On the trail of the quail: Kwek-Kwek

While Filipino street food may not have the glamour or popularity of Thailand’s street food, there was still one little snack that I couldn’t get enough of!


Kwek-Kwek are very similar to a snack called Tokneneng, which are actually the same apart from the eggs used to make them. Whereas Tokneneng are made from chicken eggs, kwek-kwek are made exclusively from quail eggs, and despite not knowing if I even liked quail eggs, I really had to try them – and this became even more so when I realised that they were actually quite rare! All over Manila, you can find street food and skewers of everything from pig’s ears to fish balls, but the trail of the quail led to more than a few dead ends…


Admittedly, I didn’t spend too long in Manila, but around the city I found that the best kwek-kwek was to be found around the Intramuros area (undoubtedly the best area for Filipino street food that I know of) and outside the borders of Rizal Park. I even was fortunate enough to try kwek-kwek in a café in the Edsa district. Having had bad experiences seeing another kind of “egg” that is apparently popular in the Philippines called Balut (this is raw duck embryo still eaten inside the shell), I needed something nicer to restore my faith in Filipino cuisine. Kwek-Kwek is just the tonic! Apart from tasting delightful with seaweed and salad and a can of Coke (or a bottle of San Miguel, if you prefer), I just like the way they are made, whereby the hard-boiled eggs are deep-fried in batter and then left simmering in the fat until you buy them!


I was always happy to enjoy kwek-kwek, although I didn’t try the duck egg variation. Street food in the Philippines can be a bit hit and miss I find, especially when compared to Thailand or Indonesia, but nevertheless, I was ‘kwek’ to enjoy these battered quail eggs, and would gladly eat more if I had the chance! Next time I shall have to try the more widely-available Tokneneng to get a good comparison!

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