TOP 10 Tips for Vegatarians/Pescetarians traveling to The Philippines

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Traveling in a country where most of the people are meat-eaters can pose challenges for vegetarians or pescetarians. Filipinos are carnivores or heavy meat-eaters. Many Filipino dishes has meat, even their vegetable dishes contain a bit of meat. The scene is changing today as some Filipinos are trying to eat healthier or either being socially conscious of animal rights.

Here are some tips if you are a vegetarian traveling in the Philippines.
  1. Fast food chains and restaurants have now vegetarian/pescetarian options. You will more likely to find a wide variety of vegetarian friendly dishes in Chinese restaurants.

    Here is a list of local and western fast food chains in the Philippines

    • Jollibee - Yes, the Philippines is perhaps the only country in this world that McDonald's is not the No.1 fast food chain. Not vegetarian/pescetarian friendly. Once in a while there would be seasonal vegatarian friendly menu but they only last for a couple of months.
    • McDonalds - Salad is not a staple menu in the local McDonalds outlets.
    • Wendy's - A good selection of salads, fish and shrimp sandwiches. Some branches have salad bars.
    • KFC - Everything has chicken. LOL.
    • Chowking - A Chinese fast food restaurant owned by Jollibee. Has a few selection of seafood dishes. They have choices for some vegan friendly meals like tofu, stir-fried kangkong and other vegetables.
    • Kenny Roger's Roaster - Wide selection of dishes, salads and sandwiches.
    • Cabalen Buffet Restaurant - not a fast food chain but a local restaurant that offers buffet all day. Average cost is 300-400 pesos. Lots of local vegetarian cuisine options. Commonly found in major malls within the city of Metro Manila.


  2. Fruits & vegetables can be easily found in local markets. Be delighted by the wide range of fresh and delicious tropical fruits like mango, avocado, lanzones, durian etc.

  3. If you prefer to cook your food, you will be able to find meat substitutes from the following stores/markets: ( It is best to call them and check if they deliver within Metro Manila)


  4. You can go to a restaurant and request if the meat ingredients could be left out. Most restaurants would happily comply with your request.

  5. The higher you go up when traveling in the mountainous regions of the Philippines (e.g. Cordillera region) the less fish based dishes there will be and more meat-based food will be available. For the Cordillera region, you will be delighted to know that they are the largest producers of vegetables in the country, so expect an abundance of fresh vegetables.

  6. If you prefer to travel the off-the-beaten bath it's recommended to bring your own food. A loaf of bread and a bottle of fruit jam would let you survive in a day.

  7. Find local vegetarians and ask for more recent restaurants and tips, by posting in popular Philippine forums like: http://www.istorya.net and http://www.pinoyexchange.com

  8. Thank god for tofu. Tofu is widely available in many groceries, restaurants and small eateries.

  9. When being offered food that has meat, graciously decline. Say thank you for the kindness and explain that you don't eat meat. This is not being impolite, in fact your host will most likely cook something vegetarian for you ;)

  10. Some helpful links for vegan friendly restaurants:

    • http://www.happycow.net/
    • http://www.clickthecity.com/

5 comments:

Tifa said...

It's all about fruits and vegetables although I'm not a vegetarian. Anyway, Philippines do really have a lot of several variety of fruits which makes it attractive for tourist.

Anonymous said...

It's tough to be a vegetarian tourist in the Philippines. I keep explaining that I'm not a rabbit - I need protein, too. My happy find: Lemurian Guesthouse in Manila. I'll never stay anywhere else again! Incredible pastas, curries, and sandwiches emanate from that kitchen. And if I want to try a "veganized" Filipino dish all I have to do is ask.

Anonymous said...

It's tough to be a vegetarian tourist in the Philippines. I keep explaining that I'm not a rabbit - I need protein, too. My happy find: Lemurian Guesthouse in Manila. I'll never stay anywhere else again! Incredible pastas, curries, and sandwiches emanate from that kitchen. And if I want to try a "veganized" Filipino dish all I have to do is ask.

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