5 Famous Filipino Foods in America To Try Now!

More than “Balut!”

Anj Salonga (Writer)
3 min readJul 5, 2021
Filipino Food Pork Adobo with hard-boiled eggs in a pan.
Photo by Eiliv Aceron from Pexels

For the past decades, Asian Cuisine has been dominating America for its diverse flavors and unique taste. There are Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and more. But no one was talking about “I’m craving for some Filipino Food today!”

Although in 2019, there are more than 4.1 million Filipinos living in America, it has been a challenge to put Filipino Food to the mainstream. One of the reasons is the diverse influence from other countries and having different dishes from every region.

Until the efforts and vision of the 2nd generation of Filipinos residing in the country, have them creating #FilipinoFoodMovement and adding the interest of well-known personalities.

The late Culinary Superstar Anthony Bourdain introduced Sisig in 2008. He then came back to the country a few times including his last visit in 2016 where he explored Cebu and Manila. Also in 2012, Andrew Zimmern predicted Filipino Food as the Next Big thing in American mainstream cuisine. It had grown so much interest in Filipino Cuisine that expands the opportunities for more dishes that now are loved by many Americans.

Other than Balut and Dinuguan, here are the most famous Filipino Foods to try now:

  1. Adobo — came from the word “adobar”, a Spanish term “to marinade” influenced by the 333 years of Spanish Colonialism in the Philippines. It is said to be the Unofficial National Dish of the Philippines against its competitor Sinigang. There are many variations of the dish from pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables, and many more (Yes! Adobo EVERYTHING!) But, the main ingredients are vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorn, and bay leaf with the main ingredient of any meat or vegetable. I will post more about different Adobo versions, soon! It has also been featured many times in different TV shows in America and food vloggers on YouTube.
  2. Sisig — will make you say “This goes well with beer!” or like what Anthony Bourdain said, “casual, accessible, [and] exactly what you need after a few beers”. This dish was originated from Pampanga, the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. It is made out of pig snout, cheeks, and ears which shows the natural creativity of Filipinos for using all parts of the animal. It is usually served on a hot sizzling plate topped with raw egg what makes it creamy and calamansi.
  3. Lechon — which again, made Anthony Bourdain say “Best Pig, ever!” was also influenced by Latin Cuisine with the same name. It is roasted evenly for hours with delicious fillings and is known for its crispy skin. Filipinos usually have it served for special occasions like family reunions, fiestas, Christmas, or New Year. Now, Stuffed Lechon Belly is a thing as well.
  4. Lumpia — “Lumpiang Shanghai” came from the influence of the Chinese during the pre-colonial trading era. It’s the Filipino’s take on spring rolls then added on local resources from different regions. AND, if a party doesn’t have Lumpia, let’s just say it’s not a party, just kidding! This is just a staple to every birthday party here in the Philippines, partnered with Filipino Style Spaghetti and fried chicken. Yes! It’s a must, bes!
  5. Halo-Halo — and we all end up with the dessert. The Queen of all Filipino desserts! Directly translate to “Mix-Mix” mainly consists of ice, evaporated milk, Leche flan, and ube ice cream. Other toppings could be different depending on restaurants or province but mostly sweetened banana, jellos, beans, red beans, nata, and dried pinipig. If you’re like me who’s not a fan of desserts and sweets, there is a simple yet famous version of Halo-Halo from Razon’s Restaurant from Pampanga. But don’t get me wrong, the leftover milk from mixing all the ingredients of Halo-Halo is STILL the best thick yogurt-like drink!

But of course, there are still more dishes that Filipinos were introducing to Americans like Pancit, Sinigang, BBQ, Kare-Kare, Caldereta, and many more.

This also calls for a different take of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans on fusion dishes and be creative but also grounded to the core of cuisine.

I know that this is just the start of the interest of many Americans and the world for Filipino Culture.

Do you agree?

Let me know your favorite Filipino Food!

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Anj Salonga (Writer)

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