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20 Classic Filipino Dishes and Its History

July 16, 2020 10:00 am

Dining on a table full of Filipino dishes is like reading a Philippine history book. The Pinoy cuisine tells the story of our beloved land through flavors—from our cultural influences and ever-evolving Filipino traditions. Each spoonful of tasty and delicious Pinoy ulam is like having a taste of Filipino history, literally.

Read up on the origins of these 20 classic Filpino dishes and you never know, this might be a conversation winner on your next dinner with the fam!

When we think of Filipino food, Adobo ang top of mind! You can find the recipe in any culinary cookbook (even the foreign ones!) making it known around the world as our very own National Dish. Its recipe is inspired by the Spanish dish “adobado”—a stew of meat, vinegar, and aromatics—but made more simple and mouth-watering by Filipino natives. This salty-sweet ulam achieves its bold and scrumptious flavor by brining the meat in a soy sauce and vinegar mixture—best paired with hot white rice! Nakakagutom!

Craving ka na? Try our Pinoy Pork Adobo recipe with SARSAYA® Oyster Sauce !

The process of “pagdadaing” started out as a food preservation technique. The fish is prepared by applying a generous amount of salt and letting it dry out in the sun. Interestingly, other Filipino regions have varying ways of “pagdadaing.” Some prepare their daing na bangus by marinating it in a garlic and vinegar mixture for days! People loved the flavor and kept the process of “pagdadaing” to this day!

Try our Crispy Daing na Bangus recipe made more delicious with CRISPY FRY® FISH BREADING MIX!

The Bulalo is said to have originated from Batangas. To this day, the province takes pride in this famous Pinoy beef recipe. The locals who invented the dish simmered the pieces of bone marrow until meaty, deep-flavored broth is made.

And for additional flavor, vegetables such as sitaw, repolyo and mais were added to the beefy broth—and the rest is history.

Try our delicious Bulalo recipe made oh-so-malinamnam by AJI-NO-MOTO ® Umami Seasoning.

The Ilocanos are known for their flavorful cuisine. One classic dish that is proudly Ilocano is the Dinengdeng—also called “Abraw” or “Inabraw”. Its history can be traced back during the pre-colonial period. Vegetables in the Ilocos region are abundant, and so locals became creative in the kitchen and invented this healthy Pinoy ulam—a vegetable dish that is unique, yet so familiar.

Some find it similar to pinakbet, but Dinengdeng has fewer veggies and more bagoong. It’s a must-try when you travel to Ilocos—or try making one at home with AJI-GINISA® ! Follow our recipe here .

Palabok means to “add flavor” or to “mix in different spices” and for a pancit dish that is packed with deliciousness, the name palabok is only fitting. Like other pancit dishes, the Pancit Palabok is of Chinese origin—made more Pinoy as its recipe evolved through time!

This classic Pinoy dish is made with thin rice noodles topped with a bright, orange sauce, pork cracklings (chicharon), shrimp, tinapa, and toasted garlic. Here’s a trivia: Pancit Luglug and Pancit Palabok follow the same recipe for the sauce. The only difference is the noodles: Pancit Palabok uses thinner noodles, while Pancit Luglug uses thicker ones!

Try our Pancit Palabok recipe with PORKSAVOR® ALL-IN-ONE SEASONING MIX .


Chicken Embotido

With the arrival of the Spaniards came new cooking techniques that fueled the discovery of more Filipino dishes. One dish that became a staple in early-Filpino fiestas was the “embutido.” It’s a delicious meatloaf dish made by mixing pork with various ingredients such as egg, minced vegetables, and spices to taste. Delicioso!

But did you know that you can also make embutido with chicken meat? Try our delicious Chicken Embutido recipe made even more nakakatakam with CHICKENSAVOR™ All-in-One Seasoning Mix !

Lumpiang Sariwa is a simple and healthy appetizer made with fresh vegetables, wrapped in a homemade crepe, smothered with a thick, sweet sauce. This recipe is so well-loved, that other Asian countries also take pride in their own versions of this dish The origin of the recipe, though, is widely believed to be of Chinese influence. For a no-cook, no-fuss Pinoy merienda, try making Lumpiang Sariwa!

Follow our Lumpiang Sariwa recipe made yummier with AJI-GINISA®!

This classic Flipino dish—our National Hero’s favorite!—is said to be invented in the 1800s. That’s over two centuries ago! Tinolang Manok’s rich and flavorful broth is made with seared pieces of chicken sautéed with garlic, onions, papaya. This is a Pinoy dish made to last for generations.

Make sure to perfect the recipe! It’s fairly easy. Follow our Tinolang Manok recipe made savory with CHICKENSAVOR™ ALL-IN-ONE SEASONING MIX.

The term Pata Tim is a shortened version of “Pata Itim” which literally means “black pork hock.”

It’s a Filipino dish believed to be derived from the Chinese red braised pork recipe. The Chinese influence on the flavor of this dish is apparent.

It is prepared by marinating the pork hock in brine overnight and seared until golden brown. On a different pot, the red-black sauce is made where the hock is brought to a boil for hours—until desired tenderness is achieved!

Want it crispy? Follow our Crispy Pata Tim recipe made tastier with SARSAYA® Oyster Sauce.

We’re pretty sure all of us Pinoys love Arroz Caldo. But did you know that the name Arroz Caldo is of Spanish origin, but the recipe itself was introduced by the Chinese?

A bowl of this hot rice congee can take any sick blues away. It’s easy to make at home. Make it more delicious by adding some tokwa and AJI-NO-MOTO® UMAMI SEASONING ! Follow our recipe here .

Sinigang is probably one of our most-loved Pinoy dishes. That’s why it’s considered as our country’s National Dish. The invention of its recipe can be traced back even before the Spanish colonial era, and food historians believe that the origin of the dish is indigenous.

This Filipino recipe has evolved through time, thus the growing list of the versions of Sinigang. One classic favorite is the Sinigang sa Bayabas ! Try cooking it at home now with AJI-NO-MOTO® UMAMI SEASONING!

The name of this classic Pinoy dish says a lot about its origin. The word “caldero” means “cauldron” in Spanish. Traditionally, caldereta is made with goat meat. But over time, Filipinos created their own versions with beef chunks as the main ingredient. The meat is stewed until tender in a mixture of tomato paste, onions, garlic, potatoes and green peppers. Pang-fiesta ang sarap!

Here’s an easy-to-follow Beef Kaldereta , made tastier with AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix :

This famous sisig ulam recipe is a proud Kapampangan invention! It’s a ceviche of minced pig ears, innards, and onions sizzled to perfection. It’s so well-loved that Pinoys made healthier versions of this classic Pinoy dish—such as the tofu sisig! Instead of pork, why not tofu? Healthier, but still tasty!

Ready your sizzling plate! Check out our Tofu Sisig recipe !

Or if you’re craving for the classic recipe, our Pork Sisig recipe is the way to go.

Tofu Sisig man ‘yan o Pork Sisig, lalong sasarap with PORKSAVOR® All-In-One Seasoning Mix!

Tortang Talong is an eggplant omelette dish that is 100% Pinoy, 100% delicious! Caviteños particularly prepare it the simplest way possible: just grill the eggplant, dip and mash it in an egg mixture, then fry! So tasty and easy to make! Perfect para gawing ulam today, ‘di ba?

Try our delicious Tortang Talong dish made with AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix.

Another Chinese-influenced Pinoy dish, the Bihon Guisado literally means “sautéed noodles.”  Chinese traders introduced noodles to Filipinos and since then, “pancit” has become a Filipino staple.

Bihon Guisado is one of the simplest pancit dishes you can try cooking at home! Best to prepare it during birthdays for “long life.” Here’s our easy Bihon Guisado recipe with PORKSAVOR® ALL-IN-ONE SEASONING MIX!

Tinola is a classic Filipino recipe. The invention of its recipe dates back 200 hundred years ago. The more common tinola recipe is made with chicken, but Filipinos being creative in their own right, made a seafood version of the dish—the Tinolang Tahong.

Enjoy this new and unique take on the classic tinola recipe—made with mussels!  Follow our recipe here . Tastier pa with AJI-NO-MOTO® UMAMI SEASONING!

Every region in the Philippines has its own version of the Ginisang Gulay, hence, its exact origin could not be determined. The recipe is clearly Pinoy though, making use of vegetables and backyard crops that Filipinos usually make use of in their cooking!

Try making this delightful and healthy ulam for your family today! Follow our Ginisang Gulay recipe na mas pinalinamnam with Aji-Ginisa®.

This ginger-infused chicken noodle soup made with glass noodles and shredded chicken is a recipe introduced to us by the Chinese. This classic Pinoy dish is a favorite of many.

Calm everyone’s mood by cooking up a batch of Chicken Sotanghon for the family! Full recipe here . Mas masarap lalo with CHICKENSAVOR™ ALL-IN-ONE SEASONING MIX!

This tasty, tangy ulam dish is proudly Pinoy. The Philippines, being an archipelago, has an abundance of fish to catch. Hence locals invented this dish by slow-cooking their freshly-caught fish in a vinegar mixture to give it a tangy, mouthwatering taste.

This classic Filipino dish is a breeze to make. Just follow our Paksiw na Bangus recipe . Use AJINOMOTO AJI-SHIO® SEASONING MIX para mas lalong masarap!

During the British occupation, Indian military forces known as Sepoys were part of the expedition. In the Philippines, they tried recreating their beloved curry with Pinoy ingredients such as coconut milk, et voila, the Kare-Kare was born! Wow.

This creamy, meaty-licious ulam is best-served with Bagoong!

Ready your pots and pans and follow our Kare-Kare recipe made more delicious with AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix.

For more easy-to-cook Pinoy dishes, make sure to check out more of our Cookmunity recipes . Happy cooking!