Philippines Food and Drink

Unlike a lot of Asian cooking, most Filipino dishes make only moderate use of spices; instead, sour or vinegary flavours are more common. One exception is the fiery cuisine of the Bicol region to the southeast of Manila, which uses a lot of chili and coconut milk. Throughout the country the diet is based around fish and meat (particularly pork), and vegetarians may have trouble explaining what they want. Rice is a staple and served with almost every meal.

While most restaurants have table service, there are also many small carenderias where you choose from a selection of pre-prepared dishes in large pots. For the less adventurous, there are also European-style restaurants and American fast food outlets.


Lechon (roasted whole pig) is prepared for fiestas and family celebrations.
Kare-kare (an oxtail stew in peanut sauce served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste)).
Sinigang (meat or fish in a pleasantly sour broth).
Adobo (braised pork and chicken in a tangy soy sauce with vinegar and garlic).
• Seafood, which may be grilled, boiled, fried or steamed and served with kalamansi (the local lemon), bagoong (a fish paste) or vinegar with labuyo (the fiery native pepper).

Things to know

Waiter service is common in bars and there are no strict regulations regarding the sale of alcohol.


Usually 10% of the bill, unless service charge is included.

Regional drinks

Locally brewed beer, such as San Miguel.
Philippine rum.

Drinking age

The legal drinking age in the Philippines is 18.