If you're a foodie looking to explore the diverse flavors of the Philippines, you're in for a treat. Filipino cuisine is a rich and flavorful blend of indigenous, Malay, Chinese, and Spanish influences, resulting in a unique culinary tradition that's both delicious and exciting.
Here's a guide to some must-try Filipino dishes that will take your taste buds on a journey through the Philippines.
Arguably the most iconic Filipino dish, adobo is a hearty stew made with meat (usually chicken or pork) marinated in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper. The dish is then simmered until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Adobo is often served with steamed rice and a side of vegetables, making it a satisfying and comforting meal.
Lechon is a whole roasted pig that's a staple of Filipino celebrations and special occasions. The pig is stuffed with aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, and bay leaves, then roasted over charcoal until the skin is crispy and the meat is succulent. The resulting dish is a feast for the senses, with its crispy skin, tender meat, and fragrant aromatics.
Sinigang is a tangy and savory soup made with tamarind, vegetables (usually okra, eggplant, and tomato), and a choice of meat (usually pork, shrimp, or fish). The sourness of the tamarind is balanced by the sweetness of the vegetables and the umami of the meat, resulting in a comforting and flavorful soup that's perfect for rainy days.
Kare-Kare is a peanut-based stew made with oxtail, beef, or pork, and a variety of vegetables like eggplant, bok choy, and string beans. The sauce is thick and nutty, with a hint of sweetness from the addition of ground rice. Kare-Kare is often served with a side of bagoong (shrimp paste) that adds a salty and umami kick to the dish.
Sisig is a sizzling dish made with chopped pig's head and liver, seasoned with calamansi (a local citrus fruit), chili, and onions. The dish is typically served on a hot plate and topped with a raw egg that cooks from the heat of the sizzling plate. Sisig is a popular bar food that's often enjoyed with a cold beer.
These are just a few of the must-try dishes in the Philippines. Other notable mentions include pancit (stir-fried noodles), lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), and halo-halo (a dessert made with shaved ice, milk, and a variety of sweet toppings).
No matter where you are in the Philippines, there's always something delicious to discover. So don't be afraid to explore the local food scene and try new things – you never know what culinary treasures you might find!