As someone who loves food, often times my friends will ask me for advice on all types of different foods including food in the Philippines. I have been exposed to eating different foods since I was a child. Often times even made fun of for what I ate because I grew up in an Asian household which consisted of a lot of food many people have not been exposed to. Thankfully, I have always been willing to try new and different foods. I am always willing to try it more than once because maybe the place I tried it at didn’t provide the best experience or it wasn’t seasoned well or prepared correctly.
I have traveled to the Philippines 9 times and I have found that these foods below are some of my favorite Filipino food. In Filipino culture, food is the heart and soul of bringing families together. Food in the Philippines often times means wealth and good health to many families which is why holidays and fiestas are surrounded by food. For example, the New Year in the Philippines, is celebrated with families and it is good luck to have a table full of food and to eat at midnight. Many of these dishes in the states are very Americanized, however, beware that sometimes these dishes can be a lot greasier than what we may be accustomed to. Here are my must try foods in the Philippines, enjoy!
Food in the Philippines
Now this is my favorite Food in the Philippines hands down. This is typically a Visayan dish so you usually won’t find this dish in Manila since it isn’t a common Filipino Food here but you will find it more in places like Cebu, Mindinao and all the Visayan areas. This dish is pretty much a raw fish almost like a poke style dish or a fish ceviche. It is covered and sauced with vinegar, ginger, salt, and peppers.
Chicken aka Lechon Manok
The staple dish of the Philippines is usually Chicken and Rice. You can find this everywhere. Usually they will provide you with some sort of soy sauce and vinegar on the tables or mixture combination with small hot chili peppers that you break apart and place in this soy sauce mixture. In the Philippines it is very common to eat with your hands, so usually you take the chicken and dip it in the sauce and eat it with some rice.
Pork aka Lechon
The another staple dish of the Philippines is Pork and Rice. You eat this the same or similar as the chicken dish above.
Adobo is a very common, well-known and popular food in the Philippines. It is very common in the United States and in some Filipino Restaurants. However, certain restaurants have certain foods in the Philippines. For example, chicken is very common in the Philippines but to get a grilled chicken, you might want to find at Lechon Manok stand.
This dish is a sour soup with a lot of flavor. It is filled with cabbage and typically a meat like beef. This is a very traditional food of the Philippines. Ultimately, I love ordering this at a restaurant especially if my stomach isn’t doing to well. It has a very citrusy or sour flavor that makes it enjoyable.
Balut is what most foreigners are afraid to try but it is a delicacy in the Philippines. It is more of a street food and is the well known boiled duck embryo.
Shanghai Lumpia is my favorite type of lumpia. Lumpia is a Filipino version of an egg roll. It definitely has Chinese influence. The Shanghai Lumpia is short and small that is filled with mostly meat.
Pancit is a very common dish in the Philippines. This dish is made up of rice noodles, cabbage, peas, carrots and typically chicken. This dish is most popular in the United States and can be very similar to chow mein.
If you want fresh seafood, the Philippines is the best place to get it. Although, you won’t get it with a side of butter. Some of my favorite dishes are crab and shrimp with a curried sauce.
This is probably my dad’s favorite dish. He loves ordering this and it can be with a sweet sauce or just grilled to eat. He loves to eat it by itself or with rice. Furthermore, it has a nice smoky flavor if cooked well and on a grill. Sometimes, they will just place it on a sizzling plate which is different than the way the one pictured above is cooked.
This is my favorite kind of rice. Garlic rice is such a basic staple and can be found anywhere. It is just rice that has been placed in a pan with cooked garlic and mixed together. It adds so much more flavor to all the meat you will in the Philippines.
Buko Juice in a Shell
Buko Juice in a shell, is just a fresh coconut with coconut juice. It is hands down my favorite drink to get in the Philippines. If you have had coconut water in the Philippines, similarly that is what this tastes like. In particular, what I like most about Buko Juice is being able to scrape out the coconut pieces on the inside and eat them.
Instead of Starbucks Coffee (which they still have in many of the major cities of the Philippines such as Manila and Cebu City), this is the Philippines version of Starbucks Coffee. Be sure to check out some of their cute little places.
This is the most popular hard alcohol in the Philippines. Tanduay is a very popular that you will see signs and ads of this brand scattered all over the Philippines.
Same brand as the Rhum but this drink tastes similar to a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. This drink is absolutely delicious and refreshing for those hot and humid nights in the Philippines.
Desserts to Try:
Suman is my Favorite dessert of the Philippines which is a sweet sticky rice wrapped in bananas leaves. Sometimes it is filled or covered with ube, but often times it isn’t.
This is a shaved ice dish sometimes served or topped with Ice Cream and fruit. This is a classic favorite that is popular in the United States. It is a great dish to eat on those Hot Summer Days.
Magnum Ice Cream Bars
Okay, I know what you are thinking. Why are you mentioning Magnum Ice Cream Bars when we can get them anywhere in the United States? Well because they have different and interesting flavors. At times, I have a hard time finding them in the United States. I really love their white chocolate bars.
Ube Ice Cream
If you are lucky enough to find this in the Philippines, you must try it. Ube is a sweet potato and it is a bright purple in color. It is a mild sweet and I have mostly had this ice cream from a vendor walking down the street, although I haven’t tried hard looking for it in the Philippines since I enjoy it often in the US.
Durian is an acquired taste and is not for anyone that have issues with smell or texture issues. It is known for it’s pungent smells that makes it hard to eat for most people. Durian also has a very fleshy, custard like texture. It has a sweet yet savory taste which is why so many people enjoy it. Henceforth, this fruit isn’t allowed in many hotels, taxis, planes or many indoor places. This is a popular food in the Philippines that is found at almost all Filipino food stands.
The Saba Banana is a hard banana when raw but can be fairly soft when cooked down. Filipinos love to eat this sweet banana grilled and covered in brown sugar called maruya. You can get it caramelized on the outside with hard crispy brown sugar called a banana que. Additionally, another Visayan way of eating a Saba Banana is raw and dip it in a salt fish sauce made of bagoong, vinegar and sili.
Marang is probably one of my most favorite fruits to eat. I don’t get to have it often since it is usually only available during August – October. The size of this fruit is about the same size as a Durian, however inside is very different. Moreover, they are little clusters of White Fleshy Sweet individual bites each containing a big brown seed. This fruit isn’t allowed in hotels, taxis, planes or other indoor places.
Fresh and Dried Mangoes
Mangoes are definitely a famous fruit in the Philippines. It is very common to have and eat on the daily. The Dried Mangoes, however, can be expensive to locals so fresh mango is usually the most popular option. The mangoes are so sweet and desirable.
Additionally, pineapples are also another common fruit you can get in the Philippines. Ultimately, I have never had pineapples as sweet or as delicious as I have in the Philippines. This is another staple fruit you must try when visiting.
What are some of your favorite Filipino dishes? Like this post, check out more of my posts on the Philippines! Leave your comments below. Don’t forget to pin this post!