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Pungko-pungko

Taken from the Cebuano word “pungko”, meaning: to sit. The pungko-pungko is not exactly the most sanitary of all Cebuano street foods, nor is it the most comfortable.

The pungko-pungko fare is usually made up of spring rolls (stuffed with bean sprouts, no meat), longganisa (pork), luncheon meat and puso (rice wrapped in banana leaves). To add a dash of flavor to these dishes, a cup of vinegar with garlic, onions and chili are served for you to dip your foods into.

The pungko-pungko requires you to sit in a tiny (probably ¼ of your **** can comfortably fit) wooden bench and eat around a small, rectangular table with a bunch of strangers. Yes, there is only one table. You will be given a plastic wrapper to use as a glove and a cup of vinegar with garlic, onions and chili. You will also be given a plastic or paper plate. The foods are all placed at the middle of the table. All you have to do is grab the foods you want and eat them on your plate. People don’t usually ask strangers to pass them this dish or that, so be ready to get up just to reach for something. Don’t worry, with the pungko-pungko setup, that kind of behavior is not exactly considered rude.

The most important thing here is to keep count of which foods you ate and the quantity of those foods. The attendants won’t ask you to pay upfront, but they will ask you, after you had your fill, how many of which dishes you had. Be honest. These pungko-pungko owners don’t make that much so conscience dictates that you be honest.
Some pungko-pungko stalls also sell sodas and juices. Ask them if they do sell these.

The pungko-pungko is most popular among students and the minimum wage earners, for obvious reasons. The prices are amazingly CHEAP! For Php 2.00, you can get one spring roll. For Php 20, you can get yourself stuffed with a bunch of puso and luncheon meat slices.

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