Filipino cuisine is exceptionally diverse. Mula Aparri hanggang Jolo, every province offers variations of classic dishes (hello, adobo!) and, of course, its own local flavors. Encouraging your kids to try these Filipino delicacies helps them grow into unfussy eaters. Plus, it’s a delicious way to make them love their country and appreciate their culture.
Don’t just stop at Ilocos’ empanada, Laguna’s buko pie, and Cebu’s dried mangoes. There are many other treats you can discover with your loved ones! And if traveling around the archipelago isn’t an option yet, you can always start in the confines of your kitchen. Here are five regional specialities to try preparing at home so you can kick-start your taste journey.
1. Roti de Iligan
Roti de Iligan is a well-loved native Filipino delicacy from Lanao del Norte. Think of this local street food as a giant empanada, a thicker quesadilla, or a folded pizza – treats that most kids adore! Sandwiched within the warm flatbread is a creamy filling with a hint of spice. Of course, you can tone down the heat and try other kid-friendly flavors for your chikitings.
Make your own palaman by combining canned tuna, onions, grated cheese, and Lady’s Choice Tuna Spread. Alternatively, you can replace the fish with shredded beef or roast chicken – check your fridge for leftovers. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder, or turmeric.
For the roti, you can go for store-bought varieties. Just toast them with a bit of butter until flaky. But if you want to make some yourself, you only need four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and ghee (or more butter!). Mix everything into a dough, knead, and let rest. Once ready, divide it into smaller balls, flatten, and cook on a flat skillet. No baking required! Fill them immediately while still warm and serve them to your kiddos.
2. Sisig Pizza
Persuading picky eaters to try a crunchy and chewy ulam like sisig can be challenging. You can’t force them to enjoy the dish, especially if they find the mishmash of odd pork parts unappetizing. A quick fix? Get your kiddos excited about Pampanga’s famous delicacy by adding it to pizza!
Turn pizza-making into a sensory activity by letting your kids help with the dough. No time to make it from scratch? Turn to white bread slices or pandesal, which you can easily cut into shapes. Let them spread the tomato-based sauce and add the grated cheese. For your topping, give them options: something familiar (Hawaiian?) and something surprising. This way, they won’t be too averse to trying sisig. It might just be their new favorite flavor!
3. Pancit Molo
Despite its name, pancit Molo doesn’t contain noodles. It’s also not stir-fried, unlike most pancit varieties around the country. Instead, this Iloilo staple features filled dumplings in a light, comforting soup. Swimming in the broth are delicate wonton wrappers that serve as “noodles,” transforming the dish into a heartier merienda fare.
If your kids love Chinese wonton soup, you should make them try this local version. Making it from scratch is a cinch – and budget-friendly, too. Start by preparing the dumplings: combine ground pork, Knorr Shrimp Cubes, singkamas, and beaten eggs, then stuff the mixture into store-bought wrappers. Next, prepare the soup base: simmer garlic, onions, and more broth cubes in water until its aroma fills your kitchen. Then, you’re ready to drop your dumplings and extra wonton wrapper strips. Just cook them for two to three minutes, then they should be ready.
Negrenses enjoy their pancit Molo with lumpiang ubod. Follow suit by preparing these tasty rolls at home. So much easier than you think!
4. Lumpiang Ubod
Another beloved treat from Negros is lumpiang ubod. But compared to other fresh lumpia versions, this one is simpler. It’s also not as colorful as most expect; others even think of it as raw lumpiang Shanghai since no veggies poke out of the roll. But it comes with so much flavor – an umami bomb in every bite. You won’t even need a sauce for it!
To make it, sauté garlic and shallots in oil. Add chopped shrimp and ground pork; cook until brown. Next, stir in the chopped ubod and season with brown sugar and soy sauce. Cook until almost dry, about 10 minutes. Let cool, stuff into wrappers, and roll tightly. Done!
5. Daral Crepes
Daral is a traditional Tausug dessert featuring a galapong-based crepe stuffed with hinti, the local version of bukayo. Some contemporary daral adaptations are similar to Malaysia’s kuih ketayap, which uses flour flavored with pandan. They’re also more appetizing for kids because of their green hue.
Want to try making them yourself? Start with the filling. Prepare a sugar syrup simmered with pandan leaves. Add grated coconut and cook over low heat for 20 minutes until you achieve a thick and glossy consistency. It should be ready once the mixture is dry and all liquid has evaporated. Let cool before stuffing into prepared crepes. Keep them tiny for easy handling and so your kids don’t overload on sugar.
Celebrate Filipino food culture each time you introduce your child to regional flavors. And who says you need to travel long distances to taste these Filipino delicacies? Make it happen in your kitchen!
How to Make Garlic Bread Sandwiches for Back-to-School Day
Transform ordinary ingredients into an exciting back-to-school baon. Learn how to make garlic bread sandwiches with these TikTok-inspired tips and recipes.
From Fried Tokwa to Sizzling Sisig: A Step-by-Step Guide
Traditional sizzling sisig isn't for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative with the same satisfying flavors, try this recipe.
How to Transform Yesterday’s Lechon Manok to a Fresh Chicken Salad
Transform yesterday’s lechon manok into a fresh chicken salad with a mayo-barbecue dressing. Even your kids will enjoy this all-in healthy meal!