Filipino Foods Included in the Oxford Dictionary


From left to right (balut, pancit, kare-kare, lechon, sinigang, leche flan, puto, pandesal, halo-halo)

Filipinos are known for their hospitality, and food is always a part of it.  When you visit someone’s house, all they want is to keep and entertain you.  They always come up with an idea of preparing foods to better entertain their visitors.  Filipino Food is becoming known and is now a sprouting industry internationally.  Some popular Filipino foods like balut, pancit or pansit, puto, kare-kare, leche flan, lechon, and sinigang and Halo-halo made it to the Oxford Dictionary.  In order for a word to be included, the Oxford English Dictionary requires several independent examples of the word being used and evidence that it has been in use for a reasonable amount of time.

Balut – It is a developing bird embryo (usually duck or chicken) that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It originated in the Philippines and is commonly sold as street food.

Pancit “Pansit” – Pancit is prepared in many ways. Some popular preparations made of pancit are pancit bihon, pancit Malabon, pancit canton, pancit habhab, pancit Miki.

kare-kare – Stewed oxtail (sometimes pork hocks, calves’ feet, pig feet, beef stew meat, goat and chicken meat, and occasionally offal or tripe) complimented with savory peanut sauce and shrimp paste.

Lechon – It is a whole roasted pig influenced by the Spaniards. The word “lechon” originated from the Spanish referring to suckling pig that is roasted.

Sinigang – A soup or stew (made of pork or fish) characterized by its sour and savory taste most often associated with tamarind or guava.

Leche flan (also known as crème caramel and caramel custard) – It is an egg and milk based dessert with a soft caramel on top.

Puto – A Filipino steamed rice cake eaten as a dessert or served as a snack.  It may be served with savory dishes like dinuguan and pancit.

Pandesal – It is a crispy bread roll made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt. Some prefer this bread for breakfast.

Halo-halo – It is a mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, boiled sweet beans, coconut, sago, gulaman, steamed corn, and some fruits like jack fruit with ice cream or leche flan as toppings.

boodle fight

A traditional style of setting up a Filipino Dining Table. Everyone calls it Boodle Fight!

Facts About Philippine Cuisines
  • The style of cooking is from Austronesian origins to a mixed cuisine of Indian, Japanese, Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American.
  • The Philippines was colonized by Spain for more than 300 years beginning 1521, and it changed the ever growing amalgamation of unique tastes that is distinctly Filipino.
  • The methods of cooking are mainly boiling, steaming and roasting.
  • Ingredients are mainly obtained locally. People raise animals, grow vegetables and herbs in their backyards or on the farms, most especially those who live in the countryside. Fresh foods that are bought in stores are mostly locally grown.
  • Central Philippine cuisines are known for their chili hot dishes.
  • Northern Philippine cuisines are known for their bagoong (fermented fish or anchovy) flavored dishes like Pinakbet or Dinengdeng. Some other popular foods are bagnet (deep fried pork), longganisa (Ilocos and Pampanga version – Philippine sausage), tocino in Pampanga (marinated meat), pulutan (roasted or fresh meat), pansit (Batac Miki, Cabagan), bibingka (baked rice or cassava).
  • Southern Philippine Cuisines are known for their spices like turmeric, coriander, lemon grass, and cumin (not commonly used in Filipino cooking), and ginataang manok. They have abundant root crops like potatoes, cassava roots, and yams.
  • Seafood is popular as a result of the abundant ocean waters around the archipelago.
  • Some exotic popular foods are balut, dinuguan (chocolate meat (for foreigners) – it is made of pork blood and pork meat), salagubang (beetle), crocodile sisig (made of crocodile meat), Tamilok (made of a worm from Mangroves).
  • Some popular street foods are fried fish balls or squid balls, taho (made of fresh silken soft tofu, sago pearls or tapioca pearls, and arnibal for sweetener), kwek-kwek or tokneneng (boiled eggs dipped in orange batter and deeply fried), kikiam (made of ground pork and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets), banana cue (deep fried bananas with brown sugar), camote cue (deep fried sweet potatoes with brown sugar), mais con yelo, binatog, halo-halo, chicharon bulaklak (pork omentum boiled that is seasoned and deep fried).
  • Some popular desserts are puto (made of rice flour, sugar, and cheese), leche-flan, suman (steamed sweetened rice with coconut), and bibingka (made of rice or cassava flour with coconut and grilled), macaroni salad, fruit salad, buko salad (made of coconut). Anything sweet is for dessert.
  • Bagoong or patis (fermented fish or anchovy), gata (coconut milk), toyo (soy sauce), vinegar, chili, ginger, onions, laurel, pepper, and salt are some of the popular ingredients or spices used in preparing Filipino foods. They are always present in every Filipino household kitchen.
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables are mainly used for cookings like bananas, pineapple, guava, papaya, tamarind, tomatoes, and spring onion.
  • The most popular main dish and considered national dish is Adobo (made of meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic, which is browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade).
  • The most popular soups are Sinigang and Tinola (Sinigang is usually made of pork or fish with tropical vegetables and tamarind or guava for flavoring.  Tinola is made of chicken stewed in broth with fruits or vegetables (papaya is commonly used).
  • Typically, a Filipino meal is served 3 times daily (breakfast “almusal”, lunch “tanghalian”, dinner “hapunan”, snacks “merienda” in between meals).  Steamed or fried rice is always a part of every meal and is the most popular staple food for Filipinos.
  • Food is served all at once and not in courses. Drinks are usually offered during or after a meal.
  • Cutlery (knife) for eating food is not a typical item found on Filipino tables. However, Filipinos usually eat with spoon and fork together. (Related Story: Montreal-Philippines Cutlery Controversy)
  • Some popular staple foods are rice, mongo, black-eyed pea, and corn. These are the popular foods that Filipinos serve when typhoon or hurricane occurs.
  • Other popular dishes across the country are afritada, sisig, crispy pata, laing, chicken inasal, taba ng talangka, bulalo, arroz caldo, kamaro, ilocos empanada, puto, betute tugak, pinangat, pinakbet, sinugno, tapa (cured beef), lumpiang ubod, bicol express, relyenong alimango, inihaw na panga ng tuna, fish kinilaw, kuhol sa gata, sinanglay, mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), inihaw na liempo, empanada de kaliskis, camaro rebosado, bibingka, suman, champorado, buco pie, ensaymada, pastillas de leche, puto bumbong, taho, halayang ube, embutido, turon, lumpia.

    Fresh Tropical Vegetables in the Philippines

    Vegetables are produced locally.

Learn How to Pronounce some Popular Filipino Foods

More translations on foods.

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