The cuisine of the Philippines is not as well-known as that of its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors. With over 7,000 islands and diverse history, this archipelago has its own unique cuisine. Thanks to an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits, and imaginative chefs, Filipino food is more than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo). You only need to know where to look and how to prepare them.

1. Adobo

A list of Filipino foods would be incomplete without adobo. It is a Mexican dish that can be found in practically every Filipino home. However, Filipinos learned that marinating meat (mainly chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, and other spices was a practical way to keep it fresh without refrigeration.

This style of cooking can be utilized with a variety of meats and even seafood. The garlicky form of lamb adobo can be found in Taguig’s Abe restaurant.

2. Lechon

In the Philippines, the Lechon is the most often invited party attendee. The entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with the liver sauce being the most coveted aspect.

In Cebu, the pig’s stomach is stuffed with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves, and lemongrass, resulting in a particularly flavored lechon that requires no sauce. People in Manila may get their piggy from Elar’s Lechon, whereas the best in Cebu is CnT Lechon.

3. Sisig

In Filipino cooking, nothing is wasted. In Pampanga’s culinary capital, the hog cheeks, head, and liver are fried into a sizzling dish called Sisig. The crispy and chewy texture of this appetizer works well with a cool lager.

Serve with hot sauce and Knorr seasoning to taste. In Angeles City, Pampanga, Aling Lucing invented this dish in a little stall beside the train tracks. Sisig is available at a number of places, however, Aling Lucing Sisig serves the original version.

4. Crispy pata

This pork knuckle is boiled, drained, then deep-fried till crisp. It is not for the faint of heart. Inside, the meat is supple and delicious, with a crisp, crackling skin. With vinegar, soy sauce, and chili on the side.

5. Chicken inasal

After all, it is grilled chicken. But this isn’t your typical Bacolod grilled chicken. Marinade the meat with lemongrass, calamansi, salt, pepper, garlic, and achuete (annatto seeds) oil. Paa (drumstick), pecho (breast), baticulon (gizzard), atay (liver), pakpak (wings), and corazon (heart) are all grilled.

It must be served with plenty of garlic rice and a drizzle of the marinated chicken’s orange oil. Manokan Country is home to a bevy of traditional Inasal restaurants where you can have your fill of chicken.

6. Taba ng talangka

Squeezed crab fat is sautéed in garlic with a small variety of crabs. This high-cholesterol Filipino meal is typically accompanied by prawns or fried fish, as well as rice. Pampanga, Tarlac, and Bulacan have the best taba ng talangka.

It’s worth getting a bottle or two from local markets or pasalubong shops like Bulacan Sweets. 155 N.S. +63 2 740 2171 Amoranto Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

7. Pancit de Palabok

Filipinos do not skimp when it comes to entertaining guests. Most birthday parties include pancit palabok, which is rich in flavors and textures. The rice noodles are topped with a rich orange sauce comprised of shrimp soup, pork, hard-boiled eggs, shrimps, chicharon (pork rinds), and, on rare occasions, oysters and squid.

8. Bulalo

Despite the high temperatures, Filipinos frequently enjoy a warm bowl of bulalo soup made with freshly butchered Batangas cattle. The broth has absorbed the flavors of the beef after hours of boiling. There is more bone marrow to enjoy because the bones are larger.

In Santo Tomas, Batangas, a section of roadway is lined with restaurants that serve bulalo.

9. Arroz Caldo

In the West, chicken soup is popular, while Filipinos prefer arroz caldo, a thick chicken rice porridge. This Filipino street food is prepared with ginger and topped with a hard-boiled egg, roasted garlic, and green onions on occasion.

If dining al fresco isn’t your cup of tea, there are the Via Mare outlets around Manila.

10. Fish tinola

Cebu’s rich marine life may be tasted in the freshness of its fish tinola. The simple sour broth is seasoned with onions, tomatoes, and sambag (tamarind) before being boiled for hours over coco-lumber fuel. Cebuanos know to go to A-One, a small hole in the wall known, cooking up to 200 kilos of fish daily.

11. Kare-kare

This oxtail stew comes with a delicious sauce made of ground toasted rice and crushed peanuts. Banana flowers, eggplants, and string beans provide a variety of textures, making it a meal in and of itself. It’s often served with steamed rice and bagoong (shrimp paste).

While Mom’s kare-kare is always the best, Cafe Juanita’s version is authentic.

12. Kamaro

Serious gourmets understand that the best cooks come from Pampanga. Kamaro, which are mole insects that are cooked into a delightful appetizer, do as well. What makes this delicacy so unique?

Cooking these bugs is nearly as tough as catching them. Before cooking in vinegar and garlic, the legs and wings must be removed. It’s then sautéed in oil, onion, and chopped tomatoes until it turns chocolate brown.

These bite-sized canapés have a crispy outside and a juicy inside. Everybody’s Cafe, a Pampango dining institution for decades, serves genuine Kamaru.

13. Ilocos empanada

Yes, the name alludes to the country’s Spanish heritage. All of the ingredients, however, are sourced locally. Empanadas are deep-fried and served with a spicy vinegar sauce. They are stuffed with grated unripe papaya or bean sprouts, egg, and longaniza (pork sausage).

This typical Filipino meal can be found in Vigan and Laoag at vendors near cathedrals.

14. Sinigang

Sinigang is a fish, prawn, hog, or cattle stew spiced with tamarind, kamias, or tomatoes. This stew is generally served with rice and vegetables such as kangkong, string beans, and taro. Sentro 1771’s Sinigang Corned Beef is a modern but delightful spin on Sinigang.

15. Tapa

Filipinos adore rice, and breakfast is no exception. Tap-si-log is a meal comprised of thin slices of dry marinated beef served with a fried egg and garlic rice. While it is breakfast fare, it is also a quick, hearty meal that can be consumed at any time and is commonly available.

Tapa King offers it in classic, sweetish, and spicy varieties, and it is available at all times and even for delivery.

16. Dinuguan at puto

It may not look to be tasty. This black supper of pork and pig intestines boiled in fresh pig blood and seasoned with garlic, onion, and oregano and served with a white puto (rice cake) or steamed rice is a comforting cuisine for many Filipinos. The MilkyWay Cafe’s version tastes homemade and fresh.

17. Betute

The French may have made frog legs a delicacy, but Filipinos take it a step farther. They stuff a frog with minced pork before deep frying it. While betute isn’t for everyone, those looking for a challenge can try it at Everybody’s Cafe.

18. Laing

This dish of taro leaves cooked in creamy coconut milk is a Bicol favorite. Beef morsels and chili are used to give the Laing a kick. It’s often served with steamed rice.

The original variants from Naga and Albay cuisines are the most delicious. It can be found at Dencio’s in Manila.

19. Pinakbet

Pinakbet is a famous vegetable dish in northern Ilocos made of okra, eggplant, bitter gourd, squash, tomatoes, and bagoong (shrimp or fish paste). Today, this nutritious, low-cost, and easy-to-prepare meal has expanded across the archipelago. The majority of households and restaurants prepare it.

Max’s Fried Chicken in Manila is a good place to try it.

20. Sinugno

Cooking with coconut milk is popular in the southern Philippine province of Quezon. Grilled freshwater tilapia is cooked with coconut milk and chilies. It tastes finest when eaten near the fishponds, as they do in Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan.

21. Bagnet

Lechon kawali, or deep-fried pig, is a famous Filipino delicacy all around the country. Bagnet, a similar delicacy from the northern province of Ilocos, is renowned for its appealing crunchy skin dipped in the sweet-sour vinegar sukang Iloko. Buy it in Ilocos markets or taste it at Cafe Juanita.

22. Pancit habhab

Count on Filipino inventiveness to adapt noodles to their way of life. Pancit habhab is served on a banana leaf and slurped in Lucban, Quezon. This cheap noodle meal, topped with carrots, chayote, and a few pieces of pork, is popular among students and jeepney drivers on the go.

The Old Center Panciteria, which has been preparing the noodles since 1937, offers an additional special variant. Cooks, there provide lechon and a big helping of veggies, as well as a fork.

23. Pork barbecue

Everyone has a favorite barbecue meat in a country where practically everything is marinated, skewered, and barbecued on street corners. The most popular is pork. The barbeque vendors on Larsian Street, just off Fuente Osmena Circle, are well-known in Cebu.

For its enormous, chunky slices of pork with a wonderful, salty-sweet marinade, Manila residents are devoted to Ineng’s, which has multiple outlets in Metro Manila.

24. Longaniza

Every province has its unique version of longaniza, a pork sausage. It may be sweet, garlicky, or spicy. Breakfast is served with garlic rice, fried eggs, and vinegar dipping sauce.

25. Lumpiang ubod

The fruit, leaves, and even the pith of the coconut tree are used in Filipino food. The pith makes a sweet and tender filling for the fresh lumpia, our version of the spring roll. A delicate egg wrapper contains a savory filling of ubod (the pith of the coconut tree), shrimp, pork, onions, and a garlicky sweet sauce.

Bacolod City is known for its petite version of this spring roll.

As a Filipino foodie, my personal favorites are adobo, Ilocos empanada, longaniza, sisig, and tinola. I’m not fond of sour dishes hence I prefer the ones that are more on the salty and sweet side. If you’re like me then you definitely need to try the foods that I’ve mentioned. In all honesty, our delicacies have a wide variation and it’s one of the things I’m proud and enjoy of as a Filipino. When you visit or explore the Philippines, it’s not a complete trip if you don’t explore the foods as well.

For more food trips and cafe blogs visit these articles!

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