Thanks to Food Network channels and their desire to “shock the viewer”, the Philippines may forever be known as the country that eats “developing bird embryos”. However, the cuisine of the Philippines is so much richer than that, and the food of the locals is actually more centered around rice, noodles, and other veggies and meats. Their dishes are flavored with local limes, chilies, and vinegar, and show the Philippino’s masterful use of combining the sweet, the savory, the sour, and the salty, all in one bite.
Not for the vegetarians or vegans, Pork Sisig is a dish made of chopped up pork and chicken liver. Seasoned with local philippino limes and chili peppers, this dish is served up sizzling hot on a cast iron skillet. Considered one of Andrew Zimmern’s (a popular Food Network host) favorite dishes period, Pork Sisig is ubiquitous at bars and restaurants across the country.
Pancit Bahon Guisado
A savory noodle dish that combines the best of Philippino and Chinese cuisine, pancit bahon guisado is a vermicello rice noodle- based dish that combines sauteed carrots, celery, peppers, and meat with soft, delcious rice noodles.
A Philippino comfort dish, Tapsilog is an acronym for tapa (cured beef), sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (fried egg). There are a lot of variations on this dish, such as Daingsilog (fish with garlic fried rice and a fried egg), Hotsilog (hot dog, garlic fried rice, and a fried egg), and Pakaplog (bread, coffee, and a fried egg). As you can see, the combinations are endless! Though this dish is considered a “breakfast item”, the popularity of the dish means that you can usually manage to find at least one restaurant serving tapsilog up fresh at any time of the day!
Sinigang is a dish similar to Thai cuisine’s Tom Yum soup. Both sour and savory, the soup is traditionally tamarind based, and can be made with pretty much any meat as its protein. Considered to be like the “chicken noodle soup” of the Philippines, locals know of this soup as comfort food. This is as good as it gets!
You’ll probably know if you’ve ever seen Halo- Halo. Halo- Halo means “mixed together”, which is fitting because it is a giant mix of deliciousness! Starting with shaved ice and evaporated milk, boiled kidney beans, garbanzo beans, sugar palm fruit, young coconut, and sugary plantains are added on top. Last comes another sprinkling of sugar, and either leche flan, purple yam, or ice cream. More evaporated milk is poured over before serving. Full of textures, flavors, and fun colors, Halo- Halo is a dessert unlike anything you have ever tasted.