Why Filipino Cuisine is Becoming Popular in the UK

Contributed by editor on Feb 12, 2020 - 06:25 PM

Here in the UK, there is no shortage of Asian cuisine options. Whether you’re after an Indian curry or Chinese takeaway you can usually find one within minutes of your doorstep.  

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If you’re an avid chef, then maybe you cook up creations at home, making Pad Thai or Japanese Ramens.

One Asian cuisine that has only recently begun to rise in popularity is from the Philippines. It’s hard to know why it’s taken so long for this delicious, satisfying food to make its way into Western society. Once you’ve tasted traditional Filipino cuisine, it’s not easy to forget. For that reason, the public is demanding more options and the UK is delivering.

What is Filipino cuisine?

The Philippines includes over 7000 islands, and therefore the cuisine offers a variety of flavour profiles. On top of that, the colonization history of the country means you’ll notice many different cultural influences in the food such as Chinese, Spanish and American.

One ingredient that is present throughout Filipino cuisine more than any other is citrus. The islands grow many citrus fruits, and therefore they are incorporated into the majority of dishes. Filipinos are also known for their resourcefulness when it comes to food, and they use all parts of the animal when cooking with meat.

The flavour profiles of the dishes are a perfect balance of sour, salty and sweet. They use a lot of vinegar, which creates a tanginess that is unique to the cuisine. Compared to other Asian cuisines, there is much less heat in Filipino foods. The spice is milder, and therefore, the whole family can enjoy it.

Traditional Filipino dishes

Here are some classic Filipino dishes that you’re most likely to encounter in this cuisine;

Adobo – Pork stewed in a marinade of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce and peppercorns. You may also see it made with chicken, seafood or vegetables and served with rice.

Sisig – Minced pork, usually the innards, marinated with citrus, vinegar and served with an egg. In western society, you’ll see it made with pork belly, tofu or fish.

Lumpia – A Filipino take on a Chinese spring roll. Crepe-like wrap stuffed with meat and vegetables.

Kilawin – Raw fish marinated in citrus and vinegar, similar to ceviche. The citrus acid lightly cooks the fish, infusing it with the tangy flavour.

Why is it becoming popular?

Many restaurants are adopting traditional Filipino recipes to suit western tastes. While you may not be comfortable having pig snout, you might feel ok about pig belly. Since most traditional dishes contain meat, it can be a deterrent for vegans and vegetarians. Now many popular dishes are available with a vegetable or tofu version. The innovation of Filipino chefs in the UK is helping the cuisine grow in popularity.

Where can you get Filipino cuisine?

Filipino restaurants are beginning to pop up in many major cities in the UK. There are a variety of options in London, including RAPSA in Shoreditch, which offers delicious Filipino cuisine in an authentic environment. You can see their full menu at They even host Boodle Fights, which is a traditional Filipino dining experience where groups can feast out on finger foods. 

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