Loaded with chile, vinegar, fragrant herbs, and no shortage of pork, Filipino cooking is an endlessly fascinating mix of traditions and flavors, old and new. (And lots of pork. Did we mention pork?) Whether you’re throwing a dinner party, or just cooking a simple romantic meal for two, these recipes will give you a nostalgic taste of home. Here are our best Filipino recipes—some are traditional, others are modern spins, and all are very, very good.
A regional soup packed with egg noodles and pig parts, La Paz batchoy was born in the La Paz district of Iloilo city, in the province where chef Dale Talde’s mother was born. Talde’s version streamlines the traditional recipe, keeps the liver and intestines optional, and applies just enough shrimp paste to keep things funky. Get the recipe for Pork Noodle Soup with Shrimp Paste (La Paz Batchoy) »
Best known in their deep-fried iteration, lumpia often crackle beneath the teeth. But not always; some come wrapped in fresh egg crepes, while others are wrapper-less. Connoisseurs pine for a version made with shrimp, pork, and shredded coconut palm. The freshly fried version is a marvel, the wrapper crisp, the filling’s texture delicate and yielding. Instead of the common sweet-sour dipping sauce, chef Dale Talde opts for the condiment he used growing up—a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce spiked with raw garlic and fiery chiles—which he likens to the salt and pepper of Filipino food. Get the recipe for Deep-Fried Pork Spring Rolls (Lumpia) »
Slow-roasted belly stands in for the classic whole suckling pig that graces virtually every special occasion in the Philippines. Chef Dale Talde also swaps out the sauce’s pungent pork liver for more mellow and easier to source chicken livers. Don’t worry, though. It still tastes, as Talde lovingly puts it, like “liverwurst mixed with sweet and sour sauce.” Get the recipe for Filipino Roast Pork Belly with “Lechon” Sauce »
I grew up in the Philippines, and whenever I’m homesick, I cook adobo, the national dish—pork or chicken or both, braised in seasoned vinegar. Though there are all sorts of regional variations, no matter how it’s made, adobo’s piquant aroma fills me with memories of Manila. —Amy Besa. Get the recipe for Adobo »