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.
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.
10. Leche Flan (Custard)
It tastes better than the photo I took of it here, I promise.
11. Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice)
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.
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!