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 the sisig (a Kapampangan dish made from parts of pig head and chicken liver) and crisp palabok (a Filipino stir-fried seafood and noodle dish) at Manam. The menu is divided into Filipino classics and classics with a twist. It’s a great place for first-time visitors who want to experience and eat 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 (helmed by Chele Gonzalez) have both done excellent jobs 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 Filipino ingredients.

Manila’s Best Japanese Food

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

A ‘Must Try’ Dish

Go to Lusso by Margarita Forés and eat the demi-pound burger with foie gras. That’s all you need to know.

A Fusion Of Spanish And Filipino Flavours

Terry’s offers great classic Spanish dishes – I like the angulas al ajillo: baby eels with garlic – with an abundance of Spanish wine (Terry’s imports its own wine). It 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.

Guide Last Updated March 2020

Our guides are fact-checked and updated regularly. Read more here.

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