6 Best Delicacies in Tagaytay to Level Up Your Staycation Ante in A Matter of Bites

Tagaytay is a popular vacation spot in the Highlands, just an hour from Manila. It is known for its cooler weather, beautiful views, and wide range of dining choices. It is easy to see why Tagaytay gets so many people on the weekends: the views of the beautiful Taal Lake and Volcano are stunning.

6 Best Delicacies in Tagaytay

But aside from the views and cooler weather afforded by the elevation, Tagaytay has also developed an intriguing food scene. Numerous restaurants, food shops, cafes and farms line the ridge overlooking Taal, tempting visitors with delicious offerings of popular regional fare. From piping hot bowls of bulalo beef bone marrow soup to freshly fried tawilis fish and creamy mounds of kesong puti cheese, Tagaytay serves comfort food at its finest.

In this blog, I cover 5 must-try delicacies and dishes you shouldn’t miss sampling when in Tagaytay. It’s simply hard to resist the mouthwatering draw of these regional specialties – made better when paired with the iconic views of Taal Lake and Volcano in the distance. The food not only warms and fills the belly, but the soul as well. So read on to discover the top comfort foods Tagaytay has to offer, with spectacular vistas to match!

1. Bulalo

Best Delicacies in Tagaytay - Bulalo
bulalo” by mobile247 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Known as the star of Tagaytay’s hearty dishes, bulalo immediately warms from head to toe. This nourishing beef bone marrow soup features shanks or leg bones slowly boiled for hours to extract the coveted collagenous marrow. The result is an indulgent and meaty soup layered with depth.

Every spoonful encompasses a melting pot of flavors. Chunks of succulent beef and marrow infuse the broth with lip-smacking savoriness. Corn kernels and sliced cabbage provide hints of sweetness and a pleasant crunch, while spring onions round it all out with biting freshness. The soul-hugging richness reaches its peak when you scoop out the bone marrow, and it proceeds to melt decadently on your palate. For the ultimate Tagaytay food experience, pairing scenic vistas with local flavors, Bulalo delivers on all fronts.  

Best Place To Get Bulalo: Leslie’s Restaurant

Known for serving up piping hot bulalo in enormous portions, Leslie’s accepts the challenge of hungry crowds with quality and consistency. Their flavorful bulalo makes the perfect meal with scenic views.

2. Tawilis

FRIED TAWILIS” by LReformado is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Unique to Taal Lake and its surroundings lies tawilis – a fascinating species of fish turned into an iconic regional delicacy. Resembling freshwater sardines, these silverfish get caught directly from Taal Lake daily. Their flaky and savory meat makes the perfect canvas for frying.

Tawilis reaches its peak when dredged in a light batter or breadcrumbs and then deep fried to golden perfection. A sweet and sour dipping sauce made from vinegar, onions, and peppers perfectly cuts through the crispy exterior to the delicate flesh within. Every bite encompasses a medley of contrasting textures and flavors that captures the essence of Tagaytay’s singular food scene.

Best Place to Get Tawilis: Tower Ground Bulalohan

Perched on cliffsides overlooking Taal Lake, tower Ground Bulalohan hand catches tawilis daily to serve up their scenic and elevated views.

3. Tsokolate

Tagaytay – Nurture Spa Suman at Tsokolate” by Yvette Tan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When the cool Tagaytay air starts giving you chills, there’s nothing better than wrapping your palms around a steaming mug of thick, decadent native Filipino hot chocolate, or tsokolate. Made from pure tablea or chocolate tablets dissolved in hot, frothing milk and then topped with marshmallows, every layer spells indulgence.

Tsokolate first captivates with aromas of warm, dark chocolate with hints of malt. Your first sip coats your tongue with luxuriously velvety chocolate, blending sublimely with creamy milk. The marshmallows lend pops of sweetness while allowing glimpses of cacao flavors from the melted tablea below. Few experiences can compare to having a leisurely drink by the cliffs overlooking Taal Lake in Tagaytay.

Best Place: Tsokolateria

Located right in Tagaytay, Tsokolateria uses high quality tablea chocolate and has mastered the art of perfect frothy hot chocolate. Relax at their cafe while sipping creamy mugfuls overlooking Taal.

4. Suman

suman” by nccaofficial is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

No gastronomic trip to Tagaytay reaches completion without grabbing suman – the quintessential Filipino sticky rice cake. Suman encapsulates the comforting flavors of coconut and banana leaves infused into velvety rice paste, then steamed. Unwrapping one is an aromatic experience in itself.

Within the banana leaf wrapping lies a soft and tender coconut-laced sticky rice cake. The flavors of coconut milk and sugar harmonize, while the contours make for easily bite-sized pieces. Toppings like latik or shredded coconut add even more contrasting textures. Suman’s portability also makes it the ideal quick snack while taking in Tagaytay’s iconic scenery. Enjoying the breeze while unwrapping suman, piece by piece, epitomizes what this beloved destination is all about.  

Best Place To Get Suman: Rowena’s

A sought-after specialty shop for suman stuffed with a bevy of homemade fillings like ube as well as classically wrapped ones.

5. Kesong Puti

Keso Puti
File:Kesong puti.jpg” by Shubert Ciencia from Nueva Ecija, Philippines is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Any dairy lover needs to wrap up their foodie adventures in Tagaytay by grabbing blocks of velvety kesong puti or fresh white cheese. Kesong puti, made every day from carabao milk, has a distinctively smooth and creamy mouthfeel with pleasantly salty undertones. 

Though delightful on its own, kesong puti also pairs sublimely with local breads. The saltiness beautifully cuts through sweet ensaymada doughnuts while contrasting pleasantly with soft pandesal rolls. But you’ll find just as much joy in enjoying kesong puti solo, where luscious texture takes center stage. Pick up a few blocks from the many cheese shops as the quintessential edible souvenir from the Highlands. 

Best Place To Get Kesong Puti: Mr. Moo’s – Tagaytay

Known for artisanal dairy products, Mr. Moo’s creates kesong puti daily with various flavors like herbed and pepper. Their signature branch in Tagaytay serves up their cheese in meal creations.

6. Buko Tart

Buko Tart
Coconut custard tarts” by Ced is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Last but certainly not least, no trip to Tagaytay reaches satisfactory levels without biting into an oversized buko tart. These pastries encapsulate crisp, flaky shells embracing a sweet coconut filling for the perfect afternoon snack.

The base features a pie crust that strikes the ideal delicate balance between buttery and crunchy. Nestled within lies silky buko shredded coconut, swimming in sweetened condensed milk and eggs for a jiggly, almost jelly-like texture. Each flavorsome layer complements the next beautifully. And with some tarts easily the size of your hand, cutting open one of these makes for an instantly shareable and iconic Tagaytay experience.

Best Place: Cecilia’s Buco Pie, Tarts and Pasalubong

A homegrown shop famed for their signatute enormous buko pies with flaky crusts and generous buko coconut fillings since 1990. Their classic and creative flavors are must-tries.

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