Crispy Calamares: A Pinoy Street Food

Crispy Calamares is a popular street food in the Philippines. When I was a growing kid in the 80’s, the winners were fish balls, “dirty ice cream”, taho (a tofu dessert), barbecue, banana cue and balut, to name a few. Calamares was probably just a restaurant dish at the time. But in the last 10 years or so, it began to emerge as a popular street regular.

Crispy Calamares - Top
Crispy Calamares – Top

Calamares is “squid” in Spanish. Regular readers would remember the food history I have been sharing with my recipes. The Spanish conquest of the Philippines was long enough for us to adopt even Hispanic last names. Oh, and as additional trivia – “Pinoy” is a moniker for Filipino.

Crispy Calamares - with Dip
Crispy Calamares – with Dip

This recipe doesn’t use breadcrumbs or panko, but you can make it this way if you prefer. When I made this recipe it was because of a sudden craving for calamares, so I just used what was available in the fridge. You may choose to make the rings from scratch or get a bag of frozen rings pre-cleaned and pre-cut from grocery. Still it turned out pretty tasty!

Crispy Calamares
Crispy Calamares

I have read in some online recipes that soaking the squid in milk a few minutes before frying tenderises it. I use milk in the mixture, anyway. But I think that if you don’t overcook it, it should be tender and not hard to chew.

Crispy Calamares - with Dip 1

Crispy Calamares: A Pinoy Street Food

Crispy Calamares - a finger-licking Filipino street food that's sure to please your taste buds!
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Course: Appetiser, Finger Food, Snack
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Author: Alesah


  • 1/2 kg squid cleaned and sliced into rings. You can also use pre-cleaned frozen squid
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 piece egg beaten
  • 2 cups cooking oil


  • Combine salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, paprika, garlic in a bowl. Mix in the squid rings. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the milk and beaten egg in a separate bowl. Soak the calamares for about 5 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Dredge the squid in flour.
  • When the oil is hot enough, deep-fry a few pieces of squid until the color of the coating turns golden brown. Note: This should only take about 2 to 3 minutes in medium heat. Do not overcook the squid.
  • Remove the fried squid from heat and transfer in a plate lined with paper towels.

I just love the smell of these deep fried rings. Once these calamares are in the frying pan, I know something good is brewing. Crunchy, crispy, tasty squid rings. I love dunking them into a spicy vinegar – it’s all good! We love fried or grilled food dipped in vinegar with garlic or chillies in the Philippines. These calamares are the perfect dunking partner, I tell you.

Crispy Calamares - Dunked
Crispy Calamares – Dunked

Bamboo skewers are one of the most utilised utensils in my country. Street food is almost synonymous to skewers. Here, street vendors give you the freedom to cull your desired pieces from the strainer using a skewer. It’s one of the most fun parts. You’ve got to go out in the streets to experience it for yourself!

Crispy Calamares - On Stick
Crispy Calamares – On Stick

Let me recap the street food process – 1/ skewer, 2/ pick, 3/ dunk and 4/ munch. Restaurant-style or street-style, it’s up to you. What I can assure you is these are a tasty snack that’s filling, fun and best of all – easy to make!

Are you enjoying the Filipino recipe? Would you Like more street food? Let me know what I can make for you, I have plenty more authentic recipes up my sleeve!

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