If there is an Asian country that is tourist-friendly, then the Philippines must be that! With all the beaches and places to visit, the country truly offers world class destinations!
However, if we are talking about the Philippines, we are not just talking about places, we also must mention the different kinds of food that this country serves. The diversity is seen in the dishes through having the same meal with different versions depending on the region!
If ever you visit the Philippines, might as well, have a taste of it! Fortunately, in this blog, I have listed the best dishes to try during your stay in the country!
You have never been to the country if you didn’t try this dish! Arguably the Philippine national dish, Adobo has that spanish influence that reminds us about the long history of the country: the Spanish colonization! During that time, the way of preserving food was by adding vinegar and salt to the dish to make it last for a longer period of time, and that started the Adobo! Adobo or adobar means to marinate. The Adobo that we know now is a stew dish and marinated in soy sauce and vinegar. There are a lot of Adobo versions: Chicken Adobo, Pork Adobo, Adobo with coconut milk, etc. Visit Eat Like Pinoy for more Adobo variants.
#2 Sinigang na Baboy
It’s a neck and neck battle between Adobo and this dish when it comes to being the country’s national dish. Some believe that it must be this one as the national dish must be of the Philippine origin and with no influence from any country, and it happens that Sinigang is pure Pinoy! Sinigang na Baboy is a Pork Dish cooked in tamarind soup with green veggies. Thus, the most dominant flavor is sour. Usually, it is eaten with fish sauce with chilies on the side as the dip to counteract the too much sourness. Flavor wise, this dish is just behind Adobo as not all appreciate sour dishes, but when it comes to authenticity, this fights a good fight!
#3 Pork Sisig
The innovative minds of the Filipinos have given way to the birth of delicious dishes we never knew could exist!
Sisig is just one of those surprisingly good dishes that was accidentally invented out of Pinoy’s out of the box way of thinking. To be clear, it was born in Pampanga, Philippines and spearheaded by Aling Lucing, the sisig queen. Usually, it was just Pig Ear, but she added cheeks to somehow accommodate bigger demands of sisig during that time! It was later on started to be cooked on a sizzling plate by Benedict Pamintuan. The Sisig that we know now is Pig’s ears-cheeks cooked on a sizzling plate with onions, green and red chilies and mayonnaise!
This is always taken for granted as this is always present in birthday celebrations and parties, but when you ask most Pinoys about dishes to try in the Philippines, this is always overlooked. Thus, it’s time we put it in the limelight. Kare-Kare is a stew dish in thick peanut sauce. It is cooked with small banana flower buds, string beans, eggplants and cabbage. Usually, there’s sweet and salty spicy shrimp paste on the side as the dip perfect for the thick peanut sauce of the dish!
#5 Bicol Express
The name itself is proof of its authenticity to the Philippines. Bicol is a region in the Philippines known for its spicy dishes. Bicol Express is a spicy pork stew in coconut milk. The pork meat is cut into bite size strips so that it will be easier to put in your mouth, and Green chilies add spiciness to it. Some add shrimp paste to it for the salty flavor. Basically, this is paired with hot steamed rice. Just pour the stew on your rice, and it is good to go. Then, have a bottle of soft drink on the side to somehow wipe out the hot flavor of the dish.
#6 Tinolang Manok
If you are a fan of comfort food, then this dish is simply that. With its simple yet savory flavor, surely, one’s bad day will be good! Tinola is Chicken dish with a savory soup with green papaya and spinach. There will be no bad after taste as the Chicken is first cooked and simmered with ginger, making it more aromatic and tasteful. There is also a version that has coconut milk, so if ever you want to try it in the Philippines, ask if they have another variant. Usually, it’s paired with a bowl of hot steamed rice with fish sauce on the side as the dip.
#7 Inihaw na Bangus
If you are not into Pork or Chicken, then you might opt for fish dishes, like Inihaw na Bangus or Grilled Stuffed Milkfish. Usually, it is found in Ihaw Restaurants or Restaurants that serve Grilled dishes, like Grilled Pork or Chicken, but some common restaurants still serve this. This dish is made of Bangus that is cut to make an opening in the middle for the stuff: minced tomatoes, onions, ginger, and then, seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper. This is perfect to be eaten with a bowl of hot steamed rice and with a mixture of soy-sauce, calamansi and red chilies for the dip.
#8 Sinigang na Hipon
When in an authentic Pinoy Restaurant, this dish is almost always present. Just like Sinigang na Baboy, this has a sour sampaloc or tamarind soup, but the difference is that this one uses Shrimp. This is comforting and best eaten during the cold season or when the weather is cold. There must be fish sauce with red chilies for the dip to somehow counteract the sour flavor of the soup. This is eaten with hot steamed rice or alone if you are a lover of shrimp because unlike Pork, it does not turn distasteful easily.
When you happen to visit the Philippines, enjoy the beautiful destinations, but do not forget to enjoy the different kinds of food this country offers. It is believed that for you to understand a country, you must have a taste of its cuisine!