Local Filipino cuisine

Varied regional cuisines

Local Filipino cuisine

Filipino cuisine is strongly influenced by Asian, American, Spanish, Chinese and Malay traditions. There is a wide-range of international food available, but to experience the true culture you should try some of these suggestions!

Traditional dishes

Every region in the Philippines has its own typical dishes, because every island has its own ethnic group and therefore very varied regional cuisines.

A favourite Philippine dish is “adobo” which means sauce or marinade in the local language. It is derived from Hispanic dishes introduced during colonial rule. It involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in soy sauce, garlic and vinegar.

Kare-Kare is a Filipino stew made from crushed peanuts and ground toasted rice. The commonly used meat for Kare-Kare is oxtail, tripe and pork leg. This dish is often served at birthday parties.

Pancit, a noodle dish which was introduced to the Philippines by the Chinese and has been adopted into the traditional cuisine. This rice noodle dish goes along with an orange-coloured sauce made from pork, boiled eggs, shrimps, and chicharon (pork rinds).

Nearly every event in the Philippines is celebrated with lechon - an entire roasted pig, often served with liver sauce. This delicious dish is skewered on a pole and rotated for hours to ensure that the skin will be crispy and gold.

Chicken inasal is grilled chicken marinated with lemongrass, calamansi (a type of small citrus fruit), salt and pepper. This dish is eaten along with garlic rice with some of the sauce that was used to marinate the chicken.

Bicol express, named after the train service from Manila to Bicol, a region famous for spicy food, is a typical stew. It is made with long chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onion, pork and garlic. It is spicy and comes in many variations.

Northern Philippine cuisine

Northern cuisine generally consists of steamed or boiled seasoned vegetables and freshwater fish. A simple dish would consist of okra, tomatoes, long beans alongside cubes of pork combined with water and a shrimp paste.

Central Philippine cuisine

The central Philippines is known for its spicy dishes. Pork belly is a typical dish, cooked in coconut cream and a shrimp paste. Because the dishes are fiery hot it is best served with a lot of rice on the side.

Southern Philippine cuisine

Southern dishes are flavoured with spices similar in style to the central Philippines. The spices - coriander, lemon grass, cumin, turmeric and chillies - are commonly used in the south, influenced from other Southeast Asian countries, and the Muslim population which is found on the southern islands.

Further reading

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