Favorite Filipino Recipes

Anyone who has traveled to the Philippines will long to recreate the tasty food they discovered at home. Here, we showcase three of the simplest dishes to prepare with readily available ingredients. These dishes will be especially enjoyable if you have to cater a party or a Debut.

Bagnet is probably the most famous dish from Ilocano, a double fried pork tasty delight. It can be served as a stand-alone dish or with a side serving of a refreshing Ensaladang Mangga, a crisp green mango salad. Poqui Poqui is a perennial Filipino favorite and will appeal to vegetarians.


Bagnet Recipe
This traditional Ilocano dish of crispy belly pork, one of the best known dishes of the Philippines, is easy to recreate at home. The distinctive crispness that sets bagnet apart from other pork dishes is achieved by double frying the meat. This recipe serves four.

Ingredients for Bagnet

2lbs of whole belly pork
6 Garlic Cloves
2 Tsp Black Peppercorns
2 Tbsp Salt
1 Bay Leaf
Oil for frying

  1. Put the pork in a large pan with the crushed garlic, peppercorns, salt and bay leaf. Cover the pork with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove the pork and allow it to cool. Pierce the pork skin all over and rub with salt and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the pork in very hot oil until crispy.
  4. Remove the pork and allow it to cool.
  5. Fry the pork again in moderately hot oil until the skin blisters.
  6. Remove the pork from the pan and pat off the excess oil.
  7. Cut into pieces and serve piping hot with a squeeze of lemon or vinegar.

Ensaladang Mangga

Ensaladang Mangga
This Filipino green mango salad is a refreshing and zesty side dish to serve with tasty deep fried bagnet or other fried meat dishes. This dish is simple to prepare, using unripe mangoes. This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients for Ensaladang Mangga

2 Green Mangoes
2 Tomatoes
1 Red Onion
1 Lime
4 tbsp Shrimp Paste (bagoong alamang)

  1. Cut the peeled mangoes, tomatoes and onion into cubes and place in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze in the lime juice.
  3. Add the shrimp paste and toss well. Serve immediately or refrigerate to retain the crispness.
  4. A chopped chilli is an optional addition.

Poqui Poqui

Poqui Poqui
Poqui poqui is a tasty piquant Ilocano dish combining roasted eggplants and eggs. This simple dish will appeal to vegetarians and can be served as an appetizer, main course or side dish. The ingredients are everyday items found in every larder and the cooking process is easy to master. The ingredients below provide four servings.

Ingredients for Poqui Poqui

2 Large Eggplants
2 Large Tomatoes
4 Shallots
2 Garlic Cloves
4 Eggs
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons of cooking oil

  1. Begin by grilling the eggplants until the skins are blackened, scoop out the flesh and chop.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped shallots and grated garlic.
  3. When they begin to brown add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. When the tomatoes are softened add the eggplant flesh, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir into the vegetable mixture until they begin to set.
  6. Serve hot.

Ilocano Cuisine

The region of Ilicos Norte in the Philippines is renowned for its tasty and traditional cuisine, whether it is a quick snack from a street vendor or fine dining at the La Preciosa restaurant in Laoag. La Preciosa features a ground floor pastry shop renowned for its mouth watering cakes and garners fabulous accolades for its generous portions of carrot cake, along with other excellent choices such as blueberry cheesecake and moist chocolate cake.

The restaurant itself is famous for serving some of the very best Ilocano cuisine which naturally includes an excellent traditional bagnet and poqui poqui. Other must-try dishes are the crab and corn soup, the salted egg bagnet and the crispy dinguan.

Ilocano cuisine has a very regional taste distinguished by its bitter flavors. Ingredients such as bitter melon, winter melon, horseradish, papaya, Perris lemon, gourd and chili peppers contribute to its reputation. Pork and fish dishes are prevalent, alongside dishes created from the freshest local vegetables, making generous use of string beans, eggplants, sweet potatoes, lima beans, okra, oyster mushrooms and tomatoes.

Ilocano Cuisine

Pork dishes are not restricted to traditional cuts of meat and often include innovative ways with the innards. Probably the most popular regional dish is bagnet, a deep-fried pork dish that originated as a means of preserving the meat. Cuts such as belly pork are deep-fried in lard to produce the crispiest of skins.

Bagnet also appears as an ingredient in the famous dish of dinguan, a stew of pork blood with crispy chunks of bagnet. Another local delicacy based on pork is longannasia sausage stuffed into an intestine wrap, flavored with a marinade of garlic and sugarcane vinegar.

Ilocano Cuisine

Naturally La Preciosa serves up wonderful empanadas, the traditional stuffed pastry deep-fried with a filling of ground pork meat mixed with egg, garlic, mung beans and grated papya. Empanandas are immediately recognizable by their bright orange exterior made from rice flour and orange food coloring and the Ilocano versions are distinct from the empanandas made in the rest of the Philippines.

Ilocano Cuisine
Paksiw na Bangus

Both fresh and dried fish are used extensively in Ilocano cuisine. Some of the most popular fish dishes are Paksiw na Bangus which is milkfish cooked with eggplants and ginger, steamed tilapia fish, Ginataang Isda fish cooked in coconut milk, and tamales na galunggong, a dish of steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves.

Ilocano Cuisine

Popular vegetable dishes abound too on the local menus of the region. These include dinengdeng, a vegetable soup; string beans known as utong, poqui poqui grilled eggplant salad, and the tasty pinakbet, a vegetable stew cooked in shrimp paste filled with eggplant, bitter gourd, okra and squash, and flavored with garlic, onions and ginger. Vegetarian visitors to the region will not be disappointed with the wide range of healthy vegetable based dishes to choose from and can indulge in the refreshing local fresh fruits.

Ilocano Cuisine
Dragon fruit

There is even the opportunity for tourists to sample fresh dragon fruit, a cactus style fruit that has become an iconic symbol of the region. Those with an adventurous palette will find Ilocano cuisine a tasty delight, whether they are sampling a snack from a street vendor or sitting down to a meal of fine dining.