Unlike many Asian countries, the Philippines has a tradition of eating food with the hands instead of chopsticks. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors, but the cuisine is not less spicy compared to those of the neighboring Southeast Asian nations.
1. Chicken Adobo
Adobo means to ‘marinate’ and is a popular process of cooking in the Philippines. Chicken Adobo is chicken marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, which are browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. It’s the most delicious and healthy Filipino dish which can be found anywhere in the Philippines.
Balut, also known as Balot means ‘Wrapped’ and is a developing duck embryo. It is a scrumptious dish found on the streets of the Philippines and is best served warm.
3. Kare Kare
A dish made with Oxtail, ox tripes with vegetables and is served mostly along with Shrimp paste. Kare Kare is a stew that is made rich and thick with Peanut Sauce. The vegetables added to the dish are string beans, eggplant, bok choy, and banana blossoms.
Kinilaw is a dish that is prepared using raw seafood or raw cubed fish mixed with vinegar. Vinegar is added to remove the fishy taste from the dish. The seafood used can be shrimp, squid, clams, oysters, crabs, sea urchin roe, seaweed, jellyfish, shipworms or even beetle larvae, among others. This dish is famous all over the country.
If you love soup, you should definitely try this Stew/Soup which has savoury tamrind in it. This is a sour soup that is native to the Philippines. It’s served with a lot of vegetables and meat is its main ingredient.
Lechon is the national food of the Philippines and is made with pork. Suckling pig is roasted over charcoal along with lemongrass, spring onions, bay leaves, pepper and salt. A pork lover must try this dish.
When searching for best breakfast in the Philippines, you must definitely try Tapsilog as it’s the king of all breakfast foods. Tapasilog is a combination of Tapa + Sinagang + Itlog i.e, Beef + Rice + Egg. The tapsilong is seasoned with a sauce that is a mix of soy sauce, calamansi juice, brown sugar, minced garlic and black pepper. To complement a traditional tapsilog, vinegar or pickled papaya is sometimes served.
8. Halo Halo
Haluhalo or Halo Halo is a very famous dessert of the Philippines and is served cold. It’s a concoction of crushed ice, evaporated milk and various ingredients including sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago, gulaman (seaweed gelatin), pinipig rice, boiled root crops in cubes, fruit slices, flan. It is topped with a scoop of ice cream.
9. Pancit Buko
Pancit Buko is made up of thin coconut meat strips with various spices, vegetables, and meat or seafood. This is a noodle dish, that does not actually have noodles in it. It is worth trying and is really tasty and healthy as compared to actual noodles.
Tinola is a dish cooked with chicken, green papaya wedges, and leaves of the siling labuyo chili pepper in a broth and is flavored with ginger, onions and fish sauce. It is a chicken soup that can be found as an appetizer in almost every restaurant in the Philippines.
11. Ensaladang Talong
Do not stress over the name much, it simply means Eggplant Salad. Among the few salads the country has to offer, this is the one with a perfect combination of flavor and texture. The richness of roasted eggplants with a hint of sweetness imparted by the onions and tomatoes, all mixed together in a light dressing of vinegar, salt, and sugar makes for a simple but tasty side dish.
12. Daing na Bangus
You can never miss this dish if you are in the Philippines. Daing na Bangus refers to milkfish that is marinated in a mixture composed of vinegar, crushed peppercorn, garlic, and salt. This food is the best to try for lunch or brunch.
A thick green curry made with Mung bean, Pork, spinach and other essential ingredients, it’s a tasty, nutritious and light dish which one must have.
14. Leche Flan
This is the common Caramel Pudding which you can find anywhere around the world. But, when having it in the Philippines, people expect rich flavours and a silky texture that makes it worth having.
Ever heard of sweet spring rolls? Turon is made up of saba banana and jackfruit rolled in brown sugar, wrapped in spring roll wrapper, and deep fried with a little more brown sugar. Though you might think of it as a bit odd, it’s really tasty and a must-try for those with a sweet tooth.
A common name of Indian girls is the name of a dish in the Philippines. Suman is made by cooking the glutinous rice in coconut milk with sugar and salt, wrapping it in banana leaves, and then finishing it off in a steamer. One can also have it with coconut milk and brown sugar.
Fresh and pure coconut water is all you want at the end of the day. Buko is nothing but coconut water and you have to drink it directly from the shell.