Every region of the world has its own defining culture and traditions that is further adapted and refined into country-specific cuisines. The food culture of the Philippines is greatly influenced by meat and seafood owing to its location in the West Pacific Ocean as well as its proximity to its neighbours like China.
While the dishes and style of cooking has evolved, the rich colours, textures and distinctive flavours of traditional Filipino cuisine is essentially composed of the food of its more than hundred ethnic-linguistic groups inhabiting the Philippines archipelago.
One of the best ways to get to know a new place is through food. Today we take you on a culinary journey through Philippines and introduce you to some of the best Filipino dishes that you should definitely try out when you are visiting the country.
This dish is the Filipino adaptation of the well known and well loved Chinese dish, spring rolls. In fact crispy delicious Lumpia has a strong Chinese influence and looks very similar to spring rolls as well. A mixture of minced meat and shredded or chopped vegetables is rolled, dipped in batter and deep fried to make this quick and yummy snack. Fried Lumpia is a widely found street food in Philippines and is served with a vinegar-based sweet and sour dipping sauce.
One of the best chicken dishes you will find in the Philippines is this wonderful roast chicken preparation called Chicken Inasal. A whole chicken is bathed in a special tangy marinade of vinegar, kalamansi, ginger and lemongrass. This grilled chicken dish is best relished with rice.
In the Philippines, any dish with the name ‘pancit’ denotes that it is a noodle-based dish. Pancit or noodles are prepared in many interesting ways depending upon the combination of ingredients. Pancit Guisado is a popular flavour-packed one-dish meal of sautéed noodles mixed with sliced vegetables and meat cooked in broth and sauces such as soy sauce and fish sauce. The dish is finished off with a generous squeeze of ‘calamansi’ or Philippine lime juice for a lovely freshness and citrus aroma.
Palabok is another noodle-based dish that will immediately catch your eye with its bright orange appearance. Pancit Palabok is a different yet equally popular preparation of rice noodles. The noodles are cooked in a rich sauce made of shrimp paste mixed with the annatto spice powder which gives the dish its distinct orange-red colour. Sliced hard boiled eggs, spring onions, smoked fish flakes and pork rinds are the typical toppings for Palabok.
Ginataang Gulay is a pleasant find of a vegetarian dish in the typically meat-heavy food of the Philippines that is really delicious. Prepared in a base of coconut milk and lightly spiced, Ginataang Gulay is a vegetable stew cooked with squash which is a pumpkin-like vegetable, string beans and basically any favourite greens that you like. This smooth, creamy textured dish makes for a warm, hearty and nutritious meal.
Filipinos have taken the humble root vegetable, cassava, which belongs to the same family of tubers as potato, yam and carrot and skilfully turned into a delicious sweet dish. Cassava cake is an indigenous baked dessert that is made by combining freshly grated cassava flour with coconut milk. The baking is traditionally done on charcoal which lends it a unique flavour. If you have a sweet tooth, a slice of perfectly baked golden brown Cassava cake is one of the best ways to end a good meal in the Philippines.
The Philippines is a fascinating country to explore and one that should definitely make it on your list of places to see.
While planning your trip do make sure that you have in place your important travel documents such as a valid passport, Philippines Visa and Travel Insurance for Philippines. Make sure you buy travel insurance beforehand because it is a necessary financial safeguard for travelling. Insuring your overseas trip will allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of Philippines with total peace of mind. You can set off on your trip relaxed in the knowledge that your travel insurance will have you covered just in case you land up in a situation where your luggage gets lost or misplaced, you lose your passport in Philippines or even if your trip ends up getting cancelled.