11 Filipino Breakfast Foods To Help You Start Your Day Off Right
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—and no one knows this better than Filipinos!
Imagine: waking up to the strong smell of barako coffee, steaming hot and paired perfectly with an array of delectable Filipino breakfast dishes.
Unlike some, Filipinos appreciate a hearty first meal of the day. There are no pretensions when it comes to enjoying this simple yet delicious fare, known as the first morning ritual before embarking upon a hard day's work ahead.
Below, we've listed some of the most iconic Filipino breakfast dishes that energise, invigorate, and empower us all day long!
Read also: 14 Classic Filipino Desserts You Need To Try
Sinangag, known quite simply as garlic rice, is a staple in every breakfast meal. It can elevate even the simplest of viands—from hotdogs to scrambled egg—and is so easy to make! Simply use day-old rice and sautée it alongside plenty of garlic and some salt. It's a simple no-fail recipe that everyone can enjoy with pretty much anything else.
Nothing starts the day better than tapa, dried or cured beef strips often marinated with garlic and salt. Though beef is usually the most popular choice, other types of meat are sometimes used in different parts of the Philippines.
There's tapang kalabaw (water buffalo), tapang usa (deer), and even tapang kabayo (horse). One of the best things about tapa too is how many ways it can be prepared: in some restaurants, tapa is prepared in an elaborate or expensive way, while in other eateries, it's prepared in more traditional, heartier ways. Whatever type of tapa you choose to indulge in, there's always just one thing that's consistent: it's always delicious!
Inspired by the Spaniards, longganisa is a Filipino chorizo that's become one of the most iconic breakfast dishes around the country. One of the reasons for that being: every region in the country seems to have their own version of it! There's the garlicky Vigan longganisa from Ilocos, sour Tuguegarao longganisa marinated in vinegar, delightfully bite-sized Alaminos longganisa, and much much more around the country.
Another type of cured meat inspired by the Spanish, tocino is a popular breakfast dish most famous in Pampanga. Because it can be tedious to cure your own meat, tocino is now often bought pre-packaged in grocery stores; however, really good tocino is still often homemade in some eateries. If you plan on making your own, always aim for a nice balance between sweet and salty—that's often the marker for mouthwatering tocino!
If you're not familiar with dulong, don't feel too bad. While it's not as mainstream as other breakfast dishes, this humble dish is just as delicious! Known as silverfish, dulong is often cooked torta style; that is, cooked in an omelette and served with tomatoes. It is also quite popular to get bottled dulong in oil, served up with hot rice. However, it can also be made into ukoy, or fish fritter as a snack. Either way, you'll serve up a tasty and uniquely Filipino flair to the breakfast table.
Made famous by Cebu, danggit is another breakfast favourite around the country. Salted and sundried, the danggit (known as spinefoot fish) gives off a distinct aroma when fried. It becomes extra crispy and is often best paired with sinangag.
Filipinos are known for their insatiable sweet tooth, and it doesn't stop at breakfast. One of the most distinct breakfast foods we have on the menu is champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge that's often made with tablea (some prefer from Davao). These days, culinary creativity shines through as there's now also ube champorado. Both are often served with dilis (dried anchovy).
Daing na bangus
Did you know that bangus (milkfish) is the national fish of the Philippines? It's also a popular breakfast dish often marinated in vinegar, pepper, garlic and salt and then fried to make daing na bangus. Though it looks like a fairly simple meal, there's a lot of complex flavours that truly make this dish stand out.
While plenty on this list are inspired by Spanish influences, here's one from the American times. Filipinos love Spam, and though it's not unique to our culture per se, only our kababayans understand the nuance of how much we adore Spam. It's easy, quick to cook, delicious in its own way, and very versatile. Eat it as slices, cook it with your egg, or even add it as an ingredient to other dishes!
Filipinos love their canned goods! Corned beef is another popular breakfast choice, one that's often cooked with potatoes, onions, and garlic. Though more extravagant restaurants have given their take on this beloved dish by creating theirs from scratch, the canned version is often still seen in traditional Filipino diners and carinderias.
It wouldn't be a proper breakfast list without the beloved pandesal. Literally translating to "salt bread", this humble breakfast roll is a staple in all Filipino kitchens and dining rooms, no matter the geography or social class.
The best ones are fluffy and light, with golden crumbs that fall lightly about. Because it's such a mainstay in Filipino cuisine, people have also learned to put various palaman (filling) inside—from cheese, peanut butter to liver spread and even sorbetes (ice cream). Since the pandemic started, people have also become much more invested in ube pandesal, which often has ube halaya and cheese filling.