If you believe that food is a universal language, then you know how important it is in the business world. It brings people of all colors, race, age and even tastes– together in one table to enjoy sumptuous dishes. Filipinos are no different. We cook, serve and eat with all our hearts and in return, offer our favorites to the rest of the world.
Today, food businesses are booming in every corner of the country and we see them opening their doors to their customers on a daily basis. There are numerous of them, some only became successful with the help of social media and online selling. Others have gained their reputation through time while the rest were tested only for a short time and they boomed.
Food brings people together and because of that, businesses which cater to the hungry market will never go out of style. There may be new and fresh ideas coming in and out but the classic ones will most likely stay as long as they possibly can. One thing that’s unique about the Filipino palette is our love for sweet food.
To find out which local Filipino food businesses are in demand nowadays, here is a list of the must-try food in the country.
Neri’s Gourmet Tuyo
Every Filipino, at some point in their lives, have craved for what seems to be a sun-dried fish that has a powerful, unusual smell. Many foreigners hate it because it doesn’t smell nor look appetizing at all but if you are a full-blooded Filipino, you will automatically want to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner– no questions asked.
Many have tried to turn the simple dish into something much more than a dull-looking dead fish and many of them have succeeded. One of which is Neri’s Gourmet Tuyo. They turned a simple “tuyo” or dried fish into something that’s Instagram worthy but not even an app filter can give justice to its flavor.
They cooked the tuyo and added some olive oil, spices, and chili and turned it into something refined. No extraordinary culinary skills needed. They bottled them in and sold them online. Now, the business is thriving, gaining more and more resellers all over the country, and even outside the Philippines.
The business is owned by Neri Naig-Miranda, Filipina actress, and wife of the famous band vocalist Chito Miranda.
The brand has marked its excellence in the form of powder-flavored french fries– which hit the country by storm. Like all businesses, they started small in 1992 as the first brand to open a flavored french fries business. Today, they have over 800 stores in the Philippines and a few in Thailand, Malaysia, Panama and many more.
Many have since tried to follow or compete with the tycoon but we all know they failed to be the best. Although the brand is pricey, people still opt to buy and ignore the high price because their fries are the best tasting potato we have ever had.
Their seasonings are extraordinary, you will crave for it from time to time and that’s a positive review for a food product. Their business has grown ever so widely that they have conquered Australia and the United States already. They have penetrated malls, schools, cinemas, and parks. They are located almost everywhere in the Philippines. Becuase of their success, Potato Corner is one of the must-try food in the country that we can be proud to offer to tourists.
Their flavors started with barbeque, sour cream, and the all-time favorite, cheese. They recently added wasabi and chili-barbeque in their list of new flavors, together with some new forms of potatoes to be enjoyed by the hungry customers.
The Filipinos have learned to love the foreign taste and that includes the American and Mexican cuisine. Because of this, a food business was created and was pioneered in the Philippines. The concept includes a juicy and very flavorful burger plus a meaty burrito. The combination turned the Filipino people on and they wanted more. It was warmly welcomed by the market.
The first store opened in Tagaytay City, a semi-secluded, chilly city in the southern part of Metro Manila. Today, they have branched out to many spots, including malls in Metro Manila, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Boracay, and even in some areas in Mindanao.
Their menu includes burgers, burritos, sandwiches, chicken wings, fried chicken, tacos, quesadillas and many more. There sauces have distict taste that you can’t find anywhere else, so you end up coming back for more. Their flavors hit the Filipino tastebuds just right, and that gave them the authority to multiply all over the Philippines.
Are you are a fan of saucy baby back ribs or are you a pork steak kinda guy? If you are any, both or maybe something in between, I got news for you. Casa Verde, a homegrown American-inspired restaurant in Cebu has it all in big servings. You read that right! The restaurant is a favorite among the locals because they are never too stingy on food portions. And mind you, their food is very flavorful, fun to eat and worth it.
Their bestsellers include Brian’s Ribs and Peter’s Pork Steak but among the favorites are their 9-inch Big Bang Burger, Southwest Pasta with marinated chicken, and their humungous milkshake, Milky Way.
Their main branch, which has remained to be as busy as ever, is located in Ramos, Cebu City. They have another branch in Ayala Mall, IT Park, and SM Seaside, Cebu. All of their branches are mostly packed with customers so expect to wait in line. Lucky for those who live in Manila because they have one in Ayala-UP Town Center and another in SM Megamall as well.
The long wait is worth it. Plus, you won’t lose with their price points and huge servings!
The Buzzz Cafe
Are you crazy over natural, organic and home-made food? Here in The Buzzz Cafe, they offer Filipino dishes that are fresh from the farm. They even pick up fresh, edible flowers to add to their dishes. The cafe only serves healthy alternatives to the Filipino market, which is a breath of fresh air. It was first founded in Panglao, Bohol, where a bee farm lies. Aside from the restaurant, they serve ice cream with unique flavors such as malunggay and durian. All of their flavors are actually very creamy, and child-friendly. Kids won’t know they are eating durian ice cream because the smell is concealed around a very appetizing, cold dessert. Their products can be a little too pricey but remember that you are supporting a local business that also helps the earth in a way.
Other natural and organic products are also available in their stores, including coconut oil, fruit jams, spreads and many others.
To buy from organic stores will encourage companies to support and keep on producing healthy products which will eventually benefit us in the long run.
Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries
Filipinos love their desserts and one of the most popular among the sea of sweets is sans rival. Sans rival from Dumaguete is famous all over the country that some even fly to the town to get a box of sans rival. It is basically a sweet cake made of layers of meringue and buttercream and topped with some cashews. They are served during Christmas parties, birthdays, or just regular family gatherings. Each piece is sweet, rich and very creamy so one easily gets satisfied. One of their bestsellers is Silvana; a smaller piece is sans rival shaped into a round cookie.
The business has invested in a couple of branches outside of Dumaguete and people line up for them! They are open in Robinsons Galleria in Cebu and Glorietta 4 in Makati.
The Filipino people is all about families and what else would big families do when they gather around but eat! Food, especially Filipino cuisine, is everyone’s comfort zone. These dishes bring back so many good memories and from there, conversations become endless. Fun times and more great memories are being added right from the long dining table. Hukad-Golden Cowrie encourages such bonding for families and even friends. The restaurant offers popular signature Filipino dishes such as Crispy Pata, Humba, Adobong Pusit, Deep Fried Liempo, Kare-Kare and so much more.
The business started in Cebu but has gone to Luzon to serve more Filipinos.
Hukad-Golden Cowrie serves delightful dishes with unlimited rice because after all, Filipinos are crazy for carbohydrates. This, and many more reasons have kept the business alive and still doing great after all these years. The next time you plan on celebrating your birthday with your family and friends but your budget is tight, look up Golden Cowrie’s menu and you will have nothing to worry about.
House of Bulalugaw & Bustek
Sounds familiar but not quite? House of Bulalugaw & Bustek is 100% local, and was created to stimulate the native Filipino tastebuds to crave for rice porridge or “lugaw”. Lugaw is usually served by Filipino mothers to their children when they are sick and don’t want anything to eat. It is a popular rice dish in Asia, especially in the Philippines.
Lugaw can be found everywhere and it’s easy to make, too. And since it is very simple, a Filipino businessman decided to add a kick to his regular lugaw by combining bulalo meat, or beef dish, also a popular course among Filipinos. By merging the two Filipino dishes, the owner was able to create a very tasty bulalugaw– bulalo and lugaw together.
All hard work has been paid off because the small eatery is always full.
With the popularity of his small eatery, he added more dishes that he was able to invent and people loved– kaldlugaw (kaldereta and lugaw), lugaw-tapa (tapa or dried beef and lugaw), and their bestseller, bustek (bulalo and bistek). The humble eatery is located in Quezon City.
The Burgery- The Bad Boys Of Burger
Burgers have swept the Filipino people off of their feet. How so? By consisting hot buns, tender and juicy beef patties, crispy bacon, fresh greens and melted cheese. All these can be in our watering mouths in one bite only and where else can we find burger bad boys, but here in The Burgery, owned by actor JC de Vera.
These types of food are evergreen because it is a complete dish which is composed of bread, meat, and vegetables. They won’t ever go away, instead, businesses keep adding unique ingredients in their recipe to bring in more customers and it works every time!
Aside from their famous burgers, The Burgery also serve potato wedges, pork barbeque belly, pasta, and desserts.
The Burgery is currently found in two locations– BF Homes in Paranaque and Circuit Lane, Makati City.
Ate Rica’s Bacsilog
Another Filipino favorite is the concept of silog. Silog came from the classic tapsilog– a rice based dish topped with tapa and sunny-side up egg. Since tapsilog, more and more varieties have come out and the Filipino people can’t get enough of it.
This generation is bacon’s time to shine. Sure, bacon has been around since forever and has probably been in many silogs, but this time, Bacsilog is the main product. In Manila, a humble food cart focuses on giving quality food to customers, targeting a young market of students and office workers. The key ingredient is, of course, the bacon and their secret cheese sauce. Once tasted, always wanted.
Now, they are franchising and are currently entertaining invites to put up more outlets around the country.
Food has always been and will always be part of the Philippines’ rich culture as it displays the history and the different cultural influences of the nation. With this, it is just right that we support the local products our countrymen are able to produce. This will not only help individual businessmen but also our economy in general.