Exotic and Delicious: The Food Culture of the Philippines

From street food to haute cuisine, the culinary culture of the Philippines reflects its diverse population and unique history. The Food Culture of the Philippines reflects the archipelago’s unique history as well as its diverse culture, with influences from Chinese, Spanish, American, and Southeast Asian cuisines present in its offerings. The country’s cuisine draws upon the islands’ resources, such as its long coastline which can provide seafood ingredients and its rich volcanic soil which allows local farmers to grow rice and other staples year-round. While Filipino food may seem simple compared to more complex recipes from around the world, it often contains surprising flavors and ingredients that should be given a try by anyone who likes exploring new types of food!


Sinigang is a popular soup in the Philippines made with tamarind broth and usually contains pork, shrimp, fish, or beef. It’s a tasty and healthy dish that’s cheap and easily available. And since it can be prepared many different ways depending on the preference of the cook, it never gets old! One of my favorite dishes from this country are seafood sisig. Seafood sisig has crispy pieces of battered and deep-fried fish topped with onions, bell peppers, chilies, and egg strips. You can get this dish either as a main course or as an appetizer before other food comes out to the table!

I also enjoy eating street food such as empanadas- small fried pastries filled with various ingredients like ground meat or shredded chicken wrapped in doughy crusts that are either baked or fried. You will find these being sold all over the country at stands set up outside people’s homes, markets and even schools. However, if I had to choose one dish that’s unique to this country, it would be chicken barbecue. Grilled pieces of chicken marinated in a sweet sauce that can either be eaten as is or as an accompaniment to other food items. It’s a tasty, healthy dish and cheap because you can get it at any establishment with more than two tables!

Cassava Cake

A popular Filipino dessert, cassava cake is made with grated cassava, coconut milk, and brown sugar. The cake is steamed instead of baked, giving it a dense and moist texture. It’s easily available in most Filipino bakeries. Another famous Filipino pastry is halo-halo which means mix-mix. Halo-halo has a variety of ingredients including shaved ice (or crushed ice), milk, fruits, beans, corn kernels, jackfruit or mangoes. One variation on halo-halo is called biko which has rice cakes instead of shaved ice. Rice cakes are similar to sago but firmer and chewier than sago or tapioca pearls.

That’s because they are made from sticky rice. Halo-halo is one of many Filipino desserts which is often served with leche flan, a popular Filipino custard dessert. Another popular sweet is puto, which is made with ground rice and coconut milk wrapped in bamboo leaves then steamed until done. When it’s finished, you can smell and taste a bit like pandesal or fresh hot buns from a famous Chinese bakery in Manila called Eng Bee Tin which specializes in dimsum or shumai (steamed dumplings). A popular Filipino beverage includes tubâ which consists of sugarcane juice mixed with water or milk. Another type of tubâ includes coconuts mixed with sugarcane juice.


Kare-kare is a stew made with beef or chicken and a variety of vegetables simmered in a peanut sauce. It is often served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on the side. One dish, the Filipino adobo, is thought to be part of their cuisine, though it has been modified by other countries as well. It is traditionally prepared by rubbing meat with spices such as garlic, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves; then cooking it in vinegar or coconut water until tender and marinating it afterwards. Pork, seafoods like squid, clams and prawns are some common ingredients for this dish which are cooked along with these spices to produce a tangy sauce for dipping.

Siomai is a Filipino dumpling of minced pork, prawn, or chicken and cooked before steaming. In recent years, other ingredients have been used to make siomai such as squid, mushroom, tofu and crab sticks. This is often served with vinegar-based sauces such as soy sauce or fish sauce to balance out its flavours. Other than these two dishes there are several other ethnic cuisines that Filipinos can choose from like Chinese food, Indian food and some fusion food such as tacos.

Spaghetti, Eggplant, and Chicken in Black Bean Sauce Section: Turon

Turon is a popular Filipino dessert made of thinly sliced plantains wrapped in brown sugar and deep-fried. It is often served with ice cream or chocolate sauce.The dish is believed to have originated from the town of Lucban in the province of Quezon, where it is still a popular street food. Turon is also common in other parts of the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

Turon is usually made with ripe plantains, but green plantains can also be used. The plantains are first peeled and then sliced lengthwise into thin strips. Each strip is then placed on top of one another until they resemble a long cigar shape. They are covered with a layer of brown sugar which gets coated by egg white, before being rolled up and dipped in flour or cornstarch to prevent them from sticking together while frying. The prepared turon sticks are then deep fried until golden brown before serving.
Some people like to add grated coconut on top as well as sprinkles of powdered sugar for an extra sweet taste.

Ube Halaya/Ube Jam/Ube Ice Cream

Ube Halaya is a Filipino dish, the ingredients of which are primarily purple yams. It is commonly served during celebrations, and can be found in most Filipino restaurants. The dish is made by boiling the yams, mashing them, and then adding milk, butter, and sugar. Ube Halaya can also be made into a jam or ice cream, which are both popular variations of the dish. When ube halaya is turned into a jam, it has an almost marmalade-like consistency, but without as much tanginess. The ube halaya ice cream has an intense color that can range from dark pink to deep purple.

A popular variation on ube halaya is ube jam or ube ice cream. Both are made from purple yams, but the consistency differs. Ube jam resembles a thick marmalade, while ube ice cream is more like soft serve frozen yogurt. It can be found in most Filipino restaurants, but it’s just as easy to make at home. To make ube halaya jam, you’ll need is a minimal amount of purple yams for every pint jar you want to fill. Boil them until they become tender before pureeing them in a food processor or with a hand blender. Add sugar as needed until you reach your desired sweetness.


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