chicken adobo
chicken adobo Image Credit: Shutterstock

In a 2021 article published by, it said that Filipino food is the tenth most popular food tagged on Instagram. While it’s no secret that Gen Z Filipinos are partial to snapping their food, when you consider it’s more popular than French, Peruvian and Spanish cuisine, it underlines the universal appeal of dishes from the Southeast Asian country.

While the buttery richness found in French haute cuisine may be one reason health-conscious Gen Z-ers are turning to Asian food for their posts (with Thai, South Korean and Japanese food all making appearances in the top five most popular tags on Instagram), Filipino food has unique distinctions to its higher profile neighbours.

In an article for Culture Trip, Filipino, Katrina Escalona, described how, “with the Filipinos’ knack for combining flavours and making the most of any and all ingredients at their disposal, what results is unpretentious, no-frills food that’s simply delicious.”

The archipelago’s dishes are often referred to as being shaped by the country’s colonial past, with Spanish influences featuring heavily following their control of the nation up until the late 1800s. The Americans followed the Spanish and waves of Chinese immigrants also influenced Filipino flavours.

Although dishes vary depending on regions and islands, a common characteristic found in many recipes is sourness. Most commonly derived from a vinegar made from sugarcane, its use is thought to have originated from vinegar’s preservative

powers, before widespread use of refrigeration. Calamansi, also known as the Philippine lemon, adds to the often sour nature of the nation’s cuisine and can be found in numerous dishes.

Saltiness is also another feature, with bagoong, which is a fermented shrimp paste and patis – the Filipino equivalent of Thai fish sauce, frequently used.

Arguably the most famous of foods (aside from Jollibee) is adobo. It’s a meat stew combination of sour and salty notes, with bay leaves, garlic and black pepper. Vegetable and fish variants of adobo are also popular.