Top 10 Filipino Foods

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Filipino cuisine evolved from its Malay and Indonesian origins mixed with Spanish, American, Japanese and Chinese influences that shaped what is now called traditional Filipino dishes. Most of these have become comfort foods particularly for those overseas Filipino workers who long for a taste of home.


Adobo is considered a national dish. It is a stew of pork, chicken or both cooked in soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, whole peppercorns, and bay leaf. The meat is simmered in the liquid until it is reduced and the meat is tender. Shellfish and some vegetables can also be cooked this way.


Sinigang is a local dish using a variety of meats, fish and shellfish cooked in a sour broth with kamote tops, kangkong, sitaw (string beans), okra, wing beans, banana hearts, taro roots, sliced eggplants and radish. The acidity can come from tamarind, green mangoes, guavas, santol, kamias, young tamarind leaves. Miso and mustard leaves are used for fish sinigang.

Lechon or litson is a sought-after food during special occasions. A suckling pig is skewered in a bamboo pole and roasted manually over hot coals until the skin turns reddish brown and crisp, and the meat tender. It is served in a thick dipping sauce made from chicken and pork livers, vinegar, sugar and spices. La Loma in Quezon City is known as the lechon capital.

Kare-kare is a Filipino stew made from beef chunks, tripe, oxtail and a variety of vegetables. The meat is boiled until tender then mixed with roasted peanuts and rice/sticky rice, ground to a fine powder that thickens the sauce and gives it the unique flavor. Nowadays, peanut butter is used in place of the ground peanuts and rice. The saltiness is derived from the sautéed shrimp paste (bagoong) that is served with it.


Menudo is a staple dish served as everyday fare or during family gatherings. The Filipino version is a mix of diced pork liver, pork, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, red and green bell peppers and raisins. The rich sauce is thickened with tomato sauce/paste. Cubed chorizo de bilbao and chickpeas can be added for a richer flavor.


Ginataan or guinatan is a method of cooking with coconut milk. Pure or watered down coconut milk is added to pork, chicken, fish, shellfish and vegetables for different viand recipes. The richness of coconut milk is usually tempered with the addition of chilies. The term is also used for a local dessert called Ginataan - Halo-halo made from taro roots, cassava, sweet potatoes, purple yam, saba, langka and sago; Bilo-bilo (ground sticky rice mixed with water and shaped into balls); Totong (roasted red beans, de-hulled and split).


Kaldereta is traditionally cooked with goat meat. Nowadays, various meats can be used. The meat is boiled until tender and slowly cooked with a very thick sauce made from minced onions, garlic and tomatoes and ground pepper. The spiciness of the dish varies. Cubes of potatoes and carrots are sometimes added for variety.


Nilaga literally means boiled. Pork, chicken or beef/beef shanks are boiled in plenty of water until very tender. Cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks, corn, saba, petchay, whole peppercorns and chick peas are added for a flavorful broth. Nilaga is eaten with fish sauce or a mashed salad of boiled or broiled eggplants and squash in vinegar, pepper, garlic, salt and sugar.

Tinapang Bangus

A whole bangus (milkfish) is sliced in half, the gills and innards removed. Some makers remove the bones. The fish is marinated in salt and water, drained and cooked in a pressure cooker then dried under the sun before smoking to complete the cooking process. Oil is applied to the skin that gives it a shiny texture. Freshly made tinapang bangus are ready to eat or you can fry it until the skin is crisp.

Pancit or pansit is a Chinese-influence dish served as a main course or snack. Rice noodles, vermicelli, canton noodles and other dried noodles are stir-fried together with thinly-sliced pork, pork liver or chicken and cabbage, Baguio beans and carrots. Calamansi or other acids are served with pancit to complement the taste.




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