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Jul 31, 2007 11:51 AM

Filipino Home Cooking - Beginner Question

A Filipino market just opened near my office in Los Angeles. I'm a pretty experienced home cook but I know next to nothing about Filipino food. Any ideas for recipes and/or ingredients that I could start out with?

It would seem a shame to not take advantage of this new place.

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  1. Sinigang (Sour soup) is one of my favorite things to make. It's similar to Tom Yum in the sense that tamarind is often used as a souring agent, but it has a much cleaner and simple taste. Try it. I'm sure you'll find everything that you need in the store. Good luck!

    1. Lucky you! The San Jose Mercury News recently ran a feature article in their food section on Filipino cuisine and included a number of tasty-sounding recipes.

      Link to "a quick guide to Filipino cooking" (free registration may be required):

      Make sure to view the recipes in the sidebar on "related stories." Please report back on any recipes that you try out!

      1. I understand what you mean - I was surprised when my girlfriend married a Filipino that I knew nothing about the cuisine either. Her mother-in-law came to their house and showed her some great dishes. She then taught me how to make one - well, two sort of - same dish with two different proteins. Adobo chicken or beef.

        red, yellow, orange, or green peppers and onions (garlic if you like) - you could add any fun vegetables from the market you like, really
        chunks of chicken or beef (I do a couple of lbs)
        soy sauce
        white vinegar
        brown sugar (optional)

        saute the veggies in olive oil. Remove from pan and brown the meat (you can pepper but DO NOT SALT). add the veggies back in and here's where you get to play because this is totally to taste: I use 1/2 soy and 1/2 vinegar for the beef and more vinegar than soy for the chicken (the chicken seems to absorb more salt) and about a tablespoon of brown sugar. start with about a cup total and allow it too simmer for as long as you like. It's very easy to cook down the sauce, taste it, and adjust it and cook longer. I also like to add pepper flakes for a teensy bit of heat and serve it with rice.

        First time she made this simple dish for me, I fell in love. Really fun to play with, too.

        Here's the interesting backstory. Vinegar is very common in Filipino cooking. Arthur (friend's husband) remembers when he grew up they only had electricity for certain hours per day - thus the vinegar would help keep food in the refrigerator from going bad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: krissywats

          Thanks so much for these suggestions. I will report back, hopefully by next week.

        2. Also give a try to kare-kare: oxtail stew in a peanut butter sauce. The mix packet, which is totally passable, should be available at the market with all the instructions you need. For vegetables use sitaw (long green beans), eggplants and bok choy.

          When making sinigang, if you want to utilize Filipino produce from the market, try using kangkong (water spinach), sitaw, and 2 seeded tomatoes.

          Longanisa, tocino, ube ice cream and polvoron are all good buys, as well.