Filipino Food – Lose the knife and eat Pinoy style

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In any real Filipino joint you won’t find a knife, just a fork, a spoon, and some truly unique food. What most probably don’t know is that the Philippines was once a Spanish colony, and the influences can be seen in the culture and cuisine. Food in the island nation is a mash-up of Asian and Spanish (and a few others like Chinese, Malay, and American), all combining for dishes that are one of a kind.

No chopsticks, no knife, no problem. For the most part, all you need to enjoy Filipino food is a spoon because the meats are usually slow-cooked and tender enough to manage with a spoon’s edge. The Philippines was the first country I encountered a strict fork and spoon combo. After a day or so of eating, I realized it’s a rather efficient means of eating, and the Philippines fills your spoon with all sorts of new and different flavors.

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Boracay on a Budget - $20 a day - Sising

This Pinoy classic comes from the kitchen on a hot plate still sizzling and giving your noses hints of garlic, chilies, and it’s vinegar base. Minced pork, onions, and topped with an egg, served and eaten with rice, this dish is full of flavor. Mix the hot plate with the rice, use your fork to fill your spoon and dig in!

My favorite Sisig: Lolo’s cooking station – Coron Town, Busuanga island

Related Article: Coron Palawan Guide


tocilog for breakfast!

This is more of a group of foods than anything, the dishes ending with …silog, just means it will be served with a fried egg and a serving of rice. The word before the silog specifies your choice of meat. Common choices are Longsilog (sausage), Hamsilog (Ham), Hotsilog (Hotdog), the list goes on! My personal favorite is a nice Spanish-Filipino mash-up Tocino, or Tocilog. OK, the name might not sound the most appealing, but trust me it’s good!


El Nido Philippines - Day Trip A-35

Meat over fire is a magical international recipe for goodness, and Filipinos do some nice chicken. There is no shortage of spits spinning full of tasty birds with a sweet and savory BBQ sauce. This is a good cost-effective option with a quarter chicken with rice coming in between 50-75P ($1-$1.75).


Philippines Food - loose the knife and eat Filipino Style-3

This bright pink delight was my favorite thing I put in my mouth while in the Philippines. The beef counterpart isn’t too far behind either, it’s seasoned nicely and cooked until tender.

My favorite: Tocino: Corto Del Mar Hotel – Coron Town, Busuanga Island

The Chorizo

Philippines Food - loose the knife and eat Filipino Style-2

If Tocino isn’t my favorite, it’s gotta be the chorizo! Again mixing flavors with the Spanish, this sweet and spicy sausage is served typically for breakfast alongside an egg, with rice or bread.

My favorite Chorizo: Marikit Pensionne – El Nido, Palawan Island

Garlic rice

Philippines Food - loose the knife and eat Filipino Style

Pair any of your main dishes with the moist and flavorful Filipino garlic rice. The grains of rice picks up a yellow color (some more than others) from cooking with the garlic, butter and salt are added before making it to your plate.

Filipino Paella

El Nido Philippines - Day Trip A-37

Another dish brought by the Spaniards and transformed in the kitchens of the Philippines is Paella. In the Philippines, the dish is similar to the version most are familiar with, where rice is mixed with local seafood and vegetables, then cooked to moist and flavorful perfection.

My favorite Paella: The Alternative Restaurant – El Nido, Palawan Island

Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide

The Philippines sometimes gets a bad wrap for its food, but if you are willing to give it a go, there is bound to be a few dishes that hit the spot (Besides vegetarians, I don’t know who couldn’t like the Tocino or Chorizo!). This is only a small sampling of my favorites I tried in my time on the islands of Boracay, Coron, El Nido, and the capital of Manila. The food complements the raw beauty of the islands and is served to you by some of the warmest people I have encountered while traveling.

I love to explore with my fork or in this case my spoon and the Philippines have lots of adventurous eating options as well, stay tuned for that post coming soon. In case you are wondering, yes, I did try an egg. You can’t go to Philippines without trying the infamous Balut egg! I not only had 1, but I had… the video to see.

Related Video: Eating A Balut Egg In The Philippines 

What Filipino Favorites did I miss? What should I try on my next trip to the Philippines?

16 thoughts on “Filipino Food – Lose the knife and eat Pinoy style”

  1. there is a meaning behind “silog”
    garlic-fried rice (sinangag), and fried egg (itlog)
    si = sinangag (not to be confused with sinigang which is that soup dish) and log = itlog thus becoming silog
    then as you already confirmed the word in the front is for what protein
    longanisa = filipino sausage = long
    tocino = to
    tapa = tap
    = tapsilog, longsilog, etc.

    great website by the way and amazing detail and resource to help filipino tourism

  2. This is what I love about Filipino delicacies, it’s a combination of asian, spanish and other national cuisines all mixed together, but still unique in its own way.

  3. True blooded Pinoys eat with our hands. Try Boodle fight, military/community free-style eating. No utensils, no plates, food on the table on a banana leaf!

  4. I love filipino food! my sister in law is from the Philippines and I know how to cook some of the foods! I do plan to visit your beautiful country some day!

  5. Your post made me smile. Lemme know when you’re back in Manila. You have yet to try the lechon, pork adobo ( try it again ), our puto-bumbong, and so many more!

  6. Funny enoough – even though I was eating garlic rice three times per day for one whole month, I never really had enough of it. In fact, I loved it 🙂 Filipino food can be very good if you know where to look… I was amazed on the delicious seafood, costing almost nothing! The only thing I really had problems with was the balot -I really wanted to try it, but it was imposible for me to do so…

  7. The Sisig sounds just delicious!! Although I’ve tried various different South East Asian cuisines, I’ve never tried Filipino food and it sounds really intriguing! I hadn’t realised there was so much Spanish influence in the food as well – I love chorizo in dishes!


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