Food for Thought – National Filipino Food Month 2024

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Celebrating Earth Day with Nutritious Choices

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In the vibrant tapestry of global cuisine, Filipino food stands out for its bold flavors, diverse ingredients, and rich cultural heritage.

As we celebrate National Filipino Food Month, we delve into the delectable world of Filipino cuisine, exploring its nutritional aspects and its intriguing fusion with American culinary influences.

A Feast of Flavors: Exploring Filipino Cuisine

Filipino cuisine is a delightful mosaic of influences from Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American cultures, reflecting centuries of trade, migration, and colonial history. At the heart of Filipino cooking is the concept of “lutong bahay,” or home-cooked meals, which emphasize freshness, balance, and communal dining.

Key Ingredients and Dishes


The staple of Filipino cuisine, rice is often served alongside flavorful dishes, such as adobo, sinigang, and kare-kare.

Filipino Rice with Ground Beef


A quintessential Filipino dish, adobo features meat (often chicken or pork) marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and spices, then simmered until tender.

Filipino Food Month Adobo


A tangy tamarind-based soup, sinigang is packed with vegetables (such as kangkong, radish, and eggplant) and protein (commonly pork, shrimp, or fish).

Filipino Sinigang Dish


A hearty stew made with oxtail, tripe, and vegetables, kare-kare is flavored with ground peanuts and served with shrimp paste on the side.

Filipino Kare-Kare

Regional Diversity

The Philippines is an archipelago comprising over 7,000 islands, each with its own distinct culinary traditions and local ingredients. From the seafood-rich dishes of coastal regions to the hearty stews of the mountain provinces, Filipino cuisine offers a diverse tapestry of flavors and cooking styles.

Bicol Region

Known for its love of spicy food, Bicolano cuisine features dishes like laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and chili peppers) and Bicol Express (pork cooked with coconut milk and shrimp paste).

Bicol Region Food

Ilocos Region

Located in the northern part of the Philippines, Ilocano cuisine highlights dishes like bagnet (crispy fried pork belly) and pinakbet (a vegetable stew made with shrimp paste).

Pinakbet, a typical Ilocos Dish

Visayas and Mindanao

These regions showcase a bounty of seafood dishes, such as kinilaw (Filipino ceviche) and tinola (ginger-based soup with fish or chicken).

Kinilaw, a typical Visayas and Mindanao Dish

Street Food Culture

Filipino street food is a vibrant and integral part of the culinary landscape, offering a wide array of snacks and small bites that cater to every palate. From the savory skewers of barbecue and grilled offal to the sweet indulgence of halo-halo (a shaved ice dessert with various toppings), Filipino street food is a testament to the country’s love for flavor and creativity.

Nutritional Highlights: Balancing Flavor and Health

While Filipino cuisine is celebrated for its bold flavors and indulgent dishes, it also offers a treasure trove of nutritious ingredients and cooking techniques.

Embracing Fresh Produce

Filipino cooking incorporates an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, bananas, papayas, eggplants, and bitter melon. These nutrient-rich ingredients add color, texture, and vital vitamins to meals.

Bundle of Fresh Produce

Mindful Cooking Methods

Traditional Filipino cooking methods, such as steaming, grilling, and stir-frying, minimize the use of unhealthy fats and oils. This focus on lighter cooking techniques helps preserve the natural flavors and nutritional integrity of ingredients.

Mindful Cooking with Produce

Healthful Substitutions

Modern interpretations of Filipino recipes often include healthier substitutions, such as using lean meats, reducing sodium content, and incorporating whole grains. These adaptations make Filipino cuisine more accessible to health-conscious dinners without compromising on taste.

Picking healthier options

The American Influence: A Culinary Fusion

As Filipino cuisine continues to evolve, it has embraced elements of American cooking, resulting in delicious fusion dishes that blend the best of both worlds.

Cultural Exchange

The presence of Filipino communities in the United States has led to the popularity of Filipino restaurants and food trucks across the country. These establishments serve as ambassadors of Filipino culture, introducing American diners to the rich tapestry of Filipino flavors.

Cultural Exchange

Celebrating Diversity: Filipino Food for All

National Filipino Food Month is not only a celebration of delicious dishes but also an opportunity to honor the diverse heritage and culinary traditions of the Philippines . Whether enjoyed at home, in Filipino restaurants, or at community events, Filipino food invites everyone to savor its unique flavors and stories. So lets celebrating National Filipino Food Month by trying out a new recipe or enjoying it at your favorite Filipino spot.

– Krupa Patel, MPA, RD/LDN Registered Dietitian

Want more?

Check out our previous edition of Food for Thought!

As we honor Earth Day, let's reflect on the profound connection between our food and the health of our planet. Take care of the planet with a few small changes to your diet and routine with our previous edition of Food for Thought!

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In the world of nutrition and health, fats have often been unfairly villainized, leading many to fear their inclusion in their diets. Learn how to re-incorporate fats into your diet with our previous edition of Food for Thought!

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