Cebu - Food Scene

Eco-travellers never fail to search for the authentic local cuisine or fresh food produce when they travel. Destinations and communities are deeply linked to the their food culture and this is manifested in the local markets, food stalls, supermarkets and even roadside stalls.
Exploring and tasting the flavours of local food develops memorable experiences of the place and people. Cebu, being the oldest city in Philippines welcomes you  to their food traditions and culinary culture. Your food adventure starts with food courts and restaurants in shopping malls and food hubs  in and around Cebu City - Ayala Centre, SM Mall, Crossroads, Cebu IT Park  and remember - It's more fun in the Philippines! 



Cebuanos (this is what Cebu native residents are called) love buffets. This is a favourite family activity during weekends. Many hotels and restaurants offer buffets and many would offer discounts up to 50% during weekends. it is great value for money as you get to have a taste of Filipino cuisine and Cebuano favourites including lechon (roasts), mangoes and danggit (dried fish).  Feria at Radisson Blu Hotel and The Port Buffet Restaurant at the Ground level of Waterfront Hotel Cebu are 2 popular places to join the locals.


Filipino cuisine

The best place to try authentic Filipino and Cebuano cuisine is at the Golden Cowrie Native Restaurant ( at Salinas Drive, Lahug which is walking distance from Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. They can also be found at Mactan Marina Mall, Robinsons, SM City Cebu and Ayala Terraces, Cebu City.



It would be a waste if you did not try the seafood when you are in Cebu. Paolito's Seafood House at Orchid Street is by far the most popular with its rustic homely decor and excellent food. Grilled tuna belly, grilled tuna jaw and baked scallops are favourites here. Other must try restaurants include Sutukil near Lapu Lapu shrine in Mactan and 1 Parr't Ebelle, opposite SM Mall, Cebu City.


Muslim Food

The most popular Halal-certified restaurant for halal food is the Persian Palate at Ayala Center, Mango Square, near Capitol Building and Robinsons. You can also find halal food at Persian Kebab Tandoori at Cebu I.T. Park. The certificate is cited at

888 Asian Gourmet Food & Restaurant Lounge (835 Andres Abellana Street, Cebu City and near to the Canadian Consulate) is another Halal Certified Restaurant which serves a wide variety of asian halal cuisine, fast food and snacks, tea and drinks. For more Muslim restaurants, click here.

Experience ...

Street Food

Street food is all about BBQ, grills and "hanging rice" where you can find at  the vibrant Larsian sa Fuente, near the Chong Hua Hospital.


Scrumptious fresh seafood, usually grilled or baked, can be found in Cebu City and Mactan, the stretch of road along Moevenpick Hotel

Sweet Delicacies

The best of the best includes - Shamrock Otap, Mandaue Bibingka, Carcar Ampao, Mandaue Masareal and Cebu Dried Mango. Don't miss the Spanish influenced Leche Flan and Maja Blanca.

Cebuano Specialities

Danggit (dried salted rabbit fish), Lanciao or Soup No.5 (bull genitals stew), Beef Balbacua (beef skin stew), Kurakol or Takyong (stir fried snails) , Chicharon (crispy pork skin)

Top Picks

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    One would have think that the food scene in Cebu would be swamped by seafood restaurants or anything edible from the sea. Surprisingly it is not ! Cebuanos love their lechon (roasts), particularly lechon baboy (roast pork) and lechon manok (roast chicken) and you will find lechon literally everywhere. The competition to be labelled as the "best in town" is narrowed down to just two deserving contenders - CnT and Zubuchon. Just head over to anyone of these food haunts - I.T. Park (next to Waterfront Cebu City Hotel), Ayala Centre (walking distance from Waterfront Cebu City Hotel) or SM Mall (next to Radisson Hotel). However true lechon lovers will go all the way to Carcar (40km south of Cebu City), where freshly roasted lechons sold at the public market are deemed the very best in Philippines.

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    Cebu Mangoes

    Cebu mangoes are something to die for when you are in Cebu. Succulent, aromatic, juicy sweet and velvety without any fibres. To excite your palate, there is sticky rice with mango, mango juice, mango shake, mango salad, mango ice-cream, mango sushi crepe, mango infused tea, mango cake, mango float, mango tarts but nothing beats dried mango which gives this city the name "Dried Mango Capital" in Philippines. This is also the most popular Cebu souvenir to take home for family and friends.

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    Otap is a highly popular oval-shaped flaky puff pastry that was originated in Cebu.  It usually consists of a combination of flour, shortening, coconut, and sugar. There are many otap makers in Cebu City, but the most famous are Shamrock, La Fortuna and Masterline. Don't forget to grab a few packs as souvenirs before you leave Cebu.


Try this dish which can only be found in Cebu. Steamed fried rice! Cebu's steamed fried rice is day-old cooked rice, fried, then topped with chunks of pork, tiny bits of shrimp, and peas, swimming in a savory, earthy sauce, reminiscent of oyster sauce, but not as salty. Popularized by Ding Qua Qua, Dimsum Break and Harbour City, go over and try!
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Personal favourites for buffets in Cebu are Marriot Hotel (great seafood spead), Marco Polo (truly international), Tara's Cafe at IT Park (good Filipino selection), Gustavian in Ayala Mall (good meat choices and value for money) and Radisson Blu (weekend 50% discounts).
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