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Philippine Popular Dishes

Dine in the Philippines

Where’s the Extra Rice?
A typical Filipino dish consist of an “ulam” (a viand) and rice. There really is no appetizers, side dish, nor main dish most of the time. The rice and the viand is the main dish. Most Filipino’s always eat with an extra serving of rice.

Popular Dishes

Most Filipinos would describe this as the Philippine's national dish. It is a salty-sour dish with lots of garlic. Most are made of Pork or Chicken. Most people prefer the combined Chicken-Pork Adobo. It’s not unusual to find other variants though. Beef and Fish are not common to be cooked as Adobo, but some people do cook it. Another popular choice is the combination of chicken gizzard and chicken liver. Sitaw (string beans) and Kangkong are vegetarian alternatives. Every region has their own variants. Some have a thin sauce, some are thick, but the most common is no sauce at all, the meat just lying around in a pool of oil. Some have ginger, some have soy sauce. The common ingredients though are salt, vinegar, and lots of garlic.

Almost equally popular to the Adobo dish is the Paksiw. Paksiw has almost the same ingredient as Adobo, except that Paksiw has almost double the amount of vinegar and slices of Ginger is added, since Paksiw is a dish that almost always uses Fish. Lechon Paksiw is a variant of this dish that uses left-over Lechon meats and a gravy made from Lechon Sauce. While the regular Paksiw dish is a combination of sour and salty, Lechon Paksiw almost tastes like Chinese sweet and sour pork.
Sinigang is the second most popular dish. As with Adobo, it has many variants. A variant is based on what is used to sour the soup base. Almost all kinds of meat can be used for this dish. Pork and Shrimp are the most popular. If you are a vegetarian, you can just omit the meat and cook the sinigang the usual way, and it will still taste good. Tamarind is the most common souring ingredient. Guava, Kamias, Tomato, Miso, and Mango can also be used. The most common way to cook it is to boil the meat, add the souring ingredients, then add the vegetables. Most sinigang variants using fish are made by sauteing the fish first in garlic, ginger, and onions before adding the soup base.

Nilaga literally means boiled. It’s a simple thin-soup dish wherein the meat is boiled until tender, and then onions, cracked pepper seeds and salt is added. One popular variant of this dish is the “Bulalo”. Bulalo is made from beef bones, marrow, and tendons boiled for long hours under low heat.

Dinuguan comes from the word “Dugo” which means blood. And that’s exactly what it is. Pork blood is mixed with vinegar and then cooked into a stew. The Dinuguan was originally made out of pork innards. As the popularity of the dish grew, some people cooked Dinuguan with pork meat, to appease those who are a bit queasy in eating pork innards . Some prefer to eat it with Putong Puti (a kind of rice-cake). In some provinces, specially in the Ilocos region, they also make dinuguan using chicken, turkey, or duck meat.

Tinola is a soupy chicken dish made from sauteeing chicken, lots of garlic and ginger. Slices of Green Papaya fruit and chili leaves are then added. Chayote fruit is an alternative to the green Papaya, while Malunggay Leaves is often substituted for chili leaves to make the dish healthier.
Lechon is a pig cleaned of it’s innards, then slowly roasted whole, in a bed of hot coals. It’s commonly served in Fiesta’s and special occasions. The skin is crispy, while the meat is tender and flavorful. It is served with lechon sauce, made from vinegar and pork liver paste. The Cebu region claims to have the best lechon, since the skin stay’s crunchy even if it has been sitting on the table for a long time. The Tagalong lechon however, has tastier meat, though the skin becomes rubbery when you don’t eat it within an hour or so. Lechon de leche is a variant wherein the pig roasted is younger, around 6 months old or so.

Kare-kare is a peanuty stew of either beef tripe, or beef tails. It is served with “bagoong alamang” or shrimp paste sautéed in tomato and vinegar. A seafood version of this dish can be made out of squid and shrimps. Pork legs or spare ribs can also be used.

Kilawin is a dish almost similar to the way the Japanese prepare Sashimi. It's thins slices of raw meat seasoned with salt, lot of pepper, lots of chilli, ginger, and onions. Vinegar is then generously drenched to the dish. The vinegar "cooks" and sterilizes the meat, leaving its natural "fresh" taste. The most popular choice of meat is Fish, Pork, and Goat Meat. Shrimps and Beef are also used in some provinces.

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