Ah, Filipino food… before we entered this beautiful country, we were warned by many that we may not enjoy the food here. We didn’t have the best experience in the beginning but we definitely had some memorable eating experiences as we tried more things. Simplicity is the key in Filipino food and we love how they put vinegar and soy sauce to a good use. Not just local delicacies but its interesting how they put their own spin to international food. So get ready to salivate and check out these 11 delicious things that we ate the Philippines which will make you want to try Filipino food:
01 | Pork Adobo
San and I hated Pork Adobo at almost every restaurant because it was too oily and chewy. However, we were lucky that we got to experience this famous Filipino delicacy in Manila’s Tambayan Gastrobar. We were invited for a meal and boy, we were impressed! Pork Adobo is their specialty and it’s called Slow Cooked Braised Soy Vinegar Pork Belly Pot in the menu. And what’s inside this pot? Juicy pork meat that was so tender that it melted in our mouths. As the name suggests, this pork was slow cooked in a pot with dark sauce and one full garlic. The result – succulent meat with gentle flavor in every layer. This meal was so good that we went back next day for lunch. This was the best thing that we ate in the Philippines.
02 | Cheese and Melon Ice cream
San has a weakness for ice creams and he orders one almost everywhere. He got this cone of cheese and melon ice cream when we were chilling on Alona beach. Much to his annoyance, I asked for one bite but I never returned his cone back. It was SOOO EFFING good! I never knew that cheese could taste so good as a desert ingredient. Oh and about San, well, he got himself a new one. We went back every day for this same ice cream while we were in Bohol.
03 | Simple village meal in Bohol
Perhaps our first “real” Filipino lunch, San and I couldn’t get over the variety. This roadside restaurant which was far from all tourist hubs in Bohol had a massive selection of curries, seafood and meats. We wanted to order almost everything here. The pink thing that you see in this picture was made from shrimp paste. The plate on its left contains squids. The plate next to fish is of fried eggplant. The steamed fish was only flavored with a little salt and vinegar. Simple and delicious flavors.
04 | BBQ – Everywhere
Filipinos surely know how to barbecue their meats! It’s funny how San and I had formed an aversion to meat for a few months before visiting the Philippines but we ate meat for every meal here. No matter which part of the Philippines we went, there was always a place (or a few) where we could find someone barbecuing meat on sticks. We even found it on our boat from Coron to Puerto Princesa. Pork, Chicken and some unrecognizable organs – whatever I ate was delicious. The best part – the sauces!
05 | Sting ray
This was our most delicious meal in Coron. This did not look like sting ray and could have been any other fish but we trust the restaurant staff. The sting ray was shredded and made in a curry way with a little bit of coconut and a hint of garlic with green chilies. It tasted heavenly with rice
06 | Halo Halo
Haluhalo or Halo-halo is perhaps the most famous Filipino dessert and is the perfect answer to a stressful day. This dessert is made by mixing everything delicious they can find around them – ice cream, milk, condensed milk, sweet beans, fruits, jelly fruit, cornflakes, etc. One distinct flavor that overpowered the Halo Halo I ate was of Ube. Ube is a local fruit and is also called purple yam. Its purple in color and the flavor is heavenly. This was at Tambayan Gastrobar of Manila.
07 | Seaweed Salad
To be honest, this was more interesting than delicious. We have eaten seaweed before but it was nothing like this. These little globes that you see, were full of some sort of gooey liquid. Kinda like gel. We ate this in a restaurant in Coron city.
08 | Clams in Cebu city
Bored of eating roadside food, San and I decided to visit a restaurant in Cebu city and we were definitely not disappointed. We ordered a big bowl of garlic clams and had a very good time eating it with salad and roasted pork belly.
09 | Pulled Pork Burger
Did I ever mention that Filipinos definitely know how to cook their meats? Well, their forte is Pork and if you love burgers, Philippines is the perfect place to indulge. This pulled pork burger was at Tambayan Gastrobar in Manila. Yes, the same restaurant where we ate Pork Adobo and Halo Halo. You definitely need to eat here. You must be thinking that pulled pork burger is not Filipino food so why is this included in the post? Well, because they put their own touches and made it special!
10 | Calamansi (in salads, juices and rums)
Calamansi is a lemon like fruit which is available in the Philippines. Its darker and smaller than a typical lemon and the taste is a tad different. While in Palawan, I was hooked and I started my mornings with calamansi juice with honey.
11 | El Nido Salad
Who wouldn’t love a salad which looked like that? This adorable plate of salad was prepared for us by our boat staff in El Nido in just a few minutes.
BONUS: Drinking in the Philippines
What do you do when you fill your stomach with so much food? You wash it with some good beer or rum! Yes we really enjoyed drinking in the Philippines and we recommend the below three:
12 & 13 | San Miguel Pale Pilsen beer and Red Horse beer
San Miguel is the perfect drink for a sunny beach day. Red horse is Philippines’ local brew and is stronger than San Miguel. I love how both these beers come in extra-large bottles. Look how happy San looks! He’s in paradise!
14 | Tanduay Rhum (rum)
Tanduay is also the local brew and is the perfect drink if you want something stronger than beer. On our first night here, we went to a Karaoke bar in Bohol where I got this free because of ladies night! This rum reminded us of Old Monk of India and we carried a bottle along in our backpacks wherever we went. It tastes the best with coke and calimansi.
If you think we put on a little weight after eating a lot of delicious Filipino food, you gotta check out our Instagram feed and let us know!
If you have visited or you live in the Philippines and you love Filipino food, I’d love to hear what your favorite is. Let me know in the comments.
A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Sonal Kwatra Paladini