What it is: Filipino‚style spring rolls.
Why it‚s awesome: The filling varies, but one thing remains the same: You can (and will) inhale them by the dozen.
Why it‚s awesome: Tamarind paste and calamansi (or Philippine lime) juice infuse the broth with its signature sour flavor. This version calls for salty chunks of pork and a splash of creamy coconut milk to round out things out.
3. Chicken Afritada
What it is: Chicken stew.
Why it‚s awesome: Spanish influences can be found throughout Filipino cuisine, and this tomato-based stew with chicken, peppers, and onions is one of the heartiest examples.
4. Cassava Cake
What it is: A creamy, not-too-sweet dessert made from cassava root and coconut milk.
Why it‚s awesome: It‚s sweet, but not cloyingly so. For texture, the top is broiled until it‚s almost crunchy. It can also be made gluten-free.
5. Ube Ice Cream
What it is: Exactly what it sounds like: ice cream made from the root crop ube, also known as purple yam.
Why it‚s awesome: Purple ice cream. ‚Nuff said.
6. Pork Adobo
What it is: Tender pork belly braised in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and bay leaves.
Why it‚s awesome: All of the flavors? Check.
7. Chicken Bistek
What it is: Meat cooked in a sauce of soy and citrus.
Why it‚s awesome: Soy sauce is cut with lemon juice or calamansi to make an addictive, tangy marinade.
What it is: Fried pork rinds.
Why it‚s awesome: Fried. Pork. Rinds.
‚ 9. Bibingka
What it is: Sweet coconut cake.
Why it‚s awesome: Rice flour + coconut cream = a Filipino Christmastime treat that‚s delicious enough to eat year-round.
‚ 10. Kare-Kare
What it is: Oxtail stew.
Why it‚s awesome: The key ingredient that brings everything together? Peanut butter.
What it is: Dessert made with a hodgepodge of ingredients, including shaved ice, sweet beans, fruit, tapioca, and ube ice cream.
Why it‚s awesome: Halo-halo means ‚mix mix‚ in Tagalog, and that‚s exactly what you‚re supposed to do with it.
What it is: Sweet sticky rice.
Why it‚s awesome: This creamy, easy-to-make dessert only requires a few ingredients. But it still packs a ton of flavor, and it‚s garnished with equally addictive latik, or cooked-down coconut milk or cream.
What it is: Hearty meat stew with potatoes, peppers, and liver sauce.
Why it‚s awesome: The stew is traditionally made with goat, but you can also sub in beef or chicken for those who haven‚t yet seen the light.
14. Dessert Lumpia
What it is: Sweetened bananas baked in lumpia wrappers, then drizzled with caramel and chocolate.
Why it‚s awesome: ANG SARAP.
‚ 15. Ukoy
What it is: Crispy shrimp fritters with tangy vinegar dipping sauce.
Why it‚s awesome: Portable perfection.
What it is: Sweetened cured pork.
Why it‚s awesome: Thin strips of pork sit for several hours (or days) in a mixture of sugar, salt, garlic, and oil, then are fried up in a hot pan until the coating caramelizes.
17. Leche Flan
What it is: Caramel custard.
Why it‚s awesome: This dense, silky dessert is richer than its Spanish counterparts because it‚s made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Nom factor: high.
18. Filipino Spaghetti