24 Scrumptious Filipino Foods Worth Sampling
Table of Contents
(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 the Filipino cuisine.
The rich culture of the country (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 you most need in your life.
Adobo has been around since the Pre-Hispanic Period when locals add 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.
Pinakbet is an authentic Filipino dish consisting of vegetables 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 way, don’t let that stop you from experiencing a good delicacy since balut is available throughout the Philippines.
Lechon is a Filipino main attraction. There are variations of this dish where some preparations call for minimal ingredients while some use a lot. One of the famous lechon places is La Loma Quezon City where they also celebrate Lechon Festival each year.
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 make sure 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 as well as in Tagaytay. The hot soup, tender meat, fresh vegetables and patis-kalamansi-red chilli 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, sometimes a little sweet and salty the moment you put some bagoong on it. It’s a good dish to eat when you want both vegetables and meat in one dish.
Sinigang is a favorite of Filipinos. It’s an acidic soup based dish commonly cooked with pork, vegetables and green chilli pepper. It’s very Pinoy in origin and completely takes the blues away. It’s also one of the few Filipino dishes served by mothers to their sick kids.
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, tinapa (smoked fish) flakes and chopped green onions.
Bistek is the Filipino version of Beefsteak. The word Bistek is the Tagalog term of the Mexican word “bistec” which is a breaded meat flavored with salt and pepper. It’s either a chunky or thin slice of 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 everyone of them are faint hearted so for those who aren’t, they can consider themselves lucky. Chicharon is a versatile staple in Filipino households being used in mung bean soup and other preparations like dinuguan.
Sisig is synonymous to Pampanga because it’s from there that the “Sisig Queen”, Lucia Cunanan or Aling Lucing reinvented the dish and made even more popular. The province holds an annual festival in honor of the savory dish made of pig head parts, liver, calamansi and chilli 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.
Many provinces in the Philippines have their own take on longganisa like even going to as far as having a Longganisa Festival which takes place in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Longganisa has a garlicky flavor and sometimes sweet flavor.
If bacon uses a lot of salt, tosino uses a lot of sugar which makes it a “sweet bacon”. The word tosino is tocineto in Spanish meaning the fat under the skin of the pig. Tosino can be part of Spanish Cocido which includes other ingredients but the Pinoy version highlights the tosino 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 meaty, salty, garlicky and rich flavor because of the combination of ingredients used.
Since Filipinos love festivities, kinilaw which is 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 chilli pepper for kick.
Lumpia is a simple spring roll made special by using bean sprouts, chopped vegetables (depends on who’s cooking), ground pork, onion, and garlic. It’s deep-fried and accompanied with a sweet vinegar dip which 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 for something simple yet extraordinary in taste. The cooking only calls for basic 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 that is deep fried. The taste is divine and the skin is crunchy while the color, golden brown.
Champorado is a common Filipino “meryenda” cooked by adding cocoa powder to boiling sticky rice. You can eat it by adding sugar and powder and evaporated milk. It’s Mexican in origin. During the Galleon Trade, Mexican traders shared recipes of their sweet concoctions to their Filipino friends and that’s how we got some of our recipes.
Both Tagalog and Visayan uses 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? Whats your favorite Filipino Food?