As the Queen City of the South, Cebu City has tons to offer to locals and tourists alike. The city is a melting pot of all sorts of activities, fertile ground for further development, a repository of history and culture, and a lively hub of native delicacies, snacks, and savory dishes. In fact, some Cebu dishes are shaped by foreign influences and centuries of local preparation methods from our ancestors.
5 Must-Try Cebu Delicacies for Every Traveler
Like most travel plans, a trip to anywhere in Cebu City won’t be complete without food! And if you’re taking your first trip to Cebu City this year, here are five native dishes you should try:
1) Balamban Liempo
Lechon is a staple and popular dish in Cebu City. But if you want something with a smokier barbecue taste, Balamban-style liempo is a must-try. This succulent grilled pork belly is said to be tastier than traditional Cebu lechon, you might consider purchasing an apartment for sale in Cebu to be closer to the eateries selling this! The crispy skin and soft meat are best paired with hot rice and sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, and chili peppers.
Looking for the perfect cookie or biscuit to pair with your tea or coffee? Get a pack or box of rosquillos. Originally a recipe by Titay Frasco, rosquillos are cookie-like snacks with petal-like edges and a hole in the middle. They are quite popular delicacies for breakfast and merienda in many Cebuano households. Rosquillos are also the perfect pasalubong to bring back to your house for rent in Manila for 5k; you may find these flower-like biscuits sold in several souvenir shops all over Cebu.
3) Pusô or Hanging Rice
Also locally called tamu, puso is a unique delicacy made by boiling rice inside a woven pouch of palm leaves. The rice can be plain, although other variations are savory or sweet. You’ll often find hanging rice food stalls often sold together with skewered meats or seafood. Puso rice is served in pouches, making it portable and space-efficient for travelers to bring to their journey. And while Cebu is mainly Roman Catholic, puso rice is a staple dish of the Hari Raya feast, or Eid-al Fitr.
Pungko-pungko isn’t exactly a dish, but rather a series of food stalls selling an assortment of fried street food, such as meatballs, fried chicken, fried pork, longganisa, and ngohiong (Cebu’s version of lumpiang ubod, but spicier). It derives its name from the Cebuano word “pungko” which means “to squat or crouch” as most pungko-pungko eateries have low stools or benches, making you crouch while you eat and enjoy different fried snacks and meals.
5) Puto Maya and Sikwate
You might know puto as glutinous rice cakes with cheese toppings and served in colorful plastic cups. However, in Cebu, puto maya is steamed sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves. It is often paired with a hot cup of sikwate, which is Cebu’s version of tablea chocolate drink. The puto maya and sikwate combination are popular during Simbang Gabi season, although you may get your sweet cravings in tablea stores in Cebu’s supermarkets and tablea stores.
These five delicacies might seem like regular local food. However, they reflect Cebu’s culinary past and how they have sustained many people who need to work and live every day. On your visit to the Queen City of the South, don’t forget to stop at different eateries and try these local Cebuano cuisines!