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How to Cook Three (3) Filipino Foods - Recipes for Adobo, Sisig and Kinilaw

Updated on July 9, 2020
Eric Caunca profile image

Eric is a Filipino and loves to eat. He has already cooked Filipino foods since he was young.

Some Filipino foods: vegetable salad (left), chicken curry (middle), and menudo (right).
Some Filipino foods: vegetable salad (left), chicken curry (middle), and menudo (right).

The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia. It consists of over 7,641 islands. Its cuisine is very complex, heavily influenced by the country’s former colonizers and its neighboring Asian countries. Because of this, Filipino food has been shaped by the Chinese, Spaniards, Indians, Japanese, Malaysian and a whole plethora of Western influences. Because it is a combination of Western and Asian cuisine, some people called it “west meets east”.

Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to chicken curry, complex paellas and cozidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include: lomi (flat egg noodles cooked in a very thick, eggy sauce), kaldereta (beef or goat-meat stew), tocino (honey-cured pork), kare-kare (meat and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce) halo-halo (a dessert comprising shaved ice, sweet beans, coconut, jack fruit, jello, ice cream and evaporated milk), (custard made of eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla), ube (purple yam), adobo (meat slow-cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and spices), sinigang (a stew of meat and vegetables in a sour tamarind broth), lechon (whole roasted pig), and lumpia (spring rolls).

Halo-halo: a dessert comprising shaved ice, sweet bean, coconut, jackfruit, ice cream, ube, ice cream, evaporated milk and other ingredients.
Halo-halo: a dessert comprising shaved ice, sweet bean, coconut, jackfruit, ice cream, ube, ice cream, evaporated milk and other ingredients.

Unlike the rest of Southeast Asia, Filipino food is rarely spicy. Instead, most Filipino dishes are a combination of salty, sour, sweet and bitter. They are commonly made up of pork, cow, chicken, rice, vegetables, fish and other seafoods. Most Filipino dishes are named for cooking techniques and not specific ingredients or dishes. For example, the dish adobo refers to the technique of stewing in vinegar with peppercorns and bay leaf. This means saying adobo could mean a host of different dishes.

Today, I'll show you how to make three popular Filipino dishes: chicken adobo, pork sisig, and tuna kinilaw.


Adobo is derived from the Spanish word adobar which means marinade, sauce or seasoning. It has occasionally been considered the unofficial national dish in the Philippines. Thanks to its high acid content, at room temperature, adobo can last two to three days. Refrigerate it and you get an indefinite shelf life. An adobo Festival is celebrated in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area since 1998.

How to Cook Chicken Adobo?


  • 2 lbs ( 1 kg) chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup (¾ L) vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (¾ L) soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup (¼ L) of water
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  1. Combine the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, then marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat the pot and put-in the marinated chicken, then cook for a few minutes.
  3. Pour remaining marinade including garlic.
  4. Add water, black pepper, sugar and bay leaves, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Chicken adobo with vegetables
Chicken adobo with vegetables

There are 101 ways of cooking adobo. If you're not a fan of chicken, you can substitute another meat like pork, beef or seafood. If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetables. You can also add other ingredients to the recipe like eggs or potatoes, if you want.

Pork adobo with egg
Pork adobo with egg
Squid Adobo
Squid Adobo


According to The New York Times, it is the greatest and most delicious pork dish on earth. Anthony Bourdain said that this Filipino dish will be the next big food trend in America and it is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole. It is a Kapampangan (a language in the Philippines) word meaning to snack on something sour. It was originally fruits like papaya, guava or green mangoes eaten with a dressing of salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar, but evolved to pork.

During the American time, US military didn't use the head and internal organs of pork, so they gave it to locals for free. Because Filipino were a resourceful bunch, nothing went to waste. They chopped it up, mixed with onion, fried and served on a hot plate; and then the best pork dish ever made was born.

Variations have evolved through the years: some top it off with a raw egg, pork crackling, and mayonnaise. Recently, local chefs have experimented with ingredients other than pork such as chicken, squid, tuna, and tofu.

How to Cook Pork Sisig?


  • 3 lbs (1½ kg) pork belly
  • 2 lbs (1 kg) of pig's different internal organs (liver, heart, intestine, etc.), grilled and minced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 thumbs ginger, minced
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 6 pieces green chili, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and black pepper

Pork sisig with an egg on top of it. It is usually served on sizzling plate.
Pork sisig with an egg on top of it. It is usually served on sizzling plate.


  1. In a big pot, boil the pork belly with salt and pepper, and simmer until tender.
  2. Then, remove the boiled ingredients from the pot, then drain excess water.
  3. Grill it until cooked, then chop it into diced pieces.
  4. In a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies and sauté.
  5. Add the organs. Mash it while cooking in the pan.
  6. Add the pork belly. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate.
  9. Top with chopped green chilies.
  10. Serve hot or serve on a hot sizzling plate.

Tofu sisig
Tofu sisig
Sisig pizza
Sisig pizza


The word kinilaw means "to eat raw". It is a dish where raw fish is marinaded in vinegar and calamansi juice. The high level of acidity cooks the fish and it’s flavored with a bunch of other stuff like chili, capsicum, spring onion and tomato. You’re probably thinking it sounds very similar to ceviche or the Fijian Kokoda, but the taste is rather different. Ceviche to be very fishy, Kokoda to be very spicy and kinilaw to be very sour. This food presented in Madrid Fusion and World Pastry Cup and impressed international crowd.

How to Make Tuna Kinilaw?


  • 1 lbs (½ kg ) tuna, cubed
  • 1 cup (¼ L) vinegar
  • 4 pieces calamansi or half of lemon
  • 2 thumbs ginger, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 2 pieces green chili, cut into thin slices
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Tuna Kinilaw
Tuna Kinilaw


  1. Squeeze the juice out of the calamansi over a large bowl. Discard the seeds.
  2. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, chili, onion, and ground black pepper. Stir until the sugar and salt are diluted.
  3. Arranged the tuna in a large bowl. Pour the calamansi mixture. Let it stay for 10 minutes.
  4. Toss to blend all the ingredients. Securely cover the bowl and place it inside the refrigerator. Let it chill for at least 3 hours.

Shrimp kinilaw
Shrimp kinilaw
Oyster kinilaw
Oyster kinilaw

Share and enjoy these Filipino foods.

© 2020 Eric Caunca


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