Let’ skip the adobo and lechon, for these two without any argument complete the picture for Filipino cuisine. Filipino cuisine just any part of a nation’s culture is a product of different influences and our own ingenuity.
So here are some of the top Filipino dishes, present in every occasion and makes us real Pinoy. Miss or love them, here are our well-loved Filipino dishes.
Food experts agree that Filipino food belongs to the sour side, best reflected in our all-time favourite, sinigang. The fullness of the soup with vegetables flavoured sour agents from different fruits like tamarind and kamias. Other regions also use different fruits to give that natural sour flavour and sinigang can be pork, fish and shrimp.
Another dish that is on the sour side of the taste spectrum. Paksiw as we all know is simmering fish (except for the lechon paksiw) with vinegar and spices like garlic and peppercorns. Some add ampalaya (bitter gourd) to their paksiw. Above is Ilonggo-style paksiw using bangus (milkfish) belly wrapped in mango leaves for a light sour taste.
Also called kinilaw in Visayas and Mindanao, kilawin is to eat something raw and uncooked. Drenched and bathe in vinegar which will “cook” the food along with spices like chili, ginger and onions. In some parts of the Philippines, they add coconut milk.
Fish like those fleshy ones like tuna are commonly used. Other use other seafoods like shrimps and even squid. Another dish is the sinuglaw which is topping the kilawin with grilled pork called as sinugba in local dialect.
A vegetable-based dish that is common all over Philippines. Simmered vegetables like squash, ampalaya (bitter gourd), string beans, eggplant with pork and shrimp paste. Other variants are seafood pinakbet which is common in Zambales area while the Ilocanos have at least three kinds of pinakbet with their signature topping of bagnet (Ilocano-style deep fried pork).
One of the few Pinoy foods that even non-Filipinos can enjoy and love. Fried spring roll usually of ground meat is more than finger food. With sauce or not, lumpia is scrumptious in every bite. Vegetable lumpia is also a favorite variant of this Pinoy food.
Forever present in every Filipino menu, kare-kare came from “curry” but only the color gives resemblance to the Indian influence. Our own kare-kare uses ox tail and other meat parts with heart blossoms, eggplant and string beans. The sauce makes or breaks a kare-kare dish which is of ground peanut. And of course, to give a contrasting taste is the shrimp paste.
Want to cure a hang-over? Or have something warm during rainy season? Bulalo never fails. A bone-barrow soup with green vegetables and a cob of corn is far beyond satisfying. Batangas is known to have the best bulalo in the Philippines.
A dish invented by a simple lady in Pampanga is now an all-time favourite. A common sumsuman ( food eaten while having alcoholic drinks), it is made of pork liver and the face of the pork called maskara (the mask) giving a little “crunchy” texture to the meat. Usually served sizzling with egg and mayonnaise.
Filipinos are known to be meat-lovers specially when it comes to pork. Crispy pata, teased as a “cardiac delight” as it is as unhealthy for the heart yet as satsifying to our hungry tummies. Pata or pork thigh is boiled and slow cooked with spices and then left in the fridge overnight before deep frying. The crispy skin contrasting to the soft pork meat makes crispy pata irresistible.
No fiesta will commence without this familiar dish. One of the Spanish influences in Filipino cuisine with its tomato sauce, mechado is another Pinoy favorite. Meat stew usually pork and liver with vegetables like green peas sometimes garbanzos ( chick peas), carrots and tomatoes.
Who doesn’t like dinuguan? Totally unnatural and unappealing for non-Filipinos, this dish from pig’s blood with pork, intestine and liver is a classic. Dinuguan comes from the word “dugo” which means, “blood”. Paired with puto (steamed rice cake ) in Luzon, other parts of the country eat it as a viand.
There are more Filipino classics and dishes that is common in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Did we miss something?
And oh, where’s the rice?