Pilipino Pood

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Original thread by Gravity84. Wikified by Kenning and Toast.

Editor's Note: To non-SA Goons With Spoons visitors. This is a transcription of a forum post called The Pilipino Pood Thread by Gravity84 and others. It is presented here as a learn to cook Filipino food portal/guide and may grow over time. The original post is full of questions, suggestions and back and forth discussions. This kind of thing is sadly not quite as fun on the more static wiki format but I've done my best to recreate what I can here.If you're interested in keeping up with us all more often I suggest registering at forums.somethingawful.com and coming to visit us in the GoonsWithSpoons forum.

As of right now this is NOT meant as a catch all category for filipino recipes (see The Filipino Category for that)

And now, over to Gravity84



It seems that Filipino food is really coming into popularity these days. I remember growing up and having to be slightly apologetic about the food, mentioning oxtails, tripe, tongue, blood stew, and duck fetuses don't exactly whet the palate of your average American. Well with people like Chris Cosentino and others fighting the good fight in snout-to-tail eating, and the recent episode of 24 hr Restaurant Battle featuring a Filipino restaurant ( that won with a menu serving oxtail, tripe, and lengua ), and even Tony Bourdain's proclamation that Filipino Lechon is the best pig in the world, perhaps Filipino food will be the next food trend.

The Philippines are very much a melting pot, surrounded almost completely by influential food cultures like Vietnam, China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, combined with a history of occupation by the Spanish and the Americans, dishes that are unique to the Philippines are few and far between, often what we have are actually dishes that were bastardized and adapted to use different ingredients or incorporate multiethnic inflections. In this way, Filipino food is really more like a classical fusion of cuisines, rather than its own thing.

According to Wikipedia:

Filipino cuisine is distinguished by its bold combination of sweet, sour and salty flavors, and in general most dishes are not heavily spiced. While other Asian cuisines may be known for a more subtle delivery and presentation, Filipino palates prefer a sudden influx of flavor. Filipino cuisine is often delivered in a single presentation, giving the participant a simultaneous visual feast, aromatic bouquet, and gustatory delight.

I am actually not particularly familiar with cooking Filipino food as I probably "should" be. I've done my share helping my mom growing up, but it's only recently that I've "rediscovered" it as I moved away from my hometown and have begun to crave it in its absence.

Recipes and guides:

Keep reading the category for an intro to the sauces and methods used, the recipes are to whet your appetite.

With Photos:

Recipes without photos:

Avocado Milkshake



Pancit Bihon. (pan-SIT BE-hon) Thin rice noodles used in the signature stir fried noodle dish, they are significantly thinner than those commonly used for Pho. In Asian grocers, they will often be labeled as bihon or bijon noodles.


Patis. (pah-TEESE) Known as nuoc mam in Vietnam, nam pla in Thailand, and just "fish sauce" here in America, it is the backbone of a lot of Philippine cuisine. They've started carrying these now at Ralph's here in Southern California, so check your local megamart, they may carry it. I like the Squid brand and the squarish plastic bottle with the red and yellow label with all Chinese Kanji writing on it.


Oyster Sauce. Another Asian staple, oyster sauce adds a "savoriness" that people have renamed "umami" ( back in the day they just called it MSG ), in addition to a slight amount of thickening to sauces. They should carry this at local megamarts, too, but the best ones you'll have to go to an Asian market to get. I prefer the Lee Kum Kee premium one, the one pictured here with the illustration on the label, not the red label LKK one.


Fried Garlic. You can easily make this by frying some minced garlic in a pan with some neutral flavored oil, but a lot of pinoys (Filipino people) I know just keep this stuff in a jar. It is the main ingredient in sinangag (Filipino fried rice) and is also added to mami (Filipino noodle soup, very similar to ramen), etc.

About Garlic in Filipino Cuisine: An Aside

The way garlic is used in Filipino food is quite different than how many other cuisines use it. Those of you who have watched enough Food Network will probably know that you never put garlic first in a pan with hot oil, it will "burn." In Filipino food, that "burning" is one of the main flavors, because of this, garlic is usually the first thing in the pan when stir frying. Note, you do not actually char the garlic but you toast it to get a deep golden color, that caramelization of the garlic sugars and slight bitter pungency of the toasting is one of the key flavors in Adobo, one of the most widely available dishes in the Philippines.


Mang Tomas. This is such widely used sauce that people just refer to it by it's brand name, Mang Tomas. Kind of like how everyone calls all cola, Coke. It's used primarily as a sauce for Lechon (roast pig), but is also used in a style of cooking called Paksiw.



Spiced cane vinegar used as a condiment with sweet meat dishes like longanisa, tocino, tapa, etc. to cut through sweetness and greasiness with sour and spice. You can buy it on the super cheap at Asian grocers, or you can make it yourself.

  • 1 onion, sliced.
  • 1 heads worth of garlic, broken into cloves, paper removed and smashed.
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • Siling Labuyo, also known as Thai Birdseye pepper, you can also use habanero, jalapeno, or any other hot pepper you have access to, to taste. You can keep these whole, but I like to slice them lengthwise. You can always add more chilies later so start with a half cup or so for 750 ml of sinamak for mild, 1 cup for how we'd do it at home.
  • 750 ml Sukang Maasim (cane vinegar), or distilled white vinegar.
  • I use the bottle the vinegar comes in, but you can easily use an old liquor bottle, 750 ml size. Just put all the dry ingredients in and top with vinegar until the bottle is full. Steep for two weeks before using. Note: This gets spicier and spicier with time, splitting the chilies causes the heat to steep in fully, faster, allowing you to better judge the final heat level, sooner rather than later.

Sukang may Toyo Vinegar and Soy Sauce. Commonly served with crispy pata and other fried things, again, to cut through the greasiness with acidity and spice. Unlike sinamak, this is often made in smaller batches for immediate use, at least that's how my family does it.

3/4 cup cane vinegar or distilled white 1/4 cup soy sauce 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 scallion, chopped 1-2 siling labuyo (birdseye chili) to taste, cut into little coins. Salt and pepper to taste


Sweet Chili Sauce Dipping sauce for lumpia and fried chicken.


Calamansi (ca la mon SEE) Also known as kalamansi, calamondin. It is the signature citrus of the Philippines and is notoriously hard to get in stores in the states. My parents and all their friends have their own trees and share with each other. If you're lucky enough to have an Island Pacific grocery store near you, they should carry it, as would a dedicated Filipino grocer. The flavor is like blending a clementine with the tartness of lime and and a strong orange blossom type flavor. It really is unique. Here in California they sell a calamansi juice by the company "Sun Tropics." IMO it is, by far, the greatest citrus juice available at a store. Because it is hard to find, many people will just use lime, or even lemon.

A common sauce is made with equal parts soy sauce called toyomansi (Filipinos are big on portmanteaus). Oddly enough, for how difficult calamansi is to find fresh, you can find toyomansi right next to the soy sauce in pretty much any Asian supermarket such as a Lion or a Ranch Market 99.


Siling Labuyo.(SEE ling la BOO yo) Also known as Thai Birdseye Pepper. This pepper is the go to pepper for adding spiciness to dishes. With the popularity of Thai food and Sichuan food, these are actually pretty easy to find these days, either fresh or dried.


Jufran Banana Ketchup. Pretty much like tomato ketchup, but a lot sweeter. A popular condiment in the Philippines for everything, including pizza, yes pizza. If New Yorkers get mad at Californians and Chicagoans for what they do with pizza, they might just die if they saw what they do to pizza over in the Philippines... but I digress. Pinoys put this shit on pretty much everything, they even make spaghetti sauce with it.


Bagoong (bah-guh-ONG) Shrimp paste, made in a very similar process as Patis (fish sauce). Can be made at home and I believe that would fall under charcuterie and would inherit all botulism/etc risks therein. My parents made it at home once, it stinks horrendously. I recommend to just buy it in a store. Many preparations involve sauté ing it with garlic. Also quite stinky, but is better than bottled pre sautéed stuff. If you have a hot plate or outdoor range, you can do it in there, which is what my parents do. I just buy it pre sauteed, I don't really use the stuff often.


Atsuete Seeds Also called annatto, the oil soluble outer layer of these seeds are used to color many dishes such as kare kare and pancit palabok. It also adds a mild flavor to things it is added to. Comes in whole seeds that need to be soaked in water or sauteed in oil, or as a powder which can be suspended in water and added directly to dishes, or as an oil which can also be directly added to dishes.

Pandan (pan-DON) The leaves of this plant are used as a flavoring in many Southeast Asian foods, primarily desserts. Lends a grassy, dark herbal note to foods.

Ube (OU-beh) Purple yam. About as popular of a flavoring in the Philippines as "strawberry" is here. Used in all kinds of things from cakes, ice creams, bibingka, puto, breads, etc. Tastes sweet and mildly earthy with a slight floral tinge.


Malagkit (mah lahg KIT) Sweet Rice, Glutinous Rice. A popular ingredient for many Southeast Asian cuisines, including the Philippines. Used in bibingkas, putos, suman, and champorado to name a few.

More ingredients and recipes to come...

lahat ng masarap!