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Updated on Aug 12, 2019. Posted on May 11, 2014

24 Delicious Filipino Foods You Need In Your Life

Break out the heavy duty rice cooker. It's time to feast.

1. Lumpia

What it is: Filipino–style spring rolls.

Why it's awesome: The filling varies, but one thing remains the same: You can (and will) inhale them by the dozen. Recipes here and here.

2. Sinigang

What it is: Hot and sour soup.

Why it's awesome: Tamarind paste and calamansi (or Philippine lime) juice infuse the broth with its signature sour flavor. This version calls for salty chunks of pork and a splash of creamy coconut milk to round out things out. Recipe here.

3. Chicken Afritada

What it is: Chicken stew.

Why it's awesome: Spanish influences can be found throughout Filipino cuisine, and this tomato-based stew with chicken, peppers, and onions is one of the heartiest examples. Recipe here.

4. Cassava Cake

What it is: A creamy, not-too-sweet dessert made from cassava root and coconut milk.

Why it's awesome: It's sweet, but not cloyingly so. For texture, the top is broiled until it's almost crunchy. It can also be made gluten-free. Recipe here.

5. Pancit Palabok

What it is: Noodles!

Why it's awesome: It's a super versatile, catch-all dish that centers around a simple, savory combination of meat, veggies, and noodles. Recipe here.

6. Ube Ice Cream

Raymund Macaalay /

What it is: Exactly what it sounds like: ice cream made from the root crop ube, also known as purple yam.

Why it's awesome: Purple ice cream. 'Nuff said. Recipe here.

7. Pork Adobo

What it is: Tender pork belly braised in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and bay leaves.

Why it's awesome: All of the flavors? Check. Recipe here.

8. Chicken Bistek

What it is: Meat cooked in a sauce of soy and citrus.

Why it's awesome: Soy sauce is cut with lemon juice or calamansi to make an addictive, tangy marinade. Recipe here.

9. Chicharon

What it is: Fried pork rinds.

Why it's awesome: Fried. Pork. Rinds. Recipe here.

10. Calamansi Whiskey Sour

What it is: A cocktail highlighting one of the most frequently used fruits in Filipino cooking.

Why it's awesome: The only thing better than calamansi? Calamansi spiked with whiskey. Recipe here.

11. Bibingka

What it is: Sweet coconut cake.

Why it's awesome: Rice flour + coconut cream = a Filipino Christmastime treat that's delicious enough to eat year-round. Recipe here.

12. Sizzling Pork Sisig

What it is: Pork parts (often: head, liver, cheeks) mixed with onions, chiles, citrus, and egg.

Why it's awesome: The pork is prepped in multiple ways — in this case: boiled then grilled — then served on a sizzling hot plate. Recipe here.

13. Kare-Kare

What it is: Oxtail stew.

Why it's awesome: The key ingredient that brings everything together? Peanut butter. Recipe here.

14. Halo-Halo

Jun Belen /
Sharon Yamauchi /

What it is: Dessert made with a hodgepodge of ingredients, including shaved ice, sweet beans, fruit, tapioca, and ube ice cream.

Why it's awesome: Halo-halo means "mix mix" in Tagalog, and that's exactly what you're supposed to do with it. Recipe here.

15. Lechon

What it is: Whole roasted pig.

Why it's awesome: It doubles as the most intense potluck centerpiece you've ever seen.

16. Biko

What it is: Sweet sticky rice.

Why it's awesome: This creamy, easy-to-make dessert only requires a few ingredients. But it still packs a ton of flavor, and it's garnished with equally addictive latik, or cooked-down coconut milk or cream. Recipe here.

17. Kaldereta

What it is: Hearty meat stew with potatoes, peppers, and liver sauce.

Why it's awesome: The stew is traditionally made with goat, but you can also sub in beef or chicken for those who haven't yet seen the light. Recipe here.

18. Arroz Caldo

What it is: A thick and creamy rice soup or porridge.

Why it's awesome: Comfort food at its finest. Rice is simmered with spices and aromatics (and in this case, chicken), then topped with spring onions and fried garlic for extra crunch. Recipe here.

19. Dessert Lumpia

What it is: Sweetened bananas baked in lumpia wrappers, then drizzled with caramel and chocolate.

Why it's awesome: ANG SARAP. Recipe here.

20. Longganisa

What it is: Filipino–style sausage.

Why it's awesome: It's the breakfast of champions. Recipe here.

21. Ukoy

What it is: Crispy shrimp fritters with tangy vinegar dipping sauce.

Why it's awesome: Portable perfection. Recipe here.

22. Tocino

What it is: Sweetened cured pork.

Why it's awesome: Thin strips of pork sit for several hours (or days) in a mixture of sugar, salt, garlic, and oil, then are fried up in a hot pan until the coating caramelizes. Recipe here.

23. Leche Flan

What it is: Caramel custard.

Why it's awesome: This dense, silky dessert is richer than its Spanish counterparts because it's made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Nom factor: high. Recipe here.

24. Filipino Spaghetti

What it is: Noodles sweetened with your choice of sugary sauce — like banana ketchup or condensed milk. Bonus points for adding chopped up hot dogs.

Why it's awesome: Sweet spaghetti. Don't knock it till you try it. Recipe here.