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Take a closer look at (the real) siling labuyo and siling haba, the Philippines’ two local chillies popular in Filipino cuisine

If you're a certified chilli head, you must be familiar with the two essential Filipino peppers: siling labuyo and siling haba. However, with so many other chillies in the market, both local and imported, distinguishing them from others may pose a challenge. Learn more about the chillies, including how they're used, alternate names, and common points of confusion, below:

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Siling Labuyo

One of the most popular chillies in the Philippines is siling labuyo or "wild chilli" in English. Though small in size, the red hot chilli packs a real punch at 100,000 Scoville units. The chilli is commonly used in sinamak, a spiced vinegar infused with aromatics and spices that makes a delicious dipping sauce or sawsawan for grilled meats, seafood, and more.

Although siling labuyo was once one of the most commonly found chillies in the country, the Slow Food foundation notes that true Filipino siling labuyo is now under threat, as commercial importers have brought in similar peppers from neighbouring countries such as the Thai bird's eye chilli (siling tingala). These chillies are often falsely advertised as siling labuyo, thus threatening the local supply, though they are not nearly as spicy and far larger than the authentic siling labuyo.

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Siling Haba

As its name suggests, siling haba (which translates to "long chili") is much longer than other Filipino chillies and is additionally distinguishable by its bright yellow-green colour. The pepper is also known as siling pangsigang, as it is typically used to add a mild but flavourful kick to sinigang, the classic Filipino sour soup dish. It may also be sold in English as green chilli, finger chilli, or green finger chilli.

Unlike the siling labuyo, which belongs to the Capsicum frutescens species, siling haba is classified under Capsicum annum. Whereas the first is typified by berries that grow erect, the latter have berries that drop and hang.

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