Filipino Recipes: Popular Dishes from the Philippines

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A trip to the Philippines is a culinary journey in itself. There are as many specialties as there are islands so it’s pretty safe to say you’ll never run out of adventures! Filipino cuisine is quite complex, which makes it even more interesting. Spanish, American, Chinese and other Asian influences have all helped to create the wonderful gem called “Pinoy cooking”.

We have compiled some of the most popular dishes throughout the country in the Filipino Home-Style Cooking e-book that can be downloaded free. But since we could not include all the Filipino favorites in one place, we will be posting new recipes in each issue of the Philippine Traveler Newsletter.

Tinolang Manok

Tinolang manok is considered one of the most-loved Filipino comfort food eaten almost anywhere in the Philippines. There are different versions of the dish usually originating from various parts of the country. Tinola is best eaten during cold weather and a lot of people believe that it is beneficial for someone who is ill, much like the western chicken soup. Here’s a simple and easy to follow recipe for preparing this soup dish.

  • 1 whole chicken, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
  • ¼ kilo chicken liver
  • 1 small green papaya, sliced into wedges
  • 1 small ginger, sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 1 cup malunggay (moringa) leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 liter water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Optional: 1 Chicken broth cube


  1. Over medium fire, heat oil in a deep pan. Sautee ginger and onion.
  2. Add the chicken, let simmer until meat turns white. Add water and cover.
  3. Cook the chicken over medium fire for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the green papayas, chicken liver and a pinch of salt. You may also add the chicken broth cube if preferred. Set the fire to low and cover.
  5. Once the papaya is tender, add the malunggay leaves. Add more salt according to preference.
  6. Turn the stove off and allow the remaining heat in the pan cook the malunggay leaves.
  7. Serve with a steaming bowl of rice and some patis (fish sauce).


My favorite breakfast is named tapsilog, a set of beef tapa strips, sunny-side-up egg and fried rice. And this week I’m going to help you assemble this breakfast for your own table. Assuming you know how to make a decent sunny-side-up egg, here are instructions for just the fried rice and tapas.
Ingredients for Tapas:

  • ¼ kl lean beef, cut into thin strips
  • 2 pcs. Calamansi, squeezed
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • Pepper
  • Oil for frying

Procedure for Tapas

  1. Marinate the beef in calamansi extract, soy sauce, oyster sauce and pepper for at least an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Squeeze out excess liquids from meat strips then fry until edges turn dark.
  4. Do not crowd the frying pan.
  5. Drain oil and set aside.

Ingredients for Fried Rice:

  • 2-3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • Salt
  • 1 pack seasoning granules

Procedure for Fried Rice

  1. Heat oil with medium fire.
  2. Fry the garlic until light brown. Make sure to take it out of the oil before it turns golden; garlic becomes bitter if overcooked. The remaining heat will turn it golden brown while set aside.
  3. Add the chopped onions and the rice.
  4. Add the seasoning granules. Add salt as needed.
  5. Sprinkle the spring onions to add zest and color.

On a clean plate, add one cup of fried rice and top it with the fried garlic. Add half of the fried tapas and one egg. This recipe makes a hearty breakfast for two.

Adobo Steak

Adobo Steak.
This one’s my own creation, a product of countless trips to our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in an affluent neighborhood in Davao City. I’ve always loved Lachi’s Unforgettable Grilled Pork but the trip to the restaurant comes close to exhausting and the food, though excellent, is quite expensive. So finally I decided to create a version in my own kitchen. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

  • 1 kilo pork belly
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 1-2 liters water for boiling
  • 3-4 cups cooking oil for frying


  1. Wash the pork thoroughly and boil in water until very tender.
  2. Remove the tenderized pork from the water and place it on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  3. In a deep bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, water, and pepper. Marinate the pork in the solution for at least an hour. For best results, marinate overnight.
  4. Heat oil in a deep pan. Make sure it is very hot before deep frying the marinated pork.
  5. OPTIONAL: In a separate pan, sauté garlic and onions and add a cup of the marinade. Add some slurry (cornstarch dissolved in water) to thicken the mixture.
  6. Serve the pork with the sauce.

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