Filipino Specialties: Famous Foods of the Philippines

Filipino man selling a variety of long-grain rice.
Here are some of prominent foods that should not be missed by anyone visiting the Philippines. Try some or travel all over the Philippines on a food journey; either way you’re guaranteed of an unforgettable culinary experience.

Rice is a staple on every Filipino table. Whether it’s a simple dinner of soup or an extravagant multi-course meal in a five-star restaurant, expect the menu to include rice. And it is not surprising to find a sign that says ‘UNLIMITED RICE’ in some restaurants, especially in barbecue and grill places.

Adobo

The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Filipino cuisine is the famous adobo. This classic dish holds a special place in Filipino cuisine that it has reached even restaurants in America, Europe and the Middle East. Adobo can be prepared using pork or chicken or both. Some versions have fried bananas, laurel leaves and pineapples to add flavor. The succulent blend of saltiness from the soy sauce, sourness from the vinegar and sweetness from the sugar makes this specialty a favorite among locals and foreigners.

Lechon

This favorite is actually a product of Spanish influence. It is basically whole suckling pig or a medium-sized adult pig roasted over charcoal until the skin is browned and crispy. Lechon is usually the centerpiece of town fiestas, birthdays and other celebrations throughout the country. There are different variations of the Filipino lechon but the Cebu lechon claims first place among the tastiest. Some lechoneros give their personal touches to the lechon, adding a spicy flavor to the skin, putting special stuffing or including secret ingredients.

Chicken Inasal

If you’re a big fan of grilled food, inasal is definitely a must try. At first glance, this dish is just like the typical chicken barbecue but the Filipino touch makes this grilled food unique. The chicken is marinated overnight in soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, pepper corns and other spices. It is then grilled over open fire, drizzled with a special sauce every now and then until it is cooked. Chicken inasal is perfect with rice and atchara, a salad made from shredded young papaya, carrots and red bell pepper sprinkled with vinegar. Bacolod, a city in the Visayas, is famous for their chicken inasal.

Kare-kare

This is another Filipino comfort food that should not be missed. Kare-kare is made of meat stewed in rich peanut sauce with various vegetables including banana blossoms, eggplant and bok choy. The meat is usually pork or beef and in rare cases, goat or chicken. In some versions made in other countries, oxtail is exclusively used as the meat. The peanut sauce is usually bland on the palate; the overall appeal of the kare-kare depends on the bagoong (shrimp paste). The saltiness of the bagoong brings out the flavor of the meat and the peanut sauce, making this dish a mainstay during town fiestas and special family dinners.

Are you a fan of these Filipino favorites? Which is the best? Let us know your opinion by leaving a comment below.

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