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Favorite Filipino Dishes

Updated on August 9, 2013

From the well known favorite dish adobo, to beef stew (nilaga) and 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. Maybe you'll like it when you try some of these.

Chicken afritada
Chicken afritada | Source


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 use. 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.



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.



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 chicken.

With the vegetables that goes with it, it could be anything available around from carrots, radish, beans, yam leaves, moringa leaves, okra, to bottlegourd (upo,) taro, yam, and even young leaves of sayote (chayote.) I also just recently learned some uses 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.


Nilaga (Philippine beef stew)

Seasoned with fish sauce (patis,) with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and some adds corn, is a favorite specially on 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.

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


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.

Dinuguan | Source


Philippines 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. And with its chocolatey color, that would be from the pork's blood. Thus, it's name chocolate meat.

Papaitan | Source


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.



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.

Caldereta | Source


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.

Broiled squid.
Broiled squid. | Source

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, squids, 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.) And with a chives, chili (such as the bird's eye chili,) and a green mango, that would be the best.

sisig | Source


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, its then chopped before sauteed. Sisig is an spicy dish and is enjoyed with lemon or the Philippine calamansi. Chive and dried bird's eye chili is also added, but the chili could be skip or one can use less chili if they weren't fond of the spiciness.



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 sayote. Some only adds one kind of vegetables while others chooses to add few other kinds.

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

bulalo | Source

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 the rainy, colder months in the land.



Often eaten with shrimp paste, kare-kare is a stew made with oxtail, tripe, beef and vegetables such as bok choy (Chinese cabbage,) 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 skip some ingredients such as the tripe, or some of the vegetables.



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.

Laing | Source


This Bicolano's favorite dish 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.



This other Ilocano dish is composed of different kinds of vegetables cooked together. Dinengdeng is seasoned with fermented fish (bagoong.) Also one thing I noticed about the difference of this dish with pinakbet is, dinengdeng is started by boiling water, then adding the onions, ginger, tomatoes, then the 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.

Chicken adobo.
Chicken adobo. | Source


A dish with soy sauce and vinegar for seasoning and flavor. Meat varies from chicken, pork, and still pork and chicken could be combined as well. 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.

Mongo guisado.
Mongo guisado. | 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 of pork, softened mung beans is added and seasoned with fish sauce (patis) or the fermented fish sauce (bagoong.)

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

What's your favorite?

See results


For an easier cooking, mixes are a big help. I'd call these packets mixes, such as the caldereta, menudo, sinigang, kare-kare are only few.

Just pour them into the pot, or mix with hot water, let simmer until meat is tender, and dish is done.


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    • the girls profile image

      the girls 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 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!

    • leon01 profile image

      leon01 4 years ago

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

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      Those dishes look really good. Thanks for sharing!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 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.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 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!

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 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? :)

    • leon01 profile image

      leon01 4 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.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 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.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 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 ^-^'

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 years ago from USA

      @ DDE:

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

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 years ago from USA

      @ DDE:

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

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