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Filipino Dishes 101

Posted On December 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm by / No Comments

Filipinos’ food choices run the gamut through a wide range of menus from international haute cuisine to foreign-influenced cooking to local folk fare plucked from backyards.

Want to know the basic Filipino food dishes? Start off with a brief primer covering the basic terms for describing ways of cooking native Philippine dishes!

Adobo means cooking in vinegar and garlic.

Sinigang is a sour soup.

Stewing in sour fruit or vinegar is paksiw.

Estofado has a burnt sugar sauce.

Ginataan is anything cooked in coconut milk.

Pesa is first sauteed and then boiled.

Pangat is boiling with tomatoes.

Boiling any available fresh vegetables together is bulanglang.

Dinuguan is cooking in animal blood.

Kilaw is not cooking the dish at all.

From the Spaniards, who ruled the Philippine islands for three hundred years, we Filipinos learned the art of sautéing. Many of our dishes still carry their Spanish names such as menudo (“diced”), mechado (“with a wick”‘), sarciado (“with a sauce”‘), and rellenado or relleno (“stuffed”). Arguably the most important Spanish-influenced dish is cocido Madrileno, which we today call pochero.


** The Filipino table setting always includes spoons even when there is no soup because we eat rice.

** In most homes… plates, cups and glasses are set face down for the daily meal.

Western hosts may not feel guilty about leaving a guest with a desire to eat more. Filipinos, however, are unhappiest when they go to a cocktail party and find that there’s nothing but potato chips and peanuts. The Filipino host feels he must stuff his visitor until the poor fellow can hardly breathe; otherwise, he has not been a good host.

After the meal, there should still be a lot of food left over on the table, or the neighbors will say “Kulang ang handa.” (There wasn’t enough food prepared.).

Photos of the Filipino dishes mentioned above and more information about Filipino food culture will be added soon. Please check back. ^^

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