Top Traditional Filipino Dishes You Need to Try


The Philippines stands out for its rich culture, resulting from centuries of varying influences. The country proudly boasts this diverse heritage in its everyday lives, from artistic creativity and style to its culinary dishes. This is also why traditional Filipino dishes have gained global recognition and are a must-try for all food lovers.

Best Traditional Filipino Dishes You Should Try

Traditional dishes contain various flavors and techniques, influenced by many nationalities that inspired their creation. These cuisines have lasted and adapted over time, becoming the delicacies everyone recognizes today. In that regard, the country has a wide array of traditional dishes. Here are the most recommended Filipino foods to try.


The sinigang is a tamarind-based soup that combines the perfect balance of sour, savory, and mild to spicy flavors. The tamarind broth is also filled with a mix of vegetables and an alternative option of pork or shrimp, both being very popular ingredients for the soup. This soup is a staple in many Filipino households and can be paired with other side dishes or as the ulam itself.


Originating in Batangas and Cavite, the bulalo is comforting and satisfying for lunch and dinner during the cold seasons.

This dish consists of tender beef shank and vegetable mix simmered in a rich and tasty broth. What contributes to the dish’s popularity is the bone marrow, the most important ingredient of the soup. The bone marrow melts into the broth and helps it give the creamy and savoring texture the dish is expected to offer. 

See also: Top 10 Foodgasmic Food in The Philippines


Sisig is one of the top specialty foods in Pampanga and is one of the Philippines’ most recognizable dishes today. It is made with chopped pork parts mixed with chicken liver and chili peppers. Sisig is known to offer a taste of spicy and sour flavors thanks to its use of chopped chili and calamansi juice mix. 

The dish can be found in any part of the Philippines, offering visitors many chances to try the cuisine. It is the very dish that helped Pampanga earn the title of  “Culinary Capital of the Philippines.”



Kinilaw is a local dish that showcases its freshness and variety. It can be made from different seafood, such as tuna, Spanish mackerel, or shrimp. The fish or shrimp are marinated in a mixture of vinegar or citrus juice, onions, chili peppers, and other spices. 

It is a popular appetizer during the summer and is often found in every food establishment, especially across many top seafood restaurants in Manila



Lumpia is a deep-fried spring roll dish heavily influenced by its Chinese counterpart. These bite-sized rolls are specialized for their crispy exterior and meaty filling. They are often served with sweet and sour dipping sauce and can be found at any local food stop. Their affordability and simple cooking make lumpia a classical option to match any local occasion.

Pancit Canton

Pancit is another local dish with a deep history of Chinese influence. These traditional Filipino dishes are often made of noodles mixed with different ingredients depending on the variant. The dish is versatile and can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish. 

The most popular and widely recognized type of pancit dish is pancit canton, made of stir-fried egg noodles mixed with vegetables and pork slices. This dish is seasoned with oyster sauce and calamansi. 




Puto is a local favorite, often associated with afternoon snacks. It is a small cake traditionally made with ground rice that has been soaked in water overnight. These dishes are perfect to pair with other traditional dishes, such as dinuguan and pancit canton. 

They are also considered in some areas as special street food, being sold on any corner in the neighborhood. 



When it comes to discussing which food to try in the Philippines, adobo remains the local favorite. The Spanish-influenced dish traditionally features meat simmered in a sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and local spices. Adobo generally consists of chicken or pork, with later creations including squid or shrimp. 

The dish is rich and flavorful and is the perfect ulam for lunch or dinner. From its versatility to its unique flavor, the adobo’s popularity has made it the very image of Filipino cuisine.

Final Thoughts

Traditional Filipino dishes are the lasting results that showcase the country’s rich history and culinary creativity. They display various flavors, from tangy and savory to spicy and comforting. Here, there is a dish that matches any preference, ensuring there is something for everybody to enjoy in their food-exploring goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Within recent years, Filipino dishes have become more exposed to public attention thanks to their unique, different tastes. Trying these dishes out will give visitors a whole appreciation in seeking good food. This growing attention to traditional dishes has also led to some common questions.

Why are Filipino dishes unique?

Filipino dishes are considered unique thanks to the strong influence of their historical colonizers and fellow Asian neighbors. They also have a unique complexity in both taste and preparation.

Why is adobo the best Filipino dish?

Adobo is one of, if not the most popular ulam for lunch and dinner in the Philippines. This hearty and tasty dish is so beloved by many that it is considered the country’s unofficial national dish.

What is the best Filipino dish?

The Philippines offers such an intriguing roster of one-of-a-kind dishes that it is difficult for anyone to specify which one stands as the best one. This distinction has mostly gone towards either sisig for its use of pig face or pancit for its various styles.

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