The Philippines is not only associated with golden sand beaches and exotic islands but amazing must-try local foods that can’t be missed. With a wide array of foods, from tropical fruits and vegetables to seafood, Filipino cuisine exceeds everyone’s expectations. From the delightful adobo to the delicious tapa, you will never forget the taste and aroma of Filipino food. And to easily access all the yummy food, a range of amazing accommodation options are available here - from eco hotels to the top beach villas in the Philippines. With your lodging sorted, you can now go out and explore the tasty cuisine of this beautiful country.
Check out this list of the 15 best Filipino dishes you must try when exploring the Pearl of the Orient Seas.
It can be said that adobo is the core of all Filipino food. While there is much debate about the origin of adobo, many people believe it was either brought by the Spanish, came from Mexico or has its origins in the Philippines. It consists of meat (chicken or pork), salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and other pungent spices. It’s quite simple when it comes to the cooking process – you just saute and simmer the basic ingredients, until they are cooked. The result is a savory, flavorful dish that the country loves.
Alab's Adobong Pula
Address: 67 Scout Rallos Street, Quezon City
Price: 280 PHP (5.60 USD)
Old Manila Filipino Food Crawl
Duration: 5 Hrs Duration
Lechon is the national pride of the Philippines – although it’s also recognized in Spain and Latin America. The tasty dish refers to a suckling pig, roasted over hot coals and stuffed with an abundance of spices such as pepper, spring onions, star anise, lemon grass, and laurel leaves. It’s always served at festivals or traditional ceremonies. You won’t need any sauce on this top Filipino food item, which is good just as it is.
Ulcing Cebu's Lechon
Address: 22 Bayani Road, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
Price: 680 PHP (13.70 USD)
3. Chicken Inasal
For who love grilled chicken, don’t miss the extraordinary chicken dish, innasal. Why is it so special? The chicken is marinated in a sauce made of achuete oil, calamansi juice, lemongrass, pepper, salt, and garlic. All parts of the animal, even the offal, are grilled. To eat this typical Bacolod dish, you have to go with the garlic rice.
Address: Felix Huertas St. Corner A.H. Lacsonsta.Cruz, Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: 59 PHP (1.20 USD)
There is nothing wasteful when it comes to Filipino cuisine, as you will see in this dish, where locals turn a pig’s head and liver into something delectable, called sisig. The organs are usually marinated with a mixture of vinegar or lemon juice, pepper, and salt, before being simmered. Originating in Pampanga, this sizzling dish matches well with steamed rice and a cold beer, making it the best Pinoy lunch!
Address: Eastwood City Walk, Quezon City
Price: 249 PHP (5 USD)
5. Crispy Pata
Another pork dish you should try is crispy pata. It’s made of pork knuckle, which is boiled, drained, and then deep fried. The skin turns into crackling and it’s crispy, whereas the meat is delicate and juicy. In order to make this dish perfect, dip it in a soy-vinegar sauce.
Bangus Restaurant Crispy Pata
Address: Greenhills Shopping Center, Quezon City
Price: 675 PHP (13.60 USD)
6. Arroz Caldo
Arroz caldo, which literally means “rice soup”, is typical Filipino rice congee. It’s most often topped with chicken pieces, a halved hard-boiled egg, green onions and fried garlic. The starchy food is made of either uncooked or leftover steamed rice. To enhance the flavor, add calamansi juice and fish sauce. The locals in some regions usually enjoy this dish with meat or seafood.
Address: Robinsons Place - Manila
Price: 130 PHP (2.60 USD)
7. Fish Tinola
Fish tinola, originally from Cebu, is a soupy fish dish with the pleasant aroma of a gingery broth. It’s comprised of fish fillets, hot pepper leaves, and papaya, as well as tamarind, onions, and tomatoes. The clear dish is usually cooked over coconut firewood, for a couple of hours. Eat the soup while it’s still hot, during a stormy day.
Address: Seaside Macapagal
Price: 300 PHP (6 USD)
Are you looking for the best Pinoy food that is a beef dish? This light soup, called Bulalo, made of fresh Batangas beef, will satisfy your craving. Native to the southern region of Luzon, this savory specialty also features beef marrow and shanks. Slow cooked, in a long, low boil, it is highly recommended for all foodies.
Mahogany Market Eateries
Address: Mahogany Ave., Brgy. Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City
Price: 350 PHP (7 USD)
9. Taba ng Talangka
Seafood lovers should try Taba ng Talangka when discovering the tropical paradise of the Philippines. It’s made from pressed, fatty crab and sauteed garlic. This heavenly reddish-brown food is often accompanied by steamed rice, prawns, and fried fish. Most Filipinos use it as a sauce for other side dishes.
Address: Malate, Philippines
Price: 375 PHP (7.50 USD)
Tapa is a sort of dried or cured meat (beef, venison, mutton or even horse meat) that is sliced, salted, and drained. Locals usually grill the meat over hot charcoal, or just fry it. The traditional dish is served with fried rice and a fried egg. To make it tastier, locals often add atchara or pickled green papaya, vinegar, ketchup and tomato slices.
Rufo's Famous Tapa
Address: A. Venue Mall, 7829 Makati Ave
Price: 116 PHP (2.30 USD)
The Good Tapa in Manila
11. Kare Kare
If you’re in the mood for something hearty, nothing will be more satisfactory than a generous serving of Kare Kare. The main ingredients of this thick stew are meat, vegetables and peanut sauce. The meat in Kare Kare can be anything from pig’s feet to oxtail. Bok choy, okra, string beans, and other veggies are also often added to it. It derives its name from the Indian dish - curry.
Address: Annex, SM City North EDSA Annex 1 Tunnel, Bago Bantay, Quezon City, 1105 Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: TRES Kare-Kare-Kare
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)
Warming and comforting, Sinigang is a sour soup that is a much loved item in the vast repertoire of Filipino cuisine. It consists of meat and vegetables cooked in a sour broth. The sourness is derived from the addition of tamarind, tomatoes or other sour fruits. Fish sauce, onions and chillies are also added to the dish. It is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines.
Manam Comfort Filipino
Address: Central Bus. Dist. Unit 105 G/F Greenbelt 2, Esperanza St. cor. Greenbelt Dr. Ayala Center, Makati City, Esperanza St, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: Manam Comfort Filipino
Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)
13. Pancit Guisado
Pancit means noodles and guisado is a method of cooking, which is sauteeing. Thus, pancit guisado is a popular sauteed noodle dish that is very flavorful and tasty. Generally made from bihon (rice noodles), this dish also contains veggies, chicken, soy sauce, shrimp and eggs. Available at many restaurants across the country, a number of variations can be tried in pancit guisado.
Address: 126 R. Jabson Street, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: Ado’s Panciteria
Opening hours: 6:30am - 12am (daily)
14. Pork Barbecue
Pork barbecue is a fairly common dish across the world. But in the Philippines, pork barbecue takes on a unique flavor and with its use of varied seasonings. Prepared over a charcoal grill, thinly sliced pork is marinated in banana ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and pepper powder. It is then threaded onto skewers and grilled while it is continually basted with the marinade. The resulting dish has succulent and delicious pork that melts in your mouth.
Holy Smokes BBQ PH
Address: 5834 Matilde, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: Holy Smokes BBQ PH
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 5pm - 12am; Fri - Sat: 5pm - 1am; Sun: 11am - 2pm, 5pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)
Another dish made from pancit (noodles), Palabok is heavy on the seafood flavor, primarily shrimp. A perfect hunger cure, palabok is a staple in most areas of the country and even served at fast-food joints. It consists of stir-fried noodles topped with cooked shrimp, fish flakes, eggs, boiled eggs, scallions and sometimes, thinly sliced pork too.
Address: 90 Malakas St, Diliman, Quezon City, 1100 Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: Little Quiapo
Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)
Filipino cuisine for an amazing Asian culinary adventure
A trip to the Philippines is incomplete without trying these local delicacies and there is a wide variety of good options when it comes to Filipino cuisine. It features a remarkable piquancy and the combination of delightful crunchiness, acidity, and spice is so perfect. Eat your way through the country and go on a memorable culinary journey.
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