One of South-East Asia’s most well-liked travel destinations is likely the Philippines. In 2019, almost eight million tourists spent more than $11 billion in the Philippines.
The beaches and culture are undoubtedly the biggest draws, but Filipino food is also trendy. Numerous gastronomic experiences are available in the Philippines, where Asian and European influences combine to create truly distinctive flavors.
Knowing what to order and what each dish is can be challenging when visiting the Philippines. What are the most popular dishes in the Philippines? This is one of the most frequent questions, and then what meat and vegetable meals made with Filipino ingredients are the best, and if stews and desserts are your things, what should you order?
Answer these questions, and you can broaden your horizons by sampling the cuisine of one extraordinary country. Here are 16 spectacular dishes from the Philippines.
Chicharon (Deep-Fried Pork Belly)
You may have heard of Chicharon from Spain. “Chicharron” refers to deep-fried pork rinds that people eat as a snack or a quick appetizer. You could come across deep-fried pork rinds in shops and eateries throughout the Philippines. However, the phrase has a broader meaning and can apply to various meat-based deep-fried snacks.
Chicharon comes in a variety of forms. While Chicharon Bulakak is a deep-fried intestinal membrane, Chicharon Manok is made of deep-fried chicken skin. Chicharon is frequently served in restaurants with vinegar to give the dish a sour flavor.
Lumpia (Spring Rolls)
Filipino spring rolls are called lumpia. They resemble the spring rolls you might encounter in Vietnamese food. Even though the crepe is so thin, they utilize it as a wrapping. Dried fruits and other Filipino ingredients can be used to stuff your buns. Following deep frying, the rolls are served with vinegar. You can dip registrations in banana ketchup if you want a bit of sweetness with them. They go well with Chicharon, but you can also eat them alone.
Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg)
The most notorious dish in the Philippines is likely balut. Balut is made by fertilizing duck eggs and keeping them in an incubator for a few weeks. After boiling the eggs, they offer them to consumers while the embryos remain within the shells. Salt and chilies are for seasoning the seeds. Embryos are sometimes sautéed and served with various veggies in restaurants.
Balut is difficult for many individuals because of how they appear and behave. Balut could come with feathers or bones. But most Filipinos like it, and you can buy it cheaply at most places.
Another Spanish-inspired delicacy from the Philippines is torta. It is a generic phrase that covers a wide range of meals in Spanish cuisine. It is a description of omelets in Filipino cuisine. Along with other components like ground meat and veggies, tortillas also contain scrambled eggs.
Many eateries provide a variety of tortas. Similar to crab cakes, tortang aliasing is served inside the crab shells and contains egg and cooked crab flesh. Tortas are suitable for breakfast. However, you can find it for lunch, usually with fried potatoes or a salad.
Longganisa is considered by many Filipino locals to be the best Filipino cuisine. Even though you can have it during lunch, morning is when it is most frequently served. Spicy pork sausage is longganisa. Chefs prepare them using a variety of spices and seasonings, giving them a distinctive flavor you won’t find anywhere else. You can purchase sausages that have saltpeter, paprika, and brown sugar.
Sausage comes in two primary varieties. A hot sausage with a savory flavor is a longganisa de Recado. A sweeter sausage called a longganisa hamonado may also contain brown sugar or dried fruits.
You can consume a sausage independently or as part of an entire dish. Chefs slice the sausage and serve it with fried rice and vegetables for breakfast.
Another significant dish in the Philippines is adobo. It is a typical American meal that you can find practically anywhere.
Chefs make Adobo by marinating proteins and vegetables in sauces. They may combine vinegar with soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper. The chef simmers the ingredients over low heat until forming a thick sauce after marinating them.
Adobong kangkong is suitable for vegetarians. It is an Adobo substitute that utilizes water spinach. You can consume it as a side dish with meat and rice if you eat meat.
Sinigang (Tamarind Soup)
Filipino stews include sinigang. The majority of its varieties feature tamarind fruit, which naturally has a sour flavor. Tamarind’s tart characteristics make it a good match for savory meat and acidic fish sauce.
It is available in vegetarian and meat and fish variations. Consuming shrimp and other shellfish is frequent in Sinigang.
Kare-Kare (Oxtail and Peanut Sauce Stew)
.” More of a curry than a stew, kare-kare. During the British colonization of the Philippines, South Indian chefs who stayed there created the dish. They came up with the dish “Kari-Kaari,” which later became “Kare-Kare.
Hours are spent simmering meats and veggies in a peanut sauce. Oxtail and pork trotters are two unusual meat cuts seen in traditional kare-kare. The chefs serve the curry with veggies and plain white rice.
Bicol Express (Spicy Pork Stew)
A creamy stew is Bicol Express. It originates from the Philippines’ Bicol area, renowned for its fiery cuisine: combining coconut milk and chilies to make the main ingredient. Cooking the pork belly with shrimp paste in hot coconut milk takes a long time. You can consume the stew with rice.
The national fish of the Philippines is the bangus, sometimes referred to as milkfish. It has soft flesh that is perfect for baking or grilling.
It’s easy to find Bangus in several places, including Cebu City. A variety of stuffings, including chopped onions and tomatoes, can be used to pack grilled bangus. Milkfish is stewed for a long time in vinegar and minced garlic as Paksiw Na Bangus.
Tinapa (Smoked Fish)
Smoked fish is referred to as tinapa. Milkfish is one of the fish that may be smoked for hours. To enhance the flavor of the dish, chefs like to brine the fish with salt. Tinapa is a typical Filipino breakfast food. The salty fish goes well with eggs and tomatoes. You can find Tinapa in stews and soups, particularly those that have beans and vegetables.
Kinilaw (Filipino Ceviche)
Chefs prepare fresh fish for ceviche by curing it in vinegar and citrus liquids. These components preserve the fish’s freshness and eliminate microorganisms that can make a client unwell.
The ceviche of the Philippines is kinilaw. It resembles ceviche from other nations.
The kinds of fish chefs use to produce kinilaw set it apart. In addition to yellowfin tuna and seafood, you can discover Bangus ceviche. You can try a more satisfying dish made with delicate and salty fish.
Try Kilawin if you enjoy kinilaw. Chefs marinate meats in vinegar concoctions before grilling them to create Kilawin. This makes Kilawin suitable for those who dislike or can’t eat raw meat.
Batchoy (Noodles Soup)
A noodle soup called batchoy. While it is available all across the nation, La Paz is where it is most well-known. It is made by chefs with egg noodles in a broth of beef and pig. After that, they added chopped pork liver along with other pork cutlets.
La Paz, There may be extra ingredients in a batchoy. La Paz chefs enjoy adding fried garlic and raw eggs. When they add eggs to the soup, the broth helps them to cook. Tagalog batchoy is another well-known variation. There are thin, salty misua noodles in it. The soup can have bits of pig in it, but the broth is ginger-based rather than animal-based.
Silog (Fried Rice)
Fried rice is served with silog. It always contains meat, and the dish’s name refers to the meat that it contains. Hotsilog comprises hot dogs, while Cornsilog contains corned beef.
An extremely well-liked breakfast meal is silog. You can eat the rice with a vinegar dipping sauce like you can with most other Filipino cuisine.
Halo-Halo (Shaved Ice Dessert)
Beyond the Philippines, halo-halo is getting more and more well-liked. It resembles a yogurt parfait, but uses condensed milk in place of the yogurt. It contains plantain, sugar plum, and coconut chunks. After layering the ingredients within the glass, the chefs top it with custard and crushed ice.
Kakanin (Sticky Rice Cake)
Any dessert containing sticky rice paste is kakanin. Chefs steam a rice cake called puto. They can cook the cakes with fruit or add fruit juice to give the tops of the cakes distinctive colors.
Another type of rice cake is kutsinta. The lye in the cake causes it to become sticky and chewy in the mouth. The rice paste and achiote seeds are what give the cake its orange color.
You can eat Suman if you don’t like cakes. Coconut milk and sticky rice are used to make the porridge. Banana leaves, which add mild banana hints without dominating the other components, are used by chefs to wrap the porridge.
There is more to Filipino food than meets the eye. Many appetizers, like balut, are made with grilled and seasoned meats. Many Filipino lunches and dinners are centered around curries and soups. Serving pigs is common during gatherings and on special occasions.
If you enjoy seafood, try ceviche and other salted foods. Desserts like halo-halo and ube are some of the Philippines’ most well-known cultural exports because they are light but overflowing with flavor.
Try some of these Filipino foods at home if visiting the Philippines is on your bucket list so you may get a better idea of the cuisine there and what you like and dislike.