If you are a nocturnal person like me who enjoys night walks with friends while eating good food and snacks on the side, then this article was written just for you! Join me and let’s dive into this well-known food place in Tondo Manila dubbed as the Streetfood Capital of the Philippines– Ugbo!
How to go to Ugbo Street Food in Tondo Manila?
The trip was smooth and I didn’t encounter any heavy traffic on the way but since Divisoria was a busy place with lots of malls and streets around, I almost got lost because I couldn’t find where the Velazquez jeepney was. To prevent that from happening to you, here’s the tip on where you can find Velazquez jeepney:
Have a minute of walking heading to Juan Luna Street and find the Jollibee branch in front of Puregold Junior located on the corner of Padre Rada Street. In front of Jollibee you will see many jeepneys and tricycles heading to different places around Manila so be sure to ride a jeepney with a Velazquez placard
If you’re from outside Metro Manila
- Ride a Bus or Van heading to Divisoria – the price fare depends on your location.
- When you’re in Divisoria, ride a Jeepney heading to Velazquez and tell the driver to drop you off at Ugbo Street – 13 pesos jeepney fare each
If you’re from Manila
- Ride a jeepney heading to Divisoria – 13 pesos jeepney fare
- When you’re in Divisoria, ride a Jeepney heading to Velazquez and tell the driver to drop you off at Ugbo Street – 13 pesos jeepney fare each.
Take note that Tondo is not a safe place for everyone, especially if you’re alone and unfamiliar. Throughout your travel, stay vigilant and don’t leave your things unattended.
The Ugbo Street Foods
In Hiligaynon, the word Ugbo means pastime and is also used as a street name in one of the areas in Tondo Manila and soon became a famous street food market to visit. Ugbo is a neighborhood with lots of stalls and restaurants open from 5 p.m. to past midnight. It peaks its popularity because of the variety of foods it offers. I’m actually curious about how people who reside there sleep at night. This street is very busy, lights are everywhere, and people are talking from left to right. But then, Ugbo is one of the pride of Tondo and gives income to local people. Foreigners and food travelers are visiting this place. After all, it’s a blessing to be grateful for.
I went there during weekdays, Tuesday around 6 PM just right to have a small crowd of people walking and having their best time. Weekends are the busy days for Ugbo so if you don’t want to encounter a big crowd, weekdays are the ideal time for you.
Korean Street Foods
Are you a Kdrama fan or fascinated by anything related to Korean culture? Yes, Ugbo is not just selling local street foods there are also lots of international foods and cuisines available for all the customers, just like the Korean Street Foods that I got! Feels like I’m living my Kdrama dream because of these delicious foods!
They are selling Tteokbokki, Kimchi, Fish Cake, and Corndog, some of the famous Korean street foods to eat! I got myself a corn dog stick for 70 pesos and 2 pieces of Fish Cake for 35 pesos each. The corndog is my favorite, as a cheese lover, this snack was really for me. I also love the combination of sweetness and sourness that ketchup and mayonnaise brings. For 70 pesos I think it’s reasonable enough. One stick can make your tummy full, especially if you’re a light eater.
Next is Fish Cake. I saw this street food in every Kdramas and I’m very excited to try it. First bite and I fell in love! This is the kind of street food that I would buy after my study classes. But the most commendable is the sauce! It’s very tasty. For its price of 35 pesos each, I would say that this is very affordable.
Overall, I will give this stall 4 stars. The prices are reasonable enough, not too expensive to think that this is a Korean Foods. I love both Fish Cake and Corn Dog. They are delicious in their own right.
Japanese and Chinese Street Foods
Of course, if we tried Korean Street Foods it is a must to try other countries’ street foods as well. In this spot, we ate Japanese and Chinese street foods!
I got myself a Crab and Shrimp in a stick and the Chinese Kikiam, all for 60 pesos each. If you buy in this stall they will offer you a sauce that you can pair with your food. At first, I thought it was a sweet and sour sauce but it turned out to be a milky sauce. I’m not a fan of this combination so I just ate the food without it. The crab is very tasty and a bit salty. I can really taste the crab flavor on it as well as the shrimp stick. But the best for me is the Chinese KIkiam! It’s a rectangle in a stick wrapped in a yellow wrapper that I believe is also a Chinese thing. Inside you can eat vegetables and some meat. It reminds me of Lumpia but it’s different since it is wrapped in a soft wrapper and I love it! This is the kind of street food that I will pair with a bowl of rice, a typical Filipino combo haha.
Overall I will give this stall 3 stars. I think the prices are very expensive, 60 pesos each is too much for a stick of 3 pieces. Not really a fan of crab and shrimp in a stick, though the Chinese Kikiam is highly recommended.
After our international street foods agenda let’s dig into the real game–seafoods!
I came across this King of Street Fried stall that sells a variety of seafood dishes and grilled balut and scallops. Got myself 5 pieces of grilled scallops for 35 pesos each. Haven’t tried grilled scallops before so this is new to me. While they are preparing and putting all the flavors such as cheese and garlic, it’s impossible to not make your mouth watery! And the smell is not helping my hungry tummy at all. You can really taste the cheesiness and the garlic flavor on it. The scallops are very fresh and tasteful as well. Once you try it, you need to have another one until you run out of money so be sure to prepare your budget and have an extra with you!
Overall I will give this stall 4 stars. I love grilled scallops so much and the price of 35 pesos each is reasonable for me.
The Super Special Halo-halo of Aling Consuelo
If this is your first time visiting the Philippines you should try this famous dessert called Halo-halo!
Halo-halo means mixing a variety of ingredients into one bowl or cup. This dessert is exactly just that. At the bottom of a large cup, you can see sweetened beans, langka (jackfruit), sweetened banana slices and nata de coco put together. Then crushed ice with evaporated milk and on top, you can see an ube ice cream, homemade ube, and a leche flan (also a famous dessert in the Philippines). This cup of Halo-halo is worth 89 pesos.
In Ugbo there’s a family rivalry between the two halo-halo stalls that have the same brand name, Aling Consuelo Original Halo-halo. I asked one of the staff how it started and she said that the two owners are siblings. Before they were partners and ran the Aling Consuelo Halo-halo and soon became very famous in Ugbo, but one day they decided to separate and build their own Halo-halo store. I don’t know if this is their strategy to gain more attention from the customers, but I would say that it’s effective because I got curious as well.
Overall I will give this stall 2 stars. I’ve been a huge fan of Halo-halo ever since I was a kid but this one was very bland. The ingredients are neither tasty nor sweet. The servings are very little to think that this is their Special Halo-halo. I expected to have a cup full of ingredients and have that sweet and milky taste but what I’ve got is very bland and almost tasteless. The price of 89 pesos is way too expensive and not worth the price.
Mini Donut of Ugbo
Another talk of the town stall at Ugbo is Yani’s mini donut! If you’re a donut lover you will surely enjoy these small treats.
In a box of 20 pieces of mini donuts you can have a combination of Nutella and white chocolate and can choose 4 kinds of toppings. In our case we have crispy rice, marshmallow, crushed Oreo, and milo. Prepare yourself because the sweetness is overflowing! Perfect pasulong for your family or sharing with your friends. But for a solo eater, I would say that there’s too much sweetness in this box of mini donuts, but it depends on your sweet tolerance. For me, I only ate 3 pieces.
Overall I will give this stall 3.5 stars. Nothing new to the ingredients. They are using common brands like Nutella and Milo that you can buy in any store. For the price of 165 pesos for a box of 20 pieces of mini donuts for me it’s a bit expensive.
What to do next after Ugbo?
Ugbo is only a 5-minute jeepney ride from Divisoria, which is the most popular local market in the Philippines. There you can buy lots of items for a very cheap price. A few walks away and you’re in Binondo where Chinatown is located. You can try different Chinese restaurants there and get into Chinese culture. But if you want a Filipino tradition and visit a famous tourist spot in the country, from Divisoria you can ride a jeepney heading to Luneta Park! Watch the fountain while having your picnic on the grass. Perfect to have an intimate bond with your family.
There’s a lot more to see in Tondo, Manila. So go and grab your things and explore this crazy yet beautiful place in the Philippines!
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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