Cebu Exotic Dishes

Imagine yourself dining out at the Queen City of the South. What is the first dish you picture yourself eating? No doubt, you would quickly think of a scrumptious slice of Cebu lechon. While it is arguably the most well-known dish in the city, there’s more to Cebu than just lechon (roasted suckling pig). The city also has its fair share of exotic meals.

You might be intimidated in trying some of these dishes, but if you give them a try, you might just be surprised by how tasty they are. Their appearance may not always look inviting, but the taste cannot be compared. What a perfect excuse to try authentic Cebuano dishes. Here are some Cebu exotic dishes that you ought to try when you travel to Cebu:



Taste the crispy goodness of ginabot.

One interesting aspect of Cebu food culture is the fascination with fried food, so much so that Cebuanos deep fry even pig entrails. Ginabot (also known as chicharon bulaklak in other parts of the country) is deep-fried pork intestines.

These innards are thoroughly cleaned before being fried. What makes the ginabot a delight to eat is the outer tissue that curls and crisps up rather nicely.

Dip that with a sauce consisting of soy sauce, white vinegar, diced white onion, and aji peppers and you get the perfect main dish for your meal or an appetizer while you’re out drinking.

Cebuanos are so fond of this dish that there are stalls that only serve ginabot, which are collectively called pungko-pungko. In Bisaya, pungko means squat. Because most of these stalls have low benches, the people who eat there look like they’re squatting. So if you’re wondering where are some of the best places to eat in Cebu, better stop by the nearest pungko-pungko to taste some authentic ginabot.


Sip some hot larang soup on a cold day.

If you have an adventurous palate, then you have to try the seafood in Cebu. Because the island is surrounded by water, locals have developed a hankering for seafood. They aren’t particularly picky either. For this reason, larang is one of the most flexible dishes you can ever try here.

Larang is basically a seafood stew, but what makes it different from tinuwa is it uses more tomatoes, spices, and type of fish stewed. Most larang places either use molmol (parrotfish) or bakasi (eel). But if you go to the biggest Cebu seafood market (which is found in Pasil) and look hard enough, there are larang stalls that use stingrays and even sharks.

If you think Pasil is far enough, not to worry because more and more barangays have their own larang stalls. Some of them only operate at night while others open 24/7. As long as you ask around, you should find one nearby.

Cebuanos consider the perfect dish for cold weather or curing hangovers. So after you’ve had a wild night out, perhaps the help of this hearty soup is all you need to perk up.

Tuslob Buwa

Try the frothy, savory goodness of tuslob buwa.

A benchmark of Cebuano cooking is combining ingredients that people normally find unappealing and make something savory out of them. Tuslob buwa is a perfect example of this ingeniousness.

Pork liver and brains are thrown in a wok together with garlic, onions, shrimp paste, and chilis and sauteed until they reach a frothy (the buwa) consistency. At this point, you dip (tuslob) your pusô (hanging rice) and eat to your heart’s content.

Before, you can only find tuslob buwa stalls in Pasil. But recently, more and more vendors have popped up in other barangays. There are even some high-end restaurants that are now including this in their menus.

Ideally, this gravy mixture is best eaten with friends, so make sure to bring a couple of your buddies with you and head to Pasil. But if you prefer a portion all to yourself, your best chance is to order from a restaurant that serves Cebu exotic dishes.

Either way, after a taste of this frothy gravy concoction, you’d see pork liver and brains in a whole new light.


Try some authentic bakasi in Cordova.

The seaside town of Cordova is renowned for serving reef eel soup. Entoy’s Bakasihan is a favorite hotspot among the locals. Their bakasi (reef eel) is so good that it was even featured in a Netflix documentary, Street Food: Asia.

It’s no surprise that eel is a delicacy in Cordova since there are so many swimming in its waters. What makes this particular fish perfect for stew is the fact that its meat is soft enough to melt in your mouth but firm enough that it doesn’t break apart while being cooked. The only caveat is that it can taste a little bland, but if you cook it long enough with the spices, the flavors seep through nicely.

All in all, your trip to Cordova would be worth it once you get a taste of this rustic stew.


Pair your favorite meal with dayok.

Since Cebuanos are not picky eaters, not only are they willing to try any type of meat or fish, but they also don’t waste any parts—including the internal organs. It’s no surprise they came up with a condiment as unique as dayok, which is fermented fish intestines.

As disgusting as this sounds, the taste is actually very similar to patis (fish sauce) but with a more pasty texture. You can eat it on its own (in fact, it’s a rather popular appetizer), but you can also mix it in as an ingredient for other dishes. Because of its spiciness, it adds extra heat to the dish.

You can find bottles of dayok sold in public and farmer’s markets in the city. You can even find it in select supermarkets. Truly, this appetizer is one of the more unique and exotic components of Cebuano cuisine.

These Cebu exotic dishes are also a reflection of Cebu culture. When you are in Cebu, you hardly run out of things to try and experience. But a good way to discover what the Queen City of the South has to offer is to embark on a Cebu food trip and try these culinary delights.

Share this:

Other posts

Charlie's Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot

Charlie’s Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot to Visit!

Charlie’s Cup is a cafe in Cebu that offers a cool and refreshing vibe thanks to its cliffside location. The Cebu Transcentral Highway (TCH) has become one of the island’s best spots to check out the newest and most interesting cafes and restaurants with breathtaking views. The long, winding road makes it an ideal expedition

Read More
SM Seaside shopping mall’s famous cube

Where to Go for the Ultimate Shopping Experience in Cebu

Enjoy shopping in Cebu on your next visit. Shopping in Cebu is at another level. Anywhere you are in the metropolis, make no mistake that a shopping mall is just around the corner. Whether you are looking to buy souvenirs, shirts, accessories, or food, shopping malls in Cebu have it all. Cebu is a prime

Read More
The Cebu City Hall, the venue for the celebration of the Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day commemorates another year of Cebu being considered a city. While the world recognizes February for Valentine’s Day and different concepts of love, Cebu City, the Visayan region’s Queen City of the South, embraces its cityhood, heritage, people, and economic growth within the same month. The 24th of February calls for a

Read More
Sinigang, a popular Filipino comfort food

Discovering Filipino Comfort Food

Try any of these Filipino comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re feeling down in the dumps or a little under the weather, there is always that one dish that your mother makes that would always perk you up. There are also those types of meals and delicacies in Philippine food culture.

Read More
Bisaya phrases

Bisaya Phrases You Should Learn and Know

There are many Bisaya phrases you can use when traveling to Cebu. You may have plans to go to Cebu for a trip. A local comes up to you and asks for help. You barely know any Cebuano, what do you do? You may speak to them in English since most Cebuanos understand the English

Read More
Places to visit in Cebu for jogging enthusiasts

Places to Visit in Cebu for Health Junkies on a Budget

These are the best places in Cebu to jog in a budget! Gym memberships can be expensive. The equipment, the trainer, and maybe the diet plan you invested in can all leave a big dent in your wallet. However, you don’t really need a treadmill or thousands of pounds in weights to get ripped. Just

Read More

Best of Cebu Videos

Seeking to learn more about Cebuano culture, or wanting to know what to do once you arrive, Cebu Insights is the travel guide for you in Cebu!

Contact Us

See other Articles

Mactan Cheers for the Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu Festival 2022

Contingents from Lapu-Lapu City celebrated their pride and culture at the Mactan Newtown. For two years, the Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu festival was canceled. The 2020 event was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the 2021 celebration broadcasted a pre-recorded show online. However, in 2022, the Historic Resort City finally

Sophisticated ESL Schools in Cebu | CIA Mactan

Most ESL schools in Cebu are not as high-end as the Cebu International Academy. Want to learn English as a second language (ESL)? There are many ESL schools in Cebu because of the proficiency in English among Cebuanos. While most ESL teachers hold lessons online, a few allow face-to-face classes

Enjoy the Soothing Garden and Outdoor Setup at Nimo Brew

This coffee shop in Cebu has an impressive outdoor setup. Welcome to Nimo Brew, a coffee shop that entices customers with its relaxing outdoor atmosphere. This cabin-style cafe radiates a peaceful aura through its cleverly hidden location and spacious outdoor garden. Nimo Brew is more than just a place for

How to Get a Philippine Passport in Cebu

Take note of the requirements for a passport application and book a schedule ahead of time. A passport is a document issued by a government to its citizens for the purpose of international travel and identification. It’s the most reliable document accepted by airlines, immigration officials, and airport authorities. If

Museums in Cebu Light up the Night | Gabii sa Kabilin

Cebuanos flocked to the museums of Cebu for the yearly heritage walk known as Gabii sa Kabilin. Gabii sa Kabilin is the perfect way to learn more about the history of Cebu. Every year, this heritage walk promotes some of the top landmarks and museums in Cebu by giving participants

Ride-Hailing Apps in Cebu You Should Have On Your Phone

Travel around Cebu with ease by using these helpful ride-hailing apps. If you don’t know it already, ride-hailing apps are a must-have on your smartphone. When regular transportation disappoints, these software programs will come to the rescue, allowing you to book a ride to your desired destination. For years these

Scroll to Top