By: Lyra Liza Mahinay
Filipinos are naturally born empathetic in so many ways. Most of the time, we use food to express our feelings and emotions. Food has become our vessel to connect with people, like inviting your group of friends for dinner, a little reunion with your family. Every occasion is not complete without a variety of food being served on the table. Thus, this allows us to bond and interact with the people around us.
In Filipino tradition, dinner is the most memorable meal of the day. This is when every family member gets to share how they spend their day – about work, school events, and even small details like where they went. Does this ring a bell?
Filipino cuisine is famous for its delicious taste and appetizing aroma. You can quickly tell apart Filipino food from other cuisines due to its color and the manner it is served too. Its distinctive colors, smell, and flavors result in a whole sensory experience with each bite.
Here are some of the most popular foods in the Philippines that might remind you of several beautiful memories.
Related: Must-Try Diet-Friendly Home Recipes
Some say that you are not a true Filipino unless you have tried the most famous dish in the Philippines, adobo. You can use either pork or chicken when cooking adobo, and it is present in the simplest Filipino family celebration.
I can still clearly remember my childhood days; my mom always packs adobo during our out-of-town swimming vacations.
Aside from its delicious flavor, this dish is easy to cook and requires few ingredients. In some areas, they add garlic to balance the saltiness and spicy flavor of the pepper. Warning: this is not exactly diet-friendly food.
Sinigang is a soup dish that is best served during lunchtime. Filipinos are heavy eaters during lunchtime since we believe that our body needs a good hot soup in the middle of the day. This classic dish has a kick of sour flavor and is sometimes partnered with fish sauce to balance the taste.
The crispy skin and the tasty meat of lechon will definitely make you drool. In some provinces, lechon or roasted pig is prepared for special occasions such as fiesta, weddings, birthday parties, and other events. Lechon is also a trademark during Filipino festivals. Who knows, maybe you even had one during your 18th birthday.
The Philippines is blessed with abundant harvests of vegetables which gives comfort to the vegan Filipino community. This vegetable dish is cooked in different ways. Some cook it with shrimp paste or bagoong, sometimes it has chicharon as toppings or meat was added to improve its taste.
During Holy Week, this healthy viand is the star on the table as people refrain from eating meat. You can even put in all the vegetables you know in the famous Filipino song Bahay Kubo.
Some would say that this dish was influenced by Spain, but it was actually adapted from the Chinese. Growing up in an Asian family, this noodle dish is necessary, especially at birthday parties. Pinoys serve pancit guisado as a symbol for long life. The best part is that you can cook pancit within 10 minutes, making it a common dish at birthday parties.
Are you a total beef lover? Then you must try bulalo. The dish has a few ingredients like beef shanks, leafy vegetables, corn, ginger, and onions, but it takes a lot of cooking time to get the perfect flavor. It is simmered for long hours to achieve the best texture of the meat. The bone marrow is the backbone of this dish because the fattier it is, the more flavorful your soup is. Have you seen people poke that fatty bone marrow diligently with a fork? Yes, that is the entire bulalo experience.
This popular Filipino snack is best eaten on rainy days. Champorado is sweet porridge cooked with cocoa tablets or powder. Some use milk and sugar to add flavor. You can pair it with dried fish if you like a contrast of tastes. Eating champorado is said to have benefits such as antioxidants, and it is also a good source of fiber. Personally, I like mine with a lot of milk.
This dish is cooked in pig’s blood with vinegar and various spices. It has a rich, savory, thick sauce. Its black appearance can cause your teeth to look like you just ate a whole squid. In some provinces, dinuguan is best to serve with a rice cake during a snack. It may look unappealing, but you will be surprised by its unique bloody flavor. Sometimes, dinuguan is traditionally cooked with lechon and is included in lechon food packages.
Dubbed as the star of every Filipino celebration, lumpiang shanghai is highly addictive. More so when you dip them in a sweet-spicy sour sauce or ketchup. This all-time favorite food has its Chinese influences, but over time became a trademark Filipino dish. Lumpiang Shanghai is a mixture of ground pork, black pepper, onion, garlic, seasonings, and a wrapper. You can make this dish in 20 minutes of cooking time at a lesser cost.
Like adobo, people say that you are not truly a Filipino if you have not stashed a single lumpia in parties.
Sisig is the most common pulutan in every Filipino drinking session. This dish is made by frying a variety of pork parts with lots of onions and chili peppers. The best sisig is those that use the most delicious parts of a pig, such as its ears and brain. You would also be thrilled to know that the origin of this dish is Filipinos wanting to avoid wasting food and creating something delicious out of pork scraps.
Filipino cuisine is rich in different cultures and emotions. We love to experiment, modify and improve the dishes we cook. Pinoys do not settle with a bland food being served on the table but rather present a sumptuous meal. Generally, memories are best shared with the best food.
Feasting on your favorite is like rediscovering home. Discover more food adventures in the comfort of your own home. Choose a house with a spacious kitchen area that will cater for your cooking journey.