Pinoy Food Guide

Filipino terms relating to cooking methods and preparations :

  • Adobo/Inadobo – cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. It could also refer to just roasting on a wok, with light oil, garlic and salt, as in adobong mani (peanut adobo). The latter is done more for snacks, while the former is more associated with viands.
  • Babad/Binabad/Ibinabad− to marinate.
  • Banli/Binanlian/Pabanli − blanched.
  • Bagoong/Binagoongan/ – sa Bagoong − cooked with fermented fish paste bagoong.
  • Binalot – literally “wrapped.” This generally refers to dishes wrapped in banana leaves The wrapper is generally inedible (in contrast to lumpia — see below).
  • Binuro − fermented.
  • Busa/Pabusa – toasted with garlic and a small quantity of cooking oil, as in adobong mani.
  • Daing/Dinaing/Padaing − marinated with garlic, vinegar, and black peppers. Sometimes dried and usually fried before eating.
  • Guinataan/ – sa Gata − cooked with coconut milk.
  • Guisa/Guisado/Ginisa or Gisado − sautéed with garlic, onions and tomatoes
  • Halabos/Hinalabos – mostly for shellfish. Steamed in their own juices and sometimes carbonated soda.
  • Hilaw/Sariwa – unripe (for fruits and vegetables), raw (for meats). Also used for uncooked food in general (as in lumpiang sariwa).
  • Hinurno – baked in an oven or roasted.
  • Ihaw/Inihaw − grilled over coals.
  • Inasnan – food preserved with salt. May be broiled. Meat, fish or vegetables.
  • Kinilaw or Kilawin − marinated in vinegar or calamansi juice along with garlic, onions, ginger, tomato, peppers.
  • Laga/Nilaga/Palaga − boiled, sometimes with onions and black peppercorns.
  • Nilasing − cooked with an alcoholic beverage.
  • Lechon/Nilechon − roasted over a spit.
  • Lumpia – wrapped with an edible wrapper.
  • Minatamis − cooked with sugar, or with other sweeteners such as panucha (panela).
  • Pasingao – steaming fish, meat, fowl or shellfish.
  • Pinakbet − to cook with vegetables usually with sitaw (yardlong beans), calabaza, talong (eggplant), and ampalaya (bitter melon) among others and bagoong.
  • Paksiw/Pinaksiw − cooked in vinegar.
  • Pangat/Pinangat − boiled in salted water with tomatoes.
  • Palaman/Pinalaman− “filled” as in siopao, though “palaman” also refers to the filling in a sandwich.
  • Pesa – boiling sauteed fish with ginger, vegetables and patis.
  • Pinakuluan – boiled
  • Pinais – food wrapped in leaves (banana or alagao), and steamed
  • Piniato – peanut brittle.
  • Pinausukan – smoking fish, meat and fowl just before eating.
  • Prito/Pinirito − fried or deep fried. From the Spanish frito.
  • Pasingaw – steamed, usually with a banana leaf.
  • Relleno/Relyeno– stuffed.
  • Tapa/Tinapa – dried and smoked. Tapa refers to meat treated in this manner, mostly marinated and then dried and fried afterwards. Tinapa meanwhile is almost exclusively associated with smoked fish.
  • Sarza/Sarciado – cooked with a thick sauce.
  • Sinangag – fried rice.
  • Sinuam – boiling sauteed fish or shellfish in ginger and pepper leaves.
  • Sigang/Sinigang − boiled, usually with a tamarind base. Variant bases are: guava, raw mangoes, calamansi also known as calamondin, and almost any other sour fruit abundant in the locality.
  • Tosta/Tinosta/Tostado – toasted, as in polvoron or Mamon Tostado.
  • Torta/Tinorta/Patorta – to cook with eggs in the manner of an omelette.
  • Totso/Totcho – cooked with fermented black beans. The name of both a cooking method and dish.

Flavors and Spices

  • Abagat – Tagalog for caper, also known as tagato.
  • Alagaw – Also called anobran in Ilocos and pamunat tangli in Pampanga. Young leaves of this tall tree add flavour and aroma to kanduli na dinilawan and ayungin na paksiw in Southern Tagalog.
  • Alibangbang – An eight to ten-meter tree with leaves used for souring viands of meat or fish in Southern Tagalog.
  • Alingarao – In Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Laguna young acidic stems of this endemic shrub are used to flavour meat and fish. Its oval fruit is made into jam.
  • Angguat – A Benguet plant used in half-boiled rice grains by Igorots to make tapuy rice wine.
  • Apasotis – A native to Mexico, the plant’s characteristic odour comes from the presence of ascaridol oil. Batanguenos mix its leaves with mongo beans.
  • Ariwat – A long woody vine, fleshy fruit used in Ilocos as condiment.
  • Asapran – Saffron is the dried stigma of an autumnal crocus flower native to Greece. The Philippine substitute is the unrelated Kasubha.
  • Atsuete – With flowers resembling large strawberries, the annatto tree was introduced by Spaniards from Mexico where it is called achiote in Aztec. Its seed are widely used  in Latin American cooking. The orange pulp that sheaths the seeds is used as a food dye.
  • Ayo – Sour leaves and fruis used as flavouring in Bataan and Bulacan. In Tayabas, Quezon the herb is called kalit, in the Visayas, langnikit and alupidan; in Bontoc , dipig. Its brownish globular fruit is sour but suitable for preserves.
  • Balanoi – The term around Rizal for sweet basil.
  • Baluk – A ginger root that is dried and powdered to fortify the color of tuba.
  • Banglay – Turmeric. Commonly known as dilaw or dilao among Bicolanos, Ilocanos and Tagalogs.
  • Banilya – Local linguistic adaptation of the Spanish vainilla.
  • Bariuatuat – A vine from northern Ilocos used as flavouring.
  • Bawang – Garlic.
  • Bilaka – Nutmeg.
  • Binukaw – A fruit used to minimize fishiness in cooking.
  • Binunga – Bark and leaves used to flavour basi.
  • Binurok – Acidic leaves of a woody vine with spiny stems used in Ilocos flavourings.
  • Buntot kapon-A fern eaten steamed or used as food flavouring.
  • Buslig-Used in Ilocano cooking as substitute for onion, which it reserbles in flavour.
  • Dapayem-Also called puriket and ang-nguad. The flowers are mixed with balls of rice and allowed by Benguet Igorots to ferment into sinitsit wine.
  • Dayap– Young leaves are used to flavour patis. The juice of this lime tree’s fruit is a souring agent in different dishes and dipping sauces.
  • Duso– An herb rising from a tuberous aromatic root stock and used to flavour rice.
  • Duhat– Its bark is used to make basi astringent. The fruit is made into juice, wine and is an ingredient of tinto dulce wine.
  • Ipil-Ipil– the bark of these trees (and never its leaves) is used as a substitute for binunga bark in flavouring basi wine. It is also called kariskis in Ilocos.
  • Kagaskas– A peppery plant with elongated fruit.
  • Kamias– The cylindrical fruit of this tree is a very acidic and is used to flavour seafood. It makes a refreshing juice rich in vitamin C.
  • Karimbuwaya– Fleshy leaves with a piquant flavour, used in Ilocos as a stuffing for lechon. Known as soro-soro in Tagalog.
  • Kasubha– Wild saffron.
  • Katmon– The fruit of this tree is used to sour fish dishes and sauces.
  • Langkawa– A wild ginger.
  • Lemonsito– The little red ripe berry of this thorny citrus was preserved in syrup during Spanish days and used to garnish and flavour macapuno preserves served as dessert.
  • Linga– Sesame seeds.
  • Loco-Loco – An island substitute for marjoram.
  • Luya– Ginger.
  • Luya-Luyahan– Also known as barak or balon in Tagalog. The yellow rhizome has a ginger-like aroma.
  • Malagoso– A bitter vegetable, its is also known in Tagalog as sarsalida.
  • Malbarosa– The flowers were added to the cooking pot when preserving watermelon rind in cane sugar syrup.
  • Malunggay– Hilligaynon and Tagalog for horseradish tree, but different from true horseradish. The tree yields seeds to make Ben Oil that are delicious in salads and for other cooking needs, and which also a superior illuminant is. The root can be used fresh, refrigerated, or dried.
  • Mansanilya– Common Chamomile.
  • Palong-manok– Cocks-comb herb with tender edible leaves eaten as vegetable and flavouring.
  • Pandang mabango– Fragrant screwpine imparts the delicate flavour and aroma of new rice to rice; it is also used for sweet tuber soups such as alpahol and guinataan, and to flavor sweetened water beverages and native ices.
  • Sabnit– Known also as sapinit in Rizal Province, the acidic leaves of this hibiscus bush with large yellow or white flowers tinged with red, is used to flavour meat or fish. In Palawan, it is called kahtoitoi and in Capiz, labuag.
  • Sampalok– Tamarind.
  • Sangke-Star Anise.
  • Sibuyas Bombay– Onions-called true onions- are generally rated hot and humid. It is a common vegetable with red skin.
  • Sibuyas Tagalog– Small-bulbed red skinned onions known as Bermuda, shallot and Baker’s garlic.
  • Sili- A generic term for Vitamin-A rich cayenne peppers throughout the Islands. It induces sweating and therefore lowers body temperature.
  • Siling bilong– This is a round pepper-the bell variety.
  • Siling haba– In Bicol, Tagalog, and Ilocos regions, sili means this green pepper that had long pod. It becomes red and sweet as it matures.
  • Siling labuyo– Cayenne pepper true to its reputation! Labuyo means “to grow wild”. This chilli pepper is also called siling bundok.
  • Siling pasiti– A dwarfed, wild pepper plant with small pungent berries. Being highly aromatic, they were supposed to comfort the stomach.
  • Sugada– Tagalog for oregano.
  • Sulasi- Sacred basil , from the same family as sweet basil (known as balanoi)
  • Tagpo– This romantically christened tree means “to meet” in Tagalog, implying in Bulacan and Laguna perhaps, a lovers’ trysting spot. Its fragrant pink or white flowers and fruit are used to flavour fish.  In Pampanga, the tree is called katbum or patakol.
  • Tala– An aromatic herb, used in Camarines for cooking. In the Camarines area it is called kalaoo. It is also used to perfume hair.
  • Talangaw-Fennel Flower.
  • Tanglad– Lemon grass, also known in Tagalog as nugo.
  • Tunghaw-This daisy looking herb is grown as a leafy vegetable and is flavouring for pansit luglog.


  1. Wikipedia, Philippine Cuisine
  2. Gilda Cordero-Fernanndo, Philippine Food and Life
  3. Felice Prudente-Sta Maria, Philippine Culinary Vignettes

6 Responses to Pinoy Food Guide

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | chef by day

  2. This is a very good reference guide! Thanks for putting it together for the rest of us.
    And thanks for sharing!

  3. Chef Day says:

    You are welcome Elizabeth ! Thanks for dropping by =)

  4. bumble bee says:

    ano po ilokano ng kasubha?

  5. Joyce Bungay says:

    Love this! Sir, please include Batwan (Garcinia binucao) in your list. Thank you.

  6. Philbert Louis says:

    Do you have a recipe for ariwat. I used to eat a dish with coconut milk in it. Lmk. Thanks

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