Philippine cuisine is a mishmash of various culinary influences brought by its first settlers from Austronesia and that of Chinese, Spanish and American cultures. Chinese and Spanish influences, however, are more evident due to the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and these two countries.
1. Pork Dishes
Pork is a universal ingredient all over the world, and Filipinos are a natural pork-loving bunch. It’s not surprising therefore for the Philippine lechon or whole roast pig to come as its most popular and most loved pork dish, along with adobo, lechon paksiw (repurposed lechon) and sisig.
2. Seafood Dishes
As a country with more than 7,000 islands with vast stretches of coastlines and fishing grounds, it is common to find a wide array of Philippine seafood dishes. The most common seafood recipes include sweet and sour fish dish called escabeche, seaweed salad, and the deliciously tangy seafood soup sinigang with either shrimp or milkfish.
3. Chicken Dishes
Some of the famous Filipino chicken dishes include chicken afritada, chicken tinola with malunggay, and lechon manok (whole roast chicken). Chicken is also a main ingredient in Philippine street food as in the case of adidas (chicken feet bbq), betamax (skewered chicken blood) and isaw (skewered chicken intestine).
4. Beef Dishes
Despite the hefty per kilo price of beef, Filipinos do have a penchant for beef preparations including beef soups bulalo and pochero, as well as the well-known bistek Tagalog (Tagalog beef steak) with its tangy-salty sauce.
5. Vegetable Dishes
As an agricultural nation, the Philippines produces some of the world’s freshest vegetables from cabbages, gourds, beans to peppers. Filipinos are known for serving chopsuey, vegetable sauté of Chinese origin. Other Filipino vegetable dishes include fresh lumpia, ngohiong, laing, and mung bean soup with coconut milk.
6. Fruit Dishes
Tropical fruits are abundant in the archipelago. Here you can find various fruit desserts and preparations such as mango float, avocado shake, and pineapple upside-down cake, banana cake and cashew nut tart.
7. Rice Dishes
Like its neighboring countries, the Philippines has a rice-eating population who are very adept in creating various rice recipes both savory and sweet. There is the Pinoy version of the Spanish arroz caldo and paella, delectable rice cakes with coconut milk such as biko, bibingka, kalamay and suman.
8. Pasta Dishes
Celebrations will not be complete without a pasta dish. In the Philippines, pancit is a mainstay dish served during birthdays because of the country’s adapted belief from the Chinese that eating noodles helps prolong one’s life. Pinoys also love sweet-style spaghetti with hotdog slices and minced pork.
9. Egg Dishes
Filipinos have this penchant for adding eggs into just about any food – beaten egg in corned beef, canned tuna and noodle soup, and boiled egg in pork humba. Two of the well-loved Pinoy egg desserts include leche flan, egg pie.
Yes, Pinoys are bakers, too. Anywhere in the country, there’s always a pastry dish, a local delicacy one could enjoy while sightseeing or bring back home as pasalubong. There’s pastel in Cagayan de Oro, durian tart in Davao, Hopia de Manila, otap in Cebu, sans rival in Dumaguete and also assorted pies with macapuno, ube or langka filling.
These are the common Filipino dishes anybody can easily find in the malls or on the streets anywhere in the Philippines. It should also be noted that you can easily find many western fast food chains all over the country along with our local ones so don’t be surprised (like many of our foreign guests) to see more McDonalds and Starbucks here than in some parts of the US.
How about you, what other common Filipino dishes do you enjoy? Feel free to give us your gastronomic opinions in the comment section below.