The Pearl of the Orient Philippines is not only symbolized by its exotic islands and picturesque beaches but also with it’s local foods that can’t be missed. With a wide range of foods, from meat and vegetables to seafood, Filipino dishes exceed everyone’s expectations. From the delicious adobo to the satisfying kare-kare, you will never forget the taste and aroma of Filipino dishes.
Check the list below of the 10 best Filipino dishes you should try, when exploring the Philippines.
The Filipino national dish may very well be the adobo, which is a dark stew of chicken and/or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns. In Spanish, adobo originally meant “sauce” or “seasoning.” The Filipino version is actually indigenous to the islands, dating back to a dish cooked up long before Magellan’s arrival.
2. Kare kare (Kare-Kare)
Kare-kare is an oxtail stew complemented by a thick peanut-based sauce, where a number of sautéed vegetables like bok choy, eggplant, string beans, daikon or banana flower are added to create a very comforting and hearty dish. The kare kare stew can also be prepared with pork hocks, calves feet, pig feet, beef stew meat, and sometimes offal or tripe. The ingredients may also include seafood like prawns, squid, and mussels, or just with vegetables.
Nilagang Baka (Beef Nilaga), is a simple yet delicious Filipino beef and vegetable soup. Made with economical cuts of beef for stew, beef short ribs, bones, cabbage, corn, carrots and potatoes. Pork Nilaga is possible too.
4. Pork Sinigang
Sinigang na Baboy also called Pork Sinigang, is a traditional Filipino soup dish known for its sour flavor. By tradition, the souring ingredient of this dish comes from a tamarind fruit or any sour fruits like calamansi or green mango. Today, a popular powdered sour-soup based ingredient called the “Sinigang Mix” is commonly used.
5. Paksiw na Bangus
Paksiw na Bangus (Milkfish Paksiw) is essentially a vinegar-based dish, augmented by the flavors of ginger, onion, garlic, green pepper and fish sauce. It is the right mix of all of these that makes for a memorable taste.
Tapsilog is a combination of the words “tapa, sinangag at itlog” (tap-si-log) which translates to beef tapa, garlic fried rice, and egg. This dish all about balance. The contrasting flavors and textures work together to keep your palate wanting more. While tapislog is most popular for breakfast, it can really be enjoyed for any meal. Even the occasional midnight snack after a night of drinking.
7. Bicol Express
Bicol express (sinilihan) is a popular spicy Filipino dish consisting of bite sized pieces of pork with chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onions and garlic. The dish is named after the train in the Bicol region of the Philippines, known for its spicy food.
Sisig, also called Sizzling Sisig, is a dish that is made up of chopped pig’s head parts (face, snout, cheeks, and ear) and chicken liver, usually served in a sizzling platter garnished with chopped onion, chilie pepper, fresh egg and slices of calamansi. This dizzyingly delicious Filipino dish is a popular pulutan (appetizers) that goes along with beer.
Tinola is a type of Filipino chicken soup wherein chicken slices are cooked in ginger broth until tender, while slices of green papaya (chayote) and malunggay leaves are added towards the end. This clear soup dish is perfect during rainy days and cold weather.
Lugaw (Arroz Caldo) is a Filipino dish traditionally thought of a soft food for sick people. But lugaw is also enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, and even after a night of drinking. Some meat is added to the rice for nutritional value. Chicken bones and ginger are favorite ingredients.