When it comes to food, the Philippines is so rich with undeniably great cuisine just as it is rich with beautiful destinations. The Filipinos have a knack for combining flavors and making the most of any ingredients at their table, hence putting out a palatable and unpretentious Filipino food that everyone enjoys!

That’s why aside from being a beach destination, the Philippines is also becoming the “it” food destination.

In this blog, we’ve listed the top 10 Filipino food you must try!

Related article: 16 Philippine Destinations to Eat Authentic Filipino Food (And Go Sightseeing)

What’s inside this blog?

10 Filipino Food that Will Have You Drooling 

1. Adobo

 

filipino food adobo

No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo. This ever-present dish in the Philippines is what balikbayans always miss and is a safe choice to introduce Philippines food to foreigners.

The meat (chicken, pork, or lamb) is marinated in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices which is a practical way to preserve the food without refrigeration. 

2. Sinigang

filipino food sinigang

If we were to describe the taste of Filipino cuisine, it would have to be mostly sour rather than spicy. And sinigang serves you that.

This Pinoy classic consists of a delicious broth soured by tamarind, tomatoes, and sometimes, kamias. Aside from the meat, sinigang has different vegetables. Popular variants are pork sinigang, beef sinigang, prawns sinigang.

3. Sisig

filipino food sisig

The sisig meat is primarily chopped up parts of the pigs’ face— Filipinos don’t waste anything when it comes to food, that’s why no cut of the animal goes to waste. Some sisig recipes have mayonnaise and raw egg to be mixed in while hot and give it a creamier texture. While other sisig recipes don’t have raw egg and are crispier than the usual recipe. This is served sizzling on a hot stone plate and is a favorite pulutan (food that perfectly matches with beer) among Filipinos. 

The best Filipino restaurant that serves sisig is Manam. It has several branches in Metro Manila.

4. Kare-Kare

filipino food kare-kare

Kare-kare is one of the most favorite ulam of Pinoys. The stew is made with peanut butter and ground rice. It has oxtail and mixed vegetables. Kare-kare is best eaten with rice and bagoong (shrimp paste).

5. Lechon

filipino food lechon

This is a famous Filipino food not just to Pinoys but also to foreigners. Lechon is a whole roasted pig usually served on special occasions. It’s kind of expensive, that’s why when you see lechon on an occasion, it must be grand. 

What people love about lechon is its crispy skin and juicy meat which is best paired with liver sauce. Anthony Bourdain claimed that this is the best pig ever! He wouldn’t say this for nothing right?

The famous Filipino restaurant that serves one of the best lechons is Rico’s Lechon.

6. Crispy Pata

filipino food crispy pata

Just like lechon, crispy pata is a delicious and must-try Philippines food. Crispy Pata is the pig’s whole leg deep-fried into perfection to achieve the right crispiness. It is served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce on the side with some chopped up garlic and chili.

7. Bulalo

filipino food bulalo

When the weather becomes cooler, Filipinos usually crave a hot stewed meal— bulalo. Bulalo is made by slow-cooking beef shanks and bone marrow. Like sinigang, it also has a mix of vegetables along with the beef. 

The most famous place to eat bulalo in the Philippines is Batangas and Tagaytay. Some Filipinos who live in the metro will drive up north just to have that bulalo fix. 

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8. Kansi

filipino food kansi

If you love sinigang and bulalo, you’ll definitely love Kansi, too! Kansi is an Ilonggo dish which is a combination of sinigang and bulalo. But the sour taste overpowers the soup. The meat is the same as bulalo using beef shank and bone marrow. Kansi is one of the must-try Pinoy ulam s in the Philippines!

9. Chicken Inasal

filipino food chicken inasal

 

This dish is basically a grilled chicken but this is not the ordinary grilled chicken you’ll see everywhere. If you want to taste the authentic chicken inasal, you should go to Bacolod as this is where the dish originated from. They marinate the chicken soy sauce, vinegar, and different spices that make Bacolod chicken inasal unique. They also use chicken oil to pair with rice. 

10. Kwek-Kwek

filipino street food kwek-kwek

Now let’s talk about street food in the Philippines! This Filipino street food is something you shouldn’t miss. The best street food in the Philippines is kwek-kwek. It is a quail egg covered in orange batter. Most of its goodness relies on its sauce and street food vendors have their own recipe. The best choice would be vinegar with chilis and garlic. 

If you want to be more adventurous, you should try isaw. It is a grilled chicken or pork intestine on a stick. 

Related article: 13 Irresistible Filipino Street Food You Should Try

BONUS!

Of course, a meal isn’t complete without a dessert! So here are two best Filipino desserts you should try!

Halo-Halo

 

filipino food halo halo

This dessert is becoming famous worldwide and we can’t see any reason why it should not. Halo-halo is like heaven in a glass filled with oh-so-good Filipino sweet treats like nata, kaong, gulaman, macapuno, banana, shaved ice with milk, and so much more! Filipinos usually love to eat this during the hot season but now, whether it’s hot or not, they always crave it because that’s just how good it is!

Suman

filipino food suman

Rice cake is one of the most distinct foods in Asia because of our rice-growing agriculture. And when in the Philippines, you’ll see different kinds of rice cakes everywhere and one famous kakanin is the suman

It is usually cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with a little sugar and salt for flavor, and are typically steamed in banana or palm leaves. It’s a common dessert or snack that can be found in different parts of the Philippines, with different versions using various ingredients. 

The Philippines may have been known to have the most beautiful beaches in the world but as famous as its amazing spots, the Filipino food is also something worth bragging about as it not just fills your tummy but also your heart.

Affordable and Easy to Cook Ulam Ideas 

If you’re the main cook in the house, there will come a time when you will run out of ulam ideas to cook for your family (or yourself!) So here are easy to cook ulam ideas if you can’t think of anything else to cook on a lazy day. 

1. Chicken Gising-Gising 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken cut into serving pieces
  • 90 grams Knorr Ginataang Gulay Mix
  • ½ lb. winged bean sigarilyas, sliced
  • 2 long green chili pepper sliced
  • 5 Thai chili pepper optional
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste 
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 thumbs ginger chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic, onion, and ginger.
  2. Add chicken pieces. Stir fry until the exterior turns light brown in color.
  3. Add 1 cup water. Let boil.
  4. Combine Knorr Ginataang Gulay Mix with 2 cups of water. Mix well and then pour into the pan. Cover and continue cooking between low to medium heat setting for 20 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp paste, long green pepper, and winged beans. Cover the pan and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  6. Add Thai chili peppers if desired. Cook for 2 minutes more.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with rice.
  8. Serve and enjoy! 

2. Pineapple Chicken Afritada 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken cut into serving pieces
  • 1 piece Knorr chicken cube
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces pineapple chunks in can
  • 1 piece potato diced
  • 1 piece carrot sliced
  • 1 piece red bell pepper cut into squares
  • 1 piece green bell pepper cut into squares
  • 1 piece onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Fish sauce and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic. Continue cooking while stirring until it starts to turn golden brown in color.
  2. Add onion. Saute until it softens.
  3. Add chicken. Cook each side for 1 minute or until the color turns light brown.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce, juice from pineapple chunks, and water into the pan. Stir. Cover the pan.
  5. Once the liquid starts to boil, add Knorr Chicken Cube and bay leaves. Cover the pan and then adjust the heat to a low setting. Continue cooking for 18 minutes.
  6. Use a kitchen tong to turn the chicken pieces over. Continue cooking the opposite side for 12 minutes.
  7. Add pineapple, potato, and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Season with fish sauce and ground black pepper.
  9. Add bell pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy! 

3. Tortang Giniling 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork or beef
  • 6 pieces raw eggs
  • 1 medium-sized onion diced
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes diced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Heat a frying pan or wok and pour-in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  2. When the oil is hot enough, sauté the onion, garlic, and tomato.
  3. Add the ground meat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Put in the bell peppers and green peas. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper then stir to distribute. Transfer to a large bowl. Let it cool down.
  6. When the cooked ground meat reaches room temperature, beat the eggs and pour into the same bowl. Stir to distribute all the ingredients.
  7. Heat a clean non-stick pan. Add the remaining cooking oil.
  8. Scoop 1/3 of the egg and pork mixture to the pan.
  9. Cook each side for 3 minutes or until you see that the eggs are fully cooked. Avoid overcooking the eggs. Do the same step until the mixture is consumed.
  10. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.
  11. Serve and enjoy! 

4. Bistek Tagalog 

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice
  • 1/2 kilo beef, (use lean beef), sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, cut into large rings

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle meat with garlic powder. Combine calamansi juice and fish sauce. Pour over meat and marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Shake off excess marinade from meat and pan-fry in batches. Cook meat for a few minutes on both sides. 
  3. Return all of the meat into the pan. Add water to the leftover marinade and pour onto the meat. Cover. Simmer for half an hour or until the meat is tender.
  4. Stir in soy sauce. Add onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Squeeze the juice of one or two calamansi before removing from heat.
  1. Canned Tuna sisig

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. can tuna
  • 2 medium red onions minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup crushed chicharon
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 pieces Thai chili pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the tuna by draining the liquid. You can place it in a cheese cloth and squeeze until the liquid comes-out.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Pan fry the tuna until it turns light to medium brown.
  3. Add onion. Continue to saute until the onion becomes soft.
  4. Add scallions and chili pepper. Saute for 2 more minutes.
  5. Season with garlic powder, ground black pepper, and soy sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add half of the chicharon and put the mayonnaise into the pot. Mix well. Set aside.
  7. Melt butter in a sizzling plate (metal plate), put the cooked tuna sisig on the plate. Continue to cook for 30 seconds or until sizzling hot.
  8. Top with remaining chicharon. Serve. Share and enjoy!

Need more ulam ideas? Check out our easy-to-cook recipes here

Frequently Asked Questions About Filipino Food 

What is the best and most popular Filipino food? 

The most popular Filipino food is Adobo, but there are also other equally good ones, including: 

  • Sisig
  • Sinigang 
  • Lechon 
  • Bulalo
  • Crispy Pata
  • Chicken Inasal 

What are some cheap and easy-to-cook ulam ideas? 

Some easy-to-cook Pinoy ulam ideas are: 

  • Chicken Gising-Gising 
  • Pineapple Chicken Afritada 
  • Tortang Giniling 
  • Bistek Tagalog 
  • Canned Tuna Sisig 

What is the most famous Filipino restaurant in Manila?

There are several famous Filipino restaurants in Manila, including: 

  • Manam
  • Romulo’s Cafe 
  • Mesa 
  • Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico 
  • The Aristrocrat
  • Abe’s Restaurant
  • Via Mare 
  • Locavore  

Now if you’re done having your food trip and looking for a place to stay, ZEN Rooms got you covered! Book budget hotels in the Philippines at www.zenrooms.com.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Your Philippine trip isn’t complete without eating Filipino food 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.

What’s inside this blog?

Philippine Destinations to Eat Authentic Filipino Food

LUZON

1. Luñis – Batanes

lunis from 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, a filipino exotic food

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

sisig with egg on a sizzling plate

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

crispy pork bagnet served with rice

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

vigan longganisa

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

a slice of buko pie

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

bulalo in a large bowl

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

delicious 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.

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9. Pancit Habhab – Quezon Province

pancit habhab

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 originated in 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.

VISAYAS

11. Lechon – Cebu

crispy 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

chicken inasal in 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

delicious batchoy in a large bown in 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.

MINDANAO

14. Sinuglaw – Davao

flatlay photo of sinuglaw
Photo from Maggi

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

delicious crabs (curacha) in 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

tons of fresh tuna in 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.

While planning your food trip travel, book from ZEN Rooms that ensures you a high-quality room with good customer service at an affordable price. Travel more, Pay less! 

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.