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Five must-try Filipino food in UAE.

Summary: Restaurants offering Filipino food have sprung up across the UAE over the last two years

Communal dining is best done at a Filipino 'boodle fight' such as that at Dampa restaurant in Deira. Grilled or steamed seafood is dumped on a shared table with piles of rice, corn and sauce for group diners to dig into. Image Credit: Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Dubai: We've all tried the biryani -- and all its mouthwatering permutations . But what about adobo, sisig, tapsilog and other famous and mouth-watering Filipino food?

For foodies, the Filipino cuisine is a must-try for its unique mix of flavours -- sweet, sour, salty, and a little spicy for some.

Scores of restaurants offering Filipino cuisine have sprung up across the emirates over the last few years.

Gone are the days when Filipinos had very few choices of chow joints that served their meals in the UAE. No, we're not talking about fastfood. We're talking the regular Filipino dishes -- now within reach in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

On Sunday, the Philippine Consulate-General has started a survey calling on all residents, non-Filipinos included, to rate and give their thoughts on a list of Filipino food.

The survey contains a selection of 10 Filipino favourites.

But if you haven't tried them yet, here are our top five must-try Filipino dishes and desert!

1) Adobo Chicken adobo by Mama Sita's Image Credit: Supplied

Adobo is a staple meal among Filipino households. It's combination of sweet, sour, and salty taste makes it a top choice of foodies of all ages. But every family has its own recipe often cherished and passed on through generations.

It's chicken pieces marinated in soy sauce and vinegar, mixed with a bit of sugar, and sauteed in onion, garlic and ginger, and stewed until tender and fragrant.

But adobo is not limited to meat. Vegans may try adobong kangkong (water spinach) and for the more adventurous, adobong kamatis (tomato) as well.

2) Chicken Inasal

This is the Philippines' most famous chicken barbeque that resembles the taste of chicken teriyaki but with a smoky Filipino flavor. The chicken leg or breast is marinated (marinades in the Philippines are a big deal!) in a special sauce with lemongrass, salt, ginger, ground black pepper, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, lemon-lime soda, and lemon juice.

They are then grilled to perfection and served with atsara (pickled green papaya) and dipped in soy sauce with lemonsito (similar to lime) and bird's eye chili. Most Filipinos love this dish served with unlimited rice.

3) Boodle Fight Communal dining is best done at a Filipino 'boodle fight' such as that at Dampa restaurant in Deira. Grilled or steamed seafood is dumped on a shared table with piles of rice, corn and sauce for group diners to dig into. Image Credit: Aiza Castillo-Domingo

Boodle Fights have become the biggest craze in the Filipino food scene in the last two years. It's a Philippine military way of eating where food is piled on top of banana leaf spread across a long table.

Mounds of rice are often the centerpiece and seafood, meat, and other sliced fruits and vegetables are either placed on top or around it. Those participating "fight" (although no one really does) to munch on what they want within their reach. This is typically for big groups. Food is eaten with bare hands.

4) Halo-halo

Filipinos beat the summer heat with the most famous halo-halo. It's a colourful dessert with shaved ice, sweet preserved beans, jackfruit, coconut, sweet purple yam, cream caramel flan, banana, milk, sugar, ice cream and others.

Literally 'mix-mix' in English, halo-halo is called as such because one needs to mix the whole thing for him or her to enjoy the dessert.

With just the right sweetness and crunch, halo-halo is the best obligatory end to a Filipino dining experience.

5) Kare-kare Traditional Filipino dish kare-kare is a beef and vegetable dish of ox tail and tripe simmered in thick peanut sauce. Image Credit: Supplied

This is the Filipino version of beef stew with rich and thick peanut sauce. One can either have oxtail or beef slices for this mixed with pechay (Chinese cabbage), eggplant, and string beans. This is best enjoyed with shrimp paste as the stew is often not salty.

Kare-kare is a perennial Filipino favourite traditionally served during weekend lunch gatherings.

To take part in the Filipino Food Survey, visit:

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jul 29, 2019
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