The History of Filipino Cuisine A Brief Overview

Filipino Cuisine History

Before you talk about Filipino cuisine, let me tell you what Filipino cuisine is really all about. Filipinos are a hardy people, who have their own culture, language, traditions and food. It is said that the Filipino people were brought to this land by Spanish friars and the Christianity which they embraced. In history, there are so many great contributions of the Filipino people to the history of this country. One of these great contributions is their rich and wide-flavored Filipino cuisine.

An Overview

A group of people standing in front of a house

From the Spanish explorers, many spices and fruits were brought to this area, from the central part of the Philippines called the Philippines and from Manila. Among those fruits and spices are mangoes, grapes, and chili peppers. All these were planted in the areas of the Philippines where many people are settled like in Tagaytay, Baguio, Davao and other cities of the Philippines. There were also crops like yams, beans, okra, corn and pork products, among many others that contributed to the development of the Filipino cuisine.

There are different types of foods in the Filipino cuisine and some of these are as follows: rice, vegetables, meat, fruits, poultry, desserts (mocha, malaka, tirapan), soups, beans, sauces and salsas. Every family has its own special way of cooking Filipino cuisines. Even though there are so many different types of foods, we can focus our discussion on the popular Filipino dishes or the traditional meals or the daily meal for Filipinos, especially the poor people who live in the rural areas. Here are some of the common Filipino dishes that people love to eat:

Filipino Cuisine History- Batangas

A couple of men preparing food in a kitchen

The word “batangas” is an alteration of the Spanish word “barato” which means dried meat. It is said that during the early days, during the time of Spanish colonization, these dried meats were cooked over an open fire in order to preserve the meat’s aroma and flavor. These days, it is still commonly prepared using ingredients such as onions, garlic, salt, sugar, butter, vinegar, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and other seasonings.

A lot of history regarding Manila can be traced back to the history of the Philippines. Filipino families have been known to migrate from the Philippines to other regions of the world including Europe, Africa, China, and America. What most people don’t know is that the first Filipino settlers were from Manila. As a matter of fact, Manila is the capital of the Philippines where there are a Chinatown and Manilanasan that have traces of Filipino culture.

Filipino Cuisine History – Sates

It is one of the most popular Filipino dishes called Manapigay. It is made of thin strips of meat that is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. When these are made, the mixture of spices that are used on top gives the dish its signature taste and aroma.

Unlike the typical American cuisine, Filipino food can be prepared almost any time of the day and as a result, there are never long breaks in meals. The only exception would be during religious celebrations wherein time allot for dining is allowed but when it comes to ordinary meals, people usually eat at least three to four meals a day. The only occasion where people really break away from the regular routine is during holidays and during sickness. This is because Filipino fast food is quite affordable and they can prepare food quickly.


Over time, different cultures from different areas of the world started to learn about each other and over time, these cultures became distinct from each other. The history of the Filipino cuisine is just another interesting part of the rich history of this island nation. Filipinos themselves do not hold the title of the “best” but they sure are the “eaters” that are the most familiar with the different dishes and the different ways of preparing the same. So when you are visiting the Philippines, make sure to try out their different cuisines for a real taste of the Filipino culture.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter