Starting a business isn’t always easy, especially one that involves food. There is so much competition out there, after all. However, if you work hard and let your passion show, you could definitely succeed in this line of work. Here are 19 Filipino food startups with humble beginnings and delicious offerings that you need to check out now.
19 Filipino Food Startups That You Need to Try
19. Potato Bombs PH
As a mom, Kaye Reyes wants her children to eat healthy yet satisfying food. Since kids love potatoes, especially in the form of French fries and mashed potatoes, she thought: why not make fried mashed potatoes? So she made it and let her kids try it, and they loved it! When her kids came back with feedback that their classmates loved it, too, Kaye started Potato Bombs PH.
Kaye says they are the first to sell potato balls that are frozen and cooked. She also says they are the first potato ball food cart. All of their products are made from 100% fresh potatoes and they currently have three flavors available: cheesy mozzarella, cheesy bacon, and beefy taco.
18. Nori’s Kitchen, @noriskitchen
Nori’s Kitchen has been cooking vegetarian food for friends and acquaintances for 15 years now. In 2018, vegetarian chef Nori San Juan decided to open the doors of her kitchen to the public, offering cooking classes and vegetarian dishes for delivery.
For 15 years, Chef Nori volunteered as a chef in meditation centers and would only cook for close friends. In the meditation center, Chef Nori was trained to cook food in silence. The kitchen is considered to be a sacred space. Food preparation and cooking are done with a lot of love and silence, so the food can nourish not only the body but also the soul. Chef Nori is not only a chef. She is also a meditation practitioner for 20 years. Seva which is a Sanskrit word meaning selfless service is the core of Chef Nori’s spiritual practices.
For many years, she cooked without asking for any return or compensation. It took a while for Chef Nory to be convinced that cooking for the public and opening her kitchen to everyone is also seva and that she can serve more people with food through Nori’s Kitchen.
17. Raneese, @raneesepbcups
Raneese sells desserts with chocolate and peanut butter, but its main product is the artisan chocolate peanut butter cups. It’s basically Reese’s-inspired desserts, but each cup is carefully handcrafted and offers a variation of flavors. Other Raneese products are chocolate peanut butter pretzel bites, chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, and chocolate peanut butter bars.
Raneese started in January 2017 when the owner’s ex-boyfriend, a huge Reese’s fan, asked if she could replicate Reese’s chocolates. “I searched and took the challenge. He was surprised that it tasted exactly like Reese’s – even better, he said! – so I decided to experiment. Eventually I wanted to make money out of it, so I did my research on different chocolate flavors and released six flavors: milk, dark, white, Oreo, matcha, and dark PBJ (peanut butter and jelly). Since I wanted to target people who loooovvveee peanut butter and chocolate, I researched and released other products, as well (pretzel bites, cheesecake, and bars). Now, I’m doing research for the best choco peanut butter cookie recipe.”
16. The Smokery MNL, @theSmokeryMNL
The Smokery MNL started in April 2019. They sell fully cooked Texas style barbecue, such as smoked ribs, Angus beef short plate, burnt ends, and Hungarian sausages, that are vacuum sealed and frozen after they have fully rested to ensure maximum freshness. Their goal is to introduce Texas style low and slow barbecue to more people in the Philippines that is crafted with passion.
The Smokery MNL started when the owners started craving for ribs and couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for in restaurants and in their own kitchen. After finding out about smoking meat and joining a seminar on how to craft smoked barbecue, they purchased their first smoker and their food became a hit with their friends. “That’s when we realized we could turn this into a business. We only had a few customers before, but now, strangers message us for orders and send us positive feedback after trying our products.”
15. Choru, @choruph
Chōru first opened its doors to the public in August 2019. The restaurant actually got its name from the combination of the words “chicken” and “boru”, which is the Japanese word for ‘bowl’. True to its name, Chōru specializes in serving different variations of fried chicken that try to incorporate the best of what Asian flavors have to offer into local flavor profiles that fit the Filipino palate.
14. El Lote, @el_loteph
Photo by Joy Frances Photography / Food Styling by Dzeli Del Mundo
El Lote has been around since November 2019. It all started from a craving and frustration. Jaydee had been craving elote for quite some time and couldn’t find any stores in Metro Manila that serve it. Out of frustration, he made his own recipe and twisted it a bit to fit Filipino tastebuds. It started as a small bazaar in BF Homes, Paranaque with nothing but the most basic tools. That didn’t let Jaydee down, though. “I reminded myself that I was just starting and a lot of things could happen in the future, I just gotta keep doing what I gotta do to improve myself and the product,” he shares.
After the bazaar, he operated via personal deliveries, getting orders via his Facebook Page and delivering them personally. He does all of the hands-on work while studying BS in Aircraft Maintenance at the same time. His second bazaar was the BF HomeSarap Food Fair, where his items sold out and he reached a bigger market. The orders kept on coming from there. El Lote recently got activatedon Food Panda, as well. “Everything was just really a blessing,” Jaydee adds.
Rakenrola’s partnership with Filipino consumers dates back to 2017 when the company opened its first store operations in San Juan. Rakenrola is a family friendly, quick-serve take-out and delivery food store. Their current menu features Filipino all-time favorite rice meals such as Beef Tapa, Sisig, Adobo, and snacks and desserts including Ice Cream. Customers on-the-go can quickly grab meals before work, while students can grab meals before going home or before their tutoring services.
Rakenrola’s products are fresh, safe, carefully curated, and prepared to the highest quality, quick to serve with convenient packaging without the expensive price tag. They also make a major contribution to society by keeping families healthy by supplying products 100% free of hormones and antibiotics.
12. Thai Mango, @thaimangoph
Chef Kim and her sisters started this concept last November 2017 in a CarShow in Ortigas. They just wanted to pay the blender that they bought at the time, but they sold out everything during that event. After that, they continued to join different bazaars in Metro Manila and now have a permanent store at Bonifacio High Street.
Thai Mango is a dessert and drink in one cup. The concept is a millennial approach to Thai street food. Since Chef Kim and her sisters really love Thai food, they saw the need for more Thai street food in the Metro and decided to fill that gap. Fortunately, it turned out successfully and a lot of people now recognize their product not just on social media but also on TV.
11. Delicachino, @delicachino
Delicachino has been around since July 2019, paying tribute to the Filipino family meal. They serve Filipino-Spanish comfort food that will remind you of big family meals and celebrations. They have two food lines: The Ready to Eat Line (which features dishes such as their best selling Chicken Galantina, Filipino-style Paella, and Chicken Pastel), as well as the Frozen Food Line, which offers frozen family favorites like Beef Tapa, a variety of Longganisa, Embutido and Pork Tocino.
Chino Hernandez was working for a luxury magazine for almost four years. Whenever he was too stressed, he would always retreat to the kitchen to cook something. “Although I was already selling embutido on the side for years, I never considered to take food up as a career till mid 2019, when I realized it really was my passion,” he shares. “I left publishing, but I didn’t know how to begin. A friend suggested I post all of my food on my Instagram account. The minute I did, my life changed. There was a surprisingly warm reception from family, friends, and kind strangers who took a chance on me, and I’m proud to say I’ve been cooking everyday since.”
Everything on the menu is 100% homemade from old family recipes, even the sausages and frozen foods! “I am so blessed to come from a family of food lovers who are so generous to share their recipes with me,” Chino adds. “Most of the food on our menu was invented by a member of a family, and has been served on our table for decades. Now we’re very happy that we get to be part of other family’s tables.”
10. Blends Project
Blends Project has been serving healthy fast food to everyone since 2016. The owner, Bryj Factor, shares that his girlfriend had cancer. When she was still alive, there was a time when they couldn’t dine out due to complications with her condition. Restaurants usually didn’t know their food content, there was too much sodium or sugar, or the food was too expensive. “After she died, I went on vacation and found out that a kilo of carrots bought directly from a farm only costs 25 pesos,” he shares. “Why couldn’t Filipinos eat healthy everyday, then? That’s where I got the inspiration.”
From selling juices door to door on the streets of Makati in 2016 to leasing a kiosk in a food park to becoming a Top 10 finalist on MyGlobe Business Food Startup to a full-blown concept store, Blends Project has come a long way and is currently preparing for more growth.
9. House of Griddle, @houseofgriddle
House of Griddle started at a food park in North Caloocan in 2016 serving fusion cuisine at affordable prices. In 2017, they moved to another famous food hub in Timog, then became part of the BGC Night Market. From there, they decided to transition to Buffalo Wings (@hogwings) to complete the option of the consumers. Currently, they are still serving the Hogwings and House of Griddle menu at various parties.
Chef Juan Vincent Bautista used to work in a restaurant, and his partner Kat is a foodie. They decided to open their own business to fulfill their passion for food. House of Griddle (HOG) is inspired by the series ‘Game of Thrones’. They serve fusion food like the combination of Chicken Marinatura (Italian) with Nasi Goreng (Indonesian), Beef Bulgogi (Korean) with Golden Friedrice (Chinese), and Porterhouse Steak (Western) with Signature Fried Rice (House of Griddle).
8. The Golden Catch PH, @thegoldencatchph
Planning for The Golden Catch PH started in September 2019 and they quickly launched by November 2019. It started with five good friends with a common appreciation for fresh quality seafood. Being well-traveled, they noticed the rarity of affordable authentic and fresh salmon here in the Philippines. “This gave us the idea of starting The Golden Catch PH with our first product: airflown sashimi-grade Norwegian salmon imported directly from its source and delivering it to people’s homes fresh.”
The Golden Catch values quality above all things. Their salmon is raised in the cold arctic water and fed with GMO free products that prevents foreign substances to form. Once harvested, it is cleaned and vacuum sealed to prevent any form of contamination. They aim to bring the freshest sashimi grade salmon to people’s homes for everyone to enjoy. In the future they also hope to add more quality seafood to their menu.
7. Cholate, @cholatebarph
Cholate started in November 2014. The name ‘Cholate’ comes from how the owner’s papa would pronounce the word chocolate when he was making lambing to their mom. “Sweetheart, penge cholate.” Since the entire family loves tablea, they got the idea to put up a shop that sells pastries/drinks only using local tablea only. Their is to promote Filipino chocolates because they’re delicious! Their bestsellers are the Anti-Stress fudge crinkles and Guiltless Tablea Brownies (made of garbanzos). You all should also try the ISAWinner (tofu isaw) – something healthy but still delicious!
6. HOOD, @hoodmnl
HOOD Manila has been serving chicken wings and chicken strips with a variety of flavors that everybody can enjoy since August 2018. It is a family-owned business run by three siblings. For wings, they have kaldereta buffalo (spicy), adobo sa gata (creamy), roasted sesame, garlic parmesan, soy garlic, and spicy soy garlic; and for strips, they have spicy barbeque and original. New flavors and sides will be coming soon. In 2020, they will also be launching a Filipino fusion of a burrito.
The idea for HOOD started back in 2016. They loved cooking, although they didn’t have any proper knowledge on the subject. They would bring buffalo wings to gatherings and people loved it, so they decided to start a food business. With the help of a friend, they came up with a recipe and menu that involves Filipino fusion.
Antwe Crafted Meats believes that delicious need not come at the expense of your health. What started as a hobby for founder, Anthony Co, has now become a full-fledged business — creating handcrafted meats using traditional curing methods that are 100% chemical and preservative-free.
With a growing operation and a new partner on board, Antwe Crafted Meats now offers a pilot menu that features specialty meats and sausages, all made using only the best and freshest ingredients. They also took upon themselves to create a line of Filipino favorites such as tocino and longganisa — available in both pork and chicken — and their version of the well-loved tapa using Angus beef, all made naturally with zero chemicals and preservatives. Prices range from 250-500 pesos, making healthy and delicious within reach.
4. Kesong Puti, @kesongpkesongputi
Kesong Puti officially started in January 2019, but their keso has been around for almost 20 years. The idea to start the business came from the owner’s chef friends. “I gave it out as gifts again and they say that they had never tasted a kesong puti so good! So Kesong P’s was born!” Now, they are able to help three towns in Bulacan by getting carabao’s milk from them and providing new livelihood for the farmers in that area.”
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And now here are our top 3 Filipino food startups:
3. Pop’s Original Lumpianiza, @popsoriginallumpianiza
Pop’s Original Lumpianza started in November 2017 by Rele Hernandez. Coming from the BPO industry, he had no formal culinary education but had always been passionate about his food. Rele makes skinless longganizas for home consumption, while his wife makes lumpiang shanghai. One day, he played around with the leftover lumpia wrappers, wrapped the skinless longganiza inside the lumpia wrappers, and fried it. His kids loved it and the Lumpianiza was born. He thought there actually might be a market for this since almost every city in the Philippines has its own version of longganiza.
Pop’s Original Lumpianiza used to sell only frozen packs of their Lumpianizas. This year, they started doing cooked Lumpianizas. It comes in three sizes: Solo pack (8 pieces), Small Party Pack (32 pieces), Big Party Pack (120 pieces).
2. Marison’s, @marisonsph
Marison’s is a casual dining, modern Filipino restaurant in Antipolo that has been around since December 2013. It is owned by Atty. Mary Assumption Villareal, whose family nickname is Marison. The Idea for the restaurant came about during Marison’s youthful years. She wanted to have her own restaurant, but fate and circumstances led her to a different career path. Upon her retirement in 2013, she thought of doing something different from being a tax lawyer for the last 30 years and revisited her dream of having her own restaurant.
The main idea of the place is to elevate Filipino cuisine and offer a dining experience at par with offerings from Manila. At that time, the only family restaurants in Antipolo were Max’s, Pizza Hut, and Shakey’s’ and Antipoloenos would have to travel to Manila just to dine out. Marison’s is primarily known for their flagship product, the Crispy Tripe Kare-Kare; the Sinaing na Tuna, inspired by Batangas’ Sinaing na tulingan; and their melt-in-your-mouth Crispy Pata.
1. Meallennials Food Hub, @meallennials2018
Meallennials started in April 2018 as a means to support the owners’ child after their retail store work no longer sufficed in terms of support. Since they both like eating out and trying different kinds of food, they decided to set up a food place, where they would offer as much as they can for as low as they can without compromising on quality.
“Honestly, we never expected that we would click this much. The feeling is indescribable. Setting aside our income, the real happiness comes from our hard work and prayers paying off. We owe to our family who helped us get to where we are right now. We owe it to every one of our customers. All the positive reviews, all the enthusiastic praises, all the recommendations, and now this nomination. We can never say enough gratitude to our loyal customers but for now we want to give them a very BIG Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And to the grace of God! All in his name.”
Do you know any Filipino food startups that should be on this list?
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