Halo Halo! Filippino dessert

7 Philippine cuisines – Halo-Halo, Adobo, Kare-Kare

Delicious Pinoy dishes

While the Philippines certainly aren’t known for their food, below are 7 Philippine cuisines that we enjoyed. I’ve listed my 7 top Pinoy dishes that stand out from my month in the country, and one that I absolutely would not try (it’s a duck fetus – scroll the bottom to see Bourdain eat it).

1. Halo-halo! – It’s not #1 for the taste, but for the joy people get just saying the name. It might be impossible to pronounce it properly without smiling.

I’m serious – I heard it spoken dozens of times in my month in the Philippines, and each time I’d see a wider smile than the last. I really wanted to like it!  Despite the welcomed enthusiasm, I found it to be disappointingly not that tasty.

Halo Halo! Filippino dessert (Philippine cuisines at Visit50.com)
Halo-halo! Filipino dessert from my first day in the Philippines
What’s in halo-halo?

The name translates in english to “mix-mix” and it’s fitting. It’s always made of shaved ice, evaporated milk, and sugar. Then it appears to be whatever they have to throw in. They’ll add red beans, coconut gel, jackfruit, tapioca, corn flakes, jelly beans, yams, plantains caramelized in sugar. Yeah throw it in!

You may remember Halo-halo! from Top Chef:

Halo-halo was featured as a Quickfire Challenge dish in the seventh episode of the fourth season of reality television series Top Chef. Filipino-American contestant Dale Talde prepared halo-halo. It’s avocado, mango, kiwi and nuts. They named it as one of the top three Quickfire Challenge dishes by guest judge Johnny Iuzzini of Jean-Georges. [wikipedia]

2. Kare-Kare is classic Pinoy dish featuring oxtail and vegetables cooked in a thick peanut sauce. Yum!

Kare-kare Filipino dish

3. Chicken Adobo / Pork Adobo is a simple yet reliably delicious Filipino meal staple. It’s chicken or pork (or both!) braised in garlic, vinegar, oil, soy sauce. This Philippine cuisine tastes better than it looks!

Chicken Adobo - Philippine cuisines
Chicken Adobo

The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook blog says that every Filipino family has their own adobo recipe, and fortunately they share a few variations.

4. Puchero translates to stew pot. This is a Philippine dish with beef in bananas and tomato sauce:

Puchero, which translates to stew pot, is a dish with beef in bananas and tomato sauce - Philippine cuisines at Visit50.com
Puchero, which translates to stew pot, is a dish with beef in bananas and tomato sauce. This is one of my favorite Phillipine cuisines

5.  Longganisa is Filipino sausage. It’s similar to chorizo.

See below:

Longganisa, Philippine cuisines

6. Hamonado is a dish with pork sweetened in pineapple sauce. Yum!

Hamonado – pork + pineapple. Photo credit + recipe


7. Beef Kaldereta is another simple pinoy dish. It’s beef (or often goat shoulders!) in a tomato sauce stew.

Beef Kaldereta
Beef Kaldereta – meat in a tomato sauce stew. recipe & photo credit
And one Philippine dish that I most certainly will NOT eat

Next, let me introduce you to a food I would not eat in the Philippines.

Balut are duck eggs. They’re incubated until the fetus is all feathery and beaky, and then boiled. I’m told you can taste the feathers. That’s right – it’s a duck fetus!  ewwwh!

Check out my full post on Balut, where I explain what it is, how it’s prepared, and show videos of people enjoying it for the first time.

Balut closeup
Balutduck fetus!

Bonus – this is mostly unrelated to the 7 dish list above, but…

bacon wrapped hot dogs
I kept seeing people selling these bacon wrapped hot dogs. How has this not made it to the US yet??

Which is your favorite Philippine cuisines?  Do you have a favorite Filipino dish? I’m ready to eat!


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