Filipino dishes layer bold flavors with fresh ingredients.
One of the most popular dishes is adobo. It is a cooking process as well as a flavor profile, as it involves marinating protein in a sauce based on vinegar and seasonings such as soy sauce, black pepper, garlic and bay leaves. The protein is then browned in oil and transferred back to the marinade for a lengthy simmering. The sauce gets reduced while the protein tenderizes. The stew-like mixture is typically served over a bed of rice or with another traditional starch.

Here are some other Filipino dishes to spark innovation:

  • Bistek is flattened sirloin coated in seasoned breadcrumbs and fried. It is often topped with grilled onions and soy sauce. 
  • Kaldereta is a traditional goat meat stew, but has evolved over time to be made with beef, chicken or pork. The meat gets stewed with vegetables, such as bell peppers, olives and tomatoes, and liver paste. The latter contributes a metallic iron taste intended to counter the grassy flavor of goat. The stew is often finished with annatto seed, which gives it a vivid reddish-orange color without adding much flavor.
    Kare-kare is a meaty stew that includes oxtail braised in a thick and savory peanut sauce.
  • Kare-kare is another meaty stew. This specialty includes oxtail braised in a thick and savory peanut sauce. Organ meats as well as hocks and feet can also be added. Vegetables are quite varied and often include greens, cabbage and eggplant. Additional flavor comes from ground roasted peanuts, onions and garlic.
  • Lumpia is a spring roll made with a thin crepe called the lumpia wrapper. It contains a mixture of chopped vegetables – typically cabbage, carrots, green beans and leeks – along with minced meat. Pork is the most common protein used in lumpia, but beef and poultry are also used. The rolls are fried and served crispy with dipping sauces. The sauces provide an opportunity to add additional layers of flavor.
  • Lechón is suckling pig or chicken that is spit roasted after being rubbed or marinated with a variety of spices. This is considered a Filipino delicacy and starting to show up in high-end US restaurants. 
  • Sisig is a spicy dish made from parts of a pig’s head and liver. The meat first marinades in vinegar to tenderize, then it is seasoned with varied chili peppers and simmered for many hours. This is one of the hotter dishes in Filipino cuisine.