Top 6 Filipino Foods

The Philippines offers a unique style of cooking that has combined recipes from Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American dishes.  Although it might not be “famous” for it’s food (compared neighboring cuisines like Thai & Vietnamese), it sure has some dishes to brag about.  In the Philippines, there is an abundance of fresh seafood, which is eaten on the regular.  But even more fresh are the incredible fruits and fruit juices that will blow your mind with flavor.  My favorites are mango, pineapple, guava and coconut. Pork is definitely the most popular meat-dish around (usually roasted pork).   Rice is also commonly enjoy as a side with almost every meal.  No matter what mood your taste buds are in, you can be sure to fulfill them with pleasure in Philippines! Here are my Top 5 favorite dishes that this country has to offer:

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Photo by Luis Mazier on Flickr

Lumpia: Before I went to the Philippines, Lumpia was the only Filipino dish that I knew of.  And let me just clarify how much better it tastes in the Philippines than at home!  Originally from Chinese origin, Lumpia are pastries that are fried with vegetables inside.  It is more or less the best spring roll that you’ve ever tasted.  You can buy Lumpia from many street food vendors, as well as in most restaurants.   Dip it in some local spicy sauce and you’ll never stop eating them!

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Photo by Todd Smith on Flickr

Lechón: As the national Filipino dish, Lechón is a must-eat food in the Philippines!  Brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards centuries ago, Lechón is a suckling roasted pig.  It is commonly eaten at parties, holidays, gatherings and any other place where there is a big group of people eating.  It is literally an entire pig that is slowly roasted for hours over sizzling charcoal.  Sometimes, you’ll see Lechón being prepared outside on a street corner, or in front of a restaurant.  That’s your sign to dine in!

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Photo by Angela Sabas on Flickr

Adobo:  A staple in every household in the Philippines, this quite possible could take the gold medal as “most authentic Filipino dish.” Adobo is the Spanish word for sauce, seasoning or marinade.  Why Spanish?  The Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards for 300 years, so they brought this delicious recipe with them! Adobo is made up of pork or chicken chunks, that is cooked in tangy soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and other spices.  You must give this one a try!

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Photo by Dawn Loh on Flickr

Kare-Kare:  Kare-Kare is a fantastic Filipino food (say that 5 times fast).  It is a stew that is made from peanut sauce and a large variation of meats and vegetables, including stewed oxtail, beef, eggplant, asparagus, beans, onions and garlic.  This stew can also include goat meat or chicken, and is often eaten with bagoon (a shrimp paste).  It’s always eaten with steamed rice on the side.  Order Kare-Kare if you see it on the menu!

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Photo by Dennis Amith on Flickr

Pancit Palabok:  Pancit is the local word for noodles.  It was introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese, and has since been adopted into their culture.  Pancit Palabok is a specific kind of noodles, made with flour rice noodles and topped with crab sauce, eggs, shrimp, lemon juice, squid, garlic and an assortment of veggies.  This was one of the most flavorful dishes that I’ve ever eaten in my life!

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Photo by Sham Hardy on Flickr

Ketupat:  This is a kind of dumpling that is made of rice.  It’s commonly found in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.  The rice is packed inside a special wooven palm leaf pouch (yes, an actual leaf from a tree) and boiled. When the rice is cooking, the grains expand to fill up the pouch while the rice is compressed tightly.   This unique method of cooking rice has been around this region for centuries, you can almost imagine caveman eating it.  I recommend you to try it because it’s not only cheap and delicious, but it’s a great way to get an authentic taste of Filipino cuisine!

There you have it, the best Filipino foods to try.  Don’t miss out on it! 😀

What’s your favorite Filipino food?

3 thoughts on “Top 6 Filipino Foods

  1. Hey Drew I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. I wish I had the same resources as you to do all this travelling. May I just point out some corrections though. Adobo is not a Spanish contribution. Although the name comes from the Spanish word adobar which means to marinate, the dish itself is an ancient Filipino concoction. Early Filipinos learned that meat could be preserved longer if immersed in salt and vinegar before cooking. Later upon introduction by the Chinese of soy sauce the Filipinos decided to use it in lieu of salt for more flavor and added garlic and pepper to the mix. The name adobo could have been affixed to the food by the Spaniards who got to taste and savor it and thereby got stuck. Lechon meanwhile, though again having a Spanish-sounding name is more of a Chinese legacy. The distinctively Spanish-influenced dishes are those with tomato sauce such as afritada and sarciado. In case you’re back here in the Philippines why don’t you try surfing in Baler, Aurora Province (in the Bicol region, Luzon Island) and sample Bicolano cuisine which is famous for food with hot chili and swimming in coconut creme. I guess this would be Indo-Malay influence.

    1. Wow thanks for all the corrections, Mafalda! I am actually heading back to the Philippines in a few weeks, so I’ll have to try Baler! Cheers 🙂

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