The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands and each region is proud of their regional dishes. We weren’t able to eat all of the (obviously) Pinoy dishes, but we were able to get our fill of the dishes and desserts that I truly missed.
1) Sam Won’s galbijjim – Ok, this is OBVIOUSLY not a Filipino dish. This is Korean, from my and my cousins’ favorite Korean restaurant called Sam Won, located in BF Homes, Paranaque City. Galbijjim is a Korean beef short ribs dish and I think Sam Won prepares it in heaven and brings it back to earth for humans to enjoy.
2) Cafe Breton’s butter and sugar with lemon crepe – I know, I KNOW! This is a non-Filipino dish. But hear me out: Cafe Breton’s butter and sugar with lemon is utterly simple, but IT IS TO DIE FOR.
3) Chicken inasal and calamansi – Finally, something Filipino on the list. Inasal is a way of preparing grilled chicken, popular in one of the regions in Visayas. Calamansi is a small citrus fruit. It’s the Filipino’s version of lemon. Chicken inasal is best enjoyed dipped in soy sauce with calamansi juice. I personally love Bacolod Chicken Inasal’s chicken inasal.
4) Crispy boneless hito with green mango salad – Mesa’s crispy boneless hito (or catfish) is crunchy on the outside, but the meat is soft and not chewy. It’s served with green mango salad, and this shrimp paste locally called bagoong, which goes perfectly well with the hito.
5) Jolly Spaghetti, Chicken Joy and Jolly Hotdog – Filipinos know this: Jollibee > McDonald’s.
6) Isaw – Grilled chicken (sometimes pig) intestine. YUM!
7) Cheese rolls – When you’re in Manila, please make sure you stop by Mary Grace Cafe and order grilled cheese rolls. Goes well with a cup of brewed coffee. Oh, and while you’re there, order the mushroom pasta. It’s creamy and cooked in truffle oil.
8) Makati Supermarket’s spaghetti – I don’t know what makes this a snack that we enjoy going back to. Probably the memories that my husband has of it, but this dish is good enough to make me want to eat it again.
9) Serenitea’s Okinawa milk tea with pearls – This is my absolute favorite milk tea. I used to order one nearly everyday. I don’t know why. I just know it makes me happy!
10) Happy Lemon’s cocoa with rock salt and cheese – When I want to deviate from my usual Okinawa milk tea at Serenitea, I order this. It induces allergy attack, but I still order it anyway. It’s THAT GOOD. Tip: Don’t stir the liquid and don’t sip from a straw. Trust me.
11) Razon’s halo-halo – A Filipino dessert, halo-halo is traditionally a mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, various boiled sweet beans, jelly and fruits, and served in a tall glass or a bowl. Razon’s restaurant prepares its halo-halo differently, and it’s actually how I prefer my halo-halo. This is absolutely something that anyone must have when they’re in the Philippines.
12) Crispy pata – Nearly all Filipino restaurants serve crispy pata (or pig knuckle), so you won’t have to hunt for it. This is best enjoyed dipped in soy sauce.
13) Mountain Maid’s ube jam – Ah, yes. A trip to Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines, is not complete if you won’t buy at least one jar of this sweet and sticky goodness ( I think it’s also called “purple yam”)
14) Kopiroti’s kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and milk tea – Another non-Filipino dish that found its way into my Filipina tummy. Kaya toast is sweet and is complimented perfectly by the salty soft-boiled eggs.
15) Reyes’ chicken barbecue and peanut sauce – There’s nothing remarkable about their chicken barbecue UNTIL you dip it in their trademark peanut sauce.
16) Pichy-pichy with cheese – Arny & Dading’s makes the perfect pichy-pichy with cheese. Pichy-pichy is made from cassava (or tapioca-root), and when it’s topped with grated cheese, I could eat it all day.