It starts with atsuete and ends in Zamboanga. Discover Filipino food through Jun-blog’s alphabet of food words. Filipino food in 25 letters, in 25 recipes, in 25 stories. “A stunning alphabet of Filipino food,” wrote the New York Times.






Abaniko – hand-held fan
Achuete – annatto seeds used for red food coloring
Adobo – meat or vegetable stewed in vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns
Agahan – breakfast
Agar-agar – seaweed extract used in making gulaman or gelatin
Alak – alcoholic drink, wine
Alamang – tiny shrimps, often made into shrimp paste
Alimango – mud crab
Alimasag – blue crab
Almires – mortar and pestle, dikdikan
Almusal – breakfast
Ampalaya – bitter gourd, bitter melon
Ampao – sweetened puffed rice or corn formed into balls or bars
Anghang – pepperiness or spiciness
Apahap – silver sea bass
Afritada – pork, beef or chicken braised in tomato and fish sauce
Arina – flour
Arnibal – syrup made from white or brown sugar
Arroz – rice
Arroz ala Cubana – sauteed ground meat with rice topped with fried egg and served with fried plantains
Arroz caldo – chicken and rice porridge
Arroz ala Valenciana – rice and chicken cooked in tomato sauce and saffron, paella
Asado – pot roast
Asin – salt
Asukal – sugar
Achara – pickled fruits or vegetables like papaya and carrots
Ayungin – silver perch



Babad – soak, marinate
Baboy – pig, pork
Bachoy – noodle soup made of pork innards like kidneys, spleen, liver. La Paz Bachoy from Iloilo is served with egg noodles and chicharron
Bagoong – fish or shrimp preserved in brine, usually used as sauce
Balimbing – star fruit
Balut – fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and eaten with salt
Banak – mullet
Banga – water container made of clay with a spigot
Bangus – milkfish
Barako – coffee variety grown and roasted in Batangas and Cavite
Barilis – yellowfin tuna
Batidor – wooden beater for beating chocolate to a froth
Bayabas – guava
Bayo – pound with pestle and mortar
Bayong – woven market bag
Bibingka – Christmas rice cake
Bigas – husked but uncooked rice
Bihon – rice noodles
Biko – a cake of sweetened glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with latik
Bilo-bilo – small balls of dough made from glutinous rice
Binakol – boiled chicken cooked in a bamboo or coconut, usually with strips of young coconut
Bistek – thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi cooked with sliced onions
Biya – goby
Brazo de Mercedes – a dessert of Spanish origin; a roll of meringue filled with a butter sauce
Bringhe – native dish derived from Spanish paella, of rice, chicken and coconut milk
Broas – lady fingers
Buchi – fried sesame ball stuffed with red bean paste
Buko – young coconut fruit
Bulalo – boiled kneecap and other meats and vegetables
Buntot – tail, oxtail
Buro – fish or meat preserved in brine or salt; pickled green fruits; fish or shrimp fermented with rice



Cadera – sirloin
Calamansi – Filipino citrus
Caldereta – stew of goatmeat or beef marinated in tomato sauce and liver pâté
Callos – tripe
Camaron Rebozado – batter-fried shrimp
Camote – sweet potato
Carajay – wok
Carinderia – food stall consisting of pots filled with prepared food lined up on a table
Castañas – chestnut
Chicharo – snow pea
Chicharron – deep-fried pork rind, pork crackling
Chocolatera – pot for cooking chocolate
Chorizo – sausage
Chorizo de Bilbao – Spanish sausage usually used in dishes such as paella, cocido, puchero
Chorizo Macao – Chinese sausage
Cocido – Spanish stew of meat, vegetables and chickpeas
Comida China – Chinese food



Daing – fish butterflied, salted and dried in the sun
Dalag – freshwater mudfish
Dikdikan – mortar and pestle, almires
Dinengdeng – Ilokano stew of vegetables cooked in fish bagoong, oftentimes served with broiled fish
Dinorado – rice variety
Dinuguan – stew of pig entrails and blood seasoned with vinegar, garlic, and salt
Dugo – blood
Dumalaga – young native hen favored for its tender meat



Embutido – Filipino-style meatloaf
Empanada – deep-fried turnovers stuffed with ground beef, pork, or chicken
Ensaimada – Filipino-style brioche coiled bun brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar and grated cheese
Ensalada – salad
Escabeche – fried fish with sweet sour sauce
Espasol – rice cake made from toasted rice flour and coconut milk shaped into long tubes
Estofado – stew of pork leg or ox tongue



Fiambrera – layered metal food container
Fish balls – street food of ground white fish meat, formed into balls, deep-fried, and skewered into bamboo sticks



Gabi – taro
Galantina – deboned chicken stuffed, steamed until cooked, thinly sliced and served cold
Galapong – rice flour dough
Galletas – old-fashioned thin, round biscuits
Galunggong – round scad
Gambas – prawn
Gambas al ajillo – prawn or shrimp cooked in olive oil, garlic, and chili
Garapon – glass jars used to hold sweets, pickles, and other preserves
Garbanzos – chick-pea
Gata – coconut milk extracted from freshly grated mature coconut
Gatang – the smallest measure of rice, the size of a regular tin can of condensed milk
Gatas – milk
Gilingan – heavy stone grinder used for grinding rice or nuts
Ginataan – cooked in coconut cream or coconut milk
Ginisa – saute or to cook in oil with garlic, onions, and tomatoes
Gisado – sauteed
Goto – tripe or tripe rice porridge
Guinumis – refreshment made of gulaman, toasted pinipig, gata, crushed ice and sugar
Gulaman – gelatin made from agar-agar
Gulay – vegetables



Halabos – steamed
Halabos na hipon – steamed shrimp
Haleyang ube – dessert of thick jam of ube or purple yam
Halo-halo – refreshment or dessert made of a mixture of sweetened fruits, beans, and tubers, topped with shaved ice, sugar, and milk
Hapag-kainan – dining table
Hapunan – dinner
Helado – frozen
Hibe – small dried shrimp
Hilaw – unripe
Himagas – dessert
Hinog – ripe
Hito – fresh-water catfish
Hopia – Chinese pastry made of sweet filling inside a flaky crust
Hugas-bigas – rise washing used as broth for sinigang and pesa
Humba – pork cooked in soy sauce and sugar



Inihaw – grilled or broiled over charcoal
Inipit – cake made of two layers of sponge cake with a filling of buko custard.
Inom – drink
Inumin – beverage
Isda – fish
Itik – duck
Itlog – egg
Itlog na Maalat – salted egg



Jackfruit – fruit native to South and Southeast Asia with a thick, spiny skin and yellow, fibrous pods or bulbs
Jacobina – small, rectangular, layered biscuits
Jamon – ham



Kakang gata – coconut cream, the first extract from grated coconut meat
Kakanin – sweet rice cakes
Kalabasa – squash
Kalabaw – water buffalo or a variety of mango
Kamayan – eating with bare hands
Kamias – sour fruit used to cook sinigang
Kamoteng kahoy – cassava
Kanduli – sea catfish
Kanin – cooked or boiled rice
Kaong – fruit of a sugar palm tree
Kare-kare – stew of oxtail, foot and tripe, with vegetables flavored and thickened with ground rice and peanuts
Kaserola – casserole, saucepan
Kasubha – native saffron
Kinilaw – dish similar to ceviche made by marinating uncooked fish or shellfish in vinegar and Kinchay – Chinese celery
Kiping – edible, bright-colored leaf-shaped thin rice wafers used as decoration at the Lucban and other Quezon fiestas



Laing – Bicol dish made of the stalks and leaves of gabi stewed in coconut milk and chilies
Lambanog – wine distilled from coconut palm juice
Latik – toasted coconut milk crumbs
Leche flan – creme caramel
Lechon – roasted whole suckling pig
Lengua estofada – stewed ox tongue
Liempo – pork belly
Lomi – flat egg noodles
Lomo – loin
Longganisa – Filipino-style sausage
Lugaw – arroz caldo, rice porridge
Lumpia – spring roll



Macapuno – variety of the coconut palm that does not contain water inside the shell. The soft jelly-like coconut meat is used in popular Filipino sweets.
Maja Blanca – a kind of rice or corn pudding
Malagkit – sticky or glutinous rice
Malinamnam – delicious
Malunggay – young leaves of horseradish plant
Mami – egg noodles in broth
Mani – peanuts
Mechado – stew of beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi
Media Noche – traditional midnight meal on Christmas Eve
Miki – fresh Chinese noodles made from wheat flour
Misa de Gallo – Midnight mass held for nine consecutive days before Christmas
Miso – soybean cake
Morcon – beef roll



Nangka – jackfruit
Nilaga – boiled, boiled meat, vegetable or fruit
Nilupak – mashed cassava
Noche Buena – traditional midnight meal on Christmas Eve



Omelet – beaten egg fried in oil with meat and vegetables
Otap – flaked biscuit coated with sugar
Oyster Sauce – sauce made from ground and dried oysters and salt



Pabo – turkey
Paella – Spanish dish with rice, seafood, meat, and vegetables
Pako – edible fern
Paksiw – fish or meat cooked in vinegar with salt, ginger, and garlic
Palay – unhusked rice
Palengke – market
Palitaw – rice cakes shaped like flat disks cooked in boiling water until it floats to the surface, drained, and then rolled in grated coconut, sugar, and toasted sesame seeds
Paminta – pepper
Pamintang buo – whole peppercorns
Pamintang durog – ground pepper
Pamutat – appetizer
Pancit – noodle dish
Pandan – screwpine
Pan de sal – traditional Filipino bread roll
Pangat – Bicol or Visayan dish of taro leaves and hot chilies in coconut milk; fish boiled in broth soured with tomatoes, kamias, sampalok, or calamansi; sliced saba bananas cooked in coconut milk
Panocha – brown concentrate evaporated from sugarcane extract
Pasas – raisins
Pasingaw – steamed
Pastillas – milk candy
Pato – duck
Patis – a salty, amber-colored, pungent fish sauce used to season dishes or as a dipping sauce
Pesa – fish boiled in water used to rinse rice, flavored with ginger
Picadillo – soup of ground beef with diced potato
Pinais – technique of wrapping fish, shrimp, or vegetables with coconut or banana leaves and then steaming
Pinggan – plate
Pinipig – young rice pounded until grains are flattened like corn flakes
Pirurutong – purple-colored glutinous rice
Prito – fried
Prutas – fruit
Polvoron – candy made from toasted flour, sugar, powdered milk, and melted butter
Pulutan – canapes, hors d’oeuvre, food that goes with drinks
Puto – steamed rice cake
Puto bumbong – steamed sticky rice cakes molded and steamed in a small bamboo tube (bumbong) and sprinkled with sugar and grated coconut



Queso – cheese
Queso de Bola – Edam cheese shaped into a ball traditionally served during Noche Buena



Relleno – stuffed poultry, fish, shellfish, or vegetable
Rosquillos – egg-rich biscuits shaped like flowers



Salabat – ginger ale or ginger tea
Sampalok – tamarind
Sangke – star anise
Sapsap – slipmouth fish
Sardinas – canned sardines or mackerel
Sawsawan – sauces and condiments
Sayote – chayote
Siyanse – a kitchen utensil used for turning food that is being fried
Sibuyas – onions
Sinaing – boiled rice
Sinamak – vinegar flavored with chilies, garlic, and pepper
Singkamas – jicama
Sinigang – a dish of pork, beef, shrimp or fish and vegetables in a broth soured with acidic fruits like tamarind
Siomai – Chinese steamed dumpling
Siopao – steamed stuffed Chinese bun
Sotanghon – mung bean noodles
Suka – vinegar
Suman – glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana or palm leaves



Taba – fat
Talangka – small crab
Talbos – tendrils and sprouts
Talong – eggplant
Talunang manok – defeated rooster in a cock fight; dish made from the rooster defeated in a cockfiŽght
Tamales – rice cake derived from Mexican tamale
Tanghalian – lunch
Tanglad – lemon grass
Tanguingue – Spanish mackerel
Tapa – dried, salted meat
Tinapa – smoked fish
Tinapay – bread
Tinola – a dish of boiled chicken, green papaya, sili leaves, and ginger
Tocino – salted pork
Tocino del Cielo – custard in syrup
Tokwa – tofu; soybean curd
Toyo – soy sauce
Toyomansi – toyo and calamansi dipping sauce or marinade
Tuba – the fresh sweet juice from nipa or palm usually drunk fresh, and also made into wine or vinegar
Tulya – fresh-water clams
Turon – saba bananas rolled in sugar, wrapped in lumpia wrapper, and deep-fried until crisp and golden brown
Turo-turo – way of ordering food in cafeteria-style eateries with steam tables in which customers point at what they want
Tutong – the burnt crust that forms at the bottom of the pot of cooked rice
Tuyo – dried, salted fish



ube – purple yam
ubod – heart of palm
ukoy – shrimp or vegetable fritters
ulam – viand
uling – charcoal
uraro – arrowroot cookies





wansoy – cilantro



1. Tikim: Essays on Philippine food and culture by Doreen Fernandez
2. A Quick Guide to Filipino Food and Cooking by Cris C. Abiva