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 Typical Filipino Meal

“You know you’re Filipino when you use a spoon and fork instead of a knife and fork.”

This is because the typical Filipino meal always has rice, which is spooned into the mouth. Spoon in the right hand, fork in the left. 

Cooked rice (kanin) is the basis of almost every Filipino meal. The main dish that goes with the rice is called ulam. This can be a meat dish, fried fish or a vegetable stew. 

The basic traditional Filipino meal consists of two essential things: kanin and ulam

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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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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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ATSWETE

Also spelled achuete or atsuete  in the Filipino language.

From the Spanish word achiote.

atswete
annatto

It is called “lipstick tree” in other parts of the world.

Scientific name: Bixa orellana
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UBE

archaic spelling: ubi

ube
purple yam

 
The plant that bears ube has the scientific name Dioscorea alata. It has heart-shaped leaves. Ube is also known in English as water yam or winged yam. On the island of Hawaii, it is known as uhi.

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Ingredients in Mang Tomas Sauce

Mang Tomas is the brand of an all-purpose sauce that Filipinos love to use with lechon. The original variant comes in a yellow-labeled bottle that contains 11.64 fluid ounces.

Many eaters often wonder what it’s made from. The crucial ingredient is liver!

Ingredients in Mang Tomas Sauce

Water, Sugar, Bread Crumbs, Vinegar, Salt, Liver, Spices, Pepper and Sodium Benzoate as a Preservative

Update: As of 2017, the ingredients list of the commercial Mang Tomas sauce being sold internationally no longer includes liver on the label. It is now as follows: Water, Sugar, Breadcrumbs, Iodized Salt, Modified Starch, Onion, Vinegar, Garlic, Palm Olein, Black Pepper, Chili, Sodium Benzoate, BHA and TBHQ Continue reading “Ingredients in Mang Tomas Sauce”