Food – drink – Filipino dishes and specialties

eat & Drink in the Philippines

7 classic Filipino dishes that will surely meet you on your Philippines trip

  • The Philippine cuisine is characterized by numerous influences. Of course, the Spaniards have left their mark here as well. But you can also find Chinese and Malay attributes in filipino dishes. All this makes the food in the island realm quite unique.

Philippines food

1. Adobo

Adobo, a spicy, salty dish made with either pork or chicken pieces, is the national dish of the Philippines par excellence. The evenly cut pieces of meat with bone are first fried in hot oil until brown. Then, soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaves are added, giving the adobo its characteristic flavor. The whole thing is finally cooked on low heat (wok). The liquid of meat juice, soy sauce and vinegar makes the meat butter tender. Rice is enough.


2. Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare consists of fried ox tail and beef in a thick peanut sauce. It is often eaten together with shrimp paste (bagoong). Also various vegetables like beans can be added. Sometimes Kare-Kare is a bit spicy with chilli or bagoong guisado (spiced and fried shrimp paste). That certain something the dish gets when you sprinkle some Kalamansi juice over it. Rice is enough.


3. Sinigang

Sinigang is also known as “Sour Soup”. Here, pork or fish meat is cooked in a tamarind broth. Popular vegetables that are added are tomatoes, eggplants and beans. Sinigang is an ancient, classic filipino dish. In fact, similar dishes are also available in Asian neighboring countries such as Malaysia’s “Singgang” and Indonesia’s “Sayur Asam”. Rice is enough.


4. Daing na Bangus

Daing na Bangus is a frequently eaten, traditional Filipino dish. The “bangus” (milkfish) is split in the middle and put in vinegar overnight. The next day he is fried in the pan until golden. He is eaten both for lunch and dinner, but also especially for breakfast. The garnish is fried garlic, rice, fried egg and a dip of vinegar, red onion and fresh tomatoes.

Daing na Bangus

5. Tapsilog

Tapsilog is a common Filipino breakfast. The name is composed of “tapa” for beef in thin strips, “sinangag” (fried garlic rice) and “pritong itlog” (fried egg).

It is the same with other dishes if they are served with fried rice and eggs. Examples are chiksilog (chicken), cornsilog (corned beef) or bisteksilog (beef steak).

For the Tapsilog, the beef is marinated for a long time before frying until it is similar to the American “beef jerky”. The meat is put into a broth of garlic, kalamansi, soy sauce and pepper.


6. Sisig

Sisig, or Sizzling Sisig, served on a hot, cast iron plate, looks a bit like minced meat and usually consists of a pig’s head and liver. From time to time you can also find crocodile Sisig.

It is spicy and spiced with some sour stuff like Kalamansi or lemon juice and chilli in addition. It is eaten as a lunch or dinner or as a so-called “pulutan” or “pika-pika”, which means something to “nibble” when you sit together in the evening. Rice is enough.


7. Bulalo

Bulalo is a kind of beef stew or soup, in which the meat is softened for a long time and the bones are boiled. There are also potatoes, beans, white cabbage and corn on the cob in Nilagang Bulalo. Originally from southern Luzon, the dish is offered throughout the Philippines.


Other Philippines specialties

Fish, fish and again fish (and seafood)

Tropical fruits, especially the world’s best mangoes

And of course that should not be missing, the Boodle Fight!

Various dishes are prepared on banana leaves and simply eaten with your hands together with rice. This tradition was formerly practiced by Filipino soldiers and has prevailed in the general public.

Boodle Fight

Drinks in the Philippines

Of course, there are various soft drinks and juices. Highly recommended are fresh shakes of mango, pineapple, avocado or coconut.

Often, “Buko” coconut sellers can also be found in the Philippines. The refreshing and healthy coconut water can simply be drunk from the fruit with a straw.

Do not allow coconut water to be used, which is sold in plastic bags!

A special mention deserves the Kalamansi juice. Kalamansi is omnipresent in the Philippines. You use the fruits for seasoning, for dip sauces and make from their diluted juice with sugar a really delicious, lemony – sweet drink! The Kalamansi fruit looks like a round mini lime and is actually a cross between tangerine and lime, which is also very popular in Japan but relatively unknown in many other parts of the world.

What you should also try is a truly Filipino dessert called Halo Halo. What you get is a glass or plastic cup with various sweets in layers. Ice Cream, Fruits, Leche Plan, Ube, Coconut Cream, Sweet Munggo Beans, Sweet Potatoes and more.

In the morning you might hear a salesman say “Taho” or rather “Tahooooo”. He sells to locals a classic, rich morning drink of brown sugar and soy.

Alcoholic drinks

Filipinos like to drink beer. But here, unlike Germany, there are not many different brands, but exclusively and everywhere San Miguel. You can choose between “Light”, “Pilsen” or “Red Horse” (6.9% alcohol).

The most common high-proof drink is locally produced rum of the brand “Tanduay”. Some Filipinos also swear by their “Emperador” brandy.


Filipino tap water is not tolerated by Europeans. Make sure you only buy water in closed bottles (usually bottled water is also served in restaurants).

Filipinos perceive distilled water as the cleanest. Do not be surprised if you read this on water bottles. Although it lacks minerals, but also everything else is killed. “Wilkins” or “Absolute” are good water brands.

If you drink open mixed drinks in street restaurants (ice tea or shakes), please make sure that the water and the ice cubes are “Purified” to avoid indigestion. In more touristy areas this is normal as well.

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Christina Cherry
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