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Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers

What are the Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers to try? Missing the taste of home or finding the unique interesting culinary delights of Filipino food exciting?

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers

This list of a great choice of traditional and Modern Filipino appetizers. If you’re hosting a dinner party to introduce Filipino food to a crowd, here are sure fire simple filipino appetizers-recipes that will make sure to appease anyone’s hunger and taste buds all with a mix of favorite Filipino flavors of salty, savory sweet, and umami, some with a hint of spice.

Dynamite Lumpia (also called Cheese Dynamite)
  1. Dynamite Lumpia (also called Cheese Dynamite)

Starting our “Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers” is Dynamite Lumpia, a popular Filipino appetizer that many FIlipinos look forward to at a party. A great mix of crispy, spicy, and cheesy these little crisp fingers are called ‘Dynamite’ due to looking like cartoon illustrations since the stalk of the sili peeks out, it also has an explosive spicy taste once you take a bite. Green chillies in the Philippines are spicy but not as spicy as red ones and have even a slight sweetness in them, giving them just enough kick for many to enjoy without having to drink cups of water or milk to offset the spice.

Lumpiang Shanghai

2. Lumpiang Shanghai

Not to be confused with the spicy sili based Dynamite snack above. This Lumpia is a simple deep fried Filipino snack-appetizer-main dish that’s made by creating this delicious filling of ground meat (or any choice of meat, come have even used canned food), carrots, garlic, onions, salt, pepper, soy sauce, sometimes oyster sauce, with egg as a binder, placed into a lumpia wrapper, rolled then fried to perfection. One of the easiest and best crispy finger foods you’ll find in almost every Filipino party. Tru out this classic “Lumpiang Shanghai” recipe, or “Cheese Tuna Lumpia”. There’s even a healthy not-fried version called “Lumpiang Sariwa” that translates to ‘Fresh Lumpia’.

3. Chicharon Bulaklak

The word “Chicharon” might seem like a familiar word to many, typically heard when talking about lechon, crispy liempo, and many more pork crackling dishes. Chicharon Bulaklak on the other hand is a very crispy fried dish made by using very clean pork intestines that are seasoned or marinated with vinegar, salt, bay leaves, peppercorn, and garlic. Deep fried for 30 minutes or more till it turns a beautiful golden color, drained of excess oil and served with a side of spicy vinegar but is typically served with an iced cold beer or sweet drink.

4. Empanada

Empanada is a popular pastry with Spanish roots. This FIlipino-Spanish fused dish is made by creating a slightly thick flour pastry filled with a mix of chicken or beef, potatoes, carrots, aromatics, and or green peas that are simmered in a delectable sauce made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, additional seasonings, and cornstarch to add to the thickness. Pan fried or baked, giving you a crispy and meaty savory goodness in each bite. Try out these “Chicken Empanada” or canned “Tuna Empanada” recipes.

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers Sisig

5. Sisig

Sisig, a popular and favorite dish that many FIlipinos might even recommend as your first foray to FIlipino food. These are delicious pork, chicken, tuna, or for vegans tofu, depending on the choice of meat, the base and method of the dish is a mix of savory, salty, spicy, and umami flavors. An affordable but addictingly yummy dish often served in a sizzling cast iron pat, topped with a half cooked egg, with calamansi on the side to help cut through any oils. Try out this Original “Pork Sisig” recipe, an easy and simple canned “Tuna Sisig with Crispy Tofu” recipe, or “Chicken Sisig” recipe.

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers Filipino-style Pork BBQ

6. Pork BBQ

Have a meat enthusiast in your group? This recipe will surely impress anyone! “Filipino-style Pork BBQ” is a foolproof dish that is great seasoned even in a short amount of time but tastes better longer, and is easily cooked over the grill, baked, or pan with no worries of over cooking. The recipes only use just a minimal amount of ingredients you can easily find in the pantry, and are a mix of sweet, savory, and umami. One of the more popular BBQ recipes in the Philippines comes from Aristocrat, a famous food chain that specializes in Chicken Barbeque. Try out Yummy Kitchen’s ‘copycat recipe’ here: “Aristocrat-style Chicken Barbecue”.


7. Kinilaw

Raw meat cooked in a savory acidic bath of seasoning, ginger, onion, salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, calamansi juice, and chillies. Similar to a ceviche but using Filipino ingredients. The outcome of kinilaw dishes are typically colorful, flavorful, and are great to add into a table or mostly oily or fried dishes. You can find fishes like Tuna or Tanique being used, with some using ‘dilis’ or ‘anchovies’ to make “Kinilaw na Dilis” or just vegetables or using the acid marinade to cook vegetables like this “Kilawing Labanos” (using raw radish).

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers Kwek Kwek

8. Kwek Kwek

Kwek Kwek are hard boiled quail eggs that are dipped in a seasoned orange batter of annatto oil or powder, all purpose flour, salt, black pepper, with or without additional settings. A street food dish that you can almost always find outside schools or malls. A cheap and affordable way to keep you filled, often served with a sweet and spicy vinegar bottle to make it easier to dip with.

Chicken Feet

9. Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet is a delicacy that many Asian countries continue to add into their diet not only for the rich amount of collagen but the interesting texture and flavor that this ingredient adds and soaks up. Made in a number of ways like “Chicken Feet Humba” that’s served more as a main dish, “Crispy Chicken Feet” or “Spicy Buffalo Chicken Feet” which are best eaten as a snack or for those who want to try out chicken feet for the first time, or the traditional “Chicken Feet Adobo” which is the best way to enjoy sauteed chicken feet in the most tender and flavorfully impactful way.

Camaron Rebosado

10. Camaron Rebosado

Camaron Rebosado is  a deep fried shrimp calamari made by marinating the shrimp before coating it in a batter made of all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs. Cooked till it comes out golden and crispy, best served with a side of sweet and sour sauce. It’s like a Filipino version of the Japanese Tempura but comes out fluffier with a Filipino flavor profile. While the name does sound Spanish this dish is a fusion between Filipino-Chinese dishes and techniques.

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers Filipino Macaroni Salad

11. Filipino Macaroni Salad

The Filipino version of Macaroni salads are often made with a mix of cooked meats and vegetables, slathered with a subtle sweet but more salty-savory cream sauce, sometimes with bits and pieces of fruits like apples or pineapples, depending on one’s preferences. These are colorful and often refrigerated before serving. A great way to beat the summer heat, being a filling snack, or to have a nice refreshing lunch. It comes in a variety of options like “Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad” or “Ham Macaroni Salad”.


12. Siomai

A Chinese-Filipino dish made by seasoning ground pork with an array of sauces and spices like oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sometimes with the inclusion of shrimp and other vegetables, wrapped up in wonton wrappers. These bite-sized mouthwatering pork pieces are great to add to the table as these are mild and can be customized with the paired sauces to make them sweet, more savory, or even spicier by pairing with calamansi, calamansi with soy sauce, or simply chili oil. Any leftovers of this dish can also be turned into a hearty “Siomai Soup”.


13. Bopis

Bopis is a spicy Filipino dish made using pork lungs, heart, and innards, cooked with spices and aromatics like garlic, onions, laurel leaves, and ginger, made even more flavorful with carrots, chillies, radish, tomatoes, and annatto powder for a slightly nutty taste. This dish is typically served as an appetizer or pairing to beer, with some topping it over a steaming cup of white rice to turn into a main dish.

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers Vegetable Fritters

14. Vegetable Fritters

Vegetable Fritters are a snack typically made up of a mix of vegetables like onion, carrots, leafy greens, and garlic, mixed into a simple batter of flour, salt, and pepper. The outcome are colorful savory pancakes that are great with a side of spiced vinegar. A foolproof fried dish way to introduce Filipino food to kids and adults alike. These are also great to customize and add in vegetables or meats that you need to finish in the fridge. A sweet savory almost donut tasting option of fritters would be these “Sweet Potato Fritters” or go for the more traditional option “Banana Fritters (Maruya)”.

Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers pork Liempo

15. Liempo

Last but not the least in our “Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers” is “Liempo” or “Grilled Pork Belly” is a delightfully tender, tasty, and juicy recipe that’s made with just a few steps such as marinating the pork with an umami sauce mix of soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, black pepper, brown sugar, soda, and or banana ketchup to add color and subtle sweetness. Once marinated for a few hours to overnight, these are placed on the grill and basted every few minutes till you get a nice char and nice smokey flavor. It’s a crowd pleaser and one of the most coveted options on the party table in many Filipino gatherings. No grill? Try out this “Pan Grilled Pork Belly” version.

Which Top 15 Traditional Filipino Appetizers have you tried? And which dish made you love Filipino food?

Check out our other Top lists:

  • Top 15 Filipino Christmas appetizers
  • 10 filipino appetizer with a twist”
  • Top 20 Filipino main dish list
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