Philippines Food more
than just rice!

Philippines food is a melting pot of various ethnic influences.

The evolution of Filipino food can be traced back to the earliest inhabitants, where the food preparation was mostly by boiling, roasting or steaming, the Malays had a heavy influence here and in a way started the gastro wheel turning.

Other Asian influences crept in, mainly from the Chinese, Indonesians and Indians, who were major trading partners, they all made a huge impact in the start of the Philippines food evolution. Each ethnicity brought it's own unique influence as did the Spanish.

The Spanish legacy in the Philippines was a long one and a lot of the spices and sauces found there way into Philippines food. Natural preservatives like vinegar was also introduced and became accepted into the Philippines cuisine.

The final major influences were the American and Japanese. Being colonised by both countries in the beginning of the 20th Century, I guess there heavy influence was inevitable.

Staples of Philippines Food

This will be no shock to you, but the staple food of the Philippines is, wait for it, yes you guessed right if you said rice.

Boiled rice plays a major role in most Filipino meals, any leftovers are normally fried with spices. Commonly sauces are added with either vegetables, beef, chicken, pork or seafood.

Breakfast meals often have rice as a base as well with the odd egg or rash of bacon thrown in.

There also a number of rice based desserts, which are uniquely Filipino.

Philippines Food - Regional Specialties

Although the basis of Filipino food is common throughout the 7,107 islands, some regions are known for specific flavours or particular cuisines.

The region to the south of Luzon Bicol is well know for it's spices and peppers and a particular dish called Bicol Express

Fresh vegetables from Mountain Province.

Capiz on the island of Panay in the Western Visayas has been dubbed the seafood capital of the Philippines.

There are many more specialty areas with there own developed and traditional Philippines food.

Popular Filipino Cuisine

  • Adobo
    Would have to be one of the most common and popular dishes in the Philippines. Usually, but not limited to, pork or chicken which is cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and pepper. Adobo would have to come close to being the Philippines National dish.
  • Arroz Caldo
    A thick rice soup with chicken pieces, flavoured with ginger, garlic and onions.
  • Bangus
    Bangus is the Philippines National fish, milkfish. It is usually grilled.
  • Bicol Express
    A pork dish, cooked in coconut milk with green peppers, very spicy.
  • Bulalo
    Oxtail soup, with marrow and vegetables.
  • Caldereta
    A stew consisting of goats meat, you can also use beef, pork or chicken, with peas and paprika. Has Spanish origins.
  • Camaron Rebosado
    Shelled prawns battered and deep fried with tails left on.
  • Dinuguan
    Can be a stew or a roast of chicken or pork offal with fresh blood, seasoned with peppercorns and vinegar and served with rice.
  • Embutido
    Seasoned mince meat rolled in foil like a sausage and baked.
  • Humba
    From Chinese origin, the rump of ham or pork cooked with garlic, water, soy, brown sugar and other spices.
  • Inihaw
    Grilled meat of any kind and seafood.
  • Kanin
    Steamed rice
  • Kare Kare
    Oxtail or beef shanks stewed in peanut sauce with vegetables, onions or garlic.
  • Kinilaw
    Raw seafood or any fish, marinated with either vinegar or kalamansi juice.
  • Lechon or Liston
    The fiesta dish! Roasted suckling pig served with liver sauce.
  • Lechon sa Kawali
    Deep fried pork.
  • Lumpia or umpiya
    Philippine style spring rolls, with meat and vegetables.
  • Menudo
    Stew made from chopped pork or liver with potatoes and other vegetables.
  • Mitsado
    braised beef.
  • Paella
    A rice dish with chicken, ham, pork, sausages, seafood and vegetables.
  • Pancit
  • Pancit Canton
    Noodles with pork and vegetables.
  • Pancit Guisado
    Thin fried noodles wuth meat and vegetables.
  • Sinigang
    Soup which is soured. The soup can be either, vegetable, meat or seafood.
  • Tinola
    Stew of meat and fish pieces flavoured with ginger, onions and garlic with vegetables.

    Now have you tried any Filipino Cuisine, these are dishes unique to the Philippines?

    Have a look here at other Philipine dishes.

    This is but a tiny list of some of the Philippines food. Philippines food really has evolved over time and will keep evolving.

    Another delicacy that is truely Filipino is Balut. Balut is something I cannot eat, not matter how hard I convince myself to have a go, it is just not for me, not for all the San Miguel in the Philippines! Have a look here, tell me what you think?

    If you have any suggestions or regional specialties that you would like to share with our readers then please add them using the form below.

    Do please add any story or history that may come with your Philippines food recipe, we would love to hear from you. We understand that any recipe can be very personal so please be assured that you will be given proper credit.

    What is you favourite Filipino Food, Dish or Recipe?

    What Filipino food can you not live without? Do you have a great story about this? Share it!

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