Doesn’t the best kind of food make you go absolutely crazy? Eating just one bite is never enough; when you have your favorite food, you can’t help but want spoonful after spoonful until you’ve devoured the entire dish! Food can make us happy in an instant when we remember all the wonderful memories we’ve associated them with. But it can also make us sad and nostalgic — longing for a past memory we wish to return to. From changing moods to cravings that can’t seem to be satisfied — isn’t it amazing, the way food can turn your mind inside out? The best dishes will do that to you; try your favorite Filipino food and see for yourself!
Filipino food as comfort food can’t be understated. It can make a long day bearable, and a good day even better. Coming home to these Filipino dishes, or making them from the comfort of your own kitchen, is a joy that is simply incomparable. If the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, these dishes could woo anyone over!
You probably already know this by now, but Filipino food comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Across regions and cities — and even households and families — food is adaptable, taking the preference of its chef … or its eater (in some cases, they’re one and the same). Even your own favorite dish can look different, in a number of ways! Through adding ingredients, new layers of flavors and textures, or even just changing names, Filipino food is popular and beloved around the country for its diverse and bountiful offerings. Don’t like one dish? Don’t worry; there’s always another waiting for you to love it!
Filipino food can make you go crazy in the best way possible. So without further ado, here are the five that make me go absolutely insane — and I hope they make you feel the same way, too!
What is it? On a cool, rainy day, porridge or lugaw is almost always the best option. We love the homey and warm feeling it leaves us with — all the more when we combine it with this gem of a Filipino food! An integral part of one of the best comfort foods, tokwa’t baboy is a combo of deliciously sinful pork and healthy, firm tofu. This dish is a staple in any Filipino kitchen, and not just during rainy days, too! With a tasty, savory marinade, you get everything you love in this simple but perfect meal!
What makes this dish so insane — in the best way? Of all the Filipino food on this list, tokwa’t baboy has to be the most versatile. Whether you’re enjoying it as an appetizer, a main dish, or a pulutan with friends, this dynamic duo will never fail to satisfy. Tokwa’t baboy is popular across the country for its delightful mix of tender pork and crunchy tofu. Beyond just a marriage of textures, you get wonderful flavors, too! The marinade of soy sauce, vinegar, and other spices and ingredients make this dish explode in your mouth with every bite. You won’t be able to get enough! I know I certainly haven’t.
Fun facts about this dish. You simply can’t go wrong with tokwa’t baboy — and that’s proven by how old this dish actually is! Tokwa’t baboy has been around since time immemorial. Its name comes from tokwa, the Lan-nang or Hokkien word for beancurd, and baboy — which is pretty self-explanatory. However, did you know that it wasn’t always referred to that way? And even further, did you know that the original tokwa’t baboy didn’t contain tokwa at all? Originally another version of kinilaw, the initial tokwa’t baboy was referred to as kinilaw na baboy! Hailing from Cavite, tokwa’t baboy has won over the hearts of Filipinos across the country. And the addition of tofu to an already tasty dish has cemented its place as a classic!
Tips for cooking tokwa’t baboy. Our tokwa’t baboy dish makes use of a combination of two parts of the pig. These would be the chewy, succulent pig ears, as well as the tender and classic pork belly, or liempo. Other recipes for this dish tend to include pork shoulders as well, so it’s up to you whether or not you’d like to incorporate that here. Regardless of what part of the pig you’re using, it’s important to cook it well to ensure that it’s neither too tough nor too mushy. One of the best parts of tokwa’t baboy is knowing that you’ve struck the perfect balance of textures. So pay attention to that and you’re sure to have a winner on your hands! This Filipino food is definitely worth it!
What is it? Filipino food is often influenced by other cultures — be it Spanish, Chinese, or even Indian. Such is the case with this wonderful dish: the Pinoy chicken curry! Smoky, earthy flavors match a distinctly bright visual and tantalizing aroma — that is the mark of a perfect chicken curry. Meaty, yummy chunks of kitchen mingle with the fresh slices of bell peppers and potatoes in a hearty, filling stew. Because it’s Filipino food, our own ingredients have come to substitute some of the Indian version’s classic components. Coconut milk, fish sauce, and bell peppers are just some of the elements of a Pinoy chicken curry that make it doubtlessly our own — and still delicious!
What makes this dish so insane — in the best way? Chicken curry is a Filipino food that appeals to all your senses. It isn’t just a dish that tastes good; it looks and smells good, too! Just glancing at the vibrant hues of this stew will make you want to devour it in one fell swoop. Bright yellow and yellow orange tones are accented by the different components of this dish, hints of green and red shining through. And let’s not forget that absolutely intoxicating scent, no? Pinoy chicken curry’s fragrance is one you could smell from miles away. You may try to close your eyes and resist it, but that irresistible aroma will make you long for bite after bite.
Fun facts about this dish. Pinoy chicken curry isn’t all that different from other Filipino food that make use of coconut milk. In fact, one might argue that save the curry powder and cumin, this dish is just another scrumptious ginataan! That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, though; after all, who doesn’t love gata? This scrumptious, creamy liquid is the star ingredient of many Filipino dishes, particularly in the Bicolano region. Coconut milk works perfectly with dishes that have a hint (or more) of spice to them. Mix the piquant with the rich and sweet, and you have a stellar combination. And Pinoy chicken curry certainly is no different!
Tips for cooking Pinoy chicken curry. With a lot of different ingredients involved in making this Filipino food, Pinoy chicken curry can seem quite daunting. However, don’t fret! It’s a lot easier to make than it may appear. One tip I can give you in particular is to fry your potatoes before cooking the actual dish; not for too long, just a minute on each side. This is so your potatoes become slightly firmer, and won’t break apart or become mushy when you start making your curry. We also typically make use of bone-in chicken for this recipe. While it’s really the former that’s able to bring out an even richer, heartier flavor, you can use any other cut you prefer!
What is it? Ah, the gorgeous tomato-based stew. Could any Filipino food spell out comfort food any better? We certainly don’t think so. And the best part? There are so many types to choose from. Kaldereta, menudo, and mechado are definitely some of the first to come to mind. But, of course, we cannot forget the equally gorgeous and tantalizing pork afritada! A symphony of flavors are ready to excite and overwhelm you in this mouthwatering and addictive dish! With an assortment of elements and textures with every spoonful, this is a dish you won’t be able to get enough of!
What makes this dish so insane — in the best way? Pork afritada is a hodgepodge of ingredients that come together in the most cohesive way possible. You wouldn’t think that ingredients like hotdogs, carrots, potatoes and peas would go so perfectly together. But this Filipino food gives us exactly that and more! The fact that all the ingredients for this dish are so inexpensive definitely doesn’t hurt, either. With many of the important components easily found in a common kitchen, making a tasty dish has never been so accessible — or easy!
Fun facts about this dish. With all the different tomato-based stews out there, one may come to wonder: what exactly sets afritada apart from its tomato-ey neighbors? For one, menudo’s ingredients’ cuts are much smaller than what you can find in afritada. Further, menudo typically includes raisins; these sweet dried grapes cut through the richness and acidity of the tomato stew. In afritada, meanwhile, raisins are not as common a sight. Meanwhile, when it comes to caldereta, the presence of liver spread separates the former from the two other meals. Whether it’s afritada, kaldereta, or menudo you prefer, one thing’s for sure — Filipinos are spoilt for choice when it comes to their food!
Tips for cooking pork afritada. Pork afritada is quite an easy dish to make. And like most other Filipino foods, it’s quite adaptable, too! There are different methods of cooking pork afritada, different ingredients to add, that will make your kitchen experience even more memorable. After all, the best version of a dish is the one you enjoy best, isn’t it? Whether that’s by adding chunky, tropical pineapples, or sharp cheddar cheese, afritada can be enjoyed in more ways than one. It’s up to you to find your favorite!
What is it? Any Filipino food lover would be remiss not to know this so-called national food! Sinigang is a dish that needs no introduction. The tart broth, the juicy meat, and the fresh vegetables — all of these come together for a soup without compare, hearty and filling and satisfying overall. Sinigang na baboy is the ultimate comfort food, and one sip of its refreshing soup is proof enough of the fact. It comes as no surprise, then, that many have lauded this dish and referred to it as the quintessential Filipino food!
What makes this dish so insane — in the best way? A mere sip of this dish is enough to evoke in one an array of pleasant emotions. Comfort, warmth, and satisfaction abound with every bite of this sour soup! The tasty sinigang manages to mingle perfectly with the tender chunks of meat and other crisp vegetables that fill one’s bowl. Whether it be kamias, sampaloc, or even guava you’re using as a souring agent, each bite will both wake you up and wind you down after a long day. The Filipino food to beat all other Filipino foods, who wouldn’t fall in love with this timeless dish?
Fun facts about this dish. We know how much we Filipinos love sinigang. But did you know that our special soup is beloved all around the world, too? It’s true! In a 2021 survey conducted by travel guide TasteAtlas, sinigang rated highest amongst vegetable soups around the world! Brimming with flavor that, according to TasteAtlas. “perfectly match[es] the harsh tropical heat of the country,” sinigang is nothing short of a national treasure. It doesn’t matter whether it’s this particular pork sinigang you’re making, or another one of its endless variants. Bangus, salmon, or shrimp notwithstanding, sinigang is enjoyable in any way, shape, or form!
Tips for cooking sinigang na baboy. A perfect sinigang dish would be nothing without your absolutely succulent meat, wouldn’t it? This typically requires that you allow your pork to cook and simmer for quite a while. However, for those on the go, this isn’t exactly an ideal set up. Spending too much time in the kitchen can leave you pressed for it when it comes to other, sometimes more important activities. To be more time-efficient, the answer is simple: a slow cooker! Getting a slow cooker allows for you to toss your meat in and leave it for a few hours. This way, it tenderizes without much effort nor attention on your end, and you still end up with a delicious result.
What is it? Not to be outdone by sinigang, here comes the next contender for a national dish! For those who aren’t big fans of sour flavors — why not turn somewhere a little more savory? The Filipino food I’m referring to, of course, is none other than the classic adobo! The perfect combination of umami, savory, and sweet, pork adobo is yet another Filipino staple. This dish pairs perfectly with a warm bed of white rice that will make your meal heartier and yummier! A delectable marinade of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic makes your dish rich, flavorful, and oh so delicious. In every bite of adobo, flavor truly is king!
What makes this dish so insane — in the best way? One of the easiest and tastiest meals in the country — and dare I say, across the globe — adobo is a perfect dish. Juicy, tender pork belly soaks up every tantalizing flavor of your adobo sauce. This Filipino food is one that you can enjoy any time of day — be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Not only is it incredibly tasty, but adobo smells great, too; its aroma wafting through the kitchen will make anyone’s mouth water. With the many ways you can put a spin on this dish, it goes without saying that this Filipino food can truly drive you crazy — in the best way possible!
Fun facts about this dish. Did you know that adobo is a food and cooking method unique to the Philippines? In fact, this popular Pinoy favorite predates even the Spanish colonial period! Indigenous peoples have been using the adobo cooking method for centuries. Cooking and preserving meat in vinegar and salt helped in keeping your main ingredients fresh — much like kinilaw, as we mentioned above! Even Mexico has its own spin on adobo — one that is spicier and infused with more flavors common to that region! But it’s the classic vinegar-soy sauce-peppercorn combo that’s won the hearts of the Filipino cuisine.
Tips for cooking pork adobo. A feast for the eyes, ears, and mouth, a perfect pork adobo can make anyone’s day! The trick is really letting the flavors develop. Cooking adobo in itself is an easy process. But the most work and time really goes into ensuring that you’ve allowed all the flavors to seep in as much as possible. One of the best things about adobo is its flavorful meat that practically melts in your mouth. You’ll need at least an hour of marinating your pork belly (or whatever cut you use) to get that optimal juiciness you know and love.
Truly, Filipino food can make you go insane — in the best way! Which of these dishes drives you craziest? And which ones should we add to this list? Let us know in the comments below. Happy cooking!