No matter who you are, you will always yield to food. You will always crave for the things that you love. Food is something you just can’t refuse. You can even define a nation based on the food they make. Locals and tourists will always have something to recommend. Every place in the world has a dish or snack that they can proudly say is theirs. The Philippines is no stranger to this, and Cebu has a boatload of options. Cebuano delicacies have filled the stomachs of locals for many decades, and they continue to do so today.
Native delicacies in Cebu are part of the culture of Cebuanos that they boast and rave about with everybody. Made from the most local of ingredients, you can’t get any more Cebuano with these treats. You can arguably say that they are staples in most Cebuano households, being famous desserts in Cebuano cuisine.
You won’t need to go to the places of origin to try famous Filipino snacks, as they are exported to many tourist attractions. You can also find them in a lot of Filipino pasalubong (Filipino term for souvenirs) shops in many malls. You can even see them being sold along the streets as vendors walk up to cars to sell them to civilians. Make sure to buy as much as you can to share with your friends and family.
One of the most popular snacks you can find is dried mangoes. These are mangoes that are dried under the heat of the sun to give it a chewy texture when you take a bite. Wrapped in colorful packaging filled with sweetness, this is definitely something you’ll love to munch on. Since the Philippines is known by many for having some of the best mangoes in the world, you can bet that these won’t disappoint you.
This is perfect for mango lovers and they are very easy to find. They can be found in many stores and public markets like Carbon and Tabo-an. You can also buy some at the Profood Gallery in Mandaue City, a museum that shows the history of mangoes in the Philippines.
Speaking of Mandaue, they are also famous for Masareal. This is a rectangular shaped bar that is made from a mixture of peanuts, sugar, and water. This is a very popular snack which you can find all around Mandaue, but the most popular would arguably be the ones that are sold in Didang’s in Basak.
Just like dried mangoes, these are sold in many groceries and pasalubong centers. Didang’s is still going strong, so maybe you could drop by their bakery to try out their world-class treats.
When going to the Southern parts of Cebu, you might want to try out the famous cake found in Argao and Dalaguete. Known as the Torta Bisaya or Torta Cebuana, this pound cake is crumbly and fragrant. This is a dessert that is brought to a lot of fiestas in Cebu and has been a staple dessert in a lot of family gatherings.
There are many shops in the South that sell Tortas, and they are a major attraction in their municipalities. The local festival in Argao is even inspired by this delicious treat. It is also famously paired with sikwate, a hot chocolate drink also made popular through Argao’s cacao business.
If you’ve been to a pasalubong center in Cebu, you most likely have heard of Titay’s. This is a famous bakery from Liloan in Northern Cebu which is famous for exporting some of the most delicious Cebuano delicacies. Arguably their most famous product is Rosquillos. This is a famous ring-shaped cookie made by Margarita “Titay” Frasco, and the name was coined after the Spanish word for “ringlet”.
You could say that this is the best export from Liloan, as a stopover to their main branch is almost a must for any traveler. They also offer other snacks such as Hojaldres and Galletas del Carmen, but Rosquillos is the one that inspires their local festival. If you want to try something else in Liloan, there are vendors that would walk around selling Masi. It is known as the peanut rice ball, with its chewy exterior and crunchy peanuts inside.
Another delicacy that you can find in Titay’s, but is very popular in other markets, is the Otap. Sometimes spelled “Utap”, this is a famous biscuit made with puff pastry. Known for being covered in sugar and having a crumbly and crunchy texture, these are great as a light dessert or snack.
Other than Titay’s, another famous place that sells this delicious treat is Shamrock, which has a famous branch along the Fuente Osmeña Circle. This place is also well known for the many snacks that are considered some of Cebu’s best comfort food.
One can hardly argue that these treats are some of the best food in Cebu. They are staples in most Filipino food gift baskets. Most Filipinos who live abroad would even miss these treats while they are away from their hometown. This is indeed a big part of Filipino culture.
These are definitely some of the biggest Cebu products you should try for yourself. Many of these are found in most markets and pasalubong centers around the city, so you won’t have a hard time getting to them. Nonetheless, these Cebuano delicacies could be a really good history lesson for most tourists.