A trip isn’t complete without eating local dishes because that’s one of the best ways to fully enjoy and understand a place and make the most of your trip. Aside from seeing the good scenery and learning history, trying the local food adds to your knowledge about the place’s culture. And the Philippines, with over 7,000 amazing islands, have a lot of local dishes that every traveler must try.
In this blog, we will tour you from North to South to get familiarized with the specialties around the Philippines that you should not miss.
1. Luñis – Batanes
It’s a traditional recipe of pork cooked with just rock salt. It is then stored in jars drowning in its own lard. Luñis is quite similar to dried pork adobo and is best served with supas (turmeric rice), another Ivatan specialty.
2. Balut – Pateros
Balut is a 16 to 21-day old fertilized duck egg that contains not only a yolk but also a semi-developed duck embryo that’s eaten from the shell. Pateros is the “Balut Capital of the Philippines” and even celebrates the Balut Festival for over three decades now. The nearby river where ducks love to swim made this industry big and Balut made it very special.
3. Sisig – Pampanga
It is a culinary specialty of Pampanga made from parts of the grilled pig head, chicken liver, usually seasoned with calamansi, onions and chili peppers. The word “Sisig” was first mentioned in a Kapampangan dictionary meaning “to snack on something sour” and “salad.”
4. Bagnet – Ilocos
Bagnet is locally known as Chicharon in Ilocano. It is a boiled, air-dried, and deep-fried slabs of pork liempo (belly) seasoned with garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves and salt.
5. Vigan Longganisa – Vigan City
This delicacy is a staple when visiting Ilocos. It is a pork sausage made with ground lean pork, ground pork fat, brown sugar, garlic, onions, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, and salt. The difference of Vigan longganisa to ordinary longganisa is that the latter is sweeter while Vigan longganisa is a bit dried and has garlicky flavor.
6. Buko Pie – Laguna
Everyone who has been to Laguna never left the province without a buko pie in hand. It is a baked young coconut custard pie and a specialty in Los Baños, Laguna. This delicacy is top pasalubong from Laguna.
7. Bulalo – Tagaytay
It is a light-colored soup that is made by cooking beef shanks and bone marrow until the collagen and fat has melted into the clear broth. It typically includes leafy vegetables (like pechay/bok choy or cabbage), corn on the cob, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Some people from the north or Metro Manila go to Tagaytay just to eat bulalo.
8. Lomi – Batangas
Lomi originated in Lipa, Batangas back in 1968. A dish that has thick egg noodles, pork liver, fish balls, kikiam, and quail eggs, all swimming in a thick broth and occasionally topped with a whisked egg. This is such a significant part of Batangueño’s life that they celebrate a Lomi Festival every June, alongside the capital’s Foundation Day itself.
9. Pancit Habhab – Quezon Province
Pancit Habhab is a local delicacy of sautéed noodles mixed with chopped pork, shrimps, vegetables, onion, and garlic. It is placed on a rectangular Banana leaf and should be eaten without using utensils but only your mouth. If the ordinary pancit has calamansi to add flavor, in Quezon, they use vinegar to get the sour taste which is oh-so-good by the way!
10. Laing – Bicol
Laing is a dish of shredded or whole Taro leaves with meat or seafood cooked in thick coconut milk spiced with labuyo chili, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, ginger, and shrimp paste originated in Bicol region.
11. Lechon – Cebu
Cebu is the Lechon Capital of the World where Anthony Bourdain tasted and described as “the best pig ever.” It is a whole roasted pig cooked on a large stick over a pit filled with charcoal.
12. Chicken Inasal – Bacolod
Inasal is a chicken marinated in a mixture of calamansi, pepper, coconut vinegar and annatto, then grilled over hot coals while basted with the marinade. It is served with rice, calamansi, soy sauce, chicken oil and vinegar. It is a popular specialty dish in the city of Bacolod.
13. Batchoy – Iloilo
It is a noodle soup made with pork offal, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin, and round noodles. Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo and it is often referred to as La Paz Batchoy.
14. Sinuglaw – Davao
Sinuglaw, originated in Davao, is a dish composed of grilled pork belly and fish ceviche. This can be considered as a main dish or an appetizer. The name “sinuglaw” was derived from two famous cooking methods in the Visayas and Mindanao areas: sugba, meaning to grill; and kinilaw, which means to cook by soaking in vinegar or citric acid.
15. Curacha – Zamboanga
Curacha Alavar, sometimes referred to as curacha con salsa Alavar (“Curacha with Alavar sauce”) in Chavacano creole is a Zamboanga specialty made from spanner crabs (curacha), garlic, ginger, salt, and Alavar sauce. The key ingredient is the Alavar sauce, a secret blend of coconut milk, taba ng talangka (crab roe paste), and various spices.
16. Tuna – General Santos City
General Santos City (GenSan) is known as the Tuna capital of the Philippines because of its high quality “Sashimi-grade” Yellowfin Tuna that is mostly exported, while the rest are processed into canned goods, or sold locally.
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