Dishes to try in the Philippines

Remember those late nights where you watch Youtube videos of people cooking, food travel bloggers and Gordon Ramsay. We have all been there and wonder why we are starving at midnight. Well, this blog post won’t help because it is just about food.

I had to write another blog about filipino food because there was just so much variation. I enjoyed the breakfast choices a lot because they were meat and rice based which is what I would like to eat in the morning. Lets chow my friends.

Im hungry…

  1. Sisig

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Sisig mix – usually on a hot plate

This is one of the most popular, if not the most popular dish in the Philippines. Pork sisig is the most common form of this dish and it is comprised of the meat and tissue from the head of the pig. Commonly you will find cheeks and ear tissue in a sisig which is seasoned and presented on a hot plate and a fried egg on top. It comes with some rice and a calamansi lime, yes please!

There are variations like squid sisig, tuna sisig and so on.

  1. Calamansi

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This is a variation on a lime and is a really small lime. It is found in a lot of south east Asian countries and very popular in the Philippines. One thing I really liked was the calamansi juice which tasted very clean and not sour at all.

  1. Banana ketchup

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Very tasty

I had to ask if this was an actual thing or if it was just what they called their tomato sauce. It turns out that it is a type of ketchup which does have the Asian banana. The bananas found in Asia are generally smaller, not as sweet and denser. Behave….

  1. Kare Kare

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This is like a curried stew and consists of tripe, ox-tail and meat. The sauce is peanut based and is quite tasty, I didn’t have kare kare many times but I would have liked to try it in different restaurants to see how it compared.

  1. Pancit

This is the tagalog word for noodle and there are a few variations on this like pancit canton or pancit bami. I really liked the pancit in the Philippines, the canton version uses a thicker egg noodle and is stir fried with soy sauce, sliced fish cake, roast belly pork and sliced vegetables. Pancit bami is similar except that the noodles here are a glass noodle type but equally delicious

  1. Beef tapa and Tocino

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Popular chain Rufo’s 

This is typically a breakfast dish but you can get it all day. The beef is cured or dried then marinated in a sweet soy sauce with spices. It usually comes with rice and a sunny side up egg. This was a definite favourite.

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Pork tocino

Tocino on the other hand was another breakfast dish which was more sweet. The meat is marinated in a sweet sauce and served with egg and rice.

  1. Silog

Tapsilog

The term silog is usually preceded by the type of dish you are getting. For example for beef you would order a tapsilog, for fish bangsilog and for sausage longsilog. The word is actually slang tagalog as the first part is the meat and the second part refers to sinangag (garlic rice) and itlog (egg). What you get is exactly how the name breaks down each component. Sometimes the meats can be really salty and so you should have a dish with vinegar to dip it into and it really mellows the flavour out.

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Dried milkfish – bangsilog
  1. Lechon

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Local Lechon cart 

When I visited Cebu, I made sure that I had a good helping of lechon. If my friends didn’t stop me, I probably would have had lechon every meal. It was a good thing they did! Lechon is famous in Cebu and well-known Filipino dish. It usually consists of a whole pig filled with herbs and spices then roasted over a fire until the skin is crispy however you can get roasted piglet and belly lechon. My favourite version was definitely the belly because it was juicy and easy to eat but also there was a great contrast between the crunchy skin and soft meat. If you visit Cebu then I would recommend House of Lechon or Ayers.

  1. Crispy Pata

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Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

A local told me that pata is dish which was made in Manila, supposedly made famous by the Barrio fiesta restaurant chain. It consists of a boiled pork knuckle which is boiled in a seasoned broth, cooled then deep fried until the skin is crispy. My god, this was probably the best comfort food I have ever had, I could’ve probably eaten the whole thing by myself but you better bring company as the knuckle is usually good for two or three people.

  1. Adobo

This is another well known dish in the Philippines and it is ridiculously tasty. It is similar to a stew where it consists of a meat, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and garlic. I had some adobo which was thicker in consistency and some which was like a soup but always so tasty.

  1. Chicken Inasal

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Juicy. Crispy. Tasty

Another popular dish that is so good. It is so popular that there is even a chain of restaurants called Inasal. I remember going to Bacolod chicken Inasal in Manila and it explained that inasal derives from when the Spanish colonised the Philippines. Supposedly the Spaniards were trying to explain asado but as the Filipinos were unable pronounce the word it somehow got to inasal.

Typically a piece of chicken is marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi juice and spices then grilled over a barbeque. Dare I say that this is better than any Nando’s I have ever had.

  1. Dinguan

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The idea is weird but actually tasty

Blood stew. Sorry vegans but this popular dish consists of pieces of meat or sausage simmered in vinegar, spices and pigs blood. I really wanted to try it as I had never had anything like it before. It has a grainy texture but the overall flavour was really nice.

  1. Boodle fight

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Boodle fight!!!

I had heard of this before and it is a Filipino tradition where you invite friends or family to stand around a table full of food. Well, its abit more than that. The table is laid out with banana leaf and then food is literally piled across it, typically you will find rice, fruit, condiments, fish, meat and maybe even lechon at a boodle fight. It derives from when the army used to have their meals together and literally stood round a table eating with their hands.

  1. Street food

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Cheap and tasty snacks

Another great Asian invention but I guess you can find street food in the parts of many countries. The Filipino street food usually consists of skewered meat which is grilled in front of your eyes or deep fried food.

The grilled meats can range from roast pork, intestine, fish or beef balls and so on whereas the fried foods are usually skewered siu mai (type of Chinese pork dim sum), battered egg, battered quail egg then topped with soy sauce or a sweet chili sauce.

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