5 Must-Have Dishes from the Philippines

Let’s head to Southeast Asia, home of The Pearl of the Orient—the Philippines. This country is a cultural hotpot with a wealth of natural resources, history, and so much more. Throughout centuries, numerous countries have come and gone in the Philippines, so Filipino culture is really a mix of dishes from the United States, Spain, China, indigenous Filipinos, and other Pacific Islander countries.

And this is certainly reflected in the diversity of Filipino cuisine! In the Philippines, you’ll be sure to find dishes that’ll satisfy any palate. Below are just five of the very many dishes that make up cuisine in the Philippines.


1. Adobo

First on the list is one of the most quintessential Filipino dishes ever—adobo. It highlights Filipino cuisine. It shows that you only need a few, simple ingredients to create a dish that’s restaurant-quality. Indeed, adobo usually only needs these base ingredients: protein of choice (we recommend chicken), soy sauce, vinegar, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. And that’s it!

Interestingly, you might have already heard of adobo but from Spanish cuisine. However, Filipino adobo and Spanish adobo are quite different. According to food historian, Raymond Sokolov, that might be because the Spanish mistakenly referred to the native Filipino dish as adobo when they first landed in the Philippines simply because they use the same ingredients.

Source: Serious Eats


2. Sinigang

Sinigang is a sour soup that’s flavored with unripe tamarind. And by sour, we do mean sour! Typically, you’d want your mouth to purse every time you take a sip of that delicious soup. Along with the sour soup, you have your choice of protein—pork is the most common, but you can also use shrimp, fish, or even chicken. You also have a ton of vegetables like bok choy, onions, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, green beans, and more.

To eat sinigang, you eat it with a lot of steaming rice and have a side of fish sauce with it. You can also opt to eat it with sundried fish.

Source: Lutong Pinoy Recipe


3. Lechon

Lechon is the belle of the ball, the star of the show, the homecoming queen! It gets the spotlight in many Filipino feasts because of how impressive it is.

Lechon is a whole pig that’s been slowly roasted for hours until the skin is golden brown and extremely crunchy and the meat within is juicy, moist, and dripping with fat. It’s not the healthiest of foods, so Filipinos love to take advantage of the celebratory spirit by eating as much lechon as they can!

Eat lechon with lots of rice, and dip the lechon in liver sauce, soy sauce, or vinegar to amplify the flavor. If you’re lucky, the lechon you picked might be so well-done you won’t even need sauce!

Source: Lutong Bahay Recipe


4. Palabok

If you’re looking for a dish that’s bright and colorful while also bursting with flavor, then palabok is the dish for you. You can get a ton of different flavors and textures with every forkful. Here, you have thin, vermicelli noodles that are delightfully chewy. Then, you’ve got a rich, seafood sauce that’s sweet, salty, and tangy at the same time. Then, you’ve got plump shrimps and smoked fish that adds even more flavor to the dish. And then, you’ve got hard-boiled eggs that cut into the richness. Lastly, you have crunchy pork rinds and sliced green onions that top everything off!

Wow, isn’t this dish such a whirlwind?

This dish is a labor of love. Like the lechon, it’s a popular choice for many Filipino feasts and celebrations.

Source: The Maya Kitchen


5. Halo-Halo

This colorful dish is perhaps the most popular of all sweet dishes in the Philippines. Its name translates to ‘mix-mix’ and refers to the plentiful mix of yummy ingredients and the way you need to mix everything to eat it. As you can see in the picture below, you’ve got a plethora of different colors and textures that’ll have you feeling like you’re eating a rainbow in a bowl! It’s the perfect treat for a hot summer’s day.

Halo-halo ingredients differ greatly depending on who makes it. You start with a bed of shaved ice flavored with condensed milk. Then, you add pandan jelly, sweetened red beans, sweetened plantains, jackfruit, flan, rice crispies, coconut jelly, ube ice cream, and so much more.

Source: The Spruce Eats