Essential Filipino cuisines and where to try them in Singapore
Mouth-watering delights from the Philippines ahead!
Singaporeans are rather fortunate to taste and delight in food from all around Southeast Asia.
While there are Thai and Indonesian restaurants and eateries behind just about every street corner, we tend to forget that we have left out a vibrant part of the Southeast Asian palate: Filipino food.
Unfortunately for most of us, our exposure to Filipino food might only be Jollibee. Yet as delicious as the eatery’s fried chicken and spaghetti is, there is so much more to experience and enjoy.
Due to its geography, the Philippines has been a key trading port throughout history. This has made the archipelago a melting pot of cultures from all around the world that can be best felt from its cuisine.
Here is just a splash of its vibrancy and where to find them in Singapore.
It’s not exactly a dish as much as it’s a slice of culture. Merienda is a light meal enjoyed by the Hispanic world and the Philippines, eaten twice a day between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner.
These meals can range from savoury delights, such as Kakanin sweet cakes, to slightly heavier selections such as Arroz Caldo rice porridge.
Merienda selections can be found in most Filipino eateries and restaurants, such as Max’s Restaurant (which has islandwide delivery!).
Adobo is one of Filipino cuisine’s most famous dishes. It refers to both the tangy dish itself, commonly involving chicken or pork, and the cooking technique to create it.
Filipino Adobo also happens to represent the dynamism of their culture, where the version was adapted from Spanish but has been integrated with herbs native to the Philippines and soya sauce brought to the archipelago by Chinese traders.
Often described as the national dish of the Philippines, Adobo can be found in most Filipino eateries.
You can get the dish in Singapore at Adobo Connection and Inasal Restaurant. Both restaurants have been buzzed about for their takes on the dish.
Yet another ever-popular cuisine is Lechon or whole pigs roasted over charcoal. Its mouthwatering combination of tender meat and sweet, crispy skin has made it an essential part of every celebration and large gatherings.
Cooking Lechon is no easy feat either, with masters or “Lechoneros” often spending hours on end manually rotating the spit to ensure the perfect texture.
Eateries to try the delectable dish include Lechon Republic and Don Lechon.
Don’t let the light colours fool you. One whiff of the enriching soup is enough to make a taste test irresistible. Bulalo’s broth is patiently made through simmering beef shanks and bone marrow for hours until its collagen and fat have melted into a clear broth.
The soup is usually paired with vegetables such as potatoes, corn, carrots and cabbage.
Give the enriching soup a try at El Mesa and Kabayan Filipino Restaurant.
Capping off the list is yet another delectable product of intercultural exchange. While noodles or Pancit were introduced into the Philippines by Chinese immigrants, Pancit dishes are amongst the most delicious variants of the food.
Although a wide variety of Pancit dishes can be found, such as being fried with chicken or pork, they might not be too unfamiliar to Singaporeans.
What will definitely excite taste buds here is Pancit Palabok, a uniquely Filipino creation. Noodles are drenched in creamy shrimp-based sauce, topped by hard-boiled eggs, shrimps, and meats, and all served with a hearty sprinkling of lime. The dish packs a burst of flavours that is simply heavenly.
The popular dish can be found in most of the aforementioned eateries, as well as at Tapa King Singapore and Filipino Fiesta.
Top off your meals with Filipino desserts such as Halo-Halo and Puto Bumbong!