24 Scrumptious Filipino Foods Worth Sampling
Manila, Philippines – Filipinos are known for their welcoming smiles and remarkable hospitality, but if there’s one thing that makes every day truly beautiful in the Philippines, that is Filipino cuisine.
The country’s rich culture (thanks to both local and foreign influences) gave the culinary scene an exciting appeal. Coupled with stories of warmth, families, and friendships, these are the Filipino dishes that you should try soon. In this post, we listed 24 of the Must-Eat Dishes in the Philippines.
Adobo has been around since the Pre-Hispanic Period, when locals added vinegar and salt to cooked meat to preserve it. Adobo has a sour and mild to salty taste. It contains soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, and pepper which up its flavors.
Adobo is a cooking method indigenous to the Philippines, and while there’s Adobo in other countries, the process and ingredients are not the same. Pork Adobo is, hands down, everyone’s favorite among different types of Adobo.
Pinakbet is an authentic Filipino dish of vegetables, and this recipe is originally from the Northern provinces. The vegetables are cooked in shrimp or fish sauce (bagoong isda) until they’re tender. It’s fishy in flavor, but it’s a good kind of fishy.
If you’re feeling brave, why not try some balut because it tastes really good. For the best balut, go to Pateros, but if it’s out of the way, don’t let that stop you from experiencing a good delicacy since balut is available throughout the Philippines. Just wait for a roaming balut vendor at night, wherever you are in the Philippines.
Lechon is a mainstay in every Filipino buffet spread. There are variations of this dish; some preparations call for minimal ingredients, while some use a lot. One of the famous lechon places in Metro Manila is La Loma in Quezon City, where they celebrate Lechon Festival each year. They say that the best Lechon is from Cebu, but it really depends on your palate. Leyte, Bohol, Batangas, and Zamboanga have their own version of this delicacy.
Laing and Pinangat
Laing and Pinangat (except the one that uses bilimbi or kamias) both come from Bicol and contain coconut milk. Laing has a pungent taste and uses taro leaves as the main ingredient, while pinangat will ensure you get a tingling sensation on your tongue because of lemongrass, which gives a mild biting taste.
Practice your “Ala eh” and head on to Batangas because this comforting dish is native to the province and Tagaytay. The hot soup, tender meat, fresh vegetables, and patis-kalamansi-red chili dip is the best partner for steamed rice on a rainy day.
There are several stories about the origin of kare-kare, but one thing is certain, this dish is heavenly. It’s thick, nutty, and sometimes a little sweet and salty when you put some bagoong on it. It’s an excellent dish to eat when you want both vegetables and meat in one dish.
Pork Sinigang is a favorite of Filipinos. It’s an acidic soup-based dish commonly cooked with pork, vegetables, and green chili pepper. It’s very Pinoy in origin and ultimately takes the blues away. It’s also one of the few Filipino dishes mothers serve to their sick kids.
Sinigang has been hailed as one of the best-rated vegetable soups globally by the international food database Taste Atlas, with 4.8 stars out of 5.
Not Filipino in origin but locals embraced pancit with such enthusiasm. Pancit palabok is a burst of flavor; slightly salty, crunchy, rich, and tart. It uses rice noodles, a thick golden sauce made of shrimps and topped with crushed chicharon (crunchy pork rind), sliced hard-boiled egg, and tinapa (smoked fish) flakes, and chopped green onions.
Bistek is the Filipino version of Beefsteak. Bistek is the Tagalog term for the Mexican word “bistec,” which is breaded meat flavored with salt and pepper. It’s either a chunky or thin slice of pork or beef meat marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and calamansi (Philippine lime). Sauteed onions are placed on top.
Maybe westerners will shriek at the mere sight of this fatty, salty yet crunchy Filipino delicacy but not every one of them is faint-hearted, so for those who aren’t, they can consider themselves lucky. Chicharon is a versatile staple in Filipino households used in mung bean soup and other preparations like dinuguan.
Sisig is synonymous with Pampanga because it’s from there that the “Sisig Queen,” Lucia Cunanan, or Aling Lucing reinvented the dish and made it even more popular. The province holds an annual festival in honor of the savory dish made of pig head parts, liver, calamansi, and chili peppers.
Goat meat isn’t as popular as pork, beef, and chicken in the Philippines, but when people cook it, it’s common for them to cook Caldereta. It has a gamey flavor, thanks to the meat, and the sourness of the sauce emphasizes it. If you are not a fan of goat meat, you can try out Kalderetang Baka or Beef Caldereta. It’s probably the most popular Caldereta dish since not everyone loves the aftertaste of goat meat.
Many provinces in the Philippines have their own take on longganisa, even going as far as having a Longganisa Festival, which takes place in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Longganisa has a garlicky flavor and sometimes sweet flavor. Depending on the location, it also comes in different sizes and shapes.
If bacon uses a lot of salt, Tocino or tosino uses a lot of sugar, making it a “sweet bacon.” The word tosino is tocineto in Spanish, meaning the fat under the pig’s skin. Tosino can be part of Spanish Cocido, which includes other ingredients, but the Pinoy version highlights the tocino as a main dish.
This is a breakfast favorite; beef tapa (tap), garlic fried rice (si for tagalong word sinangag), and fried egg (log for itlog). Tapsilog has a meaty, salty, garlicky, and rich flavor because of the combination of ingredients used.
Since Filipinos love festivities, kinilaw, a raw seafood dish soaked in vinegar mixture to cook, is customary. Aside from sisig which is always present in any bar-hopping event with friends, kinilaw (much like ceviche) is also a favorite. Kinilaw is also made using green chili pepper for a kick.
Lumpia is a simple spring roll made unique by using bean sprouts, chopped vegetables (depends on who’s cooking), ground pork, onion, and garlic. It’s deep-fried and accompanied by a sweet vinegar dip that balances the savory flavor.
As if all the flavors of Filipino cuisine are not enough, here’s another delicious food you shouldn’t miss. Crispy Pata is a deep-fried pork knuckles goodness. It’s a Filipino favorite, especially when there’s an occasion since it’s a little elaborate to make.
The chicken dish made famous from Bacolod, this grilled chicken dish needs to be your go-to food when you’re craving something simple yet extraordinary in taste. The cooking only calls for essential ingredients like sinamak, lime, pepper, salt, and annatto for color.
When in Vigan, you shouldn’t forget to eat their empanada. Ilocos empanada is different from the sweet style empanadas common to Filipinos. It has a character of its own (think salty, thin, and crispy) and has an orange color.
Bagnet is actually called chicharon in Ilocos, but unlike the common chicharon that Filipinos know, bagnet is a thick slab of pork meat and fat deep-fried. The taste is divine, and the skin is crunchy while the color is golden brown.
Champorado is a Filipino “meryenda” cooked by adding cocoa powder to boiling sticky rice. You can eat it by adding sugar, milk powder, or evaporated milk. It’s Mexican in origin. During the Galleon Trade, Mexican traders shared recipes of their sweet concoctions with their Filipino friends, and that’s how we got some of our recipes.
Both Tagalog and Visayan use the term tinola, which describes the soup-based dish of chicken, sliced green papaya, chili leaves, onion, ginger, and fish sauce. It’s a comfort dish for gloomy days when you just want to sip on hot soup and chicken.
Have you tried any of the Pinoy dishes listed above? What’s your favorite Filipino Food?