Traditional Philippine cuisine - Pinoy culinary culture



Cuisine in the Philippines (in Tagalog: lutuing pilipino or pagkaing pilipino ) is a style of cooking that has developed from an Austronesian base (shared with Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines). It subsequently evolved thanks to the influence of Indian, Chinese, Spanish and American cuisines, in parallel with the major waves of colonization that occurred in the 16th century. These brought their influence and enriched the cultures and gastronomy of the Philippine archipelago. External contributions have been incorporated into existing recipes by substituting indigenous ingredients and adapting to the taste of the Filipinos.

As in much of Asia, rice occupies a prominent place in the diet in the Philippines . Meals can be particularly simple, consisting of rice and fried salted fish . They can, however, also be particularly refined; paellas and cocidos , of Spanish origin, can be prepared for the most important occasions at family reunions or neighborhood celebrations among others. The most popular dishes are mainly composed of rice and can be accompanied by: grilled meats like lechón , cold cuts like longganisa sausage, dishes in sauce like adobo , kaldereta , mechado , puchero , l ' afritada the kare-kare, pinakbet on the hamonado, soups like sinigang, and also dishes called pancit noodles. A large part of Filipino dishes also contain water ( tubig ) to increase the volume of sauce to accompany the rice . The Filipino hotdog ( Pinoy hotdog ), sausages similar to Vienna sausages but thicker and red in color, is also particularly appreciated by all Pinoy families. Lumpia and torta are also fairly widespread in the archipelago.

History of gastronomy in the Philippines

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the most widely used cooking methods were boiling, steaming and roasting. The ingredients came from locally raised livestock including water buffalo ( kalabaw ), oxen, chickens and pigs, as well as seafood.


In 3200 BC. AD, Austronesians from southern China and Taiwan settled in the Philippine archipelago . They brought with them the cultivation of rice as well as other agricultural techniques which increased the quantity and variety of foods and ingredients available in the Philippines.

During the Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279), early cultural contact with China introduced a number of staple ingredients into Filipino cuisine, including:

  • Soy sauce, toyo

  • Tofu, tokwa

  • Mung bean sprouts, toga

  • Fish sauce, patis

  • Stir-fried cooking and broth reductions.

Some of these foods and dishes have retained their original names:

  • Noodles, pancit

  • Egg rolls, lumpia

Chinese cuisine introduced during this period was that practiced by workers and merchants. She encouraged the opening of panciterias , shops specializing in the pancit trade. It is also represented by dishes such as rice porridge ( arroz caldo ), fried garlic rice (sinangag), and chopsuey .


In Filipino cuisine, there is a wide variety of pancit . Some pancit dishes are noodle soups while some varieties are comparable to the stir-fried noodles that can be found in any Asian restaurant .


In the Philippines you can also enjoy spaghetti or ispageti , often prepared with banana ketchup instead of the classic tomato sauce which gives it a slight sweet taste.

Siopao , a ball of rice flour dough filled with a meat preparation and buchi , the same balls that are fried and stuffed with mung bean paste or ube then coated with sesame seeds are also from China.

During this same period, trade with the neighboring kingdoms of Malacca and Srivijaya present on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Java brought foods and cooking techniques still commonly used in the Philippines today, such as:

  • Fermented fish paste, bagoong

  • rice cooked in palm leaves, puso

  • the rendang

  • kare-kare (a dish prepared with oxtail or tripe as well as vegetables drizzled with a peanut sauce. It is served with bagoong )

  • the infusion of condiments in coconut milk, including laing and ginataang manok (chicken simmered in coconut milk)

Thanks to this trade, distant cuisines such as Indian or Arab cuisine have enriched the developing local gastronomy.

In the 16th century, Spanish settlers and priests brought foodstuffs from the Americas, such as chili , tomato , corn, and potato , as well as the cooking technique of sautéing foods with garlic and garlic. 'onion. Spanish and Mexican dishes were incorporated into Filipino cuisine to create some more complex dishes prepared specifically for special occasions.


Filipino longganisa is a lightly sweet or spicy lean pork sausage colored red with annatto seeds. Despite its name, it is different from the Spanish longaniza and is closer to chorizo ​​when made in its dried version.


Filipinos also consume tocino (dried, sweet meat made from chicken or pork, marinated and cured for several days before being fried). Morcon designates a stuffed beef wrap rather than Spanish sausage.

Mechado , kaldereta , afritada and waknatoy are Spanish-influenced dishes made with tomato sauce.

Puchero is derived from Spanish cocido (a milder stew that contains beef, slices of plantains simmered in tomato sauce).

Nowadays, Filipino cuisine continues to evolve as new techniques, cooking fashions and ingredients are introduced. There are both traditional, simple and elaborate, indigenous and foreign influenced dishes, as well as more popular dishes internationally and fast food catering products such as the Filipino hotdog ( Pinoy Hotdog ) or spaghetti with banana ketchup .

Culinary specialties of the Philippines


Cuisine in the Philippines is mainly sweet and sour in character. Chili still has its place in some parts of the country. The cuisine of the Philippines is made of marked contrasts, combining sweet foods with savory ones, which may seem surprising at first glance. Take for example:


  • A combination of sweet sticky rice porridge with cocoa called champorado with salted dried fish called tuyo

  • A pork blood and offal soup called dinunguan with steamed rice cakes called puto

  • The consumption of fresh fruits such as mango after having soaked it in salt or bagoong (Seasoning based on salted mini shrimps)

  • The use of certain salty cheeses in sweet cakes such as bibingka or puto , or as an ice cream flavor.

Vinegar is very commonly used in the Philippines .


Adobo , for example, is a dish made with pork or chicken cooked in a sauce of vinegar ( suka ) and soy sauce ( toyo ). It is sometimes considered the national dish. Not only is it easy to prepare, but also it is possible to keep it for several days; the taste is more pronounced after a few days. In the Philippines, it is said that the bones of the animal, simmered with the meat, give all its taste to this tasty preparation typical of the country.

The name paksiw refers to different dishes made with vinegar. The fish paksiw is seasoned with ginger, fish sauce and chili. The one with pork knuckle is simmered with banana flowers.

Soups from the Philippines are generally quite filling, based on meats, vegetables and often noodles. They are served with rice , if they are not the main course. They are referred to as sabaw (broth). Binacol is a chicken soup made with coconut water and served with sliced ​​coconut. Batchoy is a noodle soup topped with pork and a raw egg. Nilagang baka is a beef broth made from vegetables.

Like everywhere in Southeast Asia, the staple food in the Philippines is rice , steamed. Leftover rice can be fried and seasoned with garlic to prepare the sinangag , which is popular for breakfast with fried eggs (itlog) and cold cuts. Rice flour is used to prepare pastries.

There is a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables in the Philippines; we can cite the variety of bananas called saba , guava , particularly tasty yellow or green mango , papaya , pineapple used in many dishes, but also green vegetables such as water bindweed , the different varieties of cabbage , as well as other vegetables such as eggplant or asparagus .


Coconut is also very common. Its flesh is used in desserts, coconut milk in sauces and coconut oil for frying. Potatoes , carrots , taro (a tropical food tuber), cassava , and ube (purple yam) are abundant in the country.


A mixture of tomatoes , garlic and onions is found in many dishes.


The green papaya is prepared there like a vegetable. This preparation is called atsara and is composed of strips of green papaya in brine.


Tinola is made from large pieces of chicken with thin slices of green papaya or chayotes (a perennial plant in the Cucurbitaceae family), cooked in chili, spinach and moringa leaves (a very hardy tree native to India) in ginger broth.

In the Philippines, the most consumed meats are chicken , pork and beef .


Lechon manok , for example, is the Filipino equivalent of roast chicken. It is often found on food stalls on the streets and in local restaurants. This is seasoned grilled chicken served with " sarsa " or lechon sauce (sauce thickened with crushed pork liver). The pig's trotters are marinated in garlic vinegar and then fried until golden brown.

Seafood is also very popular, sourced from the surrounding seas.


In particular, we find tilapia , catfish ( hito ), milkfish ( milkfish ), grouper , shrimps , mackerel ( galunggong , hasa-hasa ), swordfish , oysters , mussels , clams , different sizes of crabs ( alimango and alimasag ), tuna , cod , blue marlin , cuttlefish and squid . A seaweed called damong dagat , abalone and eel are also very popular.


The most common way in the Philippines to prepare fish is to salt it, fry it, and eat it with rice and vegetables. It can also be cooked in a sour broth with tomatoes and tamarind or guava to make sinigang , simmered in vinegar and chili peppers to make paksiw , or grilled over a wood fire. It can also be prepared stuffed or in kinilaw (marinated in vinegar or calamondin juice with sometimes coconut milk like a ceviche.


The fish is preserved by smoking it or drying it in the sun, which allows it to be kept for several weeks, even without refrigeration.

Food from the sea is frequently served with various sauces. Food is fried and soaked in mixtures of vinegar, soy sauce ( toyo ) or calamondin juice ( calamansi ). The local fish sauce is mixed with the calamondin juice and accompanies most seafood dishes. Fish sauce, fish paste or mini shrimp ( bagoong ) as well as crushed ginger can be added during cooking. or service.

Filipino cuisine offers a wide variety of local so-called native ingredients that are grown in stunning landscapes. The country also grows different types of nuts.

Breads and pastries

In a typical Filipino bakery , pandesal , monay and ensaymada are often sold.

The term pandesal comes from the Spanish “pan de sal” (literally, salt bread), and is a ubiquitous breakfast dish, normally eaten with (and sometimes even dipped in) coffee. It usually takes the shape of a bun and is usually baked topped with breadcrumbs. Contrary to what its name suggests, pandesal is not particularly salty because very little salt is used in its cooking.


Monay is a thicker, slightly denser bread.


Ensaymada , from Spanish 'ensaimada', is a pastry made with butter and often topped with sugar and grated cheese that is especially popular at Christmas. It is sometimes made with toppings such as ube (purple yam) and macapuno (a variety of coconut whose flesh is often cut into strips, sweetened, preserved, and served in desserts).


Pan de coco , a sweet bun filled with grated coconut mixed with molasses, is also commonly sold in Filipino bakeries .


Putok (also known in some localities as "star bread" or " pinagong "), which literally means "to explode", refers to a hard roll whose cratered surface is glazed with sugar.


Kababayan (Filipino muffins) is a small, sweet, gong-shaped muffin that has a moist consistency.


Spanish bread (nothing to do with Spanish bread from Spain - Pan de Horno) refers to a rolled pastry that looks like a croissant before receiving a moon shape and has a filling of sugar and butter.

There are also rolls like the pianono , which is a muslin roll that can be flavored with different fillings.


Brazo de mercedes , a roll cake or roll of jelly, is made from a sheet of meringue wrapped around a cream filling. Similar to the previous dessert, it takes a layered presentation instead of being rolled up and usually contains caramelized sugar and nuts for unparalleled taste.


Silvañas are large, oval, cookie-sized desserts, with a thin meringue on either side of a buttercream filling and sprinkled with crumbled cookie. Not too sweet, they are at the same time rich, crunchy, soft and tasty.


Barquillos use thin, crispy, sweet wafers rolled into tubes that can be sold hollow or filled with polvoron (sweet, toasted flour mixed with peanuts).


Meringues are also present in the Philippines, due to the Spanish influence, but they are called merengue - with all the vowels spoken.


Leche flan is a type of caramel custard / custard made from eggs and milk similar to French crème caramel. Leche flan (a local term referring to the original Spanish flan, and literally meaning "milk flan") is a heavier version of the Spanish flan made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Leche flan is usually steamed over an open flame or on a stove top, although on rare occasions it can also be cooked in the oven. Leche flan is a staple at the end of the year celebrations.

A heavier version of leche flan , called tocino del cielo , is similar, but has a lot more egg yolks and sugar in it.

The egg pie with a very rich cream and egg filling is a mainstay of local bakeries. It is usually cooked so that the custard affixed to the top is golden brown.


The Buko tart is made with a filling made from young coconut flesh and dairy products.


Mini pastries like casuy turrones are made with cashew nut dough wrapped in a wafer made to look like a candy wrapper but take on the appearance of a miniature pie about 25mm in size.


There is also the napoleones (always with all the vowels pronounced) a pastry similar to mille-feuille stuffed with a sweet milk-based filling.

There are also hard pastries like biskotso , a crunchy, sweet and twice-baked bread. Sinipit is another baked candy that is a sweet dough covered with a crunchy sugar icing, made to resemble a long cone.

Similar to sinipit , shingaling is a roadside snack. It is hollow but crunchy with a little salty taste.

For an even softer sweetness, there is the mamon which is a muslin-type cake sprinkled with sugar, its name is derived from a Spanish slang term for the breast.


There's also crema de fruta , which is a spongy cake topped with successive layers of cream, custard, candied fruit, and gelatin. Similar to a sponge cake, the mamoncillo , which generally refers to slices taken from a large mamon cake, but it has nothing to do with the fruit of the same name.


Pastries like inipit are made with two thin layers of chiffon sandwiching a custard filling with butter and sugar.

Another variation of the mamon is the tostada mamon , which is basically a grilled mamoncillo with a crunchy texture.

Stuffed pastries that reflect both Western and Eastern influence are common.


You can find empanadas , a pastry-type pastry stuffed with a salty-sweet meat stuffing. Typically filled with minced meat and raisins, it can be fried or baked.

You can also feast on many varieties of hopia , a pastry that comes in different shapes (a flat, circular shape, cubed), and has different textures and fillings.

Filipinos also consume a variety of ice creams, but are particularly fond of the scent of ube (purple yam) ice cream.

Plats d'accompagnement

Les Itlog na pula (œufs rouges) sont des œufs de canard qui ont été séchés dans de la saumure ou un mélange d'argile et de sel pendant quelques semaines, ce qui les rend particulièrement salés. Ils sont ensuite bouillis durs et teints en rouge à l’aide de colorant alimentaire (d'où le nom) pour les distinguer des œufs de poule avant qu'ils ne soient vendus sur les étales. Ils sont souvent servis accompagnés de tomates en dés.


Le Atchara est un plat d'accompagnement de bandes de papaye marinées semblables visuellement à une choucroute. C'est un accompagnement fréquent des plats frits comme le tapa ou daing.

Le Nata de coco est un produit alimentaire moelleux, translucide, semblable à de la gelée, produit par la fermentation de l'eau de coco. Il peut être servi avec des pandesal.


Le kesong puti est un fromage blanc à pâte molle à base de lait de carabao (bien que le lait de vache soit également utilisé dans la plupart des variantes commerciales). Râpée une fois à maturation, la noix de coco (niyog) est normalement servie avec des desserts sucrés à base de riz.

Quelques expressions culinaires couramment employées aux Philippines

Voici les quelques mots et expressions philippines les plus couramment utilisées pour définir les méthodes et les termes en cuisine aux Philippines :

  • Adobo (inadobo) − Cuit dans du vinaigre et de l'huile, avec de l'ail et de la sauce soja

  • Afritada – Braisé à la sauce tomate

  • Babad (binabad, ibinabad) − Mariner

  • Banli (binanlian, pabanli) − Blanchir

  • Bagoong (binagoongan, sa bagoong) − Cuit avec de la pâte de poisson / crevette fermentée

  • Bibingka – Gâteaux cuits au four, traditionnellement à base de riz gluant

  • Binalot – Littéralement « enveloppé ». Cela se réfère généralement à des plats enveloppés dans des feuilles de bananier, des feuilles de pandan ou même du papier d'aluminium. L'emballage est généralement non comestible (contrairement au lumpia - voir ci-dessous)

  • Buro (binuro) − Fermenté, mariné ou conservé dans du sel ou du vinaigre. Synonyme de tapay dans d'autres langues philippines en référence au riz fermenté

  • Daing (dinaing, padaing) − Salé et séché, généralement pour du poisson ou des fruits de mer. Synonyme de tuyô, bulad ou buwad dans d'autres langues philippines

  • Giniling – Viande hachée. Parfois utilisé comme synonyme de picadillo, en particulier dans le arroz a la cubana

  • Guinataan (sa gata) − Cuit avec du lait de coco

  • Guisa (guisado, ginuisa) − Sautés avec de l'ail, des oignons ou des tomates. Aussi orthographié gisa, gisado, ginisa

  • Hamonado (endulsado) – Mariné ou cuit dans une sauce douce à l'ananas. Parfois synonyme de pininyahan ou de minatamis

  • Halabos (hinalabos) – Principalement pour les crustacés. Cuit à la vapeur dans leur propre jus et parfois dans du soda gazeux

  • Hilaw (sariwa) – Non mûres (pour les fruits et légumes), crues (pour les viandes). Également utilisé pour les aliments crus en général (comme dans le lumpiang sariwa)

  • Hinurno – Cuit au four ou rôti

  • Ihaw (inihaw) − Grillé au charbon. Aux Visayas, il est également connu sous le nom de sinugba; inasal fait référence à la cuisson de la viande sur des bâtonnets.

  • Kinilaw ou Kilawin − Poisson ou fruits de mer marinés dans du vinaigre ou du jus de calamansi avec ail, oignons, gingembre, tomate, poivrons. Signifie également manger cru ou frais, apparenté à Hilaw.

  • Lechon (nilechon) − Rôti à la broche. Aussi orthographié litson

  • Lumpia – Nourriture salée enveloppée d'un emballage comestible

  • Minatamis (minatamisan) − Sucré. Similaire à hamonado

  • Nilaga (laga, palaga) − Bouilli / braisé

  • Nilasing − Cuit avec une boisson alcoolisée comme du vin ou de la bière

  • Paksiw (pinaksiw) − Cuit au vinaigre

  • Pancit (pansit, fideo) – Plats de nouilles, généralement d'origine filipino chinoise

  • Pangat (pinangat) − Bouilli dans de l'eau salée / de la saumure avec des fruits comme des tomates ou des mangues mûres

  • Palaman (pinalaman, pinalamanan) – « Fourré » comme pour les siopao, bien que « palaman » se réfère également à la garniture d'un sandwich.

  • Pinakbet (pakbet) − Cuisiner avec des légumes généralement avec du sitaw (haricots d'une longueur d'un mètre), de la calabaza, du talong (aubergine) et de l'ampalaya (melon amer) entre autres et du bagoong

  • Pinakuluan – Bouilli

  • Pininyahan – Mariné ou cuit avec des ananas. Parfois synonyme de hamonado

  • Prito (pinirito) − Frit. De l’espagnol frito

  • Puto – Gâteaux cuits à la vapeur, traditionnellement à base de riz gluant 

  • Relleno (relyeno) – Farci

  • Sarza (sarciado) – Cuit avec une sauce épaisse

  • SinangagRiz frit à l'ail

  • Sigang (sinigang) − Cuit dans un bouillon aigre généralement avec une base de tamarin. D'autres agents acidifiants courants comprennent la goyave, les mangues crues, les calamansi également connus sous le nom de calamondine

  • Tapa ou Tinapa – Séché et fumé. Tapa fait référence à la viande traitée de cette manière, principalement marinée puis séchée et frite par la suite. Tinapa quant à lui est presque exclusivement associé au poisson fumé

  • Tapay – Fermenté avec de la levure, généralement du riz, traditionnellement dans des pots de tapayan. Synonyme de buro dans les premières phases. Peut également faire référence à divers produits de riz fermenté, y compris les vins de riz. Une version de riz gluant très brièvement fermenté est connue sous le nom de galapong, qui est un ingrédient essentiel du kakanin philippin (gâteaux de riz). Cogné de tinapay (pain au levain)

  • Tosta (tinosta, tostado) – Grillé

  • Torta (tinorta, patorta) – Dans le nord des Philippines, pour cuisiner avec des œufs à la manière d'une omelette. Dans le sud des Philippines, un terme général pour un petit gâteau

  • Turon (turrones) – Enveloppé d'un emballage comestible. Dessert homologue du lumpia