By default, there is only one side dish in the Philippines: Rice – in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Filipino food is often served only lukewarm in the simple restaurants. Unlike many other Asian countries, Filipino cuisine is generally not seasoned spicy.
An exception are the dishes of the region Bicol, or in the style of Bicol. All prices below are per portion without side dishes. As of May 2004, a portion of rice costs 5 pesos (8 cents) in the Eatery and 20 pesos (32 cents) in the restaurant.
Fish, mussels, snails, crabs
There is almost everywhere a wide range of fresh and saltwater fish, mussels and snails, shrimp and crabs. Lobsters and lobsters you get, except directly on the coast, only rarely. Unfortunately, outside of Manila, only a small part of this offer can be found in the restaurants.
Inexpensive are the carp-like Tilapia, as well as the Bangus, both common and bred freshwater fish. Frequently also offered are catfish (Hito), a kind of catfish, which survive for a long time outside of the water, and can even move over meadows and finally the Dalag (mudfish). Popular and more expensive sea fish such as lapu-lapu, fresh tuna, and blue marlin, the swordfish you get almost only in the better restaurants or on the coast. The same goes for shrimp, snails, clams and crabs.
Fish are offered grilled, fried and cooked, crabs and shrimps are usually still served in the shell. Sinigang na isda is sour-cooked fish with tamarind or tomatoes in broth and vegetables. Paksiv (pronounced “Packsiu”) cooked fish with onions, ginger and vinegar.
Sweet and sour fish
(Fish in sweet and sour sauce) is not only available in Chinese restaurants.
is a delicately stuffed bangus.
Prices: in the Eatery from 50 peso (80 cents) per serving, in the restaurant from 100 peso. Sea fish is slightly more expensive than freshwater fish.
Pork, beef, water buffalo
Apart from the coast, pork dishes have unfortunately replaced the fish as a standard meal. Whoever can afford, eats pig: the fatter, the better. Pork is grilled or fried everywhere. A specialty of the country is Lechon, the Filipino suckling pig.
By the way, Filipinos eat guts – liver is more expensive here than filet! Beef and water buffalo do not play a big role; they are often tough, because usually only slightly older animals are slaughtered and processed without long hanging. Therefore, beef and buffalo are found mainly in the form of braised thin strips as “finger food” – small extra meal, e.g. at the ample coal mines.
Adobo: stewed pork with lots of garlic and soy sauce.
Igado: pork strips (filet, liver, kidneys, heart) with peas in tomato soy sauce.
Minudo: minced meat cooked in broth with potatoes as vegetables. Is, like everything else, eaten with rice as a side dish!
Estafado: Pork pieces with bones with tomato soy sauce and roasted potatoes as vegetables.
Mechado: pork, potato and carrot cubes and peas in ketchup sauce.
Milaga: cooked meat with mixed vegetables, in sour broth.
Papaitan: meat goulash from cattle and water buffalo inns. Tastes bitter, because the bile is partially processed.
Actually only occurs as a chicken. There are plenty of ducks, but unfortunately only as egg suppliers, especially the notorious Balut: well-cooked, boiled duck eggs with embryo, which are sold everywhere on the streets. The dishes listed above: Adobo, Igado, Minudo, Estafado and Mechado are all in a version with chicken instead of pork. The name is simply preceded by “chicken”, so Chicken Adobo, Chicken Estafado, etc.
Chicken curry: one of our favorites, chicken in a delicious coconut curry sauce
Pinola: chicken stew with mixed vegetables and ginger
Pinakbet: mixed vegetables (eggplant, ampalaya, okra, paprika, pumpkin) with bagoong. Bagoong is fermented, salted fish or small shrimp as a spice. The smell is much worse than the taste, but Europeans rarely love the austere taste.
Amapalaya with egg: Bitter melon mixed in pieces with eggs and fried. Often with bacon strips. The taste of bitter melon takes some getting used to, but I like that, for example.
Kaari: White beans and bacon strips in tomato sauce. Delicious.
Talong: Eggplant, boiled with eggs or grilled.
There are often in special, small Pansiterias. Cheap, large portions, filling, so eaten by students. Pasta with sauce and some vegetables, as a luxury version also with eggs or a little meat or liver in soy sauce.Pansit Canton – Philippine wheat noodles.
Pansit Bihon – Filipino rice noodles.
Lumpia Shanghai: Small spring rolls with minced meat filling
Lumpia Sariwa: Small spring rolls with vegetable fillingAso is fried dog, Abalin are fried and salted beetles of a certain kind and their larvae. Also grasshoppers and frogs are eaten. With the exception of Aso practically not available in restaurants.
Halo-Halo: A unique blend of canned fruit, crushed ice, sugar and sweet condensed milk. In summer at every street corner for 10 peso, in the restaurant 40 peso. Definitely refreshing.
Leche flan: egg pudding with caramel sauce
Frequently offered in buses and street vendors cost a few cents. Bibingka: Small rubbery cakes of coconut milk and sticky rice. Nothing for dentists.
Fishballs: fish balls made of fish and flour. Probably made from leftovers, so not very tasty.
Turon: banana pieces fried in dough. Tasty, sweet and cheap.
Empanadas: miscellaneous filled dumplingsBallout: the infamous hatched cooked duck eggs with embryo.
Not all restaurants offer alcohol because a separate license is required. Beer is mostly, wine only in more upscale restaurants. Spirits are often not offered even in the restaurants of hotels. Local beer is of very good quality and costs 40 (65 cents) peso per 0.3 liters in the restaurant and about 15 pesos in the store. A glass of coke costs in the restaurant 20 to 35 pesos.
Juices are often not available, and if so, expensive: at least 30 pesos. Local gin is dirt cheap and good – 0.7 liters of Ginebra San Miguel are available at the store for just 50 pesos (80 cents).
Cognac and rum from local production are only marginally more expensive. Good Spanish cognac (Fundador) is much cheaper than in Germany. For wine is with its own luxury tax occupied, which means that the bottle of wine is often more expensive here than in Germany.