F*ck Yes, 40 Filipino Food Recipes!

Hello and welcome to this thing we’re doing where we help you figure out what you’re gonna put in your mouth this week. Some of these are recipes we’ve tried, some of these are recipes we’re looking forward to trying, all of them are fucking delicious. Tell us what you want to put in your piehole or suggest your own recipes, and we’ll talk about which things we made, which things we loved, and which things have changed us irreversibly as people. Last week, we chilled out with summer soup.

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The Philippines is a chain of islands located geographically near Malaysia, but emotionally near the center of my heart. I have complicated feelings about a lot of things, but my love of Filipino food is not one of those things. Like, 3/4 of the words I know in Filipino are food-related. If I were the lead character on Inside Out, “Filipino food island” would probably be one of my core personality centers. Filipino food is just so good.

Anyway. I’ve personally eaten every dish on this list (albeit not with these exact recipes), and I will personally attest to the deliciousness of each and every one. Enjoy.


1. Kare-Kare (Peanut Butter Stew)


2. Sinigang (Tamarind Soup)

This recipe uses pork, but you can substitute different proteins like chicken or seafood. That’s true of many (most?) Filipino recipes.


3. Lechon (Roasted Pig)

Okay, not this one. Lechon has to be made of pork.


4. Turon (Banana Roll)

When my Ate Rose taught me how to make this, she told me I could skip the jackfruit if I couldn’t find it. But just so you know, it’s way better with jackfruit.


5. Pancit Palabok (Rice Noodle With Hardboiled Eggs)


6. Pancit Bihon (Rice Noodles With Meat And Vegetables)

This pancit variation is the one my family usually has. It tastes like hugs and laughter.


7. Tocino (Grilled Cured Pork)


8. Longganisa (Sweet Sausage)

Both longganisa and tocino are for breakfast. If you have leftovers, you can chop them up and put them in fried rice.


9. Chicken Adobo


10. Leche Flan (Custard)

It tastes better than the photo I took of it here, I promise.


11. Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice)

If you add itlog (fried egg), the combination is referred to as “silog” (sinangag + itlog). Or if you add other things, those dishes get other cute shortened names. For example: Spamsilog.

Also, you should all read Phoenix’s delightful ode to Spam. The Philippines has a complicated political-economic dependency on the United States. I’m not going to get into it here, but that Spam article would be an okay place to start if you wanted to read about the impact of colonialism on Filipino food.


12. Beef Caldereta (Stewed Beef)


13. Puto (Steamed Rice Cake)


14. Kutsinta (Rice Cake Dessert)


15. Ensaymada (Sweet Bun)

The most important thing about this is that there’s cheese and sugar on top.


16. Pastillas De Leche (Milk Candy)

Do you want a history lesson on decorative candy wrappers? Yes, you do.


17. Pork Menudo


18. Arroz Caldo (Congee)


19. Pandesal (Sweet Dinner Rolls)

Man cannot live on bread alone, but this bitch could probably live on nothing but pandesal.


20. Mechado (Braised Beef)


21. Ginataang Manok (Coconut Chicken)


22. Lumpia (Egg Roll)

Eat lumpia, and Chinese takeout spring rolls will forever be a soggy, one-note disappointment in comparison. You’ve been warned.


23. Bistek Tagalog (Braised Beef With Citrus)


24. Tinola (Chicken Soup)


25. Pork BBQ


26. Biko (Sweet Sticky Rice)

This was my favorite Filipino dessert as a kid. I always went back for second, third, and fourth helpings at Filipino parties.


27. Bicol Express (Coconut and Chile Stew)

FYI, Bicol is a region in the Philippines. There’s also a small fast food chain called Bicol Express.


28. Sitaw Guisado (Stir Fried Long Beans)

One of the few vegan friendly dishes in traditional Filipino cooking.

If you’re interested in the topic, there are some interesting discussions to be had about food justice and decolonization!


29. Chicharon (Pork Crisps)


30. Mamon (Sponge Cake)


31. Crispy Pata (Deep Fried Pork)


32. Sisig (Sizzling Pork)

This dish is traditionally (and best) made with pig face skin and assorted bits. I believe this dish was borne out of a colonialist period in which Filipinos had restricted access to “good” pork products. But like, joke’s on you, Spain. Sisig is awesome.


33. Inihaw Na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly)


34. Siopao (Steamed Bun With Filling)

This recipe has a pork asado filling, which is my favorite. But you can put leftover adobo inside, or any number of other fillings.


35. Paella

Similar to the Spanish version, but the Filipino kind uses a tomato base.


36. Banana Que (Deep Fried Banana Skewers)


37. Suman (Sweet Rice Wrapped In Banana Leaves)


38. Chicken Inasal


39. Braso De Mercedes (Custard Roll)


40. Hopia (Pastry With Bean Filling)

My (white) mother once made a passing mention to my dad’s (Filipino) relatives that she liked hopia. They sent her four gigantic boxes full of it when they got home, and the love-and-hopia-filled shipments continued coming at regular intervals afterwards. We’ve learned that hopia freezes really well. So stock up!

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 211 articles for us.

62 Comments

  1. I just had to wipe up the drool from my desk and now I’m starving. THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE!! Growing up, most of my friends were Filipino and so every birthday party or big neighborhood celebration was chockful of all of this wonderful goodness. When I moved to Delaware, one of the biggest things I missed from home was easy access to Filipino food. I finally found a Filipino restaurant, and I think I scared the lady behind the counter half to death with my excitement. Also, feeling the comment about your family sending all of that hopia to your mom. The minute that the older ladies at church found out how much my mom loved their pancit, she’d come home from work at least once a month with homemade pancit and lumpia. Woe to the person who finished the container. Thanks again!!!!

  2. AAAAHH!!!! ITS THE FOOD!! THIS LIST IS EVERYTHING LAURA.

    Being Filipino pretty much messes up my dieting plans. #31-33 are REALLY REALLY great with drinking. And lechon is basically the roasted pig on a spit with an apple in it’s mouth. YEP. You know, I think I’ve eaten almost everything on here too…Kare kare can be veggies by itself but I’ve had a friend use de-boned bangus (milkfish) and my uses ox tail which I think is more traditional (?) A lot of the recipes that involve meat like Sinigang and Adobo can be substitued with pork or beef. And a note on the Bistek…there’s this hidden achievement to make it like grandmas make it. My mom has been trying for years and just recently got it down.

    We have a lot of forms of pancit but I really like Miki which is really just the noodles but they’re thicker and we mix it with bihon =) It really is hugs and laughter.

    I also like bulalo (beef shank soup) We like to use the bones that still have the marrow in them and then eat them. How do we get the marrow out? SPOONS :D

    I think aside from Turon and Braso de Mercedes, my favorite dessert would have to be Sans Rival which is made from all the egg whites in the world. It’s very light and airy until it gets pretty soggy. The sweet butter cream in between is really good though.

    Ok off to ask my mom to cook and teach me bye!!!

  3. I am very glad I made two dinners tonight so I only feel moderately hungry reading this list. Thank you Laura!

    A lot of these look great, but I may have to get creative with substitutions for a couple of ingredients I can’t get locally. Not as creative as a recipe comment I saw the other day though, where someone claimed to have successfully replaced miso paste with orange juice and I realised everything in this post is true after all.

  4. It’s list like these that has me rethinking about being vegan. I see the Siopao at my local Famima all the time, but they have it with red ann, which I think is just red beans? Didn’t realize it was Filipino food. I may have to try it sometime. Thank you

  5. Now I’m hungry! Pandesal is one of the best foods of all time haha you can put anything in it as a spread! Anytime of the day you can eat pandesal! LOL

    Also, I don’t cook very well and I don’t know how to cook lots of dishes but would you believe I know how to cook kare-kare? That complicated dish is not very complicated, others must try it! Especially with real ingredients, peanut butter is oh so yummy! Altho I don’t eat much of the ginataan ones, they make my tummy hurt haha but others must try sisig when they’re drinking beer, and lechon (left overs) is also best when you cook it with vinegar and Mang Tomas (Google it, it’s a sarsa) and the result is Lechon Paksiw! And because there’s vinegar, it doesn’t spoil easily!

    Thanks Laura for this post! #FilipinoStraddlersUnite LOL

  6. “The Philippines is a chain of islands located geographically near Malaysia, but emotionally near the center of my heart.”

    This is awesome. I just had my jaw wired shut and need to drink through a straw for 6 weeks, and the surgeon gave me a book of recipes that’s probably from 1967 because everything has cheez whiz and jello and maraschino cherries in it. Seriously, you guys. “Chicken tacos” with Cheez Whiz.

    Once I can life the bags of frozen peas off my face and make stuff for myself I am probably going to try making some of these things and blending them up – not the ideal way to savour them but hey, if you need to eat through a straw it had better be fucking delicious.

  7. Laura, I can’t find a concise, elegant way to express my messy feels into a heartfelt thank you for these recipes without going into story teller mode. Let’s just say you’ve given me a way to connect to a part of someone that was not really conveyed in life who is 10 years gone from the world of the living and was an important person in my life that I still miss keenly.
    Merci Beaucoup

    Also is it safe to assume the recipes with saba bananas and platains are supposed to be young not mature? Cause it isn’t explicitly stated and oh boy do so many people make tostones when they’re trying for maduros.

  8. I think you forgot to put in there Halo-halo or Buko-halo (which is way more delicious than plain halo-halo).

    Also. Also. Also. Please add Binignit. It’s just my favorite. Thank you for sharing this!

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