Filipino Specialities

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Filipino food encompasses a vast array of flavours which are influenced by the country’s various regions and history (notably Spanish and Chinese). Don’t leave the Philippines without getting a taste of these local eats.

Adobo

The Philippines’ most famous dish is made with chicken or pork stewed with oil, soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper and garlic.

Photo: pulaw/Wikimedia Commons

Afritada

This tomato-based chicken or pork stew is cooked with potatoes, carrots, green peas and bell peppers.

Photo: Unilever

Bagnet

A speciality of Narvacan in Ilocos Sur, these addictive, crispy pieces of pork belly are first boiled till tender, then deep-fried twice. Also known as “sitsaron” or “chicaron”, they can be eaten on their own or dipped in vinegar or fish paste with garlic.

Photo: Jose Nicdao

Balut

A famous Filipino delicacy, this boiled semi-developed duck embryo is eaten straight from the shell.

Photo: Philippine News Agency

Beef kaldereta

This tomato-based and liver paste beef stew is cooked with carrots, bell peppers, potatoes and onions.

Photo: Knorr

Bibingka

This classic Filipino dessert of baked coconut rice cake, traditionally eaten during the Christmas season, is made with rice flour, glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, margarine or butter, eggs and sugar.

Photo: Obsidian Soul/Wikimedia Commons

Binatog

This popular street food is made with boiled white corn kernels topped with grated coconut, butter and sugar.

Photo: Kawaling Pinoy

Bistek tagalog

Pan-fried thin beef slices marinated with soy sauce and calamansi, and topped with caramelised onions

Buko pie

A speciality of Los Baños, Laguna, this Filipino-style coconut pie is made with fresh, tender young coconut meat combined with a creamy filling and enclosed in a flaky pie crust.

Photo: Martin Sordilla/Wikimedia Commons

Bulalo

A must-eat for beef lovers, this hearty stew is made with beef shanks, bone marrow, cabbage, corn, carrot, potato and other vegetables.

Photo: Hannah Reyes

Champorado

Traditionally served for breakfast, this sweet porridge is made from glutinous rice and cocoa powder or chocolate, and drizzled with evaporated milk. It is often eaten with salted dried fish called “tuyo”.

Photo: Foxy Folksy

Chicharon bulaklak

Deep-fried pig mesentery served with vinegar on the side

Chicken inasal

This grilled chicken dish from Bacolod City in Western Visayas gets its distinct flavour and colour from a marinade made with calamansi, orange, lime, pepper, vinegar and annatto.

Photo: Kawaling Pinoy

Crispy pata

Deep-fried pig trotters or knuckles served with soy-vinegar sauce

Photo: BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons

Dinuguan

This bold-flavoured pork stew is made with pork (and traditionally also with pork offal) simmered in pig’s blood, garlic, onions, chilli and vinegar, and served with puto or rice cakes.

Photo: Kat/Wikimedia Commons

Filipino tamales

This Mexican-inspired dish is made with ground rice, coconut milk, chicken, ham or pork, nuts and eggs, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Photo: Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons

Ginataang gulay

Pork, shrimp and vegetable stew cooked in coconut milk

Halo-halo

A colourful cold dessert of shaved ice layered with red beans, coconut gel, purple yam, flan, candied fruits and a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with evaporated milk.

Photo: Foxy Folksy

Humba

Pork stewed with banana blossoms, fermented/salted black beans, soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, bay leaves, vinegar, pineapple juiceook.

Ilocos empanada

Deep-fried pastry with orange-hued rice flour dough filled with sweet or savoury fillings

Inihaw

Grilled seafood or meat served with rice and soy sauce, lime and chilli

Isaw

Barbecued pig or chicken intestines

Kare-kare

Thick stew made with oxtail, vegetables and a peanut sauce

Kinilaw

This Filipino-style ceviche features raw fish or shrimp slices marinated in vinegar, lime, onions and chilli.

Photo: Foxy Folksy

Lechon

Whole roasted pig

Mechado

This hearty, tomato-based stew has Spanish influences and is made with beef chuck or brisket, pork fat, tomato sauce, onions, carrots and potatoes.

Photo: Foxy Folksy

Pako salad

Salad of fiddlehad ferns, tomatoes, onions and salted egg/hard boiled egg

Palabok

Thin glass noodles coated in thick shrimp sauce, topped with hard-boiled egg, fried pork rind, shrimp and squid

Pancit guisado

Rice noodles with shredded chicken, shrimp and vegetables

Pancit palabok

Noodles with thick shrimp sauce topped with minced pork, crushed chicharon/pork rinds, fried garlic, tinapa/smoked fish flakes, green onions and sliced egg

Sans rival

Layered cake made with buttercream, meringue, eggs and chopped cashews

Sinigang

An all-time favourite dish, this sour and savoury soup is cooked with pork, shrimp or fish, vegetables and tamarind.

Photo: Unilever Food Solutions

Sisig

This Kapampangan dish is made with pig’s head, cheeks or ears chopped and boiled, and tossed with cooked chicken liver, diced onions, chili peppers and calamansi juice, served on a sizzling pan, often topped with a raw egg.

Photo: Kawaling Pinoy

Tapsilog

Cured beef or tapa, garlic fried rice and fried egg

Turon

Fried banana and jackfruit rolls