The Philippines is a country deep in the heart of Southeast Asia, consisting of over 7,000 tropical islands with white sand beaches, smouldering volcanoes and emerald rice fields.
Most Popular Filipino Dishes
Filipino cuisine undoubtedly leaves a mark in the culinary world, with a distinguishable blend of traditional flavors and foreign influences. Despite a history of colonization, the Philippines has retained a clear culinary identify, fusing staple ingredients of rice, eggs, pork and noodles into their own unique flavor palette.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must try dishes of the Philippines, along with links to our favorite recipes for you to try yourself.
Sizzling Pork Sisig
Sizzling pork sisig is one of my absolute favorite dishes of the Philippines. It is named so because it comes out on a boiling hot plate with the food still sizzling away.
As soon as you receive it you need to break the egg yolk and mix it in with the pork for the best flavors.
Traditionally sizzling sisig is made with pig head, chicken liver, calamansi, onions, chili peppers and of course a fried egg. There’s a great authentic recipe for pork sisig here.
Adobo means marinade, and Chicken Adobo is simply a dish made of marinated chicken in soya sauce and vinegar.
Traditionally, the authentic Chicken Adobo is prepared in clay pots, and it is indeed a unique recipe.
There could be more ingredients added based on the type of recipe one is following. It is a must to try this famous Philippines food which is loved by everyone. Enjoy the lip-smacking dish with rice. Try this chicken adobo recipe for yourself.
Lumpia is a delicious deep-fried spring roll. Carrying Chinese cuisine influences, you will simply love the roll that is stuffed with minced meat and chopped vegetables.
Lumpia is popularly served at Filipino gatherings and feasts. Enjoy Lumpia with a combination of sweet and sour sauces, and this is definitely a must-try traditional Filipino dish and an essential part of the Philippine’s food culture today. You can try cooking Lumpia yourself with this recipe.
Another of the popular Filipino dishes is the famous Lechón. You will love the guilt-inducing goodness of charcoal roasted pig with juicy meat inside and perfectly crisp skin on the outside.
The pork is first cooked in boiling water and given a rub of salt and spices before getting roasted on hot charcoal for many hours until golden brown. It is a must to serve Lechón at a grand gathering or fiesta. Cebu is a famous place in the country to enjoy the best Lechón.
You can find a great Filipino Lechón recipe here.
Balut is made from a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten as a snack. It may raise some eyebrows with tourists, but one must try this famous food of the Philippines.
Balut is often served with vinegar and is popular street food. The duck embryo should be ideally 17 days old when its feathers, bones, and claws are still undeveloped. Locals swear of its nourishing value, and you will find the locals crazy for the snack.
If you love roast chicken, you are sure to fall in love with Inasal. The cooks of the Philippines have indeed perfected the dish, and you will never come across any other dish that tastes like Inasal.
The chicken, marinated in ginger, calamansi juice, and lemongrass is roasted over fire with annatto oil. Enjoy the deliciously roasted chicken with soy sauce and rice. The dish is loved by Filipinos as well as tourists. Try out this chicken inasal recipe for yourself.
For those who were not fortunate enough to get a look and taste of an entire lechon, try the scrumptious crispy pata instead. Well, it is an equally delicious alternative for lechon, where the entire pig leg is deep-fried to perfection.
Crispy Pata is served with soy-vinegar sauce and some garlic and chilli. The deep-fried pig trotters are served with a dip and can be enjoyed every day. You can find a brilliant recipe for crispy pata here.
Kare Kare is the next favorite guilty pleasure for all the foodies. It is actually a stew made from oxtail, ox tripe, and different vegetables plus onions and garlic. It is flavored with ground roasted peanuts and spiced with chill and often served with shrimp paste and lemon juice.
Although the rich stew is made customarily with oxtail and peanut sauce, one can add meatier cuts of beef too. The dish is famous all across the country and is served on every street. It is seen as comfort food that is enjoyed both by the locals and the tourists. Here’s a great Kare Kare recipe to try for yourself.
Sinigang is another traditional food of the Philippines that you must try. It is a stew made with spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, ginger and is associated with tamarind and fish sauce.
You can go ahead and choose the kind of meat you would want in Sinigang, and it could be beef, fish, pork, or shrimp. The delicious sour broth carries different and popular variants today. Well, whatever combinations you chose, what you get to enjoy is a mouthwatering stew always. Here’s a great sinigang recipe to try.
Sans Rival is a three-layered cake made from buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews. Whilst the dish is French in origin, it purportedly gained popularity in the Philippines when French dishes and cooking techniques were introduced by Filipinos who studied in France.
Our favorite Sans Rival recipe.
Whilst not one of the most common dishes eaten in the Philippines, it would be remiss not to mention a famous local delicacy, Tamilok Woodworm.
Tamilok is a slimy creature also known as ‘woodworm’ because it is found in decaying, rotten logs or thick tree trunks submerged underwater in swamps-like mangroves. The wood is then cracked open in order to extract the slimy creatures from inside.
Find our more about Tamilok Woodworm.
Pancit Guisado is made of pancit or noodles and is another of the most famous Filipino dishes that are commonly served at parties. Pancit Guisado is the most well-known variant of noodle dishes and is essential at birthday feasts.
The sautéed noodles are served with vegetables and meat. Lemon juice or calamansi is squeezed over the dish before serving. Clearly, Pancit Guisado is influenced by Chinese cuisine and is easy and simple to cook. You will definitely love every bite of the rich and flavorful Philippines food. Try cooking pancit yourself using this recipe.
If you have still not tried the Filipino breakfast, you are making a big mistake. Your food tour will remain incomplete if you have not had the king of the Filipino breakfast, the Taspsilog.
The name itself means beef, fried rice, and a fried egg. The beef is made in traditional Filipino style, and rice is fried with lots of garlic give the dish a strong flavor. Eggs are placed on the dish before serving and with a sunny side up.
There might be different variations to Tapsilog, such as adobo with fried rice and lemon or lechon with fried rice and egg, and more. Check out this Tocino recipe for making the pork in Tapsilog.