Filipino Food in English Terms

Filipino food fiesta.. hmmm delicious!
Filipino food fiesta.. hmmm delicious!

Here are some Filipino or Tagalog words used in Food Recipes and their corresponding English translation, definition, or meaning.

achuete - annatto; red seeds used to color food

adobo - braised meat; cooked over slow fire using vinegar, water, and black peppercorn, with soy sauce for color and saltiness, or with achuete for red color; may be considered the national food in the Philippines

alimasag - salt water crab; blue crabs
ampalaya - bitter melon
bagoong - a condiment made from shrimps or fish paste
binagoongan - cooking with bagoong

banana leaf - the leaf of the banana plant that has many uses in Filipino cooking such as wrapping food, as cover and underliner, or for packaging.

bangus - milkfish, considered the national fish of the Philippines
buko - young coconut
buntot ng baka - ox tail

calamansi - a Philippine citrus fruit and souring agent
chorizo - general name for Spanish sausage
dahon ng gabi - taro leaves
dahon ng sili - chili leaves
daing - dried fish or picked fish, usually cut butterfly-style
estofado - braised in soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar
galapong - rice dough made of glutinous rice

gata - coconut milk obtained from the pressing of grated mature coconut meat mixed with water

giniling na baboy - ground pork
halayang ube - purple yam jam

hugas bigas - water obtained from washing rice grains and used as broth base for sinigang

inihaw - charcoal-grilled or broiled

kabilugan - beef rounded
kabute - mushroom

kakang gata - pure coconut cream obtained from the first pressing of grated mature coconut

kamias - bilimbi, green acidic fruit from the cucumber tree used for souring dishes
kamote - sweet potato
kamoteng kahoy - cassava
kangkong - morning glory, swamp cabbage, water spinach
kaong - sugar palm seed
kesong puti - white cheese made from carabao or water buffalo milk
kinilaw - cooked by steeping in vinegar

labanos - long white cylindrical radish native to Asia
langka - jackfruit

latik - coconut curd, the brownish residue obtained after oil is extracted from boiled coconut milk

lechon - roast meat usually spit-roasted
lechon manok - roast chicken
lechon sauce - sauce served with roast pork made of finely ground pork liver
librilyo - ox tripe
lomo - tenderloin
lumpia - spring roll
lumpia wrapper - crepe usually made of rice flour to wrap spring roll with

macapuno - coconut sport, a variety of coconut that has soft fleshy meat when ripe
malagkit - sticky rice, glutinous rice

malunggay - horseradish tree, also called drumstick, leaved and pod are used in cooking

miso - fermented soybean paste
nata de coco - coconut gel usually packed in heavy syrup
pan de sal - literally bread of salt, a traditional Filipino crusty roll
pancit canton - yellowish noodles sold dried so named to indicate Chinese origin

pancit molo - wonton soup that originated from Molo, Iloilo, a town in the Visayas region, Panay island in the central Philippines

pandan - fragrant screw-pine
pastel - pot pie
pata - animal trotter
patis - fish sauce
pechay - Chinese chard, bok choy
pesa - stewed in ginger, garlic, and onion
pigue - pork rump
pimiento - large red sweet pepper, usually canned

pinipig - rice crispies, immature rice, roasted and pounded until the grains are flattened

queso de bola - edam cheese shaped like a ball and imported from Holland
saba - cooking banana variety

sago - starch from the pith of the sago plant processed into flour, meal or pearl-like globes, tapioca pearls

sayote - chayote, a kind of tropical squash

shrimp juice - juice from heads and shells of shrimps extracted by pounding, adding a little water then straining

siling labuyo - bird's eye chili

siling pangsigang, siling haba - green finger pepper, long green chili that is mildly hot, literally chili for sour soup, long chili

sinangag - fried garlic rice
singkamas - turnip, yam bean
sinigang - sour soup

sinigang powder - instant powder with dried sour soup ingredients using tamarind, guava, or kamias as base

suka - vinegar made from sugarcane, coconut, or nipa juice

sukang sinamak - vinegar dip with garlic, ginger, and chili from Iloilo, Visayas region

tadyang ng baka - beef ribs
tagiliran - beef sirloin
tambakol - tuna
tanguige - wahoo, mackerel

tapa - beef jerky, processed beef slices flavored with garlic, salt, soy sauce, sometimes with sugar

torta - omelet

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Comments 20 comments

Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines


Great research of Filipino food terms. You must be a chef? Nice to see you here. I'm a Filipina.

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 7 years ago from USA Author

I'm not a chef.. I just love to eat Filipino food and share it with everyone.. thanks for the comment.

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

Thank you, thank you so much. I will bookmark this hub. After Turkish Food the Filipino food is my favourite and eat it at every opportunity. I wish I had all of this information before.

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Peter.. I haven't tasted Turkish food.. what is it like?

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

Turkish food is very varied with a mix of the best of Greek, Arabic and Mediterranen with a Turkish flair added. Try a Turkish meal sometime. I am sure you will like it.

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 7 years ago from USA Author

I'm gonna try it when I get a chance. Thanks Peter.

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

You are making me hungry! Thanks for the hub, very educational!

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 7 years ago from USA Author

thanks tim-tim for dropping by.

borge_009 profile image

borge_009 6 years ago from Philippines

I felt hungry reading this hub. LOL. Thanks dyesebel. Morning Glory sounds like an expensive name for kangkong my favorite one. LOL.

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 6 years ago from USA Author

hi borge_009 kabayan.. I also like kangkong especially in sinigang.. here we substitute it with spinach and pechay.. thanks for the comment.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

you are intelligent, hehe, I don't know the English of lots of foods, thank you, Maita

pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...oh I didn't know that...haha! this is fun and helpful.. thank you very much! :)

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 6 years ago from USA Author

thanks prettydarkhorse and pinkhawk for the comments.. glad you appreciated it.

J@ps profile image

J@ps 6 years ago from Southern California

Hello, great article.

It's a pity I wasn't able to read all the way through as it made my mouth water for all the food I used to eat back in the Philippines...

I just had to GO STOP READING and EAT!

And the photo was terrific!

dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 6 years ago from USA Author

thanks J@ps for dropping by.. I'm sure you have a lot of Filipino stores there in California so you won't miss our ingredients for yummy Filipino dishes.

ed77burns 6 years ago

those are great information and very informative.

hanwillingham profile image

hanwillingham 5 years ago

Delicious filipino foods.

andrebreynolds profile image

andrebreynolds 5 years ago

I have a Filipino friend and he always give me 'pasalubong' and cook Filipino foods whenever he gets back from Philippines. I love his lechon paksiw and humba. So tasty and delicious.

kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Come to think of it, I never knew there were English terms for these Pinoy foods! Thanks for sharing :)

myleen escurel 4 years ago

hai and hello

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