With 7,641 islands, the Philippines is one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of culture, language and even cuisine. Here is a list of 13 Filipino dishes I believe are likely to impress taste buds from around the world:
Adobo (Facebook/Ono Kine Recipes)
When the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, they referred to any native dish that was marinated before consumption as adobo. Today, what makes a Filipino food adobo is the mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.
The most common adobo is the classic one, the chicken adobo, which is commonly prepared by stewing chicken in soy sauce and vinegar. Others make variations by adding ingredients such as pineapple.
Bicol Express (Facebook/Legazpi City)
2. Bicol Express
This Filipino dish is a spicy stew made from pork, long chilies, coconut milk, onion and garlic along with either stockfish or shrimp paste. It originated from the Bicol Region, which consists of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.
Bulalo (Facebook/Bicolana Ako)
This beef stew or soup is comprised of shank with bone marrow still inside the bone. It is similar to the Mexican beef stew called Caldo de Res.
Filipinos give the light colored bulalo soup its rich taste by cooking beef shanks and beef marrow bones for several hours until the fat has melted enough into the clear broth. Among its common seasonings are salt, black pepper, garlic and bay leaves.
Crispy Pata (Facebook/I AM A CEBUANO)
4. Crispy Pata
Consisting of deep-fried pig trotters or knuckles, this pork dish is served with a soy-vinegar dip. It is similar to the German roasted ham hock called Schweinshaxe.
Kare-Kare (Facebook/What To Eat PH)
With thick savory peanut sauce, this stew can be prepared by using only a base of stewed oxtail. Other meats used beef stew meat, calves feet, pig feet, pork hocks, offal and tripe.
Kuhol sa Gata (Facebook/I love Sanghaya Catering)
6. Kuhol sa Gata
Stewed in coconut milk leafy vegetables, this freshwater snail dish is served either with rice or solely as an appetizer. A tiny fork or a toothpick is used to loosen the meat inside the snails that are served in the shell.
Laing (Facebook/Doc Willie Ong)
The main ingredients of this dish are dried taro leaves simmered slowly in coconut milk. It is completed by salting with fermented shrimp or the Filipino condiment called bagoong.
Lechon Kawali (Facebook/Casa Baluarte)
8. Lechon Kawali
Deep-fried in a pan or wok, this crispy pork belly is served chopped into pieces. It is accompanied with soy sauce and calamondin.
This dish is made by steaming mixed vegetables in fish or shrimp sauce. The most common vegetables used are eggplant, string beans, winged beans, tomato and okra.
Pinikpikan (Facebook/Bey Con)
This chicken dish is from the Igorots, the people in the mountains of the northern part of the Philippines. The original procedure of beating the chicken’s wings is no longer practiced because of animal welfare laws so a fresh chicken meat is now simply sautéed in garlic, onions and ginger before adding chayote or unripe papaya.
Sinigang (Facebook/Baron Geisler)
What gives this soup or stew its sour and savoury taste is tamarind while the common condiment for the stew is fish sauce. It is similar to the Malaysian dish called singgang.
This dish is prepared first by grilling salted tilapia. After this, wrap the grilled tilapia in mustard leaves and cook it with chili and coconut milk or cream.
Sisig (Facebook/JT’s Manukan Grille)
Seasoned with calamondin and chili peppers, this dish is made from chopped parts of pig head and liver that are either boiled or grilled. The addition of the pig’s head and innards in the dish started as a result of recycling the excess meat from the commissaries of Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga.