Food Culture in the Philippines

Filipino cooking is largely Influenced by Chinese, Spanish and Indian cooking. Rice is a staple among the Filipino population. Side dishes are normally accompanied, but never eaten without rice. Plain steamed rice is eaten with a variety of dry and wet spiced dishes. 

Puto – a lightly sweetened rice dumpling. (pic: courtesy of Kusina Ni Teds

Chicken and pork are eating regularly but a typical favourite of the Filipino culture is fish, freshwater fish, saltwater fish and shellfish. These are normally fried or steamed. Plenty of garlic is used in cooking meals; food is normally cooked on a gas burner or charcoal fire. Traditionally in large families, Filipinos eat using a banana leaf for a plate. Also in homes at informal settings, food is eaten with hands  rather than with spoons and forks.

Halo Halo – Pic Courtesy: Max’s Restaurant

In Philippines, it’s customary to eat 4 to 5 meals a day. But in the western world, the Pinoys have adapted to two or three meals due to health reasons and time constraints . Our most popular snacks are chicharon, (deep fried chicken skin or pork rind), bibingka (buttered rice dumplings with salted eggs) and puto (lightly sweetened white rice cakes). Lechon (pig whole roasted outdoors over a spit fire is a traditional meal for a large gathering. Halo halo (combination of crushed ice, flan, tapioca, chopped tropical fruits, beans and purple yam ice cream) and Leche Flan are most popular desserts.

Every region of Philippines has its own specialty of foods and each one is unique in its flavours. In our next blog post, we will chat about different areas of Philippines and write about the characteristics of the cuisine in each province .