Where can I shop for groceries in Manila?

If you want fresh food, go to the local wet market. It is not only cheap but also somewhat of an experience.

To those of you who have not stepped foot in a wet market in Southeast Asia (except Singapore), you should prepare for the smell, the chaos, the slippery floor, the staring, and the hollering.

Make sure you are accompanied by a local because if you can’t speak Tagalog, you might not be able to make it out alive.

If you are staying in the Makati area, Landmark Grocery is the cheapest place to shop; if you are in Quezon City, try HiTop.

In Manila, you can opt for SM Grocery. Though SM Grocery is not the cheapest, it has everything that you would need.

Other shops in Manila are small and offer limited options, and some are speciality stores (Chinese food items in Chinatown).So, instead of going to different cheap shops (wasting time in commute), it is better to go to just one.

Is cooking significantly cheaper than eating out in Manila?

Without a doubt. Even fast-food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, or Jollibee (local McDonalds) will cost you more than a dollar for one meal (and it is such a tiny portion – you would probably end up buying two meals).

For that money, you can buy a whole chicken and make the dish yourself. Just add some veggies on the side, pop it in the oven, and you will have a meal to satisfy your hunger with enough left over for lunch and maybe even dinner the next day!

Are there any hostels in Manila that offer cooking facilities?

Not all hostels in Manila offer shared kitchen facilities.

Ladies Backpackers Hostel and ZEN Hostel Vicente Cruz do, but others serve breakfast and have small restaurants.

If you want the full cooking experience, it would be better to stay in an Airbnb.

Are there any recommended restaurants in Manila for the budget-conscious?

Mang Inasal, Hawker Chan, GoTo Monster, Amber and Doon Thai are just some of a few restaurants in Manila where you can spend USD 4 for a crazy good meal.

I am confident that if you casually stroll around, you would find cheap but good food.

Just be sure that you have an equally resilient stomach. Filipino dishes are laden with different spices that you might not be accustomed to.

The food, although clean over-all, might not be up to the same standards of food preparation of, let’s say, London or Sydney.

Where can I find good street food in Manila?

In Manila, you can wander the streets and find a carinderia or food cart that offer tasty but cheap food.

If you want to try a selection of foods, you can visit the Quiapo Public Market – but beware of the chaos and the complexity of reaching it.

A more accessible place to find is under the BONI Metro Rail Transit Station. Just hop on the Metro Rail Transit and go down to BONI.

Also, try the famous Isaw in Isaw Republic and some grilled barbecue in Aling Nene’s BBQ.

Any vegetarian food or restaurant that comes recommended?

Filipinos take their meat seriously. There is no doubt about that. Most street foods are from the intestines, liver, and other organs of pigs and chicken.

With that being said, the vegan restaurant scene is developing and there are a few in the Manila area.

An interesting place is the New Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian restaurant in Chinatown. It is mostly Chinese food served with a lot of veggies, so it is worth a try.

Another low-key vegetarian place is Heavenly Grace Vegetarian Restaurant, but if you have issues with being pious, better stay away.

Is street food in Manila safe?

Here is a complete and extensive list of street food in Manila. You will be the judge of whether your stomach can take it.

It should be safe enough, but you do not know how they prepare their food, and neither do I. You might assume that they wash their hands and keep the kitchen clean, but that’s only a guess.

If that is good enough for you, then you are good to go, but I would say you should be prepared to dish out money on diarrhea pills!

Is street food in Manila inexpensive?

You could buy a lot for a dollar. So, I would say it is inexpensive.