10 Must-Try Merienda Spots

Can't go without a snack in between meals? SPOT.ph tells you where to get your quick mini-meal fix.

To say that Pinoys love food and eating is an understatement, and merienda or a light afternoon snack, is often a part of every Filipino’s day. Unlike in Spain, where it’s strictly a mid-afternoon mini-meal, the Pinoy merienda is a snack taken in between meals. The late Doreen Fernandez, food writer, critic and historian on Philippine cuisine in her book Palayok, describes merienda as "pangtawid-gutom, literally ’something to bridge hungers.’"

From classic kakanin choices to the well-loved pancit, SPOT.ph offers options on where to get satisfying Pinoy mini-meals that are sure to tide you over until the next big meal:

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1. Adarna Food & Culture
Address: 119 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City. Tel. No. 926-8712
Perfect pit stop for:
Pancit 1913 and the Kesong Puti and Langka Fry

Step inside Adarna Food & Culture and enjoy Pinoy merienda amidst the Filipino memorabilia strewn around the resto. Our picks: Pancit 1913 (P295), a hefty serving of tasty pancit that’s good for two; and the Kesong Puti and Langka Fry (P95), four pieces of carabao cheese and langka fried in a crisp wrapper, marrying sweet and salty flavors, topped with mango cream sauce.

2. Barrio Fiesta
Perfect pit stop for: Eat-all-you-can merienda for P110

For P110, you can make as many trips to Barrio Fiesta’s merienda buffet spread from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. But don’t expect anything grand, it is merienda, after all. Take your pick from Pinoy favorites such as goto, tokwa’t baboy, pancit, puto and dinuguan and various kinds of kakanin, and get your fill post-lunch and pre-dinner. Our tip: get only what you’re craving for and save space in your tummy for dinner.

3. Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna Pampanga
Address: G/F, Health Cube Building, 226 Wilson Street, San Juan City. Tel. No. 385-0387
Perfect pit stop for: Ensaymada, Lumpiang Sariwa, and artisan baked products from La Moderna Bakery of Pampanga

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If you’ve ever visited the La Moderna Bakery in Pampanga and loved the pastries and the food, head on over to Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna Pampanga in Greenhills for a mid-afternoon snack. Feast on a plateful of dinuguan (P85) or pancit (P85), treat your sweet cravings with fluffy ensaymadas, or go healthy with their lumpiang sariwa (P95). Don’t forget to bring home a bag of artisan baked products like empanaditas (P15/ piece, P140 for a pack of 10) and sans rival (P25/ piece) to bring home.

4. C2 Classic Cuisine
Perfect pit stop for: Guinataang Halo-Halo, Suman at Langka Dip, Pancit Malabon, Tokwa’t Baboy, and La Paz Batchoy

If classic Pinoy merienda is on your agenda, C2 Classic Cuisine should always be on your go-to list. Their afternoon assortment includes kakanin favorites Suman at Langka Dip, comforting La Paz Batchoy and filling Pancit Malabon.

An added incentive: You can enjoy discounts with C2’s Meriendathon Afternoons promo up to May 31 and pay only P150 for eat-all-you can merienda with three choices or P195 for eat-all-you can merienda with seven choices.

5. Café Adriatico
Address: 2/F SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Tel. No. 556-0608; M. Adriatico Street, Remedios Circle, Malate , Manila. Tel. No. 738-8220
Perfect pit stop for: Pancit Palabok, Suman sa Lihiya at Salabat, Arroz Caldo with Tokwa at Baboy, Ensaymada with Chocolate Eh!

The original Café Adriatico in Malate is an antique store-turned café at the center of Bohemian Malate and was a popular meeting place or people-watching joint in its early days. Now with a branch in SM Mall of Asia, Café Adriatico still serves Pinoy favorites and their merienda fare served from 2 p.m.to 5 p.m. is as popular as the main entrees: Pancit Palabok (P195), Suman sa Lihiya at Salabat (P105), Arroz Caldo with Tokwa at Baboy (P140), Diniguan at Puto (P160) and Ensaymada with Chocolate Eh! (P160).

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6. Café Via Mare
Perfect pit stop for: Bibingka, Puto Bumbong, Palitaw, and Pancit Luglog

Sure, oysters take the spotlight at Café Via Mare but if you’re coming in for a midday snack, your best bets are the traditional Pinoy merienda fare: Bibingka (P115), Puto Bumbong (P65), Palitaw (P42), plus Pancit Luglog (P195), all effortlessly satisfying afternoon snacks at Via Mare.

7. Mangan
Perfect pit stop for: Puto Bumbong, Okoy and Pancit Luglog

Puto Bumbong (P90), Okoy (P73), and Pancit Luglog (P112) all share space on Mangan’s merienda menu. Mangan, a Kapampangan term which means "to eat’ in Filipino, serves home-cooked dishes in simple yet sophisticated interiors. Work up your appetite for more of their afternoon snack favorites: Arrozcaldo Espesyal (P85) and Lumpiang Gulay (P62).

8. Max’s Restaurant
Perfect pit stop for: Seafood Lomi, Batchoy, Bam-i

Chicken is not all that you can order at Max’s, where they serve new items like Seafood Lomi (P102 ), Batchoy (P72) and Bam-i (P92, a mix of thick and thin noodles with native chicken longganisa and shrimps thrown in with fresh cabbage, wood ear mushroom and minced spring onions), for merienda. Other mid-afternoon merienda choices at Max’s: Pancit Luglog (solo serving at P87), Arroz Caldo (P87), and Tofu con Lechon (P66).

9. Milkyway Cafe
Address:
2nd Floor 900 Pasay Road corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. Tel. No. 843-4124/
843-7124
Perfect pit stop for: Pancit Luglog, Lumpiang Ubod, and Halo-Halo

With a 40-year history in serving good Pinoy food, you can’t go wrong with Milky Way Café. Take your pick from their Cafe Luglog (P178), Dinuguan at Puto (P178), or the simple yet big crowd-pleaser Halo-Halo (P95) or better yet, take home a tub of their ube, avocado and cheese-flavored ice cream, velvety, flavorful ice-cream in your favorite Pinoy flavors.

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10. Razon’s
Perfect pit stop for: Pancit Luglog and Halo-Halo

Razon’s may be popular for it’s halo-halo, with its simple medley of bananas, leche flan and macapuno with shaved ice and milk, but their Pancit Luglog (P85) is also a reason to hit this famous joint with Kapampangan roots. With a thick, achuete-colored sauce and strong seafood flavors from the shrimp topped with slices of egg, the pancit and a serving of halo-halo make one of the best merienda combos.

Photographs from Adarna, Butchie’s, Charles Haynes (Cafe Adriatico), madaboutfood (Mangan), Shubert Ciencia (Razon’s), C2 Classic Cuisine, Max’s Restaurant, Milkyway Cafe.

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