The Philippines Traditional Food – 5 Popular Dishes You Must Try

Philippines Traditional Food

Do you have a favorite dish that your spouse, friend, or loved one makes for you? I’m guessing so, and are probably already thinking of several meals that you enjoying eating.

Well since I’ve started living with a filipina, I have tried several different types of foods and meals she’s made that came from her country.

Philippines traditional food, usually consists of rice with some type of meat or vegetable along with it. This is normally what we eat every week, with the occasional going out to eat or ordering pizza.

Once in awhile though, my wife will cook something different and very tasty, making me ask her what she put in it, how it was made, and if she could cook it more often. This usually is followed by a big smile on her face, telling me she’s glad I liked it and it was not hard at all to cook.

So, after having several of these amazing meals over the years I’ve been with her — I’ve decided to give you five dishes that I personally have loved, or want to try in the near future.



The first dish I want to introduce you too is called adobo. This is probably the most popular dish in the Philippines, probably due to how easy it is to cook — along with how tasty it is.

You basically take some type of meat, (chicken or pork) then simmer it in vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and soy sauce. This is most commonly made in a stew, but if you prefer you can also deep fry the meat too if you want.

Like I said, it may sound simple — but it’s very delicious!



Whenever you are at a special occasion or huge filipino gathering, you can expect this dish to not be too far behind.

Lechon, which translates into “roasted” in Tagalog — is where you take a whole pig, impale it with a long stick or pole, then roast it over an open pit.

I have to be honest I am not use to eating things that still have heads on it, but once you get get over it, the taste of it is amazing!

Filipinos usually cook this by first brushing soy sauce on the skin — which later gives it the red color you normally see on it. After that they slice it open then stuff it with different types of seasonings and spices like salt, onions, lemongrass, and garlic.

Once it’s fully stuffed, they sew it back up then cook it over the fire by rotating it every 30 mins for at least 4 hours.

After cooked, it’s usually served with some type of dipping sauce.



This is a unique type of dish, because it is most commonly known for its sour taste. While I personally have not tried it yet, this is something I want my wife to make me real soon.

Sinigang, is a clear soup that is made with sour fruit — hence where it gets its sour taste from. The most common fruit filipinos use is something called samplok — which to me looks like an orange potato in a tree.

Along with these fruits, you can add any type of meat or vegetable you like. The meat can be something like shrimp, chicken or beef — then the vegetables can be okra, broccoli, or green peppers.

For me personally I don’t like broccoli that much, so I would probably just stick with chicken, okra, and some other kind of spice when I decide to try it.



The Philippines was introduced to pancit by the Chinese long before the Spanish invaded their country. This is a common food you will find just about anywhere you visit.

The dish is basically cooked noodles — hence where they get the word pancit, which means “noodles.”

It can be made in several different ways, such as stir frying it or serving it in a broth. After doing a bit of research though, I found two popular pancit recipes that looked very delicious.

Pancit Canton – This is created by stir frying the noodles, then adding dried meat, vegetables, and more dried noodles on it.

Pancit Lomi – This has a thick creamy sauce, with small bit size pieces of meat within it. You add that with garlic and onion all into a slow cooker then let the flavors mix together.

If you’re like me who is someone that gets cold easily — this would be a perfect meal during the winter time when you want something hot to eat.



I saved the best dish for last — because I have a sweet tooth and LOVE desserts!

Halo-Halo looks mouth watering to me — and will probably even seem tastier when I tell you how it’s made.

To start off, first you add sweet fruits and other goodies like jack-fruit, sweet beans, and pineapple at the bottom of a glass. After that, you then cover it with a layer of shaved ice.

This is then followed by adding something soft and yummy like leche flan, purple yams, or ice cream on top of the ice. Then if that was not enough… you then will sprinkle some sugar on top of all that just to give it that extra sweetness.

But wait — there is one last thing that’s done before you’re ready to eat it.

When you are serving this super sweet dessert, before you eat it, you want to add evaporated milk at the end — to make it into almost like a desert float.

All in all, this is one dessert that I’m sure after you try — you will be making over and over again.

This Is Just A Small Sample

I could go on and on about the amazing foods the Philippines has to offer — and will probably write a post in the near future more about them.

However, if you live with a filipina, or happen to know one, expect to try at least a few of the dishes I mentioned above.

I feel very grateful knowing that my wonderful wife will have yummy meals like Adobo waiting on me almost every day after I come home from work.

Click here to find out where I would go to find a filipina girl if I was single again

I’m interested to know — have you ever tried any of these dishes before, or something similar to it from your home country?

Leave a comment below letting me know. I love to read about new foods I have yet to try– and I also would love to answer and questions you may have about Filipino food.

6 Replies to “The Philippines Traditional Food – 5 Popular Dishes You Must Try”

  1. This brought a smile to my face. 🙂

    I am a Canadian, married to a filipina (from Pangasinan) and I’ve tried a couple of these. Adobo is a regular meal at home, and pretty much every family gathering, whether my wife’s side of the family or mine, sees both that and pancit being made in large quantities. My wife is also well-known in my family for her lumpia (spring rolls) which she makes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties.

    I laughed when you mentioned not being used to eating something with a head still on… I can sympathise with that. I haven’t had lechon, but it’s probably in my future. There are certain things that I will probably never try, such as the famous balut (which was featured once on Fear Factor years ago), dinuguan, or condiments such as bagoong. I’m not a very adventurous eater.

    Have you been to the Philippines (this is the first article of yours that I’m reading so if you mention it elsewhere I haven’t seen it yet)? We went when my elder son was about 2 years old. We stayed in Pangasinan and made trips into Baguio and Dagupan, then stayed a day or two in Manila before flying home. While some of the food is certainly not to my taste, many of the things I tried were very good. I have to say that things like chicken and pork (didn’t really encounter much beef except at Mc Donald’s and Jollibee, and my final meal in Manila) tasted much better there. I can’t say for sure, but I am assuming it has to do with the animals being raised more naturally than they are in North America.

    Food seems to be a much bigger part of Filipino life than it is for most people I know here. My wife loves to cook and takes tremendous pleasure out of seeing people enjoy what she has made. It seems to be the case for your wife as well. Every birthday and holidays such as Christmas sees us having buffet-style means because everyone cooks so much. On one hand it’s great, on the other hand I have to keep buying larger pants….

    Great post.

    1. Hi Craig I’m very glad you enjoyed my post, and I can see we both can relate a lot together since both are wives are from the Philippines.

      Lol yes I still cring when I see my wife eating fish with heads, lechon, or any kind of animal that still has its head attached. Maybe one day i will get used to it, we’ll see. 🙂

      Yes I have been to the Philippines once about 3 years ago. We stayed real close to Manila then went island hopping in Palawan — which I must say if you’ve never been you should try it next time you’re there.

      I also have to agree the food there does seem much tastier then it does here in the Philippines. There was a pizza place called Shakey’s I went too and even though I ordered just normal pepperoni pizza chicken, and chocolate shake — I really thought it was the best thing ever! My in laws always take a picture now and show me when they eat there, because they know how much I love it haha.

      You are right that food is really huge in Philippines. My wife works with two other filipina’s and whenever I ask what are you bring to work for lunch — she will say nothing one of my friends is cooking (which seems like every day.) Same goes for her… she will cook this huge meal, eat a little bit of it, then take it all to work to share with her workmates.

      I’m glad to see that you are having a very happy marriage with a filipina like I am 🙂 I hope you enjoy many more foods in the future from your wife — and have lots more adventures in her country when you back as well.

  2. Hey Michael, thx for your very nice article, I just get hungry. I have never heard about one of these dishes, but that does not surprise me. There are so many different countries and cultures with different food, so I don’t think I will be able to try everything in my life.

    1. Thank you svenonroad, I’m glad I could enlightened you about a few new dishes you’ve never heard of before.

      It’s true there are so many different countries with hundred if not thousands of different foods and recipes to try out there. That’s one reason I can’t wait to travel overseas again to see what other yummy things I can start trying out. 🙂

  3. Michael,

    You are right, these recipes are very simple and they look delicious.

    The pancit recipe sounds similar to the way we make chow mein in the Caribbean and that is one of my favorite meals.

    The filipino dessert, halo-halo is something I am tempted to try in the summer. Right now it is a little cold here in NY.

    1. Yes they are quite simple Judy.

      I myself am not a great cook but I can even manage to prepare at least a couple of the meals I just mentioned. You are correct in chow mein being very similar to Pancit — they both have that noodle like texture and both are yummy. 🙂

      I live in Georgia so while we don’t have lots of snow on the ground right now — I know what you mean by it being very cold. But rest assured come summer time you will see me probably on a beach somewhere with a halo-halo in my hand 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *