filipino side dishes

13 Heartwarming & Delicious Filipino Side Dishes

Filipinos don’t just love their food – they are proud of it. Thus, they’re always eager to share their banquets or daily meals with others, highly confident that the dishes they offer are delicious. More often than not, they are right. Indeed, every aspect of Philippine cuisine is exquisite and worth trying.

Thus, make a Filipino meal if you want to fill yourself with unique and satisfying flavors. To help with that, here are 13 heartwarming and delicious Filipino side dishes. They’re essential for completing the food experience, so you must prepare at least one or two.

1. Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)

No Filipino meal is complete without rice. In fact, Filipinos would rather eat rice alone than viand alone. Thus, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve developed many delicious rice sides, such as sinangag or Filipino garlic fried rice. A good sinangag has an intense garlic flavor, is savory, and isn’t too oily. It’s often served in the morning with breakfast foods like hotdogs, eggs, or corned beef.

2. Java Rice

Java rice is popular with BBQ, grilled meats, and other protein dishes. It has an eye-catching, yellow-orange color courtesy of annatto or achuete oil. That oil also gives the rice a subtly sweet taste, which complements the deep, savory flavors of the meat dishes it is usually paired with. While making java rice is easy, you must be careful with the proportion of ingredients to avoid making it too oily.

3. Lumpia (Filipino Spring Roll)

The iconic lumpia or Filipino spring roll has earned its fame worldwide because many Filipinos love to serve it during parties, even when they’re abroad. Indeed, they’d even say it’s no celebration without these crispy, golden rolls. While lumpia’s great flavors make it popular, its versatility also plays a part. You can enjoy it as an appetizer, snack, side dish, or even main course.

4. Atchara (Filipino Pickled Papaya)

Like many other cultures, Filipino cuisine has an arsenal of pickle recipes that includes atchara or Filipino pickled papaya. It’s made of unripe or green papaya, carrots, bell pepper, salt, water, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt. The finished product is often eaten with grilled meats. Thus, the best way to serve your Filipino BBQ is on a plate with java rice and atchara on either side.

5. Ensaladang Talong (Filipino Roasted Eggplant Salad)

Ensaladang talong, often served with fried fish, is one of the most exciting delicacies in the Philippines. It combines smoky, spicy, slimy, fresh, sweet, and tangy flavors. Such complexity is achieved by topping a freshly roasted eggplant with a mixture of tomatoes, mangoes, chilis, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, onions, and cilantro. The textures are also incredibly tender and juicy.

6. Salted Eggs And Tomato Salad

Salted eggs and tomato salad is the go-to side dish of many Filipinos because it’s quick and easy. Indeed, this recipe makes it with only three ingredients: salted duck eggs, tomatoes, and fish sauce. You can also add onions. To find the eggs, look for purple or red-colored ones in Asian stores or groceries. If you can’t find any near you, you can make them from scratch, but it’s time-consuming.

7. Ensaladang Lato (Filipino Seaweed Salad)

In a Filipino seafood banquet, there’s always ensaladang lato or Filipino seaweed salad. Its fresh, tangy flavors are incredible with the smoky, savory flavors of grilled seafood or fried fish. If you’re unfamiliar with lato, it’s a seaweed with small, protruding circles; thus, it’s also called sea grapes. The recipe combines this seaweed with tomatoes, onions, white vinegar, black pepper, salt, and sugar to make this salad.

8. Pancit Bihon

Due to Chinese influence, many Filipinos love to serve their meals with a pancit or noodle dish. One of the most popular variants is pancit bihon, made from rice noodles or vermicelli. It’s cooked with a soy sauce-based mixture for flavor and color and combined with various ingredients like veggies, meat, and spices. Chicken is usually used for meat, but you can opt for pork, seafood, or tofu.

9. Pinakbet

Filipino cuisine has a long list of decadent vegetable side dishes for those who want added nutrition. Pinakbet is among the leaders of that list, as it’s well-loved across the nation and is served regularly. It’s a savory stew made from tomatoes, squash, okras, yard-long beans, bitter gourd or ampalaya, and eggplant. There are also spices, pork belly, and shrimp paste for more flavor.

10. Chop Suey

Like pancit, chop suey is another product of Chinese influence in the Philippines. It’s a vegetable side dish that contains cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, bell peppers, pak choi, onions, mushrooms, and young corn. Other ingredients, like oyster sauce, cornstarch, spices, pork, shrimp, salt, and ground pepper, add more flavor and texture. It tastes less intense than pinakbet but is as delicious and heartwarming.

11. Adobong Kangkong

Water spinach, or kangkong, is a leafy veggie native to Asia, including the Philippines. It can be used as an add-on to veggie soups and stews. However, as a primary element, it’s often made into adobong kangkong, or water spinach cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, water, bay leaf, garlic, black pepper, salt, and oil. Also, there’s meat, usually pork belly, for added texture, flavor, and protein.

12. Ginisang Munggo

Ginisang munggo is a stew containing mung beans, pork, tomatoes, spices, protein toppings, and leafy veggies. It pairs well with many dishes, like rice, fried foods, and more. However, you can also eat it alone, as it’s a satisfying and nutritious dish. Compared to the other recipes in this article, making ginisang munggo takes more time because you must soften the beans by simmering them.

13. Sotanghon Soup

Sotanghon is often dubbed as the Philippines’ version of chicken noodle soup. It’s made from glossy and translucent mung bean thread noodles, also known as sotanghon in the country. The noodles are combined with garlic, ginger, onion, chicken, mushrooms, chicken stock, green onions, and other flavorings. It’s very heartwarming and comforting, especially when hot. Thus, it’s perfect for cold, rainy days.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.