18 May2007

Last year in May and June, I ran a “poll” asking readers to list their favorite Filipino dishes and this was the summary of the results of that poll. If you are new to marketmanila.com, this post is worth reading… Or if you are a regular, you may want to read it again…


My post last week on the “Top 10 Pinoy/Filipino Dishes” main courses (savory dishes/putahes) got an overwhelming response from readers. The article got over 10,000 page hits and encouraged over 130 readers to leave a comment with their list of 10 or more Pinoy favorites. Thank you for that fantastic response. I have always felt that 98+% of Marketmanila’s readers have never left a comment and this exercise certainly confirmed that… but that post also lured about 30+ lurkers into making their first comments ever on the site. Comments add a lot to the discussion and I strongly encourage everyone to participate now and then… I was so overwhelmed with the 1200+ “votes” received that I had to ask an assistant to collate them all and put them on a simple spreadsheet for me. It was rather time consuming task as folks used up to a dozen different words or phrases for say, adobo or sinigang and we had to make a judgment call on several suggestions listed. We also had to eliminate double votes, side dishes, condiments, sweets, etc. to “clean up” the data a bit. It wasn’t very scientific and there is a little bit of fudge factor involved. But at any rate, I was just aiming for a rough feel and we definitely got that. After reviewing all the responses, the results are both expected and unexpected…read on and enjoy!

The Range

Of all the savory dishes mentioned (all desserts were eliminated from the analysis), the total list after adjusting for similar groups of dishes came out to roughly 60-70 dishes ranging from bangus, sisig, lumpia, cripy pata, morcon, inihaw na isda, kuhol, talangka, pako, bringhe and bopis. I would imagine that this list of 70 pinoy or adopted pinoy dishes is a good representation of what most Filipinos consider to be the best that our national cuisine has to offer. I would say that I am familiar with, or have eaten in the past year, at least 70% of the dishes on this list. Of this long list, only the Top 30 dishes received more than 10 or so votes out of a maximum of about 120 votes which means that a minimum of 8% or 1 in 12 voters included it in their list of Top 10 dishes. The 40 less voted on dishes had some surprises… in the lower 40 were “pinoy spaghetti” and pork barbeque (two mainstays of any large pinoy gathering and yet they did not get mentioned that often in the survey), adobong kangkong (why?), binagoongang baboy, sinangag or fried rice with garlic, sinampalukang manok and a whole list of what I would call other adapted/adopted dishes – chorizo, tocino, pritong lumpia, lumpia shanghai, morcon, afritada, embutido, paella and menudo.

The countdown from 30 to 11…

30. Ginataang Kalabasa – just made it into the Top 30, yum, I love this dish.
29. Tapa – yikes, it’s a bit far down on the list for me…what would breakfast be like without this and some spicy vinegar?
28. Paksiw na Lechon – Oh no, I like this dish better than lechon itself. I would have thought this would be much higher up the rankings!
27. Manggang Hilaw with Bagoong – Love it.
26. Lechon Kawali – Definitely.
25. Pancit Palabok – if lumped together with Pancit luglug would have been in the Top 10.
24. Kinilaw – probably one of our oldest and most representative local dishes.
23. Pritong Galunggong – I posted this one just recently…
22. Longganisa – Definitely, with gaseous burps and all.
21. Bihon Guisado – Merienda food, lots of kalamansi please!
20. Beef Caldereta – Gotta make me some of this, have never cooked it myself before.
19. Chicken Inasal – Yes, I see why this is up there in the rankings.
18. Beef Bulalo/Nilagang Baka – I know these are different dishes but as a grouped theme of boiled beef soups, this was up there in votes…
17. Rellenong Bangus – Hmm, I’m not a big fan, but many others obviously are.
16. Tortang Talong – Definitely gotta have this. And with lots of ketchup please.
15. Bistek Tagalog – A personal favorite…I thought this would be higher up in the rankings.
14. Laing – Yes.
13. Pancit Luglug – Ditto, yes.
12. Sisig – I can see why, but I am not a converted fan yet.
11. Dinuguan – Ugh. I have a childhood phobia and I just have to get over it and cook this dish to perfection myself in the coming months!

And finally, The Putahe Top 10!!!

10. Tinola – another satisfying comfort food that is a complete meal in a bowl with protein, vegetables, fruit, soup and flavor – lots of rice, patis and kalamansi on the side, please.
9. Monggo – Definitely a top 10 though possibly one of those highly adapted/adopted dishes from the Chinese Mainland…Nutritious, delicious and economical.
8. Lumpiang Sariwa – Yes. Ever since those Americans pushed all those coconut plantations we had to figure out how to use palm hearts…and this is a brilliant manifestation. Some family friends send over this stuff at Christmas after a long, slow simmer in pork lard and it is stunningly delicious and stunningly deadly on the cholesterol meter. I like the accompanying sauce, but oddly, keep my chopped peanuts on the side.
7. Inihaw na Isda – Yes. This was a difficult one to lump into one as voters sometimes specified the fish, but suffice it to say that grilled fresh fish is on most folks Top 10 list.
6. Daing or Pritong Bangus – Yes. And Marketman says you MUST have a fish pan to go with that, Mylai Dimaculangan’s aside…heehee.
5. Pinakbet – Yes. Yes. Yes. An Asian ratatouille? No. A native vegetable dish that can range from horrific to sublime depending on how it is cooked. Acquired taste because of the bagoong, I think. This is definitely in my personal top 10.
4. Lechon – No wonder this is the stuff of Fiesta dreams, folks really do place it in a super high regard. I personally would have it lower on the list. Though I LOVE good lechon skin and ribs, I just don’t think it should be that high up in the rankings…
3. Kare-kare – A surprise for me, but nearly 50% of all voters had this on their list and it garnered the third largest number of votes. I was never a big fan and perhaps I always got bum examples of this dish so after seeing these results I read up on kare-kare and spent nearly four hours trying to make the ultimate version (in a post up next!).
2. Adobo – Duhh. Nearly 60% of all respondents had this on their list of Top 10 Pinoy Putahes. No wonder they say it should be the national dish. And yes, I believe it existed before the Spaniards got here and they named it so due to similarities with dishes in Mexico/Spain.
1. Sinigang – Sinigang na Baboy was the third largest individually voted dish. However, 4 Sinigang versions were in the top 13 dishes so if you grouped them as a “Sinigang” option, this was far and away the absolute favorite. Approximately 80% of all respondents had one or more types of Sinigang in their Top 10 list. I totally agree with this choice. Whether pork, beef, prawn, shrimp, bangus, talakitok or other protein with the sour broth of tamarind (or guava, kamias, etc.) and fresh vegetables, this is truly the number 1 Pinoy dish in my book.



  1. K and E says:

    All YUM!

    May 18, 2007 | 7:48 am


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  3. Cindy says:

    Yeah, MM, come to think of it, the 30 dishes, plus the 40% less voted, then i remembered picadillo – ground meat, diced potato and a little tomato, bicol express – string beans, sili in coco milk and tahong! – just plain boiled/steamed with a little ginger and onions or baked with cheese and garlic, and of course, lengua estofado… what else? It’s all in your list! Mmmmm… i miss most of it! What about sliced ampalaya with scramble like eggs and pork – cubed or ground? Well… if i stay longer here, i’m sure i’ll remember something again… on and on it goes… What is pako and bringhe?
    I enjoy reading and referring your site MM, keep it up!

    May 18, 2007 | 8:21 am

  4. elaine says:

    Eversince I discovered your website a couple of months ago, it never ceases to amaze me….it’s the first thing I check out on my bookmark! These Pinoy dishes are all of my favorites and I would definitely have a hard time ranking them. They’re all truly wonderful, unique pinoy dishes! I would include also the regional cuisines, such as the Kapampangan’s burong isda and hipon, Tamales from Samar(it’s all pork meat and fat), and yes the famous Bicol Express. To this I would include also the Pinangat or Pangat, the ones that we buy from this small town after Legazpi, which has crabs or shrimps wrapped in gabi leaves…menudo using ground pork or just the plain ‘ol giniling. Bulacan’s bringhe(i think, pinoy version of paella)is best and pako or fern salad with a little vinegar is truly awesome with the grilled fish. Thanks MM for revisiting this post. Maybe I should start checking out your archives!:)

    May 18, 2007 | 10:41 am

  5. MegaMom says:

    MM, thanks once again for another great re-post. I am glad Sinigang is number one, I think few people will disagree. I must mention too, that non-Pinoys whom I’ve encouraged to try this dish just love it! When I have foreign guests for the first time, it is on my list of things to have them try. 100% of the time, when they come back to visit, they ask for it again – NO FAIL. The other surprise among my visitors is Pinakbet (the original Ilokano “pinakebbet” that uses fish bagoong). I personally love this dish (this is my ultimate comfort food, being part Ilokano) but I am pleased that foreign guests also remember this and ask to have it again. I’ve served both these dishes from my own kitchen to people of various races when I lived abroad and always got positive reactions. I think they truly represent the best of our food!
    From the other MM, MegaMom

    May 18, 2007 | 1:21 pm

  6. bernadette says:

    This is quite a homework but fun to review one’s favorite Pinoy fare. I may be one of the few who don’t go for sinigang at all except if it is shrimps as its main ingredient. I love the pinangat and laing (without much sili). My aunties also have a delicacy in Bicol (gosh! I forgot the name)…is it bibi(?). They’re fried small shellfishes (without the shell). We always ask for that everytime we visit. Of course, the classics like adobo, lumpiang ubod, lechong manok, bopis, paella and kare-kare top my list. I usually find most Filipino dishes quite special because of the “kabuting-tingan” they entail. Salads like latong with tomatoes or mangoes with tomatoes and sibuyas are also quite Pinoy. The dulong, tabios, taba ng talangka and bagoong are always sought after in our palengke.

    May 18, 2007 | 3:34 pm

  7. mercy uy de baron says:

    read your article at yummy may issue.. great to read, i love markets and always hunt for places to buy and eat. I am a cook myself and my son is a Chef.

    May 18, 2007 | 6:04 pm

  8. Frutesca says:

    Watch out for our new item at the leading supermarket(Driscolls regular strawberry , Driscolls longstem strawberry, Red bayberry, New zealand Chrunchy Persimmon size 16 and fresh Blueberry)

    May 18, 2007 | 11:00 pm

  9. The Kid says:

    Do you know that the cake in the picture, is hand MADE? It is made by no other than The KID!!!! YAY! :)

    May 18, 2007 | 11:13 pm

  10. Monchet says:

    am quite surprised crispy pata didn’t make the list. And yes, I definitely agree that tapa and paksiw na lechon should have rated much higher. But I agree 100% with the first two on the list—my all-time favorite Pinoy combination has always been sinigang na baka, dry-type chicken pork adobo and steamed alimango,talangka or halabos na hipon, with lots of steamed rice and dips of suka with lots of garlic and sili, and patis and kalamansi with sili.

    May 19, 2007 | 12:53 am

  11. Grace says:

    Hi. I re-read the Top 10 post and discovered your link to Pinikpikan. I had it in May of 2000 at Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio. I’ve lived abroad since then but I can’t forget how delicious the broth of this soup was, how it glided like silk on my tongue:) After our meal, I was taken aback when my husband described to me how “bugbog-sarado” the chicken had to be for the broth to be that flavorful. Great tasting food won… I’ll have it anytime. At least, the chicken would not have died in vain… it became glorious soup!

    Btw, I discovered I have a namesake who comments on your wonderful blog too:)

    May 19, 2007 | 8:53 am

  12. MM del Rosario says:

    I think my daugther will not agree that Adobo is not No. 1, She once told me, while i am cooking adobo, “Adobo, How do I love thee, let me count the ways” and she likes it with lots of garlic.

    For me, “Sinigang Na Baboy ” is still no. 1, but as I grow older, I have to change my eating habits, I now go for Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon, with lots of vegetables. My daugther likes it too, especially if i put broccoli and baby bachoy.

    May 19, 2007 | 12:06 pm

  13. Tita Maricor says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen the Philippine flag on a cake!How creative! Must taste great too! Thanks, Kid, you did an excellent job!

    May 21, 2007 | 5:34 pm

  14. Raneli Yolo-Piczon says:

    Yes! Sinigang is it. Its my favorite-perk-my-tummy food after a long hard day at work or play. If its Sinigang pork or beef:Definitely with lots of hot steaming rice,patis and perhaps fried fish like daing na bangus or galunggung on the side. The only major argument i have with my mom when preparing this dish is the issue of sourness. I love it spikingly sour while hers is rather so-so for my palette.

    May 21, 2007 | 9:29 pm

  15. Osay Magturo says:

    Fascinating how filipinos have a different variations on the essential fried fish side dish: the tomato-onion salad. Mixed with lato, radish or kangkong in vinegar, its often overlooked yet always a staple in all inihaws. I also love pangat, paksiw na isda and ginataang alimango from mother’s hometown in Samar.

    May 22, 2007 | 10:50 pm

  16. Jill says:

    I am so glad Ginataang Kalabasa made it to the list!
    I didn’t think it was popular, but it is certainly one of MY favourites! When I started to cook for myself, it was the first one I learned to cook. I love Kare-Kare as well, but between the two, obviously Kare-Kare is more labor intensive to cook.

    Btw, where’s Liempo!!??!!???

    May 23, 2007 | 3:18 am

  17. Sydney BR says:

    Sinigang!!!! I travel often for work, and when I’m returning from a trip where I had little or no rice, I make sure that there’s sinigang waiting for me at home. I grew up loving sinigang na baboy and sinigang na kanduli (the ‘utak’ was always reserved for me), but now I am completely in love with sinigang na corned beef (Sentro’s version of course). Heaven on earth. =)

    Jun 2, 2007 | 6:17 pm


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