Popular Filipino Dishes

To help familiarize our website’s visitors with Filipino food in an easy way, we’ve drawn up a simple list of a few Philippine dishes and foodstuff commonly eaten in the Philippines. We’re still working on adding more pronunciation audio and photos. Remember to check back soon! 🙂

Chicken Adobo - Filipino Food

Adobo: pork or chicken marinated in soy sauce and vinegar

 
BALUT: Filipino duck egg

Balut: duck egg with a developed embryo

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The Origin of Filipino Adobo

There is much debate among hoi polloi about the origins of the Filipino adobo, occasionally dubbed the national dish of the Philippines.

“Hey, the name of the dish is a Spanish word. There’s that verb adobar. It’s a Spanish dish obviously. The Spaniards introduced it during their 400 years of colonial rule in the country.”

CNN recently weighed in and casually declared that the Filipino adobo is of Mexican origin.

Savvier eaters chime in: “There’s soy sauce in it. It has to be from China. The Chinese have been on the islands for at least a thousand years.”

Among food historians and culinary experts though, the consensus is clear: Filipino adobo is Philippine in origin. 

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The Best Filipino Cookbooks?

When pressed to define Filipino food in one word, we’re apt to say “fusion.” Philippine cuisine bears the influence of our neighbors in Asia and the Pacific, as well as our colonial rulers from far-off lands throughout history. Our dishes and snacks incorporate recipes, ingredients and cooking styles with roots in Malay, Chinese, and Iberian (Spanish & Portuguese) cultures, among many others. These rich layers of influence make our food somewhat unique.

But our cuisine doesn’t merely reflect foreign influence — it of course showcases our local values as well. The enduring appeal of Filipino dishes like adobo, sinigang, and kare-kare is proof that our meals are focused on the ulam being traditionally served at the center of a table in sizes to share. This social, family- oriented approach to meals is truly Filipino.

Explore and discover the true Filipino goodness of the cuisine we call our own. Recreate classic recipes at home and find ingredients to bring your meals to life. 🙂


Filipino cookbooks with recipes from the Philippine islands

Each region of the Philippines has its own distinct food culture, just like the regional differences so common in the United States. The Filipino Cookbook is a collection of 85 tried-and-tested recipes, including from Pampanga, the Visayas, and Mindanao — pinakbet (sauteed vegetables with shrimp paste), paella (rice and seafood medley), morcon (stuffed beef roll), pininyahang manok (pineappled chicken)…

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Filipino Seed Snacks

Among many Filipinos’ fondest memories is gathering around a bowl of dried watermelon seeds with a piece of old newspaper on hand ready to be piled with discarded shells. Ahhh… butong pakwan!!

Filipino Seed Snacks

Dried seeds are old-time favorite Filipino snacks. Fun and addictive to snack on, satisfying one’s oral fixations, unshelled seeds boast a fairly low “calorie to bite” ratio — what with the amount of effort involved in carefully extracting each seed’s kernel from out of the shell. In terms of nutritional value, seeds run a close second to traditional nuts as a source of potassium, manganese and zinc.


WATERMELON SEEDS (BUTONG PAKWAN)

Among many Filipinos’ fondest memories is gathering around a bowl of dried watermelon seeds with a piece of old newspaper on hand ready to be piled with discarded shells. Parents and older relatives take on the task of cracking open the buto (“seed”) for young children who have yet to develop the skill of extracting the kernels as whole as possible.

Snacking on butong pakwan happens when family and friends are just hanging out, chatting or watching television. It’s a great “busy food” to give bored hands something to do. The ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia are known to do this type of snacking over the Lunar New Year or during a funeral wake. The seed-eating session usually only ends once you’ve run out of seeds or your lips and tongue have become too painfully sore from the salt.

Watermelon SeedsButong pakwan does have a distinctive flavor beyond mere saltiness, brought about by the addition of sanque, which is star anise (Illicium verum), and it is not uncommon to find one or two of the beautifully desiccated anise flowers still mixed in among the black seeds, providing a subtly sweet enhancement. Watermelon seeds come in packets that are sometimes labeled simply as “melon” seeds.

Popular Filipino and Fil-American brands include Captain Sid’sPaning’sAling Conching and Tropics.

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What Is Filipino Food?

It is a question not easy to answer. Is it pork adobo, brown and rich, eaten with hot white rice? Is it siomai and siopao in the neighborhood merendero? Is it chicken relleno on a fiesta table, stuffed with olives and sausages? Is it sinigang na kanduli in a broth misty with miso? Is it a buko pie or a chicken salad? Is it all of the above?


Excerpted from LASA: A Guide to Dining in the Provinces (1990) by Doreen Fernandez and Edilberto Alegre.

What is Filipino Food?

It is a question not easy to answer. Is it pork adobo, brown and rich, eaten with hot white rice? Is it siomai and siopao in the neighborhood merendero? Is it chicken relleno on a fiesta table, stuffed with olives and sausages? Is it sinigang na kanduli in a broth misty with miso? Is it a buko pie or a chicken salad? Is it all of the above?

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TSITSIRYA

Chichirya? Yes! Spelled tsitsirya in Tagalog orthography, with Filipino language variations such as chichiria, tsitsiriya and sitsirya, among others.

Tsitsirya are snacks that are munched or grazed on. They are thought of as junk food in the Philippines.

Examples of favorite Filipino tsitsirya: corn chips and cheese curls
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MUNGGO

Scientific name: Vigna radiata

 

munggo
mung bean

 

Spelling variations: mongo, monggo, mungo

Called balatong in other parts of the Philippines.

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LIYANERA

This word is from the Spanish llanera.

Oval-shaped tin molds are widely referred to in the Philippines as “leche flan molders” because the molds are most often used in making leche flan.

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