Filipino Cooking Methods

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Filipino cooking methods include boiling (nilaga), grilling (ihaw), roasting (lechon) and steaming (halabos), among others. These form part of the foundation of Filipino cookery.

Cooking methods

Although the present cooking methods seem complex with varied influences from the Chinese, the Malay, the Spanish and other foreign settlers in the Philippines, Filipino cooking methods are still distinct and simple.


  • A nilaga or boiled dish that is popular among Filipinos is bulalo. It consists of beef shanks and bone marrow and typically includes cabbage, potatoes, corn on the cob, onions, and scallions. It is seasoned with garlic, ginger and fish sauce.


  • Ihaw or grilling is a common way of cooking fish, chicken, and meat. They are placed directly above burning charcoal until cooked.


  • Lechon or roasted pig is a dish common at Filipino fiestas and other important celebrations. Chicken may also be cooked in the same manner, known as lechon manok (roasted chicken).


  • Steaming is done in a bowl-shaped pan and the dish is wrapped in banana leaves or foil to preserve its flavor and moisture. It is also one of the ancient ways of preserving food in the Philippines.


  • Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes. Pork, chicken, fish, seafood or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and pepper and then simmered in the marinade.


  • Kinilaw or preserved raw fish, meat or vegetables is made by marinating or cooking the ingredients in vinegar, salt and pepper. The Visayans are known for kinilaw na isda or fresh fish. Kilawing kambing (goat steeped in vinegar and spices ) is popular among Ilocanos and Pampangos.


  • Ginataan refers to any dish cooked in coconut milk. Many ginataan dishes originated in the Bicol region. Best-known are ginataang puso ng saging and hipon sa gata.


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