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A Guide to Filipino cuisine

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The island country of Philippians attract everyone with its stunning beaches. But how much do you know about the cuisine here? Filipino food is heavily influenced from different cuisines. The Chinese cuisine was brought along by the various traders and later on, Chinese immigrants. It takes influence from Spanish who ruled the Philippines for 300 years. The Americans, Japanese and British also came here and left their mark. The Filipino cuisine can be considered a great fusion. Unlike the rest of Southeast Asia, Filipino food is rarely spicy. Instead, most Filipino dishes are a combination of salty, sour, sweet and bitter. The cuisine is best enjoyed with rice. Filipinos enjoy each and every meal with one form of rice or another, even snacks and breakfast. Here is a guide to some of the must  try dishes:

Adobo

adobo
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/

There are high chances that Adobo will be the first dish you will try from Filipino cuisine. It’s the Filipino dish everybody knows.The unofficial Philippines national food is made with pork or chicken simmered in soy sauce and vinegar with loads of black pepper and crushed garlic. The meat is simmered until tender and served over rice. Every Filipino family has its own way of cooking adobo, so it might taste a little different from place to place.

Sinigag

sinigag
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/

Sinigag is a stew made with spinach, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, ginger, and fish sauce.This delicious sour broth is usually made tangy by tamarind and is filled with different vegetables and a meat of choice (pork, beef, fish, or shrimp).No matter which one you choose, the result is always a mouthwatering stew served with rice or eaten on its own as soup.

Sisig

sisig
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/

Sisig is a favourite pulutan (something to eat while drinking) among the locals. And therefore I was expecting a dish made up of peanuts (Indian brain you see). Imagine my surprise when I got to know the main ingredient in the dish is chopped up parts of the pigs’ face (mmm okay). Filipino cuisine believes in not wasting any part of the animal. The dish is marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi (Philippine citrus fruit) juice, and chili peppers and is served on a sizzling platter with a lot of garlic and lime. Anytime you are in a Filipino bar and hear the sizzling of the hot stone plate, you’ll know what’s been ordered. A couple of beers and a plate of Sisig is an idea of a relaxed evening with friends in Philippians.

Lechon

lechon
Source: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/

Lechon is a dish reserved for celebration. Itis something you will find almost in every feast and party in the Philippines.This dish is roast suckling pig that is cooked to perfection. A tasty, fully-roasted pig with perfectly crisp skin and juicy meat is loved by all. And like most of the dishes, there are different methods to cook it. The Manila method sees pig seasoned with only salt and pepper and served with a tart, liver-based gravy. In Cebu style, the pig is stuffed with herbs and served bare or with a simple vinegar dip. If you want to taste one of the most popular authentic Filipino dishes, you should definitely look for a place that serves traditional lechon.

Pancit

pancit
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/

Also known as Pancit, this is another one of the most delicious Philippines foods influenced by Chinese cuisine. This simple dish is a combination of noodles and whatever meat or vegetables you want to add. Pancit is a name that originated from the Hokkien term ‘pian e sit’, which means ‘something conveniently cooked.’ It might be simple but it is rich with flavor and you will definitely love every bite of it.The most common would be the Pancit Canton, egg noodles stir fried with vegetables and meat, flavored with soy sauce and/or oyster sauce. Pancit Bihon (rice noodles), Cha Misua (angel hair flour noodles) or Pancit Sotanghon (vermicelli) are similar versions using different noodles as base.

Chicken Inasal

chicken inasal
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/

For all the chicken lovers, Filipino cuisine has a version of roasted chicken which is loved by all. Marinated in ginger, lemongrass, and calamansi juice, the chicken is roasted over fire and basted with annatto oil. It is later served with rice, soy sauce dip, and sometimes liquid chicken fat, Inasal is definitely one of the Philippines food items one shouldn’t miss at all.

Lumpia

lumpia
Source: https://traveltriangle.com/

Lumpia is another dish frequently expected to make an appearance at Filipino gatherings. Influenced by Chinese cuisine, Lumpia is essentially a deep-fried spring roll stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and/or chopped vegetables. Served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, lumpia is a classic appetizer. Being so easy to make, it is almost automatically part of a Filipino feast when food for the large Filipino family has to be cooked in copious amounts.

Halo Halo

halo halo
Source: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/

“Halo” is the Filipino word for mix and as the name suggests, this sweet treat is a mix of preserved and sweetened fruits, legumes and gels served with crushed ice and usually, evaporated milk. Debating the exact ingredients of Halo Halo can lead to controversy, but it really depends on the maker. Most versions would have multiple sweetened fruits or legumes like saba (cardava bananas), sweet potato, chickpeas, white beans, nata de coco (coconut gel), kaong (sugar palm), sago (tapioca pearls), halayang and ube (purple yam jam). Modern versions also include a scoop of ice cream. Whatever the number of ingredients, Halo Halo is an excellent mixture of sweetness and creaminess and is the perfect dose of coolness required in a hot Philippine summer.

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