As the commercial goes, you're not you when you're hungry. But when you're hungry and nearly broke, well, that's way worse. So we asked our friendly Grab, Uber, and taxi drivers where are the best budget-friendly eats they know, where your P200 can take you a long, long way. Here's where they usually end up:
1) Jek's Ku-bo at Ulo-ulo
77 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City
Jek's Ku-bo is an open-air carinderia that takes pride in serving some of the best bulalo and sinigang na ulo-ulo in Quezon City. “Pinupuntahan ko 'to pag napapadpad ako sa may UP. Medyo mahal 'yung bulalo pero hindi ko naman inaaraw-araw. Saka yung buko shake nila, P30 lang,” recommends Romel, 34, a taxi driver.
2) Pares Retiro
Pares Retiro claims to serve the best pares in town, so it's a great place to visit when you're having hunger pangs. Their silogs start at P65 and hit the spot if your budget's in a bind, but if you've got a bit more cash, we recommend going for their Baby meals, which range from P140 to P170. The best part? They're open 24/7, so you can satisfy those pares cravings any time of the day.
3) Pat-Pat's Kansi House
Sampaloc cor. Kamagong Streets, San Antonio, Makati City
Tagaytay will always be the best place to eat bulalo, but when you've got no time or money for toll and gas, Pat-Pat's Kansi House is worth a visit. It's known in Iloilo for serving really good kansi—that's the Ilonggo version of bulalo—so it's an excellent place to satisfy those bone marrow cravings. “Sa Iloilo ako lumaki kaya lagi kong hinahanap-hanap ang kansi. Mas masarap pa rin 'yung Pat-Pat's sa amin pero ayos na rin dito,” says Manuel, 30.
4) Mang Larry's Isawan
M.A. Guerrero Street, UP Arcade, UP Diliman, Quezon City/Grub Hub Food Park, 47 Visayas Corner Congressional Avenue, Tandang Sora, Quezon City
Peole willingly queue for a taste of Mang Larry's isaw, which has kept students in the Katipunan area well-fed for several years. We love how the food here has remained consistent through the years: each skewer is still as flavorful and as affordable as it was in our college days, at just P5 to 15 per stick. Really, we can't think of a better place to satisfy your isaw cravings than here.
5) Crisgard Fastfood
5-A Bartville Subdivision, Dela Paz, Pasig City
Sometimes, you just can't help but long for good old lutong bahay. Enter Crisgard Fastfood, a no-frills, cheap carinderia in the heart of Pasig City. “Sarap ng lechon kawali nila,” attests Arcie, 29, a Grab driver. “Madami laging tao dito 'pag tanghali kaya dapat alanganing oras ka pumupunta dito.”
Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila
This Binondo food haunt isn't exactly the most appealing: It's a seedy-looking place located right beside one of the dirtiest kanals you'll ever see (and smell) in your life. But if you can handle the stench, it's really worth a visit. Small portions of the ulam served by the concessionaires there range from P120 to P140, and it's good for at least two people. We recommend getting the frog legs: Pair it with rice, and you're more than good to go.
If your workplace is in Makati, a map of the city's famous Jollijeeps would definitely come in handy. Carlos, a 25-year-old graphic designer working in Makati, says: “I like the porkchop from the Jollijeep along Palanca Street, near Dela Rosa.” Looking for something more sinful? “Yung Jollijeep sa Rada, ilang taon ko nang pinupuntahan. Hindi nagbabago 'yung lasa [ng sisig],” says Angelo, a taxi driver.
8) Lugawan sa Tejeros
1066 Chino Roces Ave., Brgy. Tejeros, Makati City
There are few things as soothing as a steaming bowl of lugaw on a drizzly day, and Lugawan sa Tejeros serves some of the best bowls you'll ever find in the Metro. Their secret? They use crunchy lechon kawali instead of the usual boiled chicken bits, making their congee extra sinful (and totally worth going out of your way for). And at only P40 with egg, you'll feel no guilt when you order a second bowl.