Must try Filipino Dishes

More than 300 years of Spanish rule greatly influenced Philippine cuisine, especially with the names of the dishes. Centuries of trading with various Asian countries like China, India, and the Philippines’ neighboring South East Asian countries also contributed to how Philippine food evolved throughout time. American influence also came in during the American occupation from the early 1900s to the post-World War II era.

Like a number of other Asian countries, rice is the Philippines’ staple food. Whether eating a homemade meal or dining in a feast or banquet, meals are generally served with rice.

Here are must try Filipino dishes you should not miss when visiting the Philippines:



Filipinos show distinct preferences for sour and salty flavors especially with soups. The must-try soup sinigang is characterized by its endearingly sour flavor. It is made of lightly boiled sour stock made out of tamarind, guava, or calamansi. The meat used for sinigang can be pork, fish, shrimp, or chicken. The vegetables such as gabi (taro corms), kangkong (water spinach), labanos (radish) sitaw (string beans), eggplant, onion, chili, and tomatoes are added to the stock and the mix is appropriately brought to a boil.






The signature Filipino dish adobo uses pork or chicken cooked in oil, vinegar, pepper, bay leaf, and soy sauce. It is one of the most popular Filipino dishes commonly prepared in both Philippine homes and restaurants.





Lechon is a famous treat during local Philippine celebrations and gatherings. Its presence provides grandness to the occasion. This charcoal-roasted suckling pig has a pale and tender meat. It is traditionally cooked whole until its skin forms a hard brown crust. The skin is crispy and can be used for making pork rinds.






Kare-kare is a popular Filipino dish especially in the Tagalog region. The Filipino version of the beef stew flavored and thickened in a peanut – based sauce, with a variety of vegetables. The most common cuts of beef used are tail, shank or face. A combination of the three may be used and most cooks preferred to add tripe. If these are not available you can use round or sirloin cut.

The meat is first tenderized, then sauteed in garlic, bagoong, annatto seeds and vegetables. Peanut butter is added during the last stages of cooking to thicken the sauce and give the characteristic flavor of the kari-kari. Most common vegetables used are string beans or snake beans, pechay or baby bachoy, eggplant and banana buds from the banana heart.




Menudo is a Filipino meat stew. It is made of sliced pork, calves’ liver, carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables that are cooked in tomato sauce. Aside from its usual presence in Filipino restaurant menus, menudo is also a popular dish served during celebrations such as fiestas and birthday parties.



Bistek or Beefsteak

Derived from the English words “beef steak,” bistek uses onions, strips of sirloin beef, soy sauce, and calamansi to create a saucy and slow-cooked Filipino-style beef steak.




The Filipino lumpia is similar to a spring roll. Each piece of it is filled with succulent garlic-slathered pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, or a combination of them, along with finely-cut vegetable fillings all wrapped in a small roll of lumpia paper. It is either steamed or fried, then dipped in a citrus or sweet and sour sauce before eating.



Lumpiang Sariwa

Lumpiang Sariwa means Fresh Spring Rolls in English, a Filipino dish which is made out of different vegetables such as carrots, bamboo shoots, turnips cabbage double wrapped in lettuce leaves and egg crepes then accompanied by a sweet garlic and peanut flavored sauce.