Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A growing number of Filipino chefs have garnered national recognition over the last several years, including Timothy Flores, Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke, and Marilou Ranta who all won James Beard Foundation Awards in 2023—helping Filipino cuisine gain more attention. I’m ashamed to admit I’m late to the game when it comes to my appreciation of Filipino food. To be fair, my early exposure was limited to infrequent offerings by my late Filipino aunt who sadly wasn’t the most skilled cook. My Filipino friends Rina and Rosie were later able to open my eyes to all the pungent, complex, assertively acidic, umami-packed flavors that characterize Filipino cuisine.

For those unfamiliar with Filipino food or are just curious to try out some classic dishes at home, we’ve curated a selection of recipes covering stews, soups, grilled specialties, street food, drinking snacks, and, of course, desserts. There’s no time like the present to dive into this collection of Filipino recipes and join the Filipino food fan club!

Chicken Adobo (Filipino-Style Braised Chicken)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Chicken adobo is perhaps the most well-known and universally beloved Filipino dish—a perfect balance of deep savoriness and bright acidity. While it’s true that chicken adobo tastes better the next day, who wouldn’t be tempted to just dig right in and load some onto a plate with some fragrant garlic rice?

Pancit Bihon (Filipino Rice Noodles)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

The simplicity of ingredients in this quintessentially Filipino noodle dish—here made with rice vermicelli—is what makes this particular rendition so popular. Chances are, if you’ve ever tried pancit at a party or family gathering, it was probably this one.

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Noodles With Smoky Pork and Seafood Sauce)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This seafood-forward take on pancit boasts a rich, thick sauce packed with layers of flavor, topped with roasted pork belly and shrimp, and garnished with quartered hard-boiled eggs. For those who’ve only ever tried pancit bihon, pancit palabok is a revelation.

Kare-Kare (Filipino Curry)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Tender fatty oxtail and roasted vegetables are bound in a luxurious peanut butter-based curry to create a comfort food that succinctly illustrates the history and adaptability of Filipino cuisine. True to its name, this curry is doubly good.

Bicol Express (Filipino Stew With Pork, Coconut, and Chiles)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Ten Thai chiles fuel the fire in this meaty pork stew, while coconut milk and coconut cream temper the heat—though you can always use the relatively milder jalapeño peppers instead. Have lots of cold beer and steamed white rice ready!

Pinakbet (Filipino Vegetable Stew)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This pleasantly pungent seafood-flavored stew is loaded with a mix of hearty vegetables like sweet potato, long beans, eggplant, and okra. Serve it as a side dish or as a satisfying entree with bowls of steamed rice.

Dinuguan (Filipino Pork Blood Stew)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Playfully dubbed “chocolate meat” by grandmothers and aunts to entice children to try it, Dinuguan is a traditional dish of pork meat and innards stewed in pork blood and vinegar. Yana recommends finding fresh pork blood if you can, but the more readily available frozen variety will work just fine.

Sinigang na Baboy (Filipino Pork in Sour Tamarind Soup)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

As with many classics of the Filipino kitchen, tart ingredients are key players. Here, they come in the form of tamarind and calamansi juice which, along with roasted tomatoes and peppers, add complexity and depth of flavor. If you’re lucky enough to have a Filipino market nearby, look for frozen calamansi juice.

Bulalo (Bone Marrow Soup)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

One big appeal of this lusciously meaty soup is sucking the marrow out of the bones. It’s simply seasoned with fish sauce and served with chunks of beef shank, cabbage, potatoes, and corn.

Binakol na Manok (Filipino Chicken and Coconut Soup)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Perfect in any weather, this brothy aromatic soup gets its subtle sweetness from coconut water which complements floral notes from the lemongrass and savoriness from the fish sauce. Moringa leaves add a mild bitterness.

Embutido (Filipino-Style Meatloaf)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Think of this sausage-shaped meatloaf—embutido being the Spanish word for sausage—as a Filipino interpretation of the American classic, heavily influenced by the introduction of canned shelf-stable meats during the Spanish-American war. This version features sautéed bell pepper, shredded cheese, and Chinese sausage.

Tortang Talong (Filipino Eggplant Omelette)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Kristina’s version of this omelette features a spiced ground pork-and-egg mixture spooned over roasted Japanese eggplant dipped in egg batter and shallow-fried until golden brown and crispy. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or serve it as part of a larger spread.

Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Egg Rolls)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

No gathering is complete without a big platter of these golden, crispy Filipino egg rolls with juicy pork and vegetable filling. They’re hard to resist and disappear fast, so gather up a few extra sets of hands and start an assembly line!

Ukoy (Filipino Shrimp and Vegetable Fritters)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Commonly sold by street vendors in the Philippines, these crispy shrimp and vegetable fritters are another hard-to-resist snack. Kristina combines plump shrimp with her chosen trifecta of vegetables—bean sprouts, carrots, and sweet potato—which are then coated in a simple, light rice flour batter and fried to golden perfection.

Chicken Inasal (Filipino Grilled Chicken)

Serious Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Yana’s rendition of this Filipino street food features chicken thighs marinated in a mixture of coconut vinegar, citrus juice, lemon-lime soda, dark muscovado sugar, and the ubiquitous Maggi seasoning, then brushed with aromatic annatto oil and grilled over charcoal.

Sizzling Sisig (Filipino Crispy Pork with Eggs)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Anthony Bourdain is not alone when it comes to his love of “crispy pig parts” and this iconic street food that is both a favorite drinking snack and a hangover cure—if I see it on a menu I have to order it (whether I’m drinking or not). The mayonnaise in this recipe adds creaminess to the porky bits and chicken liver, while a spicy and sour dressing gives it an acidic kick.


Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Brined pork belly is grilled over hot coals to smoky, tender perfection, then cut into bite-size pieces and tossed in a zesty vinegar dressing with sliced red onion.

Kinilaw (Filipino-Style Marinated Fish)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The term “kilaw” or “cooking with sourness” is a commonly used descriptive for many Filipino dishes. In kinilaw, spiced coconut vinegar and fresh lemon juice are used to both marinate and “cook” the raw tuna.

Pandesal (Filipino Rolls)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Reminiscent of the American-style dinner roll, this pillowy, slightly sweet roll dusted with breadcrumbs is a breakfast mainstay that’s also enjoyed throughout the day—often slathered in copious amounts of butter or stuffed like a sandwich.

Suman (Filipino Steamed Sticky Rice Cakes)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Among the many sweet treats sold by street peddlers in the Philippines are these packages of steamed banana leaf-wrapped glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk—served hot with a generous topping of dark muscovado sugar and a side of sweet ripe mango. They’re tinged green from the banana leaves which impart a floral scent.

Turon (Filipino fried banana rolls)

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Another popular sweet snack commonly sold on the streets is this dessert cousin of lumpia—ripe Saba banana encased in a crispy spring roll wrapper, striped with crackly caramelized sugar. If Saba bananas aren’t available, ripe plantains are a good substitute.

Leche Flan (Filipino Baked Custard)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

A beloved Filipino dessert, this decadent flan is dense and ultra-rich from lots of eggs, sugar, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk—flavored with vanilla extract and bright lemon zest.

Ube (Purple Yam) Ice Cream

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Step into any Filipino or Asian bakery and you’ll see a plethora of items featuring this ubiquitous purple yam. Ice cream is by far one of the most popular iterations of ube. Coconut cream and corn syrup yield a creamier texture, while ube halaya (purple yam jam) lowers the water content to prevent iciness.

Halo-Halo (Filipino Shaved Ice Dessert)

Serious Eats / Rezel Kealoha

Creamy and refreshing, particularly on a scorching day, this iconic Filipino dessert is the ultimate “build-your-own” treat. You start with shaved ice in a tall glass, then choose from a kaleidoscope of add-ins—such as sago (tapioca), nata de coco (coconut jelly), nata de pina (pineapple jelly), jackfruit in syrup, monggo beans, ube jam, ube ice cream, and leche flan—then finish off with evaporated milk.

Pastillas de Leche (Filipino Milk Candies)

Serious Eats / Debbie Wee

This creamy milk-based candy is the kind of sweet treat visitors from the Philippines often gift to relatives and friends in the States. Kristina combined cow’s milk and heavy cream to replicate the higher fat content and richer flavor of the carabao or water buffalo milk traditionally used to make pastillas de leche.

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