We’re very lucky to live in a state as diverse as Hawaii. In addition to the multicultural nature of its residents (my family is a great example), the diversity also translates into what we, as Hawaiians, eat on a daily basis. Food plays an important role in our lives – we are known for our luaus and unique dishes like kalua pig, poke, or poi.
Some of the dishes we grew up eating are not native to these lands, but instead got introduced to Hawaii by its large Asian population. Back in the day, Asian laborers from Japan, Korea, and most importantly, the Philippines came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. They brought along with them foods from their homelands – many dishes that you’ll now find integrated into the local diet.
Having Filipino ancestry myself meant I grew up eating a lot of Filipino foods, a cuisine that has recently been gaining in popularity (link to Bon Appetit) in the US. And, rightly so, because Filipino food is homely, comforting, and delicious!
If you’ve never tried Filipino food before and don’t know where to start, here’s our list of 10 kid-friendly filipino food dishes to ease you into the cuisine.
TOP 10 KID-FRIENDLY FILIPINO FOODS
No Filipino meal is complete without an adobo dish, and our top favorite is pork adobo! Pork adobo is made by cooking and marinating the meat in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Cooking meat this way is native to the Philippines and they very likely used vinegar as a preservative and to keep the dish fresh for a longer period of time. Best served over a plate of hot, steaming rice.
This is one of the all-time favorite pies consumed in the Philippines. Kids love this because of its sweet taste and is made using the meat from a coconut, which in Tagalog is known as ‘Buko’. Buko pie is generally brought over by family or friends after returning from a trip.
Kare Kare is a hearty, traditional stew served with a savory peanut sauce. The meat generally used in Kare kare ranges from ox tails, pork limbs, goat, or chicken meat. The kids love ox tails, which give the stew an incredible taste.
Batchoy is a kid-friendly creamy soup made using sliced pork, pig’s innards and miki noodles. This dish is a traditional dish in the island of Panay. Miki noodles are egg-based noodles ideal in soups.
Considered the Filipino spring roll, lumpia are delicious and served up at almost every family gathering. These rolls are deep-fried till crispy and filled to the brim with meat – which ranges from beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp. We’ve also had banana lumpia for dessert before! The kid-foodies are a huge fan of lumpia from Elena’s on Oahu.
This is a delicious Filipino noddle dish which in Filipino culture is a symbol of long life and health. While pancit canton is typically served at parties and family gatherings, we love having it as a weekly dinner meal. It’s made using sliced pork, sausages, and shrimp. Sliced veggies are added on top for color and presentation.
A very popular dessert made using steamed rice, put can also be eaten as a breakfast dish along with a cup of coffee. And some kids are given this cake as an after-school snack.
Leche flan is the local name given to caramel custard in the Philippines. As with most flans, this dish is made using eggs, milk and a little bit of soft caramel on the top. A definite kid-foodie favorite on the dessert menu!
Bibingka is a sweet coconut cake and is very popular among both kids and adults. It is made using rice flour and thick coconut cream. This cake is served specially at Christmas gatherings and festivities.
A family-favorite, halo halo (which means mix-mix in Tagalog) is a colorful & popular Filipino dessert made from layers of shave ice, evaporated milk and a variety of ingredients like coconut, sago, fruits, and sweet red beans.
And there you have it, our list of 10 kid-friendly Filipino foods to kickstart your Filipino food addiction. Have you tried Filipino food before? If so, what are your favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments below!