Top Delicacies You Should Taste When in Leyte


The province of Leyte is located in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. Leyte has made it to the headlines when some parts of the island were hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, hitting mostly its capital city, Tacloban. But despite the adversities that Leyte faced, it still remains strong and beautiful throughout the years. Furthermore, Leyte is politically divided into two parts, Southern and Northern Leyte, which both offer amazing tourist destinations, in fact, a very versatile province indeed. You can go from historical landmarks to tropical islands for the perfect getaway, making Leyte a must-visit province when in the Philippines. Leyte is known for the San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the country that connects Leyte to another province, Samar, as well as the Leyte Landing Memorial Park, the place where General Douglas MacArthur landed and sworn his iconic quote “I shall return.” If you’re also looking for white powdery sand and crystal clear waters, they have the stunning Kalanggaman Island as well. But of course, these are not the only interesting and amazing facts about the island. The province is also rich in delicacies that only Leyte champions. The native delicacies in Leyte are a must-try for every traveler when they visit the island. So make sure to include the following must-try famous food in Leyte in your itinerary!

The Philippines is one of the countries with the most unique and eccentric culinary cultures and traditions. Well, true enough, the Filipinos, in general, loves to eat and try new foods,  most especially the Leyteńos, it is their common pastime. Also, in fact, a lot of foreigners admit they love Filipino foods and the way we serve them, can also be attributed to the fact that we are really hospitable people! Everywhere in the country, be it a province or region in the Philippines has its own unique famous food that represents its place. And this is called a delicacy.

Definitely, when traveling, every traveler’s main concern next to travel destinations is food, in which, the delicacies in Leyte will surely not disappoint you. You couldn’t be missed to taste the famous food in Leyte and bring it home. It is a must to not just explore the tourist attractions but as well as to explore different kinds of foods.

Another interesting fact, aside from its rich history and heavily diverse community, Southern Leyte is one of the top exporters of different agricultural products in the Philippines. In fact, it plays a vital role in exporting different crop products such as abaca fiber, banana, rice, corn, fruits, and many more. So no surprise as to why Southern Leyte has delicious delicacies created out of these products. The province of Leyte is famous for its delicious delicacies like the Moron, Binagul, Roscas, Suman Latik, and Bukayo.  When you hear the word Leyte, the first thing that would come to mind is Binagol and Chocolate moron. These delicacies give the province its identity.

1. Binagol

On our top list is the Binagol, a very famous food in Leyte, which can be seen notably in Dagami, Leyte but can also be found in other towns in Leyte in the markets where many tourists shops are located. This native delicacy is a must-try and definitely, you should not miss it when visiting the province. Tourists and local residents know that your itinerary is not complete without trying out Binagol and bringing it home for your family and friends to try.

It is a sweet delicacy that offers a distinct taste to the palate and unique packaging, it is packed on top of a halved coconut shell and covered with banana leaves. Binagol is made from the root crop “Taro” or “Gabi.”  It is made of mixtures of flour, sugar, milk, and a crushed root crop, yam, “gabi.” And which the name binagol was derived from the word “bagol” which means coconut shell. Wait to bite until you reached the middle part, it is the most delicious part because the sweet part is concentrated there. A surprise of a sweet mixture of coconut and “Kalamay” (an alternative for brown sugar) in the middle awaits you. Also, the bottom of binagol has a sweet syrup that spices up the flavors! These are packaged and steamed using banana leaves and halved coconut shells called “bagol” (it is a Waraynon term for coconut shell)

Binagol is one of the top delicacies that tourists look at in Eastern Visayas. You can buy this for P35 per piece or you can ask the seller and buy this for P100 for 3 pieces. Like moron, they have the same level of popularity being the delicacies here in Leyte. Also in Tacloban, tourists often associate binagol to them because it is said that your visit to Leyte is not complete without buying Binagol and other native delicacies.

2. Moron

Moron is another one of the famous delicacies in Leyte yet quite similar to binagol. Originating from Tacloban City, moron is a soft and sticky, smooth and a bit oily rice cake that is made of glutinous rice, known as  “malagkit na bigas” in the Philippines,  being cooked in coconut milk and cocoa. Moron (the stress is placed on the last syllable), pronounced like “Morong”, is a rice cake that is very similar to suman. It can either be mixed with cocoa or chocolate or just enjoy it plain as it is, either way, it still tastes amazing. It is cooked in low fire and is also wrapped in a banana leaf, which is very aromatizing and will make you crave and salivate! It has a similar consistency to a suman and the cocoa or chocolate enhances the taste (you can’t go wrong with its chocolatey taste!). Another interesting fact about moron is that, it is so soft, that you can cut the small tube with a pair of scissors down the middle and just squeeze it out to see the chocolate overflowing! It can easily be seen on the streets of Tacloban and you can buy them around P100 to P200 for about 50 pieces. You can get it in a carton box with holes pierced in them together with binagol if you want. This is a must-try when visiting Tacloban City. Nothing beats unforgettable travels by emerging yourself into the streets and marketplaces of the world.

As mentioned above, you can also try their chocolate moron. Dagami, a 3rd class municipality of Leyte, is also known for its chocolate-flavored moron made of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk flavored with cocoa. It is a superstar in every celebration in Southern Leyte, you can always see them on every occasion! As it is one of the easiest native delicacies in Leyte to prepare because its ingredients are easy to find anywhere. Aside from the regular ingredients of glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, chocolate, or cocoa powder, it is scaled up by melted butter! It is a splendid chocolatey “kakanin” that is also wrapped in a banana leaf, with a combination of white coating and chocolate mixture. The key to achieving this masterpiece is that you have to balance the chocolate mixture and the white coating mixture so that you’ll get the perfect play of textures.

3. Suman-Latik

We have another version of rice cake, the suman-latik or malagkit that is also made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, brown sugar, or kalamay and flavored with a lye solution, which makes the suman have a kinda greenish look, and which makes the taste unique and one of its kind. It is also wrapped in a banana leaf but you can see some wrapped with hagikhik leaves and shaped as triangular pieces, rather than rectangular. The latik, which is quite similar looking to a caramel sauce, is the syrup that is made from the mixture of coconut milk, kalamay (made of pure sugar cane, not the ordinary sugar that is processed), and mixed with peanuts that are eventually poured on top of the suman or even grated coconut meat is also the best to be used as a topping. It adds flavor to the suman. Its sweetened taste makes the suman so appetizing, it is enjoyed best with coffee or hot chocolate, perfect for breakfast or merienda! Its price ranges from 10 pesos to 30 pesos which you can easily buy at any pasalubong store in the city.

4. Suman or Budbud

Suman is the very popular term used for rice cake in the Philippines or in most Tagalog-speaking regions but in Leyte, it is called “budbud.” Another delicacy that is made of steamed glutinous rice with salt, wrapped with the leaves of buri palm, or other types of leaves like banana, and then cooked in coconut milk. The rice used may be sweetened or unsweetened. It is a very popular snack all over the Philippines among Filipinos and not just in Leyte. Suman, being a sticky rice cake, symbolizes the gathering of Filipinos together and the gratitude of the people towards the blessings of God manifested in nature. Because suman is made of rice, from a country that is rich in agriculture, especially in rice farming. But it can also be easily achieved at the comfort of your homes, or in your Bria House and Lot!

Wait, but what is the difference of Moron, Suman-Latik and Suman?

First, they are all made of rice. Moron is made up of glutinous ground rice and has a chocolatey flavor. While Suman is made up of glutinous rice, but unlike the moron, suman’s rice is not ground and it has a flavor. The suman is also more oily than moron. Lastly, suman-latik which iss also made of glutinous rice but it is more like a flavorless version of suman, however, it has a separate sauce or the latik that gives life or flavor to it.

5. Roscas

Originally from Barugo, Leyte, roscas is a butter cookie but is harder to bite. It is traditionally prepared only during festive occasions but now roscas is very popular that you can easily find it anytime, anywhere in Leyte! It is made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, anise, and lard. It has a u-shaped form that is cut in half and looks like a chicken leg! Roscas has a unique taste because of the anise that is added to its flavor

6. Bukayo

Another popular delicacy which you can in any other part of the country, however, it is still considered as one of the native delicacies in Leyte. It is made of coconut, which is abundant in the province, and a mixture of brown sugar with strips of young coconut strip boiled in water. They are steamed or cooked for about 11 hours! Bukayo is remained placed inside the coconut shell and then wrapped in brown paper, ready to distribute to customers. It is known to be a crowd favorite among people who has sweet tooth and always looking for a really sweet dessert after a meal.

7. Bocarillos

Similar to Bukayo, Bocarillos is made of coconut strips and sugar, however, it has evaporated milk, egg, and calamansi juice and it has a lighter color than Bukayo because of its ingredients. Bocarillos is said to be the Southern Leyte’s version of Bukayo. At the present time, Bocarillos is among the most popular delicacies in Leyte.

8. Ampaw in Pintuyan

Another delicacy that can be found in Pintuyan, one of the four municipalities of the Panaon Island in Southern Leyte. It is commonly called “rice puff.” Ampaw is made of cooked rice mixed with syrup, usually just a mixture of sugar and water, and is dried under the sun, the process that makes it sweet and crispy. It is regularly being sold to different parts of the country, but Ampaws are made and taste best in the province of Southern Leyte.

The Philippines is undoubtedly rich in its cultural heritage, delicacies to explore, and many more. So what are you waiting for? Plan now your next travel and include Leyte in your list. Another thing to note, the  Philippine archipelago may seem small, and the regions of Visayas and Mindanao used to be considered as crawling behind the National Capital Region in terms of progress and development, but now in the present times, Both Visayas and Mindanao are developing faster than you can imagine. After traveling around Leyte to try their delicacies, you might want to check these articles if ever it would cross your mind to settle there, Bria Homes eyes stronger VisMin presence in its portfolio of residential developments and BRIA Homes affordable house and lot Ormoc The Economic Hub of Leyte. Did you know that Ormoc City, is a first-class municipality in Leyte? It is also the second-most populated city in the province. It is quite rapidly advancing in terms of its economic, educational, and transportation field.

Written by Katherine Kaye Villafuerte