I’ve never had it myself. Just looking for some personal favorites of my fellow posters as I intend on going to a Filipino restaurant tomorrow. I’m leaning towards the abodo chicken. Apparently, it’s the national dish of the Philippines.
There’s a filipino buffet on FM1960 here in the Houston area. I didn’t care for it too much, but the Fella loved it. He is a much more adventurous eater than I am, though I’m trying to improve.
Growing up I knew a ton of filipinos and it always seemed to be pork locally, though it is the cooking method not the meat that is key. Other stuff I like off the top of my head:
Lumpia - Filipino spring rolls, almost always awesome because spring rolls are awesome.
Pancit Palabok - noodle dish vaguely similar to Pad Thai, if you’re familiar with that.
Have to say I don’t eat a ton of the cuisine though - there is no place all that local to me with a good reputation that I know of.
Filipino here. You can divide the cooking into three groups: regional Malay, Chinese, and Spanish.
Among the Malay preparations, your best bet is sinigang (simmered fish soured with lime.) Also try the paksiw na pata (pork trotter stewed in vinegar.) If you’re adventurous, you might want to try batchoy, which is pig offal boiled down into a soup (sometimes enriched with blood.) There’s dinuguan which is stewed pork blackened with lots of pork blood. Then there’s pinapaitan, which is stewed goat meat made bitter by adding some of the bile. No foreigner I know appreciates the fermented fish sauce (bagoong/patis) or the buro (fish or shrimp fermented in rice.)
The Spanish dishes are tasty but greasy if prepared haphazardly. Menudo, pochero, morcon (beef roll,) aroz valenciana (paella), etc.
Of the Chinese influences, my best recommendation is tinola (chicken stewed with green papaya, ginger and chili leaves). You have those Chinese noodle dishes I’m not so fond of. Their various steamed and sechuan pot creations are generic and therefore passable. The Lumpia and palabok mentioned above are good, depending on the quality of the ingredients and preparation.
Is it very different from Vietnamese nuoc mam?
I’m married to a Filipina. She can’t cook, and my mother-in-law is a bad cook, but I’ve also been to just about every Filipino restaurant in Queens and Brooklyn (NY).
I am not a fan of Filipino food (nor of the service in Filipino restaurants). One good thing about Filipino restaurants is that you are getting Filipino food, not American food labeled ‘Filipino’. But I find everything to be overcooked. Meat, fish, vegetables, etc. are all cooked until it is dead, dead, dead, and then cooked a little more. Also, unlike many of their southeast Asian neighbors, the cuisine isn’t very spicy. I always get a kick when one of my in-laws tells me they like spicy food, and then I serve spicy food. What I consider medium heat, they consider atomic heat. Sadly, I like really spicy but don’t get to make it.
If you must eat, adobo is a safe bet. There are all types on pancit - I find them mostly bland. Kare kare is oxtail in a peanut sauce that many like. If you are feeling slightly adventurous, you could try the sisig. The fried lumpia are good, though I prefer Thai spring rolls, and my wife loves the fresh lumpia (another item I’m not too fond of).
Of course, all of this is just one man’s opinion, so take it for what it is worth. We still try out just about any Filipino restaurant that opens nearby, and we did find one that I like (though it’s more of a pan-Asian fusion focusing on southeast Asian flavors).
Lastly, to add a second data point to what the_diego said, I can’t stand the stuff (and we always have it in the house), but my wife loves it.
That’s the same as patis. Patis/nuoc mam is simply fermented fish in salt, decanted or filtered to leave out the brownish gunk, leaving the honey-colored liquid.
If you want really good Filipino eating, your safest bet is to be a guest in an affluent household outside the metro where the gentry likes to eat traditional hearty meals. A passable feast would be a big bowl of bulalo (boiled and tenderized beef shank), roast fish (mainly tilapia and catfish,) fresh or blanched oysters, steamed shrimp. On the side are salted eggs, various ferments (avoid those if you want), fresh fruit and vegies, various preserved sweets.
Lastly, no matter how much better the food in other Asian countries might taste to you, you can’t pass up the San Miguel beer. Everyone loves it.
Everything is weirdly sour to me. They seem to use vinegar like the Chinese use soy sauce. Being Chinese, sour is an odd flavour to be adding to meats and vegetables, so I got a little weirded out. Even the soups are sour!
Also, pork, lots of it, and they’re not too concerned about making it tender.
Maybe I’ve just had bad Filipino food, but meh…
Its been a quarter century almost since I was there (wow) but I really enjoyed Kinilaw in its many regional and seasonal varieties. Sweetened Kalimansi juice is excellent also. What lemonade wants to be when it grows up.
I like Filipino food, but then I adore vinegar, so it’s a good fit. I found the food to be simple and straightforward, but generally approachable and filling. My favorites were the bangus, bok choy and of course halo halo. Love me some halo halo.
Douglas MacArthur loved halo-halo as well. Much more filled than ice kachang.
Oh, to the whole roast pig fans. My advice is to eat it out of the fire. Never let it cool down (pulled pork weirds me out.) My personal favorite is the Lydia’s or Mila’s stuffed lechon. Buy just a small pig --10 kilos or thereabouts, with the ribs taken out, aluminum foil lined into the cavity, and filled with paella! An unbelievable feast.
How revered is Douglas MacArthur in Filipino culture in the modern day?
Young 'uns might not know about him anymore. But the MacArthur monument in Leyte (where he landed) is famous enough. Each year, the media might do a special during Bataan Day (day of valor, April 9) or Fil-Am Day (July 4) about him and the war.
The Manila Hotel still maintains the “MacArthur Room” where he stayed.
Tried it all at family gatherings.
And I cry a little at any Filipino restaurant that doesn’t serve SM. It’s my main reason for going.