Philippine cuisine: What do they eat in the Philippines?

Philippine Cuisine: What Do They Eat in the Philippines?

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Philippine cuisine, where we explore the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the Philippines. With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines boasts a fascinating array of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques that have been influenced by various cultures throughout history. In this article, we will delve into the staple dishes, popular street food, and unique delicacies that make Filipino cuisine a true gastronomic delight. Join us as we take a mouthwatering journey through the diverse and vibrant world of Philippine food.

Traditional Filipino dishes

Adobo

Adobo is a classic Filipino dish that is widely recognized and loved by both locals and foreigners. This savory and tangy dish is made by marinating meat, usually chicken or pork, in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and various spices. The marinated meat is then braised until tender, resulting in a flavorful and tender dish that is often served with steamed rice. Adobo is popular throughout the Philippines and is considered a staple in Filipino cuisine.

Sinigang

Sinigang is a hearty and comforting Filipino soup that is known for its sour taste. This soup is typically made with tamarind as the souring agent, although other fruits like guava, green mango, or kamias can also be used. Sinigang is usually cooked with a variety of vegetables, such as spinach, radish, okra, and eggplant, along with meat or seafood. The combination of the sour broth and the fresh ingredients creates a delightful balance of flavors that is both refreshing and satisfying.

Lechon

Lechon is a festive and indulgent Filipino dish that is often served during special occasions and celebrations. It is essentially a whole roasted pig that is cooked over an open fire or in a specialized oven called a "lechonan." The pig is traditionally marinated with a mixture of spices and herbs, which gives the meat its distinct flavor and aroma. The result is a crispy and succulent skin with tender and flavorful meat. Lechon is often the centerpiece of feasts and gatherings, and its rich and savory taste is enjoyed by many Filipinos.

These traditional Filipino dishes showcase the unique flavors and culinary heritage of the Philippines. Whether it’s the tangy and savory adobo, the comforting and sour sinigang, or the festive and indulgent lechon, these dishes are beloved by Filipinos and are definitely worth trying for anyone interested in exploring the rich and diverse world of Philippine cuisine.

Regional Specialties

Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare is one of the most beloved and iconic dishes in Philippine cuisine. Originating from the province of Pampanga, this rich and flavorful stew is made with oxtail, tripe, or beef, cooked in a thick peanut sauce. The distinct taste of Kare-Kare comes from the roasted peanuts that are ground and mixed with other ingredients such as garlic, onions, and annatto seeds. It is often served with bagoong, a fermented shrimp paste, which adds a savory and salty contrast to the dish. Kare-Kare is usually enjoyed with a side of steamed rice and is a staple in festive occasions and family gatherings.

Halo-halo

Halo-halo, which translates to "mix-mix" in English, is a popular and refreshing dessert that is perfect for beating the tropical heat in the Philippines. This delightful concoction is a mix of various ingredients such as crushed ice, sweetened fruits, jelly cubes, sweet beans, and leche flan (caramel custard). Topped with evaporated milk and sometimes a scoop of ice cream, Halo-halo is a colorful and sweet treat that offers a burst of flavors and textures. Each spoonful is a delightful surprise as you discover the different layers of ingredients. It is a must-try dessert for both locals and tourists alike.

Bicol Express

Bicol Express is a spicy dish that originated from the Bicol region in the Philippines, known for its love of spicy food. This flavorful dish is made with pork belly or shoulder, cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste, and a generous amount of chili peppers. The combination of the creamy coconut milk and the fiery kick of the chili peppers creates a unique and bold flavor that tantalizes the taste buds. Bicol Express is often served with steamed rice, providing a perfect balance to the spiciness of the dish. If you are a fan of spicy food, Bicol Express is a dish you should not miss when exploring Philippine cuisine.

Street food

Balut

Balut is a popular street food in the Philippines that is not for the faint-hearted. It is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and consumed with the developing duck embryo inside. Balut is often sold by street vendors, particularly during the evening. The egg is cracked open and seasoned with salt or vinegar before being eaten directly from the shell.

Many locals consider balut as a delicacy and it is often enjoyed as a snack or paired with a cold beer. Despite its appearance, balut is rich in protein and other nutrients, making it a popular choice for those looking for a unique culinary experience in the Philippines.

Isaw

Isaw is another popular street food that can be found throughout the Philippines. It consists of skewered and grilled chicken or pork intestines. These skewers are often marinated in a flavorful mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and various spices before being grilled over charcoal.

Isaw is typically sold by street vendors who set up their stalls along busy streets or near markets. It is a common snack or appetizer for locals and visitors alike. The grilled intestines have a slightly chewy texture and are often enjoyed with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce. Isaw is a great option for those looking to explore the diverse flavors of Philippine street food.

Taho

Taho is a sweet and comforting street food that is a favorite among Filipinos, especially for breakfast. It is made from soft tofu, sago pearls (similar to tapioca pearls), and a sweet syrup made from brown sugar. Taho vendors can be found roaming the streets with their large aluminum containers, shouting "Tahoooo!" to attract customers.

The vendors serve taho in disposable cups, scooping out portions of soft tofu and sago pearls before drizzling the sweet syrup on top. The combination of the silky tofu, chewy sago pearls, and the sweetness of the syrup creates a delightful and satisfying treat.

Taho is not only delicious but also provides a good source of protein from the tofu and energy from the brown sugar syrup. It is a beloved street food that brings back nostalgic memories for many Filipinos and is definitely worth trying when exploring the culinary wonders of the Philippines.

The diverse and flavorful cuisine of the Philippines offers a culinary adventure like no other. From staple dishes like adobo and sinigang to unique delicacies such as balut and halo-halo, Filipino food showcases a fusion of indigenous flavors and influences from Spanish, Chinese, and American cuisines. With its rich history and cultural diversity, the Philippines has developed a vibrant food culture that continues to evolve and captivate food enthusiasts worldwide. Whether it’s exploring traditional street food or indulging in fine dining experiences, the gastronomic journey through Philippine cuisine is an experience that should not be missed.

Share This Post: