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10 Best Filipino Dishes Every Home Cook Should Learn to Cook

Whether you want to learn how to cook or you’re just eager to break free from the monotony of your usual meals, Filipino dishes are a great way to elevate your culinary skills.

From comforting stews to flavorful grilled meats, Filipino cuisine offers a wide range of dishes that will surely satisfy your cravings. 

So grab your apron, put on your imaginary (or not!) chef’s hat, and take a look (or bite!) at these delectable dishes.


We’re starting strong with the king of Filipino comfort food, Adobo. This dish is the perfect blend of soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Keep in mind that adobo varies from region to region and from household to household.

For example, in the Bicol region where coconut milk is a staple ingredient that finds its way into many dishes, Adobo sa Gata is a popular variation of this classic dish. 

Instead of using just vinegar and soy sauce, coconut milk is added to create a rich and creamy sauce that coats the tender meat.

In contrast to the usual Adobo, which relies on soy sauce for its saltiness, there is also Adobo sa Asin which uses salt as the primary seasoning. This version highlights the simplicity of the dish, allowing the flavor of the meat to shine through.

Kare Kare

Kare-Kare is a creamy peanut-based stew that boasts tons of flavors and textures. It is traditionally made with tender oxtail and vegetables, but pork can also serve as the meat.

While there are ready to mix kare-kare seasoning products sold in groceries, making your own sauce from scratch is still the way to go. You can do this by cooking annatto in oil, and then adding the aromatics and peanut butter. 

Lastly, throw in a little bit of ground glutinous rice to act as the thickening agent for the sauce. 

This dish is served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on the side for added umami flavor.


If you’re looking for an easy dish that’s hard to mess up, Tinola is the ultimate winner. This simple yet delicious Filipino chicken soup is made with ginger, garlic, moringa leaves, and green papaya or chayote. 

Tinola is known for its light and refreshing broth that’s perfect for any time of the year.


Menudo is a dish with Spanish influence. While it shares its name with the famous Mexican dish, Filipino Menudo is distinct. 

The key ingredients and seasonings include pork, liver, garlic, onions, tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and optional additions like raisins, green peas, fish sauce (patis), or soy sauce for depth of flavor. 

This dish is commonly served during special occasions and family gatherings.

Bistek Tagalog

There’s nothing more satisfying than sinking your teeth into a tender and flavorful piece of beef, and Bistek Tagalog delivers just that. This dish features thinly sliced beef marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi juice (a local citrus fruit), and onions. 

The meat is then quickly pan-fried to achieve a perfect balance between juiciness and caramelization. The result is a succulent and tangy steak that will leave you craving for more.

For those who prefer a twist on the classic recipe, some households add a touch of sweetness by incorporating sugar or pineapple juice into the marinade. 

This adds a delightful hint of tropical flavor that compliments the savory notes of the soy sauce and calamansi juice. Don’t forget to garnish this dish with onion rings.


Sinigang is one of the most beloved dishes in the Philippines for a reason. This sour soup is typically made with tamarind or other souring ingredients like kamias, guava, or tomatoes, which give it its distinct tartness.

The soup is then filled with a variety of vegetables such as water spinach, long beans, taro root, and radishes, along with your choice of meat, whether it’s pork, beef, fish, or shrimp.

You can easily adjust the sourness and ingredients according to your personal preference. Some cooks prefer a tangier soup with a generous amount of tamarind, while others may opt for a milder version using other souring agents.


One of the heartiest dishes in Filipino cuisine is Kaldereta. This rich stew is made with tender chunks of meat, typically beef or goat, cooked in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. 

It is infused with garlic, onions, bell peppers, and bay leaves. For a more indulgent version, some cooks add liver paste to enhance the depth of flavor.

Many Kaldereta recipes also call for olives and in some cases, cheese. This adds a unique twist to the dish that sets it apart from other stews.


Another tomato-based stew that is loved by millions of Filipinos is Afritada. This dish features tender chicken or pork simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce with carrots, green beans, potatoes, and bell peppers. It’s a colorful dish that is perfect for sharing with family and friends.

The key to a delicious Afritada is the slow cooking process. This allows the flavors to meld together and the meat to become tender. Don’t forget to prepare rice alongside it. The combination of the savory sauce and perfectly cooked meat will have you reaching for seconds.


Sisig takes the crown in the Philippines when it comes to beer chow. Anthony Bourdain even said that it’s “perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole.”

This sizzling and mouthwatering dish originated in Pampanga and has since become a favorite across the country. Despite its humble roots, its popularity grew rapidly due to its irresistible flavor.

While this dish may seem hard to make, it’s actually quite simple once you understand the process. Sisig is made from parts of a pig’s head, such as the ears, cheeks, and snout, which are marinated, boiled, and grilled to perfection.

Once cooked, the meat is chopped into small pieces and mixed with onions, chili peppers, calamansi juice, and mayonnaise. The final touch is a cracked egg that is added to the sizzling plate, creating a creamy and flavorful sauce as it cooks.


A favorite in Filipino parties, Lumpia is a crowd-pleasing appetizer that never fails to impress everyone.

These crispy spring rolls are filled with a savory mixture of ground pork, shrimp, or vegetables, along with various seasonings such as garlic, onions, soy sauce, and black pepper. 

The filling is then wrapped tightly in a thin wrapper before being deep-fried to golden perfection. Lumpia is best paired with a sweet chili sauce.

If you want to eat healthier, Lumpiang Sariwa is an excellent alternative. This fresh spring roll is made with lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and jicama. 

Tofu or shrimp can also be added for extra protein. The filling is then wrapped in a soft crepe-like wrapper and served with crushed peanuts and a thick and sweet soy sauce thickened by corn starch.

Author Bio:

Nora Reyes is a formally trained chef and the creative mind behind “Recipes by Nora,” a blog dedicated to sharing personally tested and perfected Filipino food recipes. With a rich background that includes growing up in a Filipino-Chinese household in Naga City, Philippines, Nora developed her culinary skills from a young age. She has over a decade of experience in the food and hospitality industry, including roles as a training director for a top restaurant chain in New York City, a restaurant consultant, and a private chef.

Nora’s recipes are a blend of traditional Filipino methods and modern techniques, a reflection of her Filipino heritage and professional training in culinary arts.

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