With an abundance of seafood and tropical fruit across its 7000 islands, the cuisine in the Philippines is quite diverse, but is never usually lacking when it comes to heat. From sticky slow-braised oxtail to a local empanada, these spicy dishes will each introduce you to some of the vibrant flavors that come from Filipino cuisine.
While the name of this dish may point towards Spanish origins, all of the ingredients used in its creation are local. The filling consists of a local pork sausage mixed with egg and grated unripe papaya, which is then stuffed into the empanada before being deep fried, and is always served up with a spicy vinegar sauce that gives each bite a fiery kick..
Kare Kare is a dish that originally features slow-braised oxtail, but the more modern versions utilize a number of different meats, with short rib being a particularly popular option. The meat is slowly cooked in a broth, along with some vegetables, such as eggplant and beans, and plenty of peanut butter. This gives the dish an incredible base onto which other exciting flavors, usually onions, shrimp paste, calamansi, and spicy chillies, are then added.
Cooking with blood is a concept that is shared by many cultures around the world, and the spicy Filipino dish Dinuguan is one that is created with the use of freshly slaughtered pork blood. This hearty stew makes use of many different cuts of pork, from the liver to the belly to the cheeks, and is usually served up with steamed rice or sweet rice cakes.
Kinunot Na Pagi
Kinunot Na Pagi is a dish that originates from the Bicol region of the Philippines and is absolutely packed with so many different mouth-tingling flavors. The dish features either stingray or crab, which is then cooked in coconut cream, along with malunggay leaves and a huge heap of potent chilli.
Another fiery dish that has been developed into a unique version in the Bicol region, the Bicol Express is a spicy stew that features long chillies as one of its star ingredients. These are cooked with coconut milk, shrimp paste, onions, pork and garlic, resulting in one of the most famous spicy Filipino dishes out there.
Tapa is a dish that features dried or cured meat, and is usually available in two versions; a mild and sweeter dish, or a hot and spicy option. Served with a fried egg and some garlic rice, this is often eaten as a breakfast dish in the Philippines, but it is also well-suited to being a hearty snack in the middle of the day.
In many regions of the Philippines, the cuisine focuses on a combination of sweet, salty and sour, but there are a number of areas that bring a strong heat into this too. From the fiery but creamy pork of the Bicol Express to the tangy and spicy vinegar that tops an Ilocos Empanada, these dishes will all guarantee a truly tongue-tingling experience.