Road Night Market

Among all the Taiwanese night markets we visited, Zhongxiao Road night market felt the most authentic. There weren’t as many trendy food stalls and it appeared to be visited mostly by locals. However, it was one of my least favorite night markets.

It didn’t seem to have as much food variety as other night markets in Taiwan and more importantly, it didn’t feel as safe.

Unlike other markets that are enclosed and shut off to car traffic, this one has stalls on either side of busy Zhongxiao Road. Take a step back without looking and WHAM! You’re a tourist pancake.

Things to try: Lu wei
Pros: Feels authentic, true local experience
Cons: Along a busy street with heavy car traffic, stressful, not as much variety

This night market stretches along Zhongxiao Road from Taichung Road to Guoguang Road. We only walked the length of about 2-3 blocks but many of the stalls we saw were lu wei stalls.

Lu wei is a distant cousin of hot pot and consists of many different types of braised food like vegetables, sausages, mushrooms, and noodles.

After you pick out everything you want, they serve it to you in a plastic bag with a bamboo skewer. It isn’t the easiest dish to eat while standing so we sat at a nearby convenience store and enjoyed it with beer.

Zhongxiao Road Night Market

Address: Zhongxiao Road, South District, Taichung City, Taiwan 402
Operating Hours: 2-11:30PM, daily
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system in Taichung so the fastest and easiest way is to go by Uber (about 5-10 mins from Taichung TRA Station). It’s cheaper than taxis. If you’d prefer to take the bus or walk (about 20 mins), then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to go to Zhongxiao Road Night Market from wherever you are.


7. Ita Thao Shopping Street

If you’ll be spending enough time in Taichung, then a day trip to Sun Moon Lake is one of the best side trips you can make. It’s located about two hours south of Taichung and is easily accessible by bus.

Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan and home to what CNN calls one of the most beautiful bike paths in the world. It’s also home to Ita Thao Shopping Street which boasts a wealth of delicious Taiwanese street food for you to choose from.

Things to Try: Gua bao, aruzay fish
Pros: Pleasant atmosphere, great place to spend the day
Cons: About 2 hrs from downtown Taichung

At first, we thought this was a regular hot dog but it’s actually a sausage served with a glutinous rice “bun”. It was tasty but very filling.

This gua bao was delicious. It contained a generous helping of pork along with cilantro, cheese, and a fried egg.

Ita Thao Shopping Street

Address: Yidashao St., Yuchi Township, Nantou County 555, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Around 9AM-10PM, daily
How to Get There: From Taichung Gancheng Bus Station, take the Nantou Bus bound for Sun Moon Lake. The ride takes just under 2 hours. From Shuishe Station, walk to the pier and take a ferry to Ita Thao Pier and Shopping Street. I suggest getting a Sun Moon Lake package from the Nantou Bus Station as it will include roundtrip bus fare, ferry vouchers, and ropeway tickets at discounted prices.


8. Wenhua Road Night Market

Wenhua Road night market is a small but pleasant night market in Chiayi. It stretches for about four or five blocks and offers a decent selection of Taiwanese street food. It’s the most popular night market in Chiayi City.

The douhua stall featured on the Taiwan episode of Street Food on Netflix can be found here.

Things to Try: Fuyishan pepper soda crackers, sweet potato balls, douhua
Pros: Pleasant night market with few tourists
Cons: Not that big

I don’t know what this dish is called but it’s delicious. It’s made with grilled pork belly that’s stir-fried with basil and loads of onion.

It was smokey, savory, crunchy from the onions, and a little sweet and aromatic from the basil. It was supremely tasty with great texture.

Taiwan has a term for chewy and springy snacks like these fried sweet potato balls. They call them QQ – from the Minnan word for “khiu” – which means soft and elastic.

This is one of our favorite Taiwanese street food snacks and something we enjoy almost every day in Taiwan.

This is the tofu pudding from A E Lao Dian Dou Hua, the stall featured on Netflix’s Street Food. It’s a comforting dessert or snack made with silken tofu, ginger or almond syrup, and toppings like tapioca pearls, peanuts, and adzuki beans.

Wenhua Road Night Market

Address: Wenhua Road, East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan 600
Operating Hours: 5PM-1AM, daily
How to Get There: From Chiayi TRA Station, walk east on Zhongshan Road. When you reach the fountain roundabout, make a right onto Wenhua Road and the night market.


9. Anping Old Street

Anping Old Street is a popular shopping street in Tainan with lots of shops and street food stalls. A must-try here is the coffin bread which is considered a night market specialty of Tainan.

Things to Try: Coffin bread, dry tossed noodles, iced mung bean soup, Wang’s champion rice cakes
Pros: Interesting food items
Cons: Can get crowded, not as much fun

Coffin bread consists of a thick hunk of fried bread that’s been hollowed out and filled with a creamy chicken, seafood, or vegetable chowder. It’s reminiscent of chicken pot pie or chicken ala king, and as you can see below, it really does resemble a coffin.

A simple street food dish of quail eggs with tobiko and shrimp

Anping Old Street

Address: Yanping Street, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708
Operating Hours: Around 11AM-10PM, daily
How to Get There: Anping Old Street is about a 10 min walk from Anping Tree House. From the tree house, walk along Gubao Street and make a left onto Anping Old Street.

10. Flower (Huayan) Night Market

This is Tainan’s largest night market. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to it because it rained hard the only night we were in Tainan. Bummer.

Flower night narket is open just three days a week, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It’s become one of the biggest and most famous night markets in Taiwan.

In fact, there’s a Taiwanese saying that goes like this: “South is Flower, Middle is Fengjia, North is Shilin“.

If your trip to Tainan falls on any of the three nights it’s open, then you should definitely visit Flower night market.

Things to Try: Shrimp balls
Pros: Biggest night market in Southern Taiwan
Cons: Limited opening times, closes completely on rainy days

范鈞傑, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Flower Night Market

Address: No. 533, Section 3, Hai’an Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
Operating Hours: 5PM-1AM, Thurs, Sat-Sun (closed Mon-Wed, Fri)
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system or Uber in Tainan so the fastest and easiest way to go is by taxi (about 5-10 mins from Tainan TRA Station). If you’d prefer to take the bus, then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to go to Flower Night Market from wherever you are.


11. Ruifeng Night Market

Ruifeng night market was one of my favorite night markets in Taiwan. It isn’t the biggest but I found it to be the most fun. It’s laid out in a square-ish shape, like a parking lot, and it has a great selection of food. It’s easy to navigate and completely closed off to vehicular traffic.

Things to Try: Giant takoyaki balls, bubble tea toast, wagyu cubes
Pros: Fun atmosphere, very local, easy to navigate, great selection of food, completely closed off to traffic
Cons: Can get very crowded

This stall selling giant takoyaki balls is one of the most popular at Ruifeng Night Market. It’s about the size of your fist and loaded with things like octopus, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables.

Here’s an interesting treat that we saw only at Ruifeng Night Market. Called bubble tea toast, it’s basically boba served in sandwich form. Strange but surprisingly good!

Ruifeng Night Market

Address: Yucheng Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, Tue, Thurs-Sun (closed Mon and Wed)
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Kaohsiung Arena Station (Red Line, Exit 1). Walk straight along Yucheng Road for about 5 mins and the entrance to the night market will be on your right.

12. Liouhe (Liuhe) Tourist Night Market

In terms of night markets, Kaohsiung was my favorite city in Taiwan. I loved Ruifeng and I enjoyed Liouhe night market as well.

Like Ruifeng, Liouhe isn’t the largest night market in Taiwan but it’s well-laid out and pleasant to go through. There’s ample seating to enjoy your meal and it’s the only night market we visited that had rubbish bins.

I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal but it’s no fun having to walk around with trash in your hand while you’re trying to enjoy as many dishes as you can!

Things to Try: Papaya milk, sour and spicy noodles, seafood porridge, fried chicken poppers
Pros: Relaxed atmosphere, plenty of tables and rubbish bins, wide walking path
Cons: Not as much fun as other night markets

This stall selling papaya milk is one of the most famous at Liouhe Night Market. It’s creamy and absolutely delicious.

This was an interesting noodle dish that we found only at Liouhe Night Market. I asked my Taiwanese friend what it was and he said it’s name literally translates to “sour and spicy noodles”.

It’s basically a noodle dish made with thick, translucent, and slippery udon-like noodles in a sour and spicy broth with loads of scallions, peanuts, and a few slices of pork.

The stall selling it is located not too far from the papaya milk stand, on the opposite side of the street.

We were with our Taiwanese friends on our last visit to Liouhe and they insisted we try these crunchy chicken poppers. They’re chunks of battered and deep-fried chicken dusted with a spicy or non-spicy seasoning.

They were absolutely delicious and one of the best things we ate in Kaohsiung.

Liouhe Tourist Night Market

Address: Liuhe 2nd Road & 與中山一路口 Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 800
Operating Hours: 6PM-10AM, daily
How to Get There: Take MRT to Formosa Boulevard Station (Red/Orange Line, Exit 1). Walk straight along Zhongshanheng Road then make a right on Zhongzhengsi Road. Turn left on Liuhe 2nd Road to the night market.


13. Dongdamen Night Market

This was another of my favorite night markets in Taiwan. Dongdamen is a big night market in Hualien with a fun carnival-like atmosphere. The walking paths are wide and there’s a good selection of food and game stalls.

Things to Try: Grilled mochi, peanut ice cream roll, gua bao
Pros: Fun atmosphere, wide walking paths, good mix of food and games
Cons: Not as much selection as other night markets

Hualien is known for its mochi. They’re commonly served in spherical form but we tried it grilled at Dongdamen night market. A frozen block of mochi is grilled before being topped with peanut powder and your choice of sauce.

This peanut ice cream roll is another interesting Taiwanese street food dish. It’s made by spreading peanut shavings over traditional popiah skin then topping it with two or three scoops of ice cream and cilantro. It’s rolled up like a burrito and served.

Dongdamen Night Market

Address: No. 50, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Operating Hours: 6PM-12MN, daily
How to Get There: The night market is near the end of Zhongshan Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Hualien City. Walk down Zhongshan Road towards the water until you see it.


To make the most of your experience, listed below are a few things to remember before visiting a night market in Taiwan.

NO RUBBISH BINS – As previously mentioned, most night markets in Taiwan don’t have rubbish bins. In fact, you won’t find trash cans in public spaces anywhere in Taiwan. The Taiwanese government banned them after discovering that litter tended to collect around rubbish bins. This can be annoying at night markets. They have them only at the exits so it may be a good idea to bring a plastic bag to keep all your used plates, cups, and utensils before disposing of them when you leave.

NO TOILETS – As far as I can remember, most night markets don’t have toilets. If you need to go, then it’s best to do your business before going to the night market.

AVOID RAINY DAYS – Night markets are uncovered so most stalls will close if it rains. As described, we learned this the hard way at Flower night market in Tainan. Plan your trip well and if you can, visit Taiwan during the less rainy months.

LOOK FOR THE LONGEST LINES – If you don’t know what dishes to eat, then look for the stalls with the longest lines. That’s always a telltale sign that the food they serve is delicious.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND – If you’re too finicky an eater, then you may miss out on some unique cultural experiences. Dishes like stinky tofu, duck tongue, and chicken feet may be off-putting to some but if you can get past your biases, then you may find that these are delicious dishes that add to the Taiwanese night market experience.


You’ll have dozens of night markets and street food neighborhoods to choose from in Taiwan. If you’re interested only in the biggest and most popular, then this list of thirteen can help you narrow it down.

As with all our travel and food guides, this Taiwan night market guide is a work-in-progress that will only grow and get better with every return visit to Taiwan.

This article mentions a few interesting dishes you can look for at night markets, but if you want to learn more about Taiwanese cuisine and street food, then be sure to check out our Taiwanese food guide for a list of the best dishes to eat in Taiwan.


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