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Favorite Filipino Dishes

Updated on August 11, 2018
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From the well known favorite dish adobo, to beef stew called nilaga and the soured dish sinigang, there is a lot more Filipino dishes that is loved and enjoyed by many. The dishes also varies from provinces as they have their own versions, adapting to available food resources. But with being a tropical country, with the ingredients fresh on the market or vegetables fresh from the backyard, Filipinos can cook their pick of dish for the day.

So what are the best and favorite Filipino dishes? Here's a list of over 15 favorite Filipino dishes to challenge your taste buds. Read on and find something tempting to try in your own kitchen or get to know all about them and know what to try next time you eat out.

Afritada

Dish cooked in tomato sauce. Afritada is usually made with chicken, but also pork can be use. With the vegetables that goes with this dish, carrots, potatoes and green and bell peppers are mainly used. Peas could also be added.

The dish does have a Spanish name, and is believed to have been introduced to the country by the Spaniards.

Chicken afritada.
Chicken afritada. | Source

Menudo

Menudo is another tomato-based dish, in which the pork marinated in lemon and soy sauce for a few hours is sauteed first before adding the tomato sauce, liver and hot dog. Diced potatoes and carrots are then added. Also peas is optional for those who likes adding peas in their menudo.

Both menudo and afritada are the favorites amongst occasions such as birthdays and fiestas.

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Sinigang

Soured by either calamansi (Philippine lime), young tamarind fruits or the leaves, the sinigang is a Filipino stew of one's choice: fish or either meat. This could be pork stew, beef or even chicken. If you'd go with fish, try milkfish. Hmm... yummy.

With the vegetables that goes with it, it could be anything available around from carrots, radish, beans, yam leaves, moringa leaves, okra, to bottle gourd (upo,) taro, yam, and even young leaves of sayote (chayote). I also just recently learned some used young tomato leaves. And for those who had just learned of this as well and wanted to try the tomato leaves, just make sure not to include the flowers.


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Nilaga (Philippine beef stew)

Seasoned with fish sauce or patis with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and some adds corn as well, is a favorite Filipino dish specially during the cold, rainy season. This Philippine beef stew is easy to make but one has to have patience as it will take time before the meat becomes tender.

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Lechon

Lechon wouldn't missed special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and anniversaries. Add to it Christmas and New Year. The tender, crispy, meat and skin is always a favorite which had made the lechon a popular dish in the Philippines as well in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and in Cuba.

Roasted suckling pig (lechon.)
Roasted suckling pig (lechon.) | Source

Dinuguan

Dinuguan is also known as chocolate meat. Wasn't really made of chocolate if that's what you were expecting, but this Filipino dish is made of pork meat, pork belly, and I know some that loves it with snouts and ears. Stir the dinuguan continuously once you've added the blood so it won't coagulate. When cooked it gives a chocolatey color. Enjoy your chocolate meat.

Dinuguan
Dinuguan | Source

Papaitan

Papaitan is an Ilocano dish, name of the dish is derived from its ingredient, the bile, which gives the dish a bitter taste or pait (Tagalog language) (pronounced as pah-it.) Thus giving the name papaitan. The dish is consist of either a beef or goats innards such as the liver, the meat, tripe, and of course the bile along with spices: minced ginger, garlic, and onions. It also is spicy aside from being a bitter stew. Ilocanos loves this dish with chili.

Papaitan
Papaitan | Source

Bopis

A dish from diced pork or beef liver, and heart. Sauteed in minced ginger, garlic, onion, and along with minced bird's eye chili, bopis is a favorite Filipino food with either rice for lunch or with alcoholic beverages for pulutan (roughly similar to finger-food.) The level of spiciness could depend on how much the eater could take. Some really likes this dish hot, but for those who likes the dish but wasn't fond of the spiciness, they choose to add less chili.

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Caldereta

Here goes another tomato-based dish on the list of favorite Filipino dishes. Caldereta could either be made from beef, chicken, goat meat and pork and uses liver paste or liver spread along with tomato sauce. Sliced carrots and potatoes, both green and red peppers, and peas goes with the dish.

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Fried/Broiled/Grilled Fish/Squid/Mussels

We love fried, broiled or grilled fish and other sea foods. But being a tropical island rich in sea foods, there's always a good time for a fresh grilled fish, squid or mussels. Filipinos enjoy their fried or broiled fish with their choice of dipping sauce. That could be soy sauce and vinegar, soy sauce with lime or with bagoong (a fermented fish or shrimp) while some loves chopped tomatoes, ginger and chives as their dipping sauce with or without chili (such as the bird's eye chili).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sawsawan is a combination of chopped chives, tomatoes and ginger and is a favorite eaten along with any grilled, broiled or fried fish.
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Source
Sawsawan is a combination of chopped chives, tomatoes and ginger and is a favorite eaten along with any grilled, broiled or fried fish.
Sawsawan is a combination of chopped chives, tomatoes and ginger and is a favorite eaten along with any grilled, broiled or fried fish. | Source

Sisig

Originated from the province of Pampanga, sisig is a favorite finger food (pulutan). The main ingredients are chopped chicken livers and both pork snouts, belly and ears. For those who dislike the snout, they substitute it with meat instead. Once the ingredients are grilled, it's then chopped and sauteed. Sisig is an spicy dish and is enjoyed with lemon or the Philippine calamansi. Chives and dried bird's eye chili is also added, but the chili could be skipped or one can use less chili if they weren't fond of the spiciness.

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Tinola

A soup-based dish, chicken tinola is sauteed first with garlic, onion, lemon grass or ginger, then seasoned with fish sauce or salt. Vegetables are added such as bird's eye chili leaves, green papaya, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and chayote or sayote. Some only adds one kind of vegetables while others choose to add few other kinds.

Also moringa leaves is another favorite vegetable that goes with tinola.

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Bulalo (Beef shank soup)

This beef shank soup is similar to nilaga (beef stew) in the way of cooking and the vegetable ingredients. The big difference is the meat. Bulalo's main ingredient is beef shank and the bone marrow still attached is what we're after with this dish.

This is one of the craved dishes on rainy, colder months in the land.

bulalo
bulalo | Source

Kare-kare

Often eaten with shrimp paste, kare-kare is a stew made with oxtail, tripe, beef and vegetables such as bok choy or Chinese cabbage as well as eggplant and string or long beans whereas the sauce is made of peanut butter and and annatto for coloring. Some also adds chocolates, such as my aunt, and she uses Honey brand in her kare-kare. Some also skips ingredients such as the tripe or some of the vegetables.

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Pinakbet

Pinakbet, or pakbet, is an steamed Ilocano dish from fish or shrimp sauce. With sliced pork sauteed and browned first before adding vegetables such as bitter melon, squash, eggplants, long beans and okra, this dish seasoned with bagoong (fermented fish sauce) is one of the most sought and favorite of the Ilocanos.

And for those who have a vegetable garden in their backyards, this, and dinengdeng, is one healthy Ilocano dish and you get the fresh ingredients from your own yard if the craving kicks in.

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Laing

A favorite dish by the Bicolanos that is cooked in coconut milk and is spicy. With the main ingredients, shredded dried taro leaves and dried fish, cooked in coconut milk and Thai's chili for the spiciness had made the dish known to Philippines Bicol region, and is now enjoyed everywhere else in the country. Also different versions had been around as well, making some substitute with the dried fish in which shrimp or shredded meat is used instead.

Laing
Laing | Source

Dinengdeng

This other Ilocano dish is composed of different kinds of vegetables cooked together. Dinengdeng is seasoned with fermented fish or bagoong. Also one thing I noticed about the difference of this dish with pinakbet is the way of cooking. Cooking dinengdeng starts with boiling water, then adding the ingredients such as onions, ginger, tomatoes and fermented fish according to taste before adding the grilled fish and vegetables such as the jute leaves, squash, both bitter melon fruit and leaves, okra and mushrooms.

Some also adds other vegetables such as moringa leaves, chayote leaves and taro.

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Adobo

A dish with soy sauce and vinegar for seasoning and flavor. Meat varies from chicken, pork or with pork and chicken combined. Also the meat is more flavorful if marinated. Some also adds carrots and potatoes by choice, and adds sugar to taste. Lemon can be used as substitute for vinegar.

Chicken liver is also an ingredient for chicken adobo, but is optional. Also chicken liver and gizzard adobo is as good as meat. And it doesn't end to that. There's squid adobo as well.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Squid adobo.
Source
Squid adobo.
Squid adobo. | Source

Mongo Guisado (Sauteed Mung Beans)

An easy dish to make once the mung beans had been soaked and boiled to soften. After sauteing the garlic, ginger, onion, tomatoes and the sliced meat of choice, softened mung beans is added and seasoned with fish sauce (patis) or the fermented fish sauce called bagoong. Leftover fried or grilled fish is a good choice as well instead of meat.

Sauteed mung beans is good with spinach and both bitter melon leaves and fruit. Some likes using ginger, some don't, and some skips the tomatoes. Also pork rinds (chicharon) is added to add more flavor to the dish.

Mung beans (on the left) with broiled fish.
Mung beans (on the left) with broiled fish. | Source

Chicken With Glass Noodles

Another loved Filipino dishes is called chicken with sotanghon (glass noodles) often with bitter melon fruit for vegetable. Sauteed with sliced onion and ginger and seasoned with fish sauce, it makes a delicious healthy dish with the bitter melon.

Chicken with glass noodles and bitter melon.
Chicken with glass noodles and bitter melon. | Source

What's your favorite?

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    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      @ DDE:

      Yup, maybe you'll be able to try any of these one day :)

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      @ DDE:

      Yup, maybe you'll be able to try any of these one day :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great foods and I have not yet had Filipino food and these dishes look so delicious.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hey! ^-^' And reading your comment made my day! ^-^' I should have done this before, like you said :) And I enjoyed doing this hub, I'm familiar with it, and less research (grins) :D I think I'd be doing few more related hubs. Thanks for stopping by! And have a great weekend Avian ^-^'

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      precy anza, you have made me the happiest person in the world. Thank you for finally having the chance to do this.

    • leon01 profile image

      leon01 

      5 years ago

      The Caldereta is my favorite dish and yes Naomi has performed at cultural shows in the Philippines and in the United Kingdom, the performance in the video was at my parents wedding anniversary as a special treat for them and there guest.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hi Chris :) They are good :) You could try some of those on any Filipino eateries, and you can find something that you will like.

      @ Drbj: Lechon.... I could imagine it ^-^' So good! A long list but there's few more to add. So have you had lechon? :)

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hi, leon01. Saw Naomi's recipe, And will try her version next time, with the coconut milk :) Also I enjoyed the fan dance video :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, precy, for the run-down on these fascinating Filipino dishes. Most are new to me except for the Lechon (roast suckling pig) which is very popular and well-known in south Florida because of the influx of refugees from Cuba.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 

      5 years ago

      Those dishes look really good. Thanks for sharing!

    • leon01 profile image

      leon01 

      5 years ago

      Enjoyed your hub, there are a couple of recipes on my hub especially a lovely Caldereta that my girlfriend makes.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hi the girls! ^-^' I don't think your choosy then. If you are, that would make me choosy too! :) I love those dishes, and now I'm craving for papaitan. Thanks for stopping by!

    • the girls profile image

      Theresa Ventu 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      omg, everything you wrote are my favorite dishes. Maybe I'm not choosy after all. Great hub :-)

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