Cebuanos are not just known for being kind-hearted and polite but also known for having a great talent when it comes to cooking. Cebu has over 170+ islands under its name, the reason why fishing is one of the resources of the people who lived there. Local people have lots of seafood to serve at the table with different ways of cooking them from ordinary seafood to exotic ones, from fried to stew to soup, they have it all in Cebu! Your tummy will surely burst from eating lots of Cebu foods.
Cebu was the first island in the Philippines that Spaniards discovered, through Magellan’s Voyage, before they fully colonialize the whole country. Because of this historical event, many Cebuano heritage cuisines are influenced and take inspired by Spanish cuisine. Eventually, Cebuanoes turned them into their very own and added a Filipino taste to them.
Cebu offers a variety of foods for you to enjoy! From their seafood dishes to their very own Cebu Lechon, it is a must to have a taste of them when you visit the province. Most of their cuisines are influenced by Spanish but some of them are created by the local Cebuanos who love inventing dishes based on the resources that they have.
Here is the list of foods that you should try when you visit Cebu:
- Cebu Lechon
- Utan Bisaya
- Cebu Pochero
- Fried Bakasi
- Pancit Bam-I
- Puto Balanghoy
Image Source: Cebu Bulletin
You will never experience Cebu to its fullest form if you don’t try their Cebu Lechon!
It is one of the well-known food of Cebuano. Unlike any other Lechon that you can purchase in any restaurant around the Philippines, Cebu Lechon has its own taste that you will never find in any place other than Cebu.
The tenderness of the pork, the perfectly grilled crunchiness, and the over-loaded foods inside the Lechon are definitely a to die for! The original recipe from the family where the Cebu Lechon originated is still not fully revealed and is still a secret. The reason why many Filipinos who want to get a taste of Cebu Lechon are intentionally visiting the province and having their vacation on the island. So if you’re already there, why not give it a try?
Image Source: Simpol
Beef lovers, where you at? This dish is for you! Balbacua is one of the prides of Cebuano when it comes to food dishes that originated with them.
Balbacua is a beef stew that is usually paired with rice or noodles like Misua or Miki noodles. But unlike any other beef dish, Balbacua is using part of the beef that is rich in collagen such as the oxtail, skin, and joints. Great food to eat for dinner or lunch with the family. You can taste it through local restaurants around Cebu or try cooking it on your own.
- In a hot pan with cooking oil, sautee minced garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Stir until it cooks.
- In the same pan, add the well-steamed beef. Be sure that the beef is tender and well-cooked.
- Add black pepper, fish sauce, and salted black beans.
- Mixed all the ingredients well then add pineapple chunks and beef broth.
- Wait until it boiled then add peanut butter.
- Let it cook for a minute then add onion leaves.
- Put it in a serving bowl and It’s ready to serve!
Image Source: Ang Sarap
If Sinigang is your favorite and you love sour dishes with a mix of spiciness in them, then you should try Linarang of Cebu!
Linarang is a fish dish, there’s no specific fish to use, you can use any white meat fish available in the market but Cebuano usually used eel fish when cooking this dish. People sometimes compare it to the Filipino dish–Sinigang because of the sourness that it brings but aside from the sour taste, there are no other similarities between the two Filipino dishes. Both have their own unique taste that makes them more special.
If you want to get a taste of Linarang of Cebu you can search for the recipe online or find a restaurant nearby if you visit the city.
Image Source: Maggi PH
If you’re a vegetarian or simply love vegetable dishes then you should try this Visaya dish called Utan Bisaya.
It is a vegetable soup that composes of a variety of vegetable ingredients. You can get a lot of nutrients by eating a bowl of this dish. Good for someone who’s health conscious or if you have a diet to follow. Aside from the nutrients it brings, it is easy to cook as well. You just need to put all the vegetables needed in a casserole, add water and spices (optional: add fish to it) and it’s ready to serve! It can be a go-to-dish when you don’t have the luxury of time to prepare food to eat.
Image Source: Ang Sarap
If you’re into the Bulalo of Batangas then you should try the Cebu version of it called the Cebu Pochero!
Cebu Pochero or the Visaya version of Pochero is a beef soup. Unlike the Tagalog Pochero which is a stew, this version is more like a Bulalo than any other version of Pochero. Interesting right? ‘Cause, why not call it Cebu Bulalo rather than Cebu Pochero? The answer is its taste. Many locals who taste the Cebu Pochero easily determine the difference between the two. You need to find out for yourself if you want to know more about it!
So find out the difference between the two dishes by yourself when you visit the land! You can search online for some of the restaurants where Pochero is the specialty.
Image Source: Flying Off-Course
Bakasi is a Cebu term for Eel fish. I know Eel is not the usual fish to use in cooking dishes but not in Corvoda, Cebu!
Eel is one of the easiest-to-catch fish of the fishermen of Cordova. They invented lots of dishes using Bakasi such as Linarang na Bakasi, Misuang Bakasi and the famous one is Fried Bakasi. Like any other fried food, you just need to deep fry the Bakasi in hot cooking oil. You can pair it with rice or simply eat it as your pulutan.
If you’re finding interesting food to eat, then you should try Fried Bakasi when you visit Cebu! The most famous Bakasihan eatery in Cordova is Entoy’s Bakasihan. It is also featured in some food blogs online.
Image Source: Ang Sarap
One of the Chinese influence food in Cebu is Ngohiong!
If you love Lumpiang Shanghai, then Ngohiong is not much different from that, it is like a combination of spring roll and lumpia. Inside Ngohiong you will find ground pork or sometimes shrimp, onion, garlic, jicama, and what they called the Chinese-five seasoning, wrapped together using a lumpia wrapper. You can find it in some of the street food stalls around Cebu. Locals usually eat it as a street food snack or a pulutan when they are having a celebration.
Image Source: The Odehlicious
We all love Pancit! probably one of the best cuisines that we inherited from the Chinese when they colonized our county. But did you know that Bisaya people have their own version of Pancit? Yes, and it is called Pancit Bam-I!
It is a noodle dish that is said to originate in Cebu. Unlike the original Pancit, this Bisaya Pancit has two different noodles in it: pancit canton noodles and sotanghon. It makes the Pancit more tastier and appealing. They are also using chicken breast and shrimp! Perfect for big celebrations and mass gatherings.
- First is to cook the shrimp until it turns orange and take it aside.
- In a wok, sautee garlic, onion, and pork. Add water and wait ‘til the pork is tender.
- After that, add the shredded chicken and the vegetables; cabbage, and carrots.
- Mix all the ingredients and take them aside.
- Cook the Pancit Canton noodles first. Wait ‘til it cooks and takes it aside.
- Next is cooking the sotanghon noodles. Wait ‘til it cooks then add the Pancit noodles. Mix them together.
- After mixing, put the ingredients on the noodles and mix them well.
- When the pancit noodles and ingredients are already mixed, add the fried shrimp.
- Put it on a serving plate and it’s ready to serve!
After eating heavy meals and savoring the taste of the Cebuano cuisines, let’s go on to their famous sweet delicacies that you might want to try when you visit the province.
Image Source: Sugbo
Corn lovers and sweet tooths this first delicacy is for you!
Pintos is a sweetcorn tamales wrapped in a corn husk that is one of the special delicacies of Cebu. It is made out of corn, glutinous rice flour, sugar, and margarine. The ingredients are very convenient because you can buy them in any local market. You can find it anywhere in the city and make it your best almusal or meriyenda paired with a hot coffee.
If you don’t have the means to visit Cebu but are craving to try PIntos, then try this recipe:
- First, you need to remove the kernel on the corn and blended it until it is well-grinded. If you don’t have a blender you can use a grate as an alternative.
- When the kernel is already ground, put it in the mixing bowl. Add white sugar, gradual flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix it well until the texture is already thick enough.
- After mixing all the ingredients you can now wrap it in the corn husk.
- Then steam it on a steamer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wait until it cooks and it’s ready to serve!
Image Source: Kusina Ni Malou
This next delicacy is very nostalgic as it is one of the famous Filipino meryenda that we often buy when we were younger. Locals are selling it on the palengke or anywhere in the country, but in Cebu, this delicacy is owned by them.
Puto Balanghoy is a steamed cassava cake with grated coconut and brown sugar. Perfectly paired with a hot chocolate or a coffee. You can also add butter on top of it to make it more tastier! One serve of it is enough as it is very heavy in your tummy, but if you want to have some more, no one is stopping you to do so!
If you want to try Puto Balanghoy you can surely find one in any local market but of course, it is more special when you get a taste of it in Cebu!
Image Source: Wikipedia
Another mouth-watering delicacy that you should try is Masi!
Masi is a Chinese-influenced delicacy from Cebu that is made out of glutinous rice with peanut butter and muscovado on the inside. It is a small white glutinous rice ball that when you bite, you can see the peanut butter filling inside of it that will give you delicious meryenda! Just by thinking of it, my tummy is growling in hunger! Imagine when you bite it and the peanut inside is melting in your mouth, a heaven taste!
If you want to try it, you can search restaurants around Cebu that have a Masi on their menu or try to eat in a Chinese restaurant with your family or friends.
Image Source: Create with Nestle
Last in our Cebu Foods is the very famous Binignit of Visaya or widely known in Tagalog as Ginataang Bilo-bilo!
Binignit is literally a Ginataang Bilo-bilo. There’s no difference and they follow the same method of cooking. The term is based on what region are you from, in Tagalog areas is it Ginataang Bilo-bilo but in Visaya it is Binignit. The taste of the coconut with the chewy glutinous ball in it is one of the reasons why locals are listing it as one of their favorite meryenda. You can see it in any stalls in the Philippines or find your Mom and Grandmother cooking it in every siesta. The popularity of this food is making it convenient as you can taste it anywhere.
Each region and places around the world have its own food that they are taking pride in and Cebu has no different from that. Your Cebu travel will never be complete if you don’t try any of these foods at every Cebu tourist spot that you’re visiting. You will surely forget your name when you get a taste of any of these dishes. Enjoy your little vacation and have the best Voyage!
Frequently Ask Questions
What are some must-try Cebuano foods and delicacies?
Cebu is famous for its delicious and unique dishes. Some must-try Cebuano foods and delicacies include lechon (roast pig), ngohiong (Cebuano-style spring rolls), chorizo de Cebu (local sausage), dried mangoes, and sinuglaw (grilled pork belly and fish ceviche).
Where can I find the best Cebuano food?
There are many great places to find Cebuano food in Cebu City. Some popular spots include:
- Carcar Lechon
- Lahug Public Market
- Pasil Market
- Fort San Pedro
- Magellan’s Cross
Where can I find the best lechon in Cebu?
Cebu is known for having some of the best lechon in the Philippines. The most famous place to try Cebu’s lechon is at the “Lechon Capital of the Philippines” in Carcar City. Other notable lechon destinations include Zubuchon, CNT Lechon, and Rico’s Lechon.
What vegetarian or vegan options are available in Cebu?
While Cebu is known for its meat dishes, there are vegetarian and vegan options available as well. You can try the local vegetable dishes like “utan bisaya” (mixed vegetable soup) or “guso” (seaweed) salad. Additionally, many restaurants and cafes in Cebu City offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly menus, catering to different dietary preferences.
Can you recommend any local markets or food markets in Cebu?
Cebu has vibrant markets where you can immerse yourself in the local food scene. The most popular one is Carbon Market, located in Cebu City, where you can find a wide variety of fresh produce, seafood, and local delicacies. Other notable markets include Taboan Market (known for dried fish and pusit), and Larsian (a popular barbecue street food market).
What are some of the best times of year to try Cebuano food?
The best times of year to try Cebuano food are during the following festivals:
- Sinulog Festival (January)
- Ati-atihan Festival (January)
- Kadayawan Festival (August)
- Masskara Festival (October)
Are there any food festivals or events in Cebu that I should check out?
Absolutely! Cebu hosts several food festivals and events throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Puso Festival, which celebrates Cebu’s iconic hanging rice. The Sinulog Festival, held in January, also features food stalls and street vendors offering a variety of local treats. Make sure to check the local events calendar for any upcoming food-related festivities during your visit.
What are some of the best ways to learn more about Cebuano food?
Some of the best ways to learn more about Cebuano food include:
- Taking a cooking class
- Visiting a local market
- Talking to locals about their favorite foods
- Reading books and articles about Cebuano cuisine
Cebu Tourist Spots
Cebu is one of the famous tourist destinations in central Visayas. Not just because of its historical and cultural importance in our country, but because of its beautiful islands and tourist destinations that every local and even foreigner loved.
Best Cebu Hotels
Finding a place to stay around Cebu? Well, folks, you are in the right place! Written in this article are some of the hotels in Cebu that offer quality yet affordable hotel experiences that you will surely enjoy!
Things to Do in Cebu
When thinking about having a vacation around the Visayas region, for sure, without a doubt Cebu will first come to mind. Aside from the famous Cebu Tourist Spots that you can search online, there are still lots of things to do and activities to experience when you visit Cebu!
About the Author
She loves traveling with her friends…and soon on her own. Coffee is her first love and dreams to taste every coffee in the world.
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