10 Traditional Filipino Dishes Every Foodie Should Know

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


Influence: Chinese

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


2. Pancit


Influence: Chinese

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


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


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


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


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

Influence: Spanish

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


Influence: Native

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


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


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.


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  • Billy Evans

    and you call this HEALTHY ?? you need to look up the word its obvious you dont understand HEALTHY

    • Glenn Ambee

      They never called them healthy foods, at least not in this article. Healthy was only mentioned once, in the cassava section.

  • The writer of this article must be joking when it claims that kare kare was being cooked even before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines. I can only imagine who brought the peanuts here in the Philippines from South America.

    How could Spanish influencing the invention of sisig when it was first cooked in the 80s? Another joke?

    • themass

      Sisig is indeed some mexican influence ( I think not Spanish). They call it Cabesa in Mexico. Taste is similar

    • 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.

      • clarissaandresbarrenechea

        It is said Totoy that the actual history of this dish is vague with various sources saying that Kare Kare might have originated from Pampanga, or might have also been a regal dish of the Moro elite before Spanish arrival, and that could also have been from Indian soldiers who settled in the Philippines during British Invasion.

  • Cindy Cash-Smith Seamster

    3 Pinoy foods I miss badly are Lumpia, Pancit, and sticky rice!!!!
    I miss the street food too!! When I was there for my last visit 16 years ago my ex-sister-in-law wanted to take us to KFC! I Told her NO!!! I can have that every day at home if I wanted to! Lol

  • CT89

    sisig is from pampanga

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