Cheryl Tiu

Based between Miami and Manila, journalist Cheryl Tiu dedicates her life to sharing and celebrating the pleasures of good eating and drinking. She’s a Tastehunter for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and World’s 50 Best Bars, has done TV work for Fox Life Asia, Mediacorp and CNN International, and wrote the Wallpaper City Guide for Manila. For The Local Tongue, she shares her tips for the Filipino capital.
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A Great Introduction to Filipino Cuisine

I love sisig, a Kapampangan dish traditionally made with pork, but these days, they also make it with bangus (milkfish), or a vegetarian version with tofu or mushrooms. It’s a specialty at Manam along with the crispy palabok, a Filipino seafood stir-fry with noodles. The menu at Manam is divided into pure Filipino classics and classics with a twist. It’s a great place for first-time visitors who want to experience Filipino food in Manila, but is also loved by locals who want to get their Filipino food fix.

A Taste Journey Of The Country’s Culinary Culture

Fine-dining restaurants Toyo Eatery, helmed by Jordy Navarra, and Gallery by Chele by Chele Gonzalez, have both done an excellent job of elevating Filipino cuisine. Their tasting menus are compendiums of their respective journeys around the provinces of the Philippines, weaving together the country’s history through the use of local ingredients and the stories behind each dish. At 10-seat restaurant HELM, Josh Boutwood’s multi-course chef’s counter is technique-driven, and while his cuisine is not Filipino, his menu is a fantastic way to taste and experience the best of Filipino ingredients.

Rising Talent

Hapag, Metiz and Linamnam by chef Don Baldosano offer exciting, progressive Filipino tasting menus by young and talented teams that embrace the country’s culture and produce.

Western-Leaning Tasting Menus

Metronome and Tiago’s both offer European-leaning tasting menus with inflections of Filipino culture and ingredients. 

Manila’s Best Japanese Food

Tsukiji is a restaurant that’s been around for decades, and for a good reason: it offers some of the plumpest, freshest Japanese food in the country, using high-quality ingredients. Its chirashi don (raw seafood on sushi rice) is a staple. At hip restaurant Mecha Uma, Bruce Rickets freestyles his tasting menus so well. His dishes are Japanese-inspired, sometimes with a Mexican touch, but always packed with flavour.

Modern Thai Cuisine

People’s Palace is hands down the best Thai restaurant in Manila and features a trendy, modern environment. 

Satisfy Your Dim Sum Cravings

For delicious Cantonese dishes and your dim sum fix, go to Hai Shin Lou. The complimentary wonton chips to start are addictive.

Must Try Dishes

Lusso by Margarita Fores offers elevated comfort food. Think lasagna with lobster and river prawns, and demi-pound burger served with foie gras for the meat loving crowd.

A Fusion Of Spanish And Filipino Flavours

Terry’s offers great classic Spanish dishes. I like the angulas al ajillo (baby eels with garlic) paired with an abundance of Spanish wine. Terry’s imports its own wine and also has a deli where you can buy Spanish goodies to take home.

The Cocktail Curator

For the best cocktails in Manila, go to The Curator Coffee & Cocktails.

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