Filipino food may not be as famous as that of its Thailand and Vietnam. But with more than 7,000 islands and a colorful history, this archipelago has some delicious dishes of its own.
Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo). You just have to know where to find them and how to eat them.
Arguably the most iconic and well-known dish in Filipino cuisine. From the Spanish word adobar meaning to marinate, adobo is a popular dish made with chicken or pork marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, black peppercorn, garlic, and bay leaf. Adobo is so popular that many consider it to be the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.
Sisig is the most iconic Filipino bar chow dish, made from chopped pig’s face, ears, and a generous amount of chicken liver. It’s usually seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers, served sizzling on a cast iron plate. In southern area (Puerto Princesa, Palawan), there’s another famous Crocodile Sisig. Try it!
Tapsilog is an acronym for tapa (cured beef), sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (egg). It’s the most popular type of Filipino silog breakfast made up of garlic fried rice, egg, and a protein. You can find tapsilog pretty much anywhere that serves breakfast.
Pancit (bihon or bihun) is a Filipino-Chinese dish made with sauteed rice noodles, meat, and vegetables. It’s a staple second only to rice. There are several types of pancit, but this is one of the most common and can be found in many Filipino eateries.
Crispy Pata made whole pork leg boiled until tender and then deep-fried until golden and crisp. Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, this popular Filipino delicacy is sinfully delicious!
Chicharon bulaklak literally means flower chicharon and is made from pig messentery. The messentery is the thin, web-like structure that supports the small intestine. When the mesentery is detached, it forms a frill or ruffled-like ornament resembling a flower, hence the name of the dish.
Sinigang is a soup or stew characterized by its sour and savory flavors. It’s traditionally tamarind-based and can be made with fish, pork, beef, shrimp, or chicken as its protein. Many Filipinos grew up eating sinigang so it’s a comforting dish for most. It’s similar to Thai tom yum.
Bibingka is a type of rice cake traditionally made from galapong (milled glutinous rice), coconut milk, margarine, and sugar. A time-consuming dish to make, the mixture is poured into a clay pot lined with pre-cut banana leaves. The clay pot is then placed between the layers of a special clay oven that’s lit with charcoals placed below and above the pot for even cooking.
Dinuguan means to be stewed with blood and refers to a savory stew made with pork and/or pork offal – typically lungs, kidneys, intestines, ears, heart, and snout. It’s simmered in a rich, dark gravy of pig’s blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar and usually served with a side of puto or Filipino rice cakes.
A popular street food, balut is a developing duck embryo that’s boiled and eaten in its shell. It’s off-putting even for many Filipinos so I don’t blame you for not wanting to try it. Personally, I think it’s delicious.
So, which one is you like most in the Philippines?