Filipino food is underrated as compared to its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors. But, with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, you can expect to be blown away by the Pinoys’ mouth-watering dishes.
Sinigang is a stew of fish, prawns, pork or beef soured by fruits like tamarind, kamias or tomatoes.
Often accompanied by vegetables like kangkong, string beans and taro, this stew is eaten with rice.
The lechon is the most invited party guest in the Philippines.
The entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce, the most coveted part.
In Cebu, the stomach of the pig is stuffed with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves and lemongrass resulting in an extremely tasty lechon, which needs no sauce.
No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo.
A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it’s Mexican in origin.
But Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices was a practical way to preserve it without refrigeration.
This cooking style can be applied to different meats or even seafood.
Nothing goes to waste in Filipino food.
In the culinary capital of Pampanga, they turn the pork’s cheeks, head and liver into a sizzling dish called Sisig.
The crunchy and chewy texture of this appetizer is a perfect match for a cold beer.
Serve with hot sauce and Knorr seasoning to suit the preference of you and your buddies.
Credit goes to Aling Lucing, who invented this dish at a humble stall along the train railways in Angeles City, Pampanga.
5. Chicken Inasal
Yes, it’s grilled chicken.
But in Bacolod, this is no ordinary grilled chicken.
The meat is marinated in lemongrass, calamansi, salt, pepper and garlic and brushed with achuete (annatto seeds) oil.
Every part of the chicken is grilled here from the paa (drumstick), pecho (breast), baticulon (gizzard), atay (liver), pakpak (wings) and corazon (heart).
It must be eaten with a generous serving of garlic rice, with some of the orange oil used to marinade the chicken poured over the rice.
6. Relyenong Alimango
Filipino cooks are never fazed by fuzzy food preparations like relyenong alimango.
The crab is delicately peeled then sauteed with onions, tomatoes, herbs and stuffed back into the crab shell, then deep fried.
Chicken or bangus (milkfish) are also cooked relyeno.
Often cooked in homes for fiestas, but enterprising housewives sell them at the Sunday markets.
For many Filipinos, Christmas is marked by the scent of bibingkas cooking at dawn.
These rice cakes are made by soaking the rice overnight, grinding it with a mortar stone and mixing in coconut milk and sugar. Laborious.
The batter is poured into clay pots with banana leaves, with coals on top and below. It’s garnished with salted eggs, kesong puti (white cheese made from Carabao’s milk) and slathered with butter, sugar and grated coconut.
Best eaten hot from weekend markets.
8. Puto Bumbong
These may look like miniature chimneys along the roadside stalls, but that’s what gives the chewy purple snacks their name.
Traditionally, purple mountain rice was used to make these, steamed in bamboo tubes, then served with butter, panocha (brown concentrated sugar) and grated coconut.
9. Arroz Caldo
While chicken soup soothes sick Westerners, Filipinos turn to arroz caldo, a thick chicken rice porridge.
Cooked with ginger and sometimes garnished with a hard-boiled egg, toasted garlic and green onions, this Filipino food is sold in street-side stalls.
No trip to the Philippines would be complete without sampling its famous balut. Vendors peddling these eggs on the street chant “Baluuuuut!” to entice buyers.
This 17-day-old duck embryo is boiled, served with rock salt or spicy vinegar and is often consumed with beer.
Have you gotten your Filipino food fix yet? Ricebowl’s Food Experts are sure you can’t wait to experience Philippines through your palate.