No matter where you are in the Philippines – surfing in Baler, partying at Boracay, exploring colorful Zamboanga or even if you’re just in Manila for a business trip – these eight dishes are classic Filipino food you absolutely have to try. Filipino food has been getting a lot of traction (even internationally) lately, and sure our food might look a little bizarre. But how they look really won’t matter once you’ve got a taste, and it won’t be long until you find yourself asking for seconds. Try out these 8 dishes to make your vacation in the Philippines a true Filipino adventure!
Sinigang is a staple at every Filipino home. It’s a soup most popular for its sour taste, and is often made using tamarind. It’s also made with a kind of meat or fish – the most common variations are pork spare ribs, chicken and fish – vegetables like string beans, okra and kangkong (water spinach), and tomatoes. This dish can also be made with prawn, but recently restaurants have been coming up with more creative ways to serve the dish. Such a restaurant is Sentro 1771, popular among locals as the restaurant that serves this dish with corned beef (Sinigang na Corned Beef) as its meat. Located in Capitol Commons, Pasig, Sentro 1771 is one of the best places to go to to sample Sinigang, and rates here start at Php 595 (11.87 USD).
Address: Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City
Price: from 11.87 USD
Opening Hours: 7am to 10pm
Website: Sentro 1771
Dinuguan comes from the Filipino word “dugo,” which means blood in English. At first glance, Dinuguan may seem unappetizing, but this dish never fails to surprise whoever tastes it with its mouthwatering flavour. It’s a savory stew made with pork blood and meat, simmered in garlic, chili and vinegar. While this dish is best paired with puto (rice cake), you can find this dish almost anywhere because of its popularity, and served in many different ways. For example, Kanin Club is a well-loved Filipino restaurant that serves Dinuguan as Crispy Dinuguan as a twist on the traditional dish. Located in Ayala Triangle Gardens, Kanin Club offers entrees starting at Php 274 (5.74 USD).
Address: Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Price: from 5.74 USD
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm
This savory stew is only served occasionally in Filipino homes due to how much effort and time it takes to prepare the dish. But the long wait from preparation to serving time is worth it, and usually restaurants know how to prepare a good Kare-Kare dish right before your stomach starts grumbling anyway. Known for its use of thick and creamy peanut sauce, Kare-Kare is made with stewed oxtail, calves feet, beef stew meat and pork hocks, and a variety of vegetables (green beans, daikon, and Chinese cabbage, to mention a few). In the Philippines, Kare-Kare is usually served with stewed meat, but the restaurant Locavore takes on this dish with an interesting twist – producing Kare-Kare Wings. Located in Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Locavore serves dishes starting at Php 260 (5.19 USD).
Address: Brixton Technology Center, 10 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Price: from 5.19 USD
Opening Hours: 11:30am-1:00am
4. Chicken Inasal
You’d be lucky to taste the real thing in Bacolod, but if you’re not, you can still catch this tasty meal at JT’s Manukan Grill. Chicken Inasal is basically chicken marinated in lime, pepper, annatto and vinegar. It’s then basted with marinade while being grilled, and is usually served with rice and white vinegar or soy sauce. What makes Chicken Inasal so special is not only the taste, but also the texture: the grilled, crunchy parts on the chicken’s skin perfectly complements the inner and more tender chicken meat, especially when coupled with white vinegar. You can try out Chicken Inasal for an affordable rate of Php 110 (2.20 USD) at JT Manukan Grill!
JT's Manukan Gril
Address: 74 Alcaraz Corner Palanan Street, Sienna, Quezon City, Banawe, Quezon City
Price: from 2.20 USD
Opening Hours: 11am-2am
Duration: around 3 hours required.
Website: JT’s Manukan Grill
Tapsilog is the shorthand for “Tapa, Sinangang at Itlog.” This dish is composed of thinly sliced sirloin marinated in calamansi, soy sauce, sugar and minced garlic (tapa), garlic fried rice (sinangag) and fried egg (itlog). Sometimes, tomato slices are added on to the dishes to really bring out the extra flavor. There have been many variations of the “-silog” meals (i.e. meals with garlic fried rice and eggs with varying viands), but Tapsilog is the classic one served by many restaurants in various styles. For a delectable Tapsilog meal, alongside a serene and artsy dining experience, try out Rustic Mornings by Isabelo in Marikina City. Rates here start at Php 280 (5.60 USD).
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
Address: 11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City
Price: from 5.60 USD
Opening Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Website: Rustic Mornings
Possibly one of the more popular Filipino dishes known worldwide, Adobo sparks the curiosity of many for being a dish that’s simple in its preparation yet extraordinary in its taste. Derived from the Spanish word “adobar” meaning “marinade,” Adobo is meat (typically chicken or pork) cooked with vegetables marinated in vinegar, garlic and soy sauce. It may sound really simple to make, but you’ll be surprised by people who’ve tried it are right to rave over the dish. For your Adobo fix, head over to Adobo Connection at Makati City where rates for entrees start at Php 99 (1.99 USD).
Address: Dela Rosa Car Park 1, Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Price: from 1.99 USD
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Website: Adobo Connection
Filipinos may seem creative and quirky with our viands, but we’re just the same with our desserts. Because of the warm climate, Filipinos resort to making desserts that are a treat for the palette as well as a great way to cool off. Halo-halo is famous for doing both excellently – this treat is made with shaved ice, where milk is poured over, topped with sweetened banana, coconut jelly and leche flan. Arguably, the restaurant that serves the best Halo-Halo in the country is Razon’s of Guagua, a humble restaurant that found its beginnings in Pampanga and has now spread to many regions in Luzon. In Manila, you can find Razon’s in Mall of Asia, Pasay City, and rates here start at Php 110 (2.20 USD).
Razon's of Guagua
Address: Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City
Price: from 2.20 USD
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Website: Razon’s of Guagua
If you asked a Filipino what goes well with beer, they’ll say many things but most likely reply with “Sisig.” This dish is typically made with pork – particularly pig’s head and liver – and is usually served on sizzling plates topped with calamansi and chili peppers you can add to your discretion. The meat is first marinated in either lemon or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and various spices before serving. The meaty and savory taste of sisig goes well when combined with beer, and you can also get the Crispy Sisig variation from Manam in Greenbelt 2, Makati city. Rates here start at Php 130 (2.60 USD).
Address: Greenbelt 2, San Lorenzo
Price: from 2.60 USD
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 12:00am
We love our guests, and we love our food
Filipinos have a charming way of welcoming guests into our home country, and we really do enjoy making sure everyone feels right at home. Aside from lending out a helping hand, Filipinos love to do this by making sure you eat a hearty meal – our most common love language is food. Immerse in the Filipino culture through your palette, and you’ll find there’s simply so many good finds in Filipino cuisine!
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