10 Traditional Filipino Dishes Every Foodie Should Know

Getting Around By Jenny Horowitz June 4, 2024

Filipino food tends to be overlooked for other Southeast Asian cuisines, like Thai and Vietnamese. But you’d be mistaken to neglect it. Pinoy cuisine has been delighting taste buds for centuries with phenomenal flavors that reflect the country’s multi-cultural influence. From deep-fried lumpia rolls to sweet leche flan, you can find Chinese, Spanish, or Native influence in almost every dish.


1. Lumpia

Filipino lumpia spring rolls

Influence: Chinese

Lumpia is a delicious deep-fried spring roll, stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and chopped vegetables.


2. Pancit

Filipino noodle pancit

Pancit, or pansit, are noodles that can be mixed with whatever meat or vegetable your stomach desires. The name originated from the Hookien word ‘pian e sit,’ meaning ‘something conveniently cooked.’


3. Chicken Adobo

Filipino chicken adobo

Influence: Spanish

One of the most well-known dishes on our list, chicken adobo’s distinctive flavor comes from a slow cooking process – plus plenty of vinegar, crushed garlic, soy sauce, and black pepper.


4. Leche Flan

Filipino leche flan

Influence: Spanish

Ready for dessert? Meaning ‘milk flan’ in English, leche flan is a custard dessert made of pudding with a soft layer of caramel on top. The texture is smooth and creamy; the flavor rich and sweet.


5. Kare-Kare

Filipino kare kare stew

Influence: Native

Kare-Kare is a Filipino stew with vegetables, oxtail, and a thick savory peanut sauce. Originating before the Spanish arrived to the Philippines, kare-kare is a Filipino comfort food.


6. Sisig

Filipino pork sisig

Influence: Spanish

Sisig is a spicy, fatty meat dish with pig head and liver marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi juice, and chili peppers. Also known as the ‘golden lime,’ calamansi is a citrus fruit that’s commonly used in Filipino lemonade.


7. Chicharon

Filipino Chicharon

Extremely popular in Spain and Latin America, chicharon are fried pork rinds. They can also be made from chicken, beef, or mutton. Filipinos love to eat this crunchy snack with beer.


8. Sinigang

Filipino sinigang

Often associated with tamarind, sinigang is a sour and savory Filipino stew made with onions, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, ginger, and fish sauce.


9. Cassava Cake

Filipino cassava cake

Influence: Native

Cassava cake is another popular Pinoy dessert crafted from freshly grated cassava flour and coconut milk, traditionally baked on coals. And you won’t have to feel too guilty indulging because cassava offers a handful of health benefits.


10. Arroz Caldo

Filipino Arroz Caldo

Influence: Chinese and Spanish

Similar to Vietnamese congee, arroz caldo is a chicken and rice porridge stewed in broth, ginger, chives, and occasionally saffron. The name ‘arroz caldo’ literally translates to ‘rice soup’ in English.


Hungry for more? Take a peek at some unique cuisines around the world for more international foodie inspiration.