If you meet a Filipino and ask them to recommend a dish from their cuisine, we’ll place good money on it being adobo. It’s a dish that is pretty much solely Filipino in its origin. In its simplest form, the dish is pork or chicken cooked in soy sauce and vinegar and then served with rice. Different regions have their own take on the national dish – and in a country of over 7000 islands, that makes for a lot of variants.
You’ll find the dish cooked with different herbs and spices, sometimes chili and sometimes peppercorns. If you’re in the Bicolanos you can enjoy a creamier sauce with coconut milk added to the vinegar!
Kare-kare is probably best described as lying somewhere amongst curry, satay and stew. The dish is made up of oxtail and vegetables stewed together then with ground peanuts added to thicken it up. Its usually served along with a shrimp paste that can really add the flavoursome kick that brings the dish together. As a note for all the veggies – tasty takes on the dish using aubergine and okra can also be found.
They love their inasal (roast chicken) in the Philippines. While it might sound a little simple to add this to our guide on food, it’s too important to leave off. The nation has got cooking it down to a very fine art. First, the chicken is placed in a special marinade. These vary depending on where you’re buying your inasal from but standard ingredients are vinegar, ginger, kalamansi juice and lemongrass. It’s then roasted on a skewer over a fire or hot coals. To make a full meal out of the dish its common for it be served along with rice and some spiced vinegar.
This dish takes strong influence from Chinese food and is similar to a spring roll. Lumpia are mini fried crepes, normally filled with meat and vegetables. Served with a tasty dip they can make for an ideal snack to pick up from a street vendor.
For those with a sweeter palate we direct you towards the delicious turon. This version of lumpia has become very popular in the Philippines and is made up of the same roll but filled with sweet sliced banana!
Pancit is a blanket term for food with noodles and there a lot of different pancit dishes you’ll find across the Philippines. The basic two you might see split on a menu would be pancit bihon and pancit canton – the former being defined by using rice noodles and the latter using egg noodles. There are countless other variants of this food including pancit palabok which brings together shrimp, eggs and pork; pancit batchoy which mixes pork, egg and fish paste; and pancit habhab mixes pork, cabbage and oyster sauce.