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Native Filipino Dishes: A Taste of Filipino Culture

Updated on April 7, 2011

Filipino Cuisine: A Story of the Colorful Filipino Culture

Consisting of more than 7,000 interconnected islands, the Philippine archipelago has a very rich and diverse culture. As seen primarily in the Philippine traditions of fiesta, the unusual mode of transportation in the country such as the "Jeepney" and the "Kalesa" as well as the other glaring influences brought about by the occupations of Spain, United States and Japan.

Moreover, the Philippines which is located at the heart of Southeast Asia is the center of trade and industry in the region during the pre-Spanish period. Traders from nearby countries often do business in Philippine territories, in the process adding influences to the Philippine's colorful and storied culture.

Evidently, such colorful culture is very much profound in the Filipino cuisine -- a combination of Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences molded into the unique Filipino style of cooking.

What Makes Filipino Food Different?

The Filipino population is made up of different ethnic groups that were bred into different subcultures. Different tongues so to speak. Filipino food offers variety as it caters to the diverse and distinct eating needs not just of the Filipino people but as well as foreigners from different country. Sometimes spicy, sometimes sour, sometimes salty -- Filipino food is just pretty much out-of-the-box!

Want to learn more about the Philippines and its diverse culture? - Then you might want to check some of these stuff

The Amazing Adobo

Adobo is on of the most popular dishes -- if not the most popular dish in the Philippines. The term "adobo" comes from the Spanish marinade and seasoning. Nevertheless, the Filipino "adobo" the food itself and the cooking process is different and distinct from its Spanish origin. Needless to say, the cooking process is purely Filipino and so as its taste.

Adobo has two variations; the pork and chicken adobo, although in some occasions a combination of the pork and chicken adobo is served. Basically, the main ingredient of an adobo is the marinated cuts of pork and chicken. These choice cuts are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, salt, sugar and sometimes with sweet/colorless soft drinks such as Sprite or 7 Up -- pretty weird eh? Genuinely amazing!

How to Cook Adobo? - The American yet Filipino way of things

Sizzling Hot Bicol Express

Also known as "Sinilihan" (coming from the root word "sili" meaning chili/bell pepper), Bicol express is a native Filipino dish originating from Bicol -- located in the southeastern part of the Luzon islands.

Bicol express is made up basically of pork strips cooked with coconut milk and cream and spiced up with chili pepper -- a ton of chili pepper! To say the least, Bicol express is very, very spicy and very, very creamy. Some variations of the Bicol express include onion leaves and ginger just to add to the chili express.

How to Cook Bicol Express by Panlasang Pinoy

Amazon Spotlight

Music of the Philippines: Fiesta Filipina
Music of the Philippines: Fiesta Filipina

Apart from the colorful food, Filipinos are known for their sometimes out of control yet merry celebrations. Filipino fiestas are wild but religious at the same time -- a not so perfect paradigm.



Satisfying our thirst for blood (insert evil laugh)!

Dinuguan is a Filipino savory stew made up primarily of blood and pork meat usually intestines, organs, liver, heart and stomach -- internal parts of a pig which typical Americans probably won't eat. Well, Filipinos are mild eaters, really!

Dinuguan comes from the tagalog word "dugo" meaning blood and that says it all. Dinuguan is best served with the "puto" -- a native Philippine rice cake, although quite alarming to a certain extent for most people especially people from western counties, the aroma and the distinct flavor of the dinuguan makes it one of the all-time favorites in the Philippines.

Dinuguan is for the adventurous folks out there always game for thrill and excitement. I guess personality has something to do with our eating habits.

Dinuguan Recipe by KainangPinoy

Bistek Tagalog

The Filipino Steak!

Bistek Tagalog or simply bistek is a native Filipino dish made up of sirloin beef strips and onions marinated in a mixture of calamansi juice, soy sauce and laurel leaves. Bistek is different from the usual American style steak due to its savor and distinct Filipino aroma. Bistek is quite creamy compared to the dry American steak.

Just like most Filipino dishes/viand, bistek is served with cooked rice.

Bistek Tagalog by Panlasang Pinoy

Filipino Food at its Finest


Sinigang is a native Philippine stew best known for its extremely sour taste. Sinigang can be of pork, milk fish, shrimp or even beef. Nonetheless, both sinigang variations are tamarind based in order to assure the classic sourness of this Filipino favorite. Moreover, other regional sinigang dishes make use of guava, raw mango, calamansi or even commercial sinigang mix which is quite popular in the Philippines.

Despite the common belief of most Filipinos (even foreigners) that adobo is the undisputed national dish of the Philippines, some food historians argue citing that the popularity and the perfect match of the sinigang to the country's humid temperature should be given consideration.

Sinigang by Foodtrip28


Kare-Kare is another Filipino style stew made from peanut sauce, vegetables, meat ( can either pork, beef or even goat meat) and served with fish paste and rice. Kare-Kare is one of the most unique and delicious pure Filipino dishes, originating from the province of Pampanga even before the Spanish occupation.

How to Cook Kare-Kare Courtesy of Panlasang Pinoy

Share your Filipino Food Experiences

What's the Best Filipino Dish You've Tried?

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    • mel-kav profile image


      5 years ago

      I love Filipino food. Years ago, I had several Filipino co-workers. I used to look forward to work parties, because they would cook the best food.

    • razelle09 profile image


      5 years ago

      nice collection of filipino dishes, most of them are my favorites

    • heartycindypen profile image

      Hearty Cindy Penaranda 

      6 years ago from Ormoc City

      Nice lens you got hereâ¦

      visit this lens I made for us and add yours.. thanks.

      Filipino Squidoo Lensmaster Collection

    • alesxandrea profile image


      7 years ago

      I thought I was looking at a lens created for me -- coz this is just about a "list of my favorite foods!" ^_^ well done on this lens. You presented them well and anyone looking at this will surely drool :) Thumbs up!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i am mexicana americana i love adobo make it once a week had it since a youngster and it is heaven lol viva lapinoy

    • BeaGabrielle1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Get a taste of Filipino cuisine. You'll love it!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I've never had the opportunity to try any Filipino dishes...maybe I will some day. At least I know where to come for some recipes.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the introduction to filipino dishes. I think I'll give the Dinuguan a miss though!

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Great recipes...some look really hot but yummy

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      What? No balut or lumpia..which the latter has to be my all time fave Filipino food. Interesting to read about the other dishes you have on here though.

    • miriamjimenez profile image


      7 years ago

      great stuff! Now I miss the Philippines.


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