The Philippines is a country with a diverse culinary heritage that reflects the different cultural influences it has received throughout history. From the Spanish colonial period to the Chinese trade and Malay migration, Philippine cuisine has evolved into a unique blend of flavors and textures that can satisfy any foodie’s palate.
Here are some of the must-try flavors of the Philippines that will take you on a delicious journey:
Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish that is popular both in the Philippines and in other parts of the world. It is typically made with pork or chicken that is marinated in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper, then braised in the same marinade until the meat is tender and flavorful.
One of the things that makes adobo so appealing is its unique blend of flavors. The combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and bay leaves gives the dish a tangy, salty, and slightly sweet taste that is both complex and satisfying. The addition of black pepper adds a subtle spiciness that helps to balance out the other flavors.
Sinigang is a traditional Filipino sour soup that is typically made with meat or seafood, vegetables, and tamarind, which gives the soup its signature tangy flavor. Other souring agents such as calamansi, guava, or kamias may also be used instead of tamarind.
The meat used in Sinigang can vary, but it is often pork, beef, or fish. Vegetables commonly used in the dish include tomatoes, onions, green beans, eggplant, okra, and spinach. Some versions of Sinigang also include radish or taro.
The soup is typically prepared by boiling the meat or seafood in water with the tamarind or other souring agent, along with the vegetables and seasonings such as garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. The sourness of the tamarind is balanced by adding a bit of sugar to the soup.
Lechon is a popular dish in many parts of the world, particularly in the Philippines and Latin America. It is a whole roasted pig, typically cooked over an open flame or in a large oven until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender and juicy. Lechon is often served at special occasions such as weddings, holidays, and festivals, and is a beloved part of the local cuisine in many regions.
The cooking process for lechon can take several hours or even a full day, depending on the size of the pig and the cooking method used. In some regions, the pig is roasted on a spit over an open flame, while in others it is cooked in a large oven or pit. The skin is usually scored or punctured before cooking to help release the fat and achieve a crispy, crackling texture.
Kare-Kare is a Filipino stew that is traditionally made with oxtail, but can also be made with beef, pork, or seafood. It is known for its rich and flavorful peanut-based sauce, which is thickened with ground toasted rice and served with a variety of vegetables such as eggplant, bok choy, and string beans.
Kare-Kare is a popular dish in the Philippines, often served at special occasions and celebrations. Its rich and hearty flavors make it a comforting and satisfying meal, perfect for sharing with family and friends.
Lumpia is a popular Filipino dish that is similar to spring rolls. It typically consists of a mixture of vegetables, meat, and spices wrapped in a thin crepe-like wrapper made from flour and water. The filling is then fried until crispy and served hot.
To make lumpia, the filling is cooked and then wrapped in the thin wrapper. The wrapper is made by mixing flour and water into a thin batter, and then spreading the batter over a hot skillet in a circular motion until it forms a thin, circular crepe. The filling is then placed on the wrapper, and the wrapper is folded over the filling and rolled tightly into a cylinder shape. The rolled lumpia is then fried in hot oil until crispy and golden brown.
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert that literally means “mixed together” in English. It is a refreshing and colorful dessert that is made up of a mixture of sweet beans, fruits, jelly, ube (purple yam) jam, shaved ice, and evaporated milk. It is a perfect treat for a hot summer day in the Philippines.
To make halo-halo, you need to prepare the following ingredients:
- Shaved ice
- Evaporated milk
- Sweet beans (mung beans, kidney beans, and garbanzos)
- Jackfruit (langka)
- Sweetened plantains (saba)
- Coconut sport (macapuno)
- Nata de coco (coconut gel)
- Ube (purple yam) jam
- Leche flan (custard)
- Gelatin cubes
- Cornflakes or rice crispies
Bicol Express is a spicy dish that originated from the Bicol region of the Philippines. It is made with pork cooked in coconut milk and chili peppers, giving it a creamy and spicy flavor. Bicol Express is often served with rice and is a must-try for those who love spicy food.
The Philippines’ cuisine is diverse and flavorful, and these dishes are just a small taste of what the country has to offer. Whether you’re a meat lover, a seafood fanatic, or a dessert connoisseur, the Philippines has something for every foodie. So, don’t be afraid to explore and indulge in the flavors of the Philippines.
Must Read: The Best Street Food in Asia