14 Best Filipino Summer Foods To Try + Easy Vocabulary

A colorful bowl of halo-halo, the best among Filipino summer foods with shaved ice, fruits, and sweet toppings

This year’s heat is enough to make a carabao (water buffalo) faint! Yeah, but we Filipinos are no strangers to scorching summers. With our beloved Filipino summer foods, we don’t just endure the heat—we outsmart it!

We’re not just talking about any old snacks here. No, sir! Filipino summer foods are the champions of chill, the titans of thirst-quenching goodness. From icy concoctions to sweet treats that melt in your mouth, you’re gonna learn the tastiest ways to beat the Philippines’ hot summer season.

What Does Summer Look Like In The Philippines?

Summer weather in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart. In 2024, El Niño decided to turn up the heat, sending temperatures soaring past 42°C (108°F) with a heat index (measures how hot it actually feels) of 48°C (118.4°F) in some areas.

It’s so hot that even the Department of Education threw in the towel, suspending classes in nearly 6,700 schools nationwide. That’s right—even algebra is taking a break from the swelter!

Up north in Aparri, the heat is unimaginable. On May 9th, 2024, they recorded a hellish 48°C heat index, the highest in the country. As if that wasn’t enough, the air temperature was expected to hit 35°C (95°F) the next day.

In Occidental Mindoro, they’re cranking the AC down to 14-18°C (57.2–62.6°F) just to survive. Lunch breaks? They’re strictly indoors in Dagupan, where a 47°C (116.6°F) heat index is enough to make you lose your appetite.

So yeah, summer in the Philippines is no joke. Some even joke about it and say this year’s summer is like “hell’s free trial.” But hey, at least we’ve got plenty of delicious Filipino summer foods to help us cool down!

Halo-halo might be the reigning champ, but Filipino summer isn’t just about that colorful concoction. Nope, we’ve got lots of icy wonders and tasty treats that’ll have you shouting Ang sarap! (Delicious!) instead of Ang init! (It’s so hot!) So, forget the heat for a second and take note of this delicious list of Filipino summer foods that’ll help you beat the summer heat.

1. Frozen Yogurt

Move over, ice cream! Frozen yogurt or “froyo” is the cool new kid on the block, offering a lighter and healthier way to indulge your sweet tooth. It’s made with yogurt, so it’s less sinful but still oh-so-satisfying.

Hit up White Hat, Chimmy, or Llaollao and go crazy with the toppings. Fresh fruit, granola, chocolate, mochi—the possibilities are endless, just like our summer days.

Homemade ice candies and mango slices, showcasing a popular frozen Filipino summer treat.

2. Ice Candy

These icy treats in plastic tubes are a one-way ticket back to childhood. Filipino mango, melon, coconut—the classic flavors are still the best. Feeling adventurous? Try the ube (purple yam) or cheese flavors. Just be careful not to get a brain freeze!

3. Iskrambol (Ice Scramble)

This popular street food sensation is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. Watch in awe as the vendor transforms a humble block of ice into a mountain of shaved ice, then showers it with powdered milk, colorful syrups, and a flurry of mini marshmallows.

Chocolate, strawberry, and ube are your flavor options. But the real showstopper is the vendor’s impressive scooping skills, juggling cups and flinging ice with the finesse of a seasoned performer.

4. Halo-Halo

Now, let’s talk about the star of the show, the Beyoncé of Pinoy desserts—halo-halo, which literally translates to “mix-mix” in English! It’s a mishmash of shaved ice, sweetened beans, fruits, jellies, and milk, crowned with a generous scoop of ube, leche flan, or mango ice cream.

The secret to halo-halo? Mix it all up, baby! Get those Filipino flavors mingling and swirling until it’s a creamy, dreamy, rainbow-colored concoction. This iconic Filipino dessert is in every street stall and fancy restaurant. Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for extra toppings! I always go for leche flan and nata de coco (coconut gel).

5. Mais Con Yelo (Corn With Ice)

Craving something simple yet satisfying? Mais con yelo is the answer! It’s basically corn and ice, but don’t let that fool you. Sweet corn kernels, shaved ice, evaporated milk, and sugar combine to create a refreshingly sweet and creamy treat.

Some vendors even get creative and add sago pearls or pinipig (toasted rice flakes) for extra texture. It’s a cheap and cheerful snack that’s perfect for those sweltering afternoons when you need a quick cool-down.

Ice buko, a Filipino summer dessert made with shredded young coconut meat and milk.

6. Ice Buko (Coconut Popsicle)

Have you seen those sorbeteros or ice cream peddlers roaming the streets with their colorful pushcarts? Ice buko is one of their most popular offerings. It’s a creamy, milk-based ice pop studded with shredded young coconut meat and sometimes even topped with bright red mung beans.

7. Guinomis

This sweet, chilled dessert soup is the cousin of halo-halo. It’s a creamy coconut milk broth swimming with chewy sago pearls, jiggly gulaman cubes, ripe bananas, and juicy langka (jackfruit).

Guinomis is a popular dessert in local eateries and buffets during the summer months. I personally love them because they’re not overly sweet, and the variety of textures makes them a fun and satisfying treat.

8. Banana Cue

Banana cues are the crispy, caramelized snack of your dreams. Saba bananas (a type of plantain) are coated in brown sugar and deep-fried to golden perfection, then skewered on bamboo sticks for easy eating. You’ll often find these sweet treats being sold by street vendors along busy streets or in open-air markets.

9. Inihaw Na Isda (Grilled Fish)

The smell of grilled fish wafting through the air is a sure sign that summer has arrived in the Philippines! Whether it’s inihaw na bangus (grilled milkfish) or inihaw na tilapia (grilled Peter’s fish), Filipinos know how to grill seafood (and meat!) to perfection.

Marinated in a tangy blend of calamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic, then cooked over hot coals until the skin is crispy and the meat is flaky, it’s a summertime staple that’s both delicious and satisfying. Pair it with any Filipino rice and a side of sawsawan (dipping sauce) made with vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, or just a banana ketchup, and you’ve got a legit Pinoy summer food!

10. Kinilaw

Kinilaw is a raw seafood dish that’s as refreshing as a dip in the ocean. Think fresh tanigue (mackerel), tuna, or shrimp “cooked” (without using heat) in vinegar, ginger, onions, and chili peppers. Kinilaw is often served as pulutan (food to pair with drinks).

11. Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Spring Roll)

These fresh spring rolls aren’t your dainty veggie wraps, oh no. We stuff ours with crunchy lettuce, shredded carrots, singkamas (jicama), and crisp beans.

Sometimes, we even throw some plump shrimp or tofu for extra taste. Then, we bundle it all up in a soft, crepe-like wrapper and douse it in a thick, creamy peanut sauce that’ll make you want to lick the plate clean.

Crispy turon, a Filipino summer snack with fried banana and jackfruit lumpia rolls on skewers.

12. Turon

Turon is made of ripe saba bananas and sometimes jackfruit wrapped in a delicate lumpia wrapper and deep-fried until golden brown. The result? A crispy, crunchy exterior that gives way to a soft, warm, and sweet interior. You can find turon being sold by street vendors all over the place, especially near schools.

13. Adobo

What’s a Filipino summer without adobo? This unofficial national dish of the Philippines is so beloved, we could probably eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and some of us probably do!).

Chicken or pork is slow-cooked in a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns, resulting in a savory, tangy, and utterly addictive dish that’s perfect for any occasion. You can enjoy it hot with rice or cold in a sandwich.

14. Buko Pandan Salad

Buko pandan salad is one of the most popular desserts in the Philippines, and it tastes like a tropical vacation! It’s a refreshing mix of tender young coconut, pandan-flavored gelatin, and sweetened all-purpose cream. You can also add sago pearls or nata de coco for extra texture, but I like to keep it simple and let the natural flavors shine through.

How Do You Say Filipino Summer Foods In Tagalog?

In Tagalog, you can say “Filipino summer foods” as Pagkaing Pinoy/Filipino sa tag-initPagkaing means “food,” from the root word pagkainPinoy is a colloquial term for “Filipino,” usually used informally. Sa translates to “in,” and tag-init means “summer,” combining tag, indicating time, with init, meaning “heat.” So, it literally translates to “Food Filipino in summer.” The pronunciation goes like this: pahg-kah-eeng pee-noy sah tahg-ee-nit.

Helpful Phrases To Use For Philippines Summer Foods

Now that you’re drooling over all these yummy Filipino summer foods, let’s arm you with some useful Tagalog phrases. These will come in handy when you’re battling the heat and need a quick refreshment fix.

What is this called?Ano ang tawag dito?
Where can I buy…?Saan ko mabibili ng…?
Which fruit shake do you recommend?Anong fruit shake ang mairerekomenda mo?
How do you make…?Paano gumawa ng…?
What are the ingredients in this?Ano ang mga sangkap nito?
How much does this cost?Magkano ito?
I will buy…Pabili ako ng…
I’d like some…Gusto ko ng…
Not too sweet, please.Wag masyadong matamis.
Please add more…Pakidagdagan ng…

Sure, you can use English, but why not try Tagalog (or even Taglish)? Don’t worry if your pronunciation isn’t perfect—even we Filipinos stumble over our words sometimes!

My best advice? Use apps like the Ling app to learn Tagalog language. It’s a fun and easy way to pick up the language, and before you know it, you’ll be talking with vendors, your family, and friends like you were born and raised in the Philippines.

Frequently Asked Questions On Filipino Summer Foods

What Are The Summer Fruits In The Philippines?

The summer fruits in the Philippines are melon, pinya (pineapple), and mangga (mango), which are at their peak sweetness during the summer months, while pakwan (watermelon) is perfect for quenching thirst. You can also find exotic fruits like kaimito (star apple) and santol (cotton fruit). Papaya and avocado are available year-round, adding a tropical twist to any summer day.

What Filipino Desserts Are Commonly Sold During Summer?

Halo-halo, a colorful mix of shaved ice, milk, and sweet treats, is commonly sold in the Philippines during the summer season. Mais con yelo, a simple combination of corn kernels, milk, and shaved ice, is another popular choice. Milk tea and fruit shake stands also abound during the summer months.

How To Survive Summer In The Philippines?

Stay hydrated by sipping on water throughout the day, seek shade whenever possible, and embrace the siesta (afternoon nap) culture. And, of course, indulge in delicious Filipino summer foods to cool down and recharge.

Beat The Heat With Filipino Summer Treats!

So we’ve just journeyed through Filipino summer foods, savoring icy treats and sizzling snacks. Halo-halo? Check. Kinilaw? Double check! We’ve even slurped our way through buko pandan salad and learned some Tagalog phrases.

But don’t just take my word for it. Get out there and experience Filipino cuisine yourself! Chat with the vendors, sample the exotic Philippine fruits, and try your hand at making some of these dishes at home. Summer in the Philippines is too much right now, but we can beat it by taking precautions while enjoying Filipino summer foods and having fun!

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