Cebu City Food Crawl for Beginners

If the only thing that you know about Cebu City’s culinary heritage is the lechon, you’re in for a delicious surprise. The Philippines’ second largest metropolitan area is home to some of the best dining destinations in the country. In fact, the city was even featured in an episode of the Netflix documentary series “Street Food.” As such, it’s perfectly understandable if you hopped in an airplane to Cebu just for a food crawl experience. Here are a few must-try food stops for when you visit this this popular Visayan destination for the first time.

Sugbo Mercado at the IT Park

Start your food crawl with a bang by booking a room at one of the hotels in Lahug Cebu City. After you’ve had your post-plane ride beauty rest, head over to the Sugbo Mercado for a very long and sumptuous dinner.

Touted as Cebu’s largest weekend food market, Sugbo Mercado takes place at the Cebu IT Park every week from Thursday to Sunday. It opens at 5AM and closes at 2AM the following morning. The number of food stalls here may vary, but rest assured that your taste buds won’t run out of options.

Stalls at Sugbo Mercado offers everything from traditional Cebuano specialties and Asian options to western dishes and fusion cuisines. Aside from serving typical fare, the market often features experimental dishes and new food concepts that you can’t find anywhere else. Indeed, Sugbo Mercado has become quite a testing ground for food stall owners to see what new dishes would work for the Filipino palate.

Larsian sa Fuente

Larsian is Cebu’s first street food and barbecue hub. No Cebu food crawl will be complete without you gorging on mysterious meats on sticks and coming out of Larsian smelling like the smoked barbecue you just ate.

While the newly renovated Larsian now comes with a proper roof, clean tables, and more organized vendors, the old charm of the place still remains. When going in, be prepared to get verbally persuaded by different vendors to try their grilled specialties. As many of the stalls serve almost the same meats-on-a-stick options such as pork BBQ, chicken innards, and seafood, the competition for customers is quite fierce.

Dimsum Break

When Cebuanos are craving Chinese dimsum, Dimsum Break is the place to go. While the typical hakao, siomai, steamed rice, and more are served in Dimsum Break, the taste and quality of the food here is far from the regular Chinese fast food everyone is used to. In fact, their offerings are comparable to those served by more high-end Chinese restaurants, but at more affordable prices.

Dimsum Break branches are found everywhere in Cebu City. Unfortunately, their attempt at expanding to other parts of the country didn’t pan out, so whenever you are in Cebu City, this is a must-do food stop.

Carcar Lechon

It’s almost a crime to not eat lechon while in Cebu City. As the lechon capital of the Philippines, the city has a dizzying array of restaurants specializing in this roasted porky goodness. However, if you want the whole authentic experience of picking out your slice of lechon among a market full of vendors, the place to go is Carcar public market.

While most of the customers here take their lechon home, you can actually dine in and eat your chosen portion of lechon in the nearby “carenderia” (eatery). There, you can enjoy this classic Cebuano delicacy with a side of traditional “puso” or steamed rice in a coconut leaf pouch.

Sunburst Chicken

Before Cebu City was taken over by more globally recognizable fast food chains, it already had Sunburst Chicken. It’s one of their most beloved restaurants that stood the test of time. The restaurant is worth a visit since there are no branches outside of Cebu City.

The specialty of the house may seem simple—fried chicken—but the taste is distinctly Cebuano. On the side of every chicken are rice, coleslaw, and sweet potato fries with banana ketchup for condiment. It might sound a little strange, but the combination has worked since 1971.

These 5 food stops are just some of the essentials for a proper Cebu City food crawl. With the endless food options in the city, it would probably take a lifetime to taste them all. And that’s not a bad thing at all—just another reason to keep coming back to the Queen City of the South.

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