5 Reasons You Should Do A Tisa Food Crawl When In Cebu

Tisa is a Filipino word that has two meanings. It can be used to describe the red clay roof tiles that can be normally seen on houses built during the late 19th Century. Chalk is another word that can be associated with Tisa. When I was in College learning how to play billiards (I still don't know how to do it) I heard the expression, "mgtisa ka muna bago ka mgshot" (chalk up before making that shot).

As my blogger friend, Kim Charlie, explained to me when I saw him during my Food Crawl session, "Tisa is not in Labangon. They are two totally different barangays." He actually sent a message to one blogger to correct him when he mentioned that Tisa is part of Labangon. Kim Charlie should know since he's a lifelong resident of Barangay Tisa.

I do understand the confusion that some folks might have between Labangon and Tisa since there is a fine boundary line between the two places. But residents of Barangay Tisa are proud of their little heaven. It's one of the most populous barangays in the city of Cebu. And with the current food trends that it is known for, its popularity is slowly rising.

When visiting Tisa, it is best to commute rather than bring your own vehicle unless you have a driver. There are no parking spaces available unless you want to take the chance to park your car on the street. Best day to go to Tisa is during the weekends. Best time? Evenings.

If you're the type that wouldn't want your hands and clothes to get dirty, then this is not the place for you. But if you want that ultimate foodie experience, a Tisa Food Crawl should be part of your itinerary when in Cebu. This is homegrown Cebu food at its best.

Siomai sa Tisa

I'm guessing in the olden days, Tisa was full of clay makers and clay sellers, thus the place is named after these tiles. But I got curious on how it became synonymous with Siomai (Shumai, pot stickers, or dumpling). When people find out that you're selling Siomai sa Tisa, expect that your food supply will be gone in short order. That's how popular Siomai made in Tisa is.

Along the stretch of Katipunan Street, there is now a specially designated nook where you can find various sellers of these steamed pork Siomai. You can't miss it, just follow the crowd and you'll see the place. The Siomai market stalls are also located right beside a 7-11 store. All of the sellers are open 24/7; if you find yourself craving for those small balls of pork goodness, head on over and stuff yourself with as many as you want. Don't forget to dip them in a concoction of soy sauce, calamansi, and chili paste.

The Puso: Cebu's rice

The price ranges from 5 to 7 pesos. If you're on a tight budget, for 30 pesos, you can have a complete meal with a bottle of Sparkle to help wash it down. 

One seller, Kuya Jeff's Siomayan (which many consider the Original Siomayan), even offers Japanese Siomai and Siopao. You can even buy frozen Siomai so that you can have a fresh supply at home when you get hungry. All you need to do is to steam them.

Sunday night at Tisa

If you're the adventurous type, you can eat along the roadside. You'll be competing for space with the numerous jeepneys, motorcycles and other pedestrians transversing the area. It's better to visit the place right after 9 PM since the Siomai sellers are allowed to place tables and chairs on the street.

Fried Pork Tidbits

Filipinos cannot live without Pork. And similar to Chicken, we cook and eat almost every pork part that is edible.

There is a food cart right beside 7-11, that has the most tantalizing fried pork smell. They have chicharron bulaklak (pork intestines), fried tenga (pork ears), and pork chops. Dipping them in vinegar with garlic, chilies, and onions equate to a pork heart attack! Goes well with pusó, Cebu's rice that's cooked in a shell made of coconut leaves.


The Halo-halo craze in Tisa started last year with Melton's and Monbis'. These halo-halo joints became so popular that if you go during night time, you have to wait for an hour or longer to get your sweet cold treat. 

Mooonbis even has two branches on Katipunan St., to cater to their ever growing clientele. Add to the mix, Sol's and Hans' who are competing for the Halo-halo market.

Sol's Halo-halo

The Halo-halo in Tisa is not the typical Halo-halo that your Grandma used to make on a hot Summer afternoon. I've tasted all of the Halo-halo from these four stores (Melton's, Monbis', Sol's, and Hans') and they all have that special ingredient that makes their Halo-halo unique. One thing I noticed is that, except for Melton's, they don't use just plain shave ice. And they're so fond of ground peanuts. If you're allergic beware.

My suggestion is to do a separate Halo-halo outing. The wait time, especially during peak hours, is something to consider plus each place has limited number of servings based on the ingredients that they have on hand. 

Monbis' Halo-halo

and Hans' are open by 1 PM every day. Sol's and Monbis' are normally open by 6 PM. 

You might ask where each Halo-halohan is located, the perfect way is to walk the length of Katipunan Street. You can also ask anyone on the street, and they'll be able to give you directions. You can also use Google Maps. 


There is a strong Chinese influence in every Filipino diet. Braddex has an extensive menu that consists of steamed rice toppings, siomai, siopao, fried spring rolls or lumpia, shrimp or crab dim sum, just to name a few. And of course, they also have on the menu their version of Batchoy. 

Whenever I go to their place, it's always full of diners. The price is reasonable and the food is tasty and served hot.

It's an alternative for those who wouldn't want to eat on the street and compete with all kinds of chaos. 

You can find Braddex between Sol's Halo-Halo and Monbis' Halo-Halo.

Puto't Sikwate

When we did our Tisa Food Crawl, I made sure that I was able to try their version of Puto't Sikwate. Since we did it during the evening, I was surprised that there was a stall that was serving this Breakfast treat at that time. 

The stall is located in front of the Public School and for 10 pesos, I had my fill of hot tsokolate espresso and sweet glutinous rice. Definitely, something to add to your list of street foods.

The Tisa Food Experience is Street Food at it's finest. Don't take my word for it, try it and you might find yourself doing it all the time.

The Visual Traveler in Tisa, Cebu City


Anonymous said…
I lived in Cebu for over 27 years of my life & with that period I never have really been to Tisa. With your blog it makes me consider to try to go to Tisa and try those street foods that I missed eating last year when I visited my hometown.
I never thought about going to Tisa as well but I said to myself it will be a good experience.
Anonymous said…
Very good write-up. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
I could not resist commenting. Very well written!
Anonymous said…
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