Adobo is often called the national dish of the Philippines and it’s certainly the most famous Filipino dish. Made with pork or chicken simmered in soy sauce and vinegar with loads of black pepper and crushed garlic, Adobo is one of the few dishes in the Philippines with local origins as it was given the Spanish name later. This lip-smacking dish is as Filipino as you can get, and it goes with nothing else but rice. Every family in the Philippines has its own way of cooking adobo so it might taste a little different from place to place.
When it comes to popular Philippines food items present on every special occasion, lechon is probably one of the top ones. This is another dish with Spanish influence and no fiesta in the country is complete unless there is enough lechon for everyone. This dish is roast suckling pig that is cooked to perfection. Everyone loves the delicious crunchy skin. If you want to taste one of the most popular authentic Filipino dishes, you should definitely look for a place that serves traditional lechon.
Kare-kare is a thick stew made from oxtail, vegetables, and a peanut sauce. Many Filipinos will consider kare-kare incomplete without a serving of bagoong (fermented seafood paste) on the side.
Sinigang is a Pinoy classic. A delicious sour broth usually made tangy by tamarind (sometimes kamias), it’s filled with different vegetables and a meat of choice. Popular variants include sinigang na baboy (pork), sinigang na hipon (shrimp), and sinigang na isda (fish).
Another dish frequently expected to make an appearance at Filipino gatherings is the Pinoy’s version of the egg roll, lumpia. These deep-fried rolls are filled with minced meat and vegetables and served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Being so easy to make, lumpia is almost automatically part of a Filipino feast when food for the large Filipino family has to be cooked in copious amounts.
Served sizzling on a hot stone plate, sisig is a favorite pulutan (beer chow) among Filipinos. The meat is primarily chopped up parts of the pigs’ face in the Philippines, no cut of the animal goes to waste. Some recipes use either mayonnaise or raw egg (to be mixed in while hot) to give it a creamier texture but the classic way is to incorporate pig’s brain into the dish.
Humba is very similar to Adobo, but also includes banana blossoms and tausi (fermented black bean paste). This gives Humba a sweeter taste than adobo and results in an amazing spicy and sweet flavor. Whereas you can find the Adobo flavor applied to all types of meat and vegetable dishes, humba is almost always made with pork.
The perfect company for a cool, rainy day in the Philippines is a nice hot bowl of bulalo. This tasty soup is made by slow-cooking beef shanks and bone marrow (still in the bone) in some water with fish sauce, onions, and peppercorn, and later adding in some vegetables. Especially known for this dish is the province of Batangas in the country’s Southern Luzon region.
Vibrantly orange and jam-packed with different textures and flavors, palabok is another well-loved way of cooking pancit. It is mixed in with a shrimp sauce, which gets its recognizable colour from annatto powder. It is finished off with a variety of toppings such as slices of hard-boiled eggs, crushed chicharon (pork rinds), tinapa (smoked fish) flakes, and spring onions.
10. Arroz Caldo
With Spanish and Chinese influences, Arroz Caldo is a great choice if you are looking for healthy food in the Philippines. The name of this wonderful dish literally translates to ‘rice soup’ in English. Similar to the congee of Vietnam, Arroz Caldo is a rice and chicken porridge stewed in broth, chives, ginger, and occasionally, saffron. If you want a dish that has a soothing effect on your stomach and offers health benefits, there is nothing better than a bowl of delicious Arroz Caldo.