How to survive as a Vegan in the Philippines
Veganism in the Philippines
We think one of the reasons we are the top rated expedition company in Coron, is because we cater pretty well for vego/vegans because the Philippines can be a tough place if you don't eat meat or dairy.
Veganism is not a common practice in the country, and some Filipinos aren’t even aware of this lifestyle because they grew up eating what their parents and grandparents served them, which is most likely a lot of meat and fish. A lot of us grow up eating eggs for breakfast almost everyday. You’ll even notice that we have “silog” (the food) or “silog-an” (the place that serves the “silog”) literally everywhere! Even our McDonald’s has a version of this. Not even kidding. In case you’ve never heard of this, silog is a combination of the words “sinangag” which is fried rice and “itlog” which is egg. So combine silog with hotdog and we have “hot-silog” or corned beef and you have “corn-silog” and so many other variations of “silog.” Oh, and we Filipinos love cheese too! So finding food without all of those can be pretty tricky.
Don’t worry, you can and will survive as a vegan in the Philippines. It just takes a little more effort.
We’ve written a blog about vegetarians and in it has essential tips on how to survive as a vegetarian in this country. Those tips will surely work for vegans too. In that page, you’ll also (hopefully) understand how or why the food in the Philippines isn’t always vegan-friendly or you can just skip to the tips.
Good news! There’s now a lot of vegan friendly restaurants, especially in the metro and expat friendly places. There have also been a dramatic rise in the number of vegan friendly restaurants and establishments with vegan food options especially in tourist areas such as Palawan, Cebu, Siargao and the like.
Here are some Vegan Friendly Filipino Food you can seek out or try.
Restaurants don’t always serve vegan friendly viands but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you might be able to find them in a “karinderya” or small time canteen near you. For breakfast, they might have “champorado” which is chocolate rice porridge. For lunch or dinner, you can ask or look for viands like mung bean stew, jackfruit cooked with coconut milk, or maybe some tofu and grilled eggplants. Sometimes there’s more options in these small time canteens because they usually serve traditional home cooked meals. Just double check the ingredients because sometimes they add pork or shrimp to some of these dishes.
Try to check the area if you’ll see vendors serving “turon” or banana rolls, “banana cue” (banana drizzled with brown sugar and fried until golden) and “kamote cue” (sweet potatoes cooked like banana cues), “lumpia” or spring rolls. Who needs a fancy restaurant when you can find all these in a simple Filipino food cart, right? It’ll definitely be cheaper too!
A fresh batch of turon during our expedition. Banana coated in brown sugar, wrapped in spring roll wrappers and then fried until golden brown. This one is our chef’s version, drizzled with chocolate syrup.
We have so many different kinds of rice cakes in the Philippines and you won’t be disappointed especially if you have a sweet tooth. You’ll most likely find these in the market but you’ll see street vendors selling them from time to time too! The easiest to find are “bibingka” which are black rice sweets with “latik” which is basically caramel made from coconut milk and the “puto” which is steamed rice cake made from slightly fermented rice flour. Don’t get confused because there’s so many different versions of puto and it can also vary from region to region. Having a few slices or pieces of this can fill up your stomach and set you up until your next meal time.
If you’re not into fried food or snacks, that’s fine too. Because where these kinds of vendors are, there’s most likely another who sells sliced fresh fruits such as mangoes, coconuts, watermelon, pomelo, pineapple and whatever is in season. You can even find these vendors making fruit shakes and fresh fruit juices too!
If you’re in the provinces and still can’t find a vendor that sells any of these then just look for a mango or coconut tree and collect the fruits yourself. Just check if the tree has an owner because you wouldn’t wanna get in trouble trying to get some fruits, would you?
We hope this helps you survive as a vegan in the Philippines. And if you do visit Coron in Palawan, we hope to see you there. Don’t worry, you won’t have to worry about this during our expedition at all!