Philippines Food and Drink
The cuisine of the Philippines is a mixture of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab, Spanish, Japanese, American, and in some cases, Latin influences. Food in the Philippines is known for being an interesting combination of both sweet and sour flavours. For example, Champorado is a sweet cocoa rice porridge that is paired with tuyo which is a salted, sun-dried fish.
Vinegar is a common ingredient in many dishes around the country, while rice is considered the most important staple of the Filipino diet, with steamed rice accompanying most dishes. Food is rarely wasted and leftover rice is fried with garlic to make sinangag which is served at breakfast with eggs and either cured meat or sausages. Fruits and vegetables are also very common, with bananas, guavas, mangoes, papayas and pineapples as favourite fruits, while green, leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage as well as eggplant and beans are favourable vegetables. Coconuts are everywhere and are used in desserts, while coconut milk is the base of many sauces and coconut oil is used for frying.
Meat staples include chicken, pork and beef, but being an island nation, seafood is also very important. Favourite fish include tilapia, catfish, milkfish, mackerel and swordfish, while shrimp, prawns, oysters, mussels and crab are equally popular. When fish is served in the Philippines, it is either salted and pan-fried, or salted and deep-fried and then served with rice and vegetables.
Popular dishes include:
Adobo: this dish is considered the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. It consists of pork or chicken (sometimes both) that has been stewed or braised in a sauce of vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and soy sauce.
Bistek: this is the Filipino version of beef steak and is thinly sliced beef that has been marinated in soy sauce and calamansi. The beef is pan-fried and served with onions.
Kare-kare: oxtail or ox tripe is cooked with vegetables in a peanut-based sauce with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste).
Lechón: this is the centrepiece of many Filipino celebrations and is a whole roasted pig (sometimes suckling pigs or cattle calves are substituted).
The tropical climate in the Philippines makes chilled drinks a necessity. Stands at the side of the road selling cold fruit drinks and shakes. Popular flavours include melon, mango, papaya, avocado, watermelon and strawberry. Sago’t gulaman is a flavoured ice drink that is made with sago pearls and aga gelatin with banana extract. Fresh buko juice is coconut juice straight from the source. Popular beers include San Miguel and San Miguel Light as well as Red Horse Beer. Tapuy is a traditional Filipino alcoholic drink that is made from fermented glutinous rice. It is a clear wine that contains no preservatives or sugars but still maintains a mild sweetness.
Things to know:
When tipping in the Philippines, 10% is usually standard unless a service charge has already been added to the bill.
Drinking age: 18
Philippines Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to the Philippines.
Learn about the history and culture of the Philippines, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about the Philippines nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering the Philippines for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Philippines tours today!
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