Talipapa: Boracay's Wet Market

Boracay //
Talipapa: Boracay's Wet Market

Boracay Food Trip

While the extremely popular destination of Boracay can indeed be a world-class luxury travel getaway, not everyone has the budget, or the desire, to experience this amazing island in this way.

A growing number of people travel to Boracay from all over the world in order to catch some of the local flavors, but without many restaurants on the island that focus purely on Filipino Cuisine, it can be frustrating to find traditional adobo and even seafood... at a reasonable price.

Tourists WILL be able to find an abundance of recognizable Pinoy restaurant brands on the island such as:
*Jollibee (the iconic Filipino fast food giant)
*Andoks (delicious barbecued and fried foods, mostly chicken)
*Mang Inasal (barbecue chicken and traditional fast Filipino foods)
*Yellow Cab (a pizza chain from the owners of Max’s)
*Army Navy (Tagaytay City based burger and burrito chain)

Additionally, some large internationally owned fast food chains are present on Boracay as well:
*Tom and Toms (a South Korean based coffee house)
*Johnny Rockets (American malt shop themed burger chain)
*Shakey’s (American pizza restaurant)
*Also, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, McDo/ McDonald’s, and more!

Street Food over Fast Food

It Is not for everyone, but many pinoy travelers will prefer eating locally sold pork barbecue skewers or (maybe) even isaw (grilled chicken intestines, also on a stick) over Jollibee for any meal, on any day.

Fast food is the same, by principal, everywhere on earth. It is cheap, it is easy, it is for the masses; but it is also heavily processed and prepared in a warehouse far away from where its cooked. Or perhaps even just warmed up, to be served to you because it was prepared much earlier in the day.

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Street food on the other hand, is the opposite of fast food.

It is locally sourced, prepared, and cooked right in front of you. You can actually make a determination on the cleanliness of it by watching the cook. There are no secrets there! Though aside from maybe the lack of running water, being served clean food is rarely a concern about street vendors in Boracay because they want you to come back. They don't want you to get sick. They want to keep a good reputation and sell out their stock of food every day and every night. In many ways, they have far more of a reputation to upkeep than the big chains because sales numbers are life and death for a street food vendor.

When interacting with street vendors, be kind, ask questions, and maybe even ask for a sample! These local street food vendors in Boracay are typically very kind and welcoming. Remember that they want to sell to you and they will often work hard to earn your business.

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Not in a rush? Have a seat!

As mentioned above, its clear to see that Boracay is covered in an abundance of fast food and street options, but this gorgeous gem of an island is also full with formal ‘sit and dine’ restaurants as well.

In fact, there are endless options of unique non-chain eateries to try like Spider House, or Smoke Restaurant, which has locations in D*Mall and in Bulabog Beach. Each of these restos have some traditional Filipino cuisine options.

Mamitas in Station One has some amazing outdoor seating, and Sunnyside cafe has one of the more well-reviewed breakfasts on the island, but a host of smaller shops along the beach in station two will have a selection of inexpensive silogs (traditional Filipino platters that include rice, egg, and a protein) all day long.

A Unique Seafood Meal Prepared for You

An alternative to street food, fast food, or sit and dine restaurants is Boracay’s the local wet market or (formally named) D*Talipapa.

This pasalubong (souvenir) shopping and (sea) foodie haven is located in between Station One and Station Two. Start by telling a tricycle driver to take you to D*Talipapa, that’s the simplest way to find it. Just wander back as all paths lead to the wet market. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it is not really as large as it appears, albeit a bit maze-like.

Yes, these narrow walking paths are lined with shops and stalls of souvenir vendors, informal restaurants, and miscellaneous shops, but the heart of D*Talipapa is the wet market located right in the center of it all.

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You are going to be able to find things like dried fish, a limited amount of produce (more is available in the oldest phase of DMALL), and an abundance of fresh seafood, much of it still alive in tanks when you order. From the mild to the exotic: sea urchin to prawns the size of lobsters, you will be able to find something for all seafood lovers here at DTalipapa.

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While the prices here will not blow you away like the sea scallops for 1 peso each in Islas de Gigantes, prices are significantly less expensive at D*Talipapa than what you will find on the beach, or at any of the restaurants at the resorts.

As always, negotiation is expected, so those who are more skilled at the art of bargaining will eat for less. It is the way of the world. The best haggling advice received from locals and experienced travelers is to cut the initial offering in half, and work your way up from there!

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With fresh seafood in hand, you can now locate one of the restaurants situated along the wet market that offer to cook up your fresh catch (for a fee) and serve it with rice and side dishes of their own.

Fair Warning: Talipapa Wet Market is not open late, so this is not a great place to find late night food, but rather a lunchtime, or mid afternoon meal. Just keep in mind that quantities are limited and the food is fresher earlier in the day!

Bon appetit!

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