No matter if you’re planning on visiting the Philippines to immerse in its diverse culture, or maybe you want to experience some of it at the comfort of your home, there are some amazing discoveries awaiting you, especially in the field of cuisine. Read on to learn about the eight Filipino dishes you simply must try at least once in your lifetime! And, what’s best, you can prepare most of them by yourself on a budget when you simply go to Discountrue and shop for the ingredients and appliances you’ll need at Target.
1. Lechon Kawali: Made of fried pork belly, this delicacy brings in a mix of traditional Filipino and Spanish influences to the dining table. Typically, a Pinoy holiday celebration is never complete without the roasting of an entire suckling pig – lechon – over coals. A condensed version served in most restaurants basically comprises of pork belly, skin and a little bit of meat fried till crisp.
2. Inasal: This popular street food which also happens to be a cookout staple is comprised of skewered, grilled chicken that is marinated in lime, vinegar, peppers and various tropical seeds. With origins in the west coast city of Bacolod (also referred to as the City of Smiles), Inasal is one dish that Filipinos are really proud of.
3. Lumpia: Lumpia mostly means a vegetable (or sometimes meat) dish that is wrapped up in a crepe-like, egg-based wrapper. Most Westerners see Lumpia as the Filipino cousin to the egg roll, salad roll or spring roll. Lumpia is either served crisply fried or fresh/unfried. Some of the ingredients that can go into the rolls include carrots, sprouts, other veggies, and optionally shaved chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu. It is also often served with peanut sauce.
4. Sinigang: Sinigang is a soup dish that is very popular as a comfort food in most Filipino eateries. It is renowned for its characteristic sour taste, something which is common in many other Pinoy dishes and mostly comes from tamarind pulp. Sinigang is often served with meat, fish, pork, okra and even spinach, and can vary from one region to another.
5. Balut: Balut is a typical street food, a protein snack that is essentially a hard-boiled chicken or duck embryo. It is very common on the streets from bike vendors. Balut snacks are available at various stages of growth, ranging from 12 to 17 days when embryo begin developing their bone structure and wings. Some Westerners consider this dish a pretty extreme taste of the Filipino culture and food, but you never know – many end up loving it once they try it!
6. Adobo: Adobo is typically pork, chicken or seafood that has been simmered in a marinade of vinegar and soy sauce. Often touted as the national food of the Philippines (though this is unofficial), Adobo begins with a protein like bone-in chicken, pork loin, fish or squid that is then dipped into a pot filled with vinegar, soy, garlic, onions or another vegetable and simmered till it is very tender, pickled in its own stock and then served over rice.
7. Menudo: This is another Pinoy delicacy that is a stew of roasted pork in peppers, other veggies and tomato sauce. More or less a reinvented Filipino version of the classic Spanish soup, Menudo is mostly served over rice with a side of Desperado in the dish.
8. Kinunot-na-Pagi: Kinunot is another popular flavorful and spicy Bicolano dish (from the Bicol region) whose main ingredient is white flake fish – typically tuna or sting ray – cooked using coconut milk and malunggay leaves.