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)

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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.

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