Philippine Food Trip: 9 must try food in the Visayas region

A quick guide on some of the best foods you shouldn’t miss out on in Visayas—from seafood to dessert!
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A quick guide on some of the best foods you shouldn’t miss out on in Visayas—from seafood to dessert!

It’s been established that Filipino cuisine is as diverse as it can get—and Visayas, the second island group of the Philippines, is no exception. The Visayas region is one of the most distinctive in the Philippines when it comes to the food as well as the culture. The vast culinary landscape of the Visayas area may very well be attributed to the several different islands that make up this region.

In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most interesting and mouthwatering delicacies that can be found across the Visayan islands. Each meal, in its own right, has a certain something that sets it apart from the others. If you want to give some of it a go, you can even do it in the comfort of your own home. There’s something for everybody in Visayas—seafood, vegetables, meat, and even desserts!

Rightfully called the Seafood Capital of the Philippines

Roxas City, the Philippines’ Seafood Capital, is located in the western Visayas province of Capiz


Photo by Martin Banana of The Bacolod Food Hunters

Buriring is a specialty in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. However, some people are not keen on eating it since it is regarded as a toxic fish. It’s safe to say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. As a species of the puffer fish family, buriring can only be consumed after being properly and appropriately cooked, much like its similarly poisonous relatives. Buriring is often served in a tangy soup. Santol and guava leaves are used in the cooking process, and the mixture is boiled for a long time to bring out the rich and flavorful tastes. It is recommended that people remove the head before eating the remainder of the fish, which is supposed to have a creamy flavor similar to that of milk.

Read more about buriring:


Photo from Yummy PH

Kinilaw is a type of raw, cubed fish served as an appetizer with a vinegar-based marinade. It has striking resemblance, in a number of respects, to the South American dish known as ceviche. But w hile ceviche uses citrus fruits like lemons or limes to dress the fish, kinilaw uses the common coconut vinegar, as well as toppings like garlic, onions and ginger. Sinuglaw, a popular dish in the Visayan islands, blends kinilaw (primarily tuna) with charcoal-grilled pig belly to create a unique dish (sinugba).

Get a recipe here:

For the meat lovers

Although you’ll find the Seafood Capital in the Visayas islands, there’s no shortage of meaty dishes


Photo from Foxy Folksy

The Humba is a cuisine that is native to the Visayan islands and is considered to be one of the most popular food in the region. It is a Filipino dish consisting of braised pig belly that is traditionally prepared by slowly cooking pork belly in soy sauce and vinegar with a variety of spices including black peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and black beans. . Its origins may be traced as far back to the Chinese food red braised pork belly, referred to as “hong-mah” or ‘roast meat’ or ‘red cooked meat.’ A closer look at the meal today shows that it has evolved greatly over time to suit Filipino tastes—it’s similar to the beloved adobo. 

Learn the recipe here:


Photo from Yummy PH

One of Iloilo’s most well-known specialties is La Paz Batchoy. A visit to Iloilo isn’t complete without a taste of the city’s famous authentic batchoy, which are abundant at a variety of restaurants and food shops. On a dreary, chilly day, there is nothing more soothing than a steaming bowl of hot La Paz Batchoy. This hearty and savory noodle dish is made with fresh egg noodles, a rich broth, pork, chicharon, and raw eggs. Because the soup is the hallmark of this meal, many restaurants encourage customers to ask for more servings of soup after they’ve already consumed all of the available portions.

Get a recipe here:


Photo from Foxy Folksy

Chicken inasal, which most people just call “inasal,” is a version of the Filipino dish lechon manok, which is a type roasted chicken cooked in a variety of spices. You’re on the right track if you’re thinking of the well-known fast-food chain in the Philippines, Mang Inasal—Iloilo City is the origin of the chain. This Filipino chicken barbeque, marinated in vinegar, calamansi juice, lemongrass oil, and achiote oil (where it gets its distinct orange or red hue), is sure to satisfy any crowd with its flavorful taste.

Learn a recipe here:

Balance everything out with these vegetable-centered dishes

The Visayas islands also has some greens on its plates to counter its meaty dishes


Photo from Kawaling Pinoy

Simmered vegetable soup with an exceptional set of flavors and textures—this is what laswa is. This vegetable-heavy soup has its roots in Iloilo and is sometimes likened to another Filipino favorite, Dinengdeng, since vegetables are the main stars in both recipes. Shrimp is also usually present in the dish. Laswa, however, is somewhat different when it comes to the ingredients. This is because the vegetables themselves are the primary source of taste and texture, rather than the additional seafood. Bagoong is also included in several laswa recipes. A flavor that is delightfully savory, but not overpowering, emerges from abowl of laswa when every ingredient is combined together.

Learn a recipe here:


Photo from Maggi PH

Utan Bisaya, which literally translates to “vegetables prepared in a Visayan way,” is another vegetable dish in the same vein as laswa. The most notable distinction is that this recipe does not call for any specific ingredients. You can cook a bowl of Utan Bisaya with pretty much whatever vegetables you have lying around the house at the moment. Okra, tomatoes, eggplants, and squash are examples of some of the more common ingredients. A little amount of pork or fish may also be added for additional taste, but other than that, this is mostly just a combination of various vegetables.

Try a recipe here:


Photo from NutriAsia

The Negros Occidental region of the Philippines is the birthplace of the delicious fresh spring rolls known as Lumpiang Ubod. It is put together with a variety of vegetables, meats, seafood, a filling made of sautéed palm hearts, homemade thin egg crepes, and a delicious garlic-peanut sauce.

Learn a recipe here:

For the inner sweet tooth in you

Even for the land of seafood, there will always be room for desserts


Photo from Wikipedia

Shakoy is a traditional Visayan twisted doughnut that is deep-fried. It is also known as lubid-lubid due to its twisted form that resembles a rope. It is composed of plain dough that has been kneaded thoroughly and then deep-fried in refined coconut oil before being dusted with sugar. Depending on the flour used, it might have a chewy and soft texture or a firm and crunchy texture. If you use rice flour, you’ll get the chewy form of the doughnut. Shakoy, along with its many other iterations, is an excellent choice for a merienda and is commonly sold by street vendors and in bakeries.

Learn a recipe here:


Photo by Obsidian Soul on Wikipedia

Another pastry that resembles a doughnut popular in Visayas (as well as Mindanao) is the binangkal. A typical recipe for the pastry calls for the following ingredients: flour, milk, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, oil, and sesame seeds. It’s an excellent snack when it’s served warm with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Get a recipe here:


Photo by Kguirnela on Wikipedia

Piaya is a sweet, flat pastry that carries a lot of taste and is considered to be a true signature of Negros Occidental. It’s created by combining muscovado and sugar syrup together and then adding it to a piece of dough. After that, the stuffed dough is rolled out with a pin, given a coating of sesame seeds, and cooked on a grill.

Try a recipe here:

The Visayas islands live up to their reputation as an immensely diverse area that is a paradise of of the most delectable food in the world. 

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One comment

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