8 Delicious Filipino Seafood Dishes to Try Before You Kick the Bucket | When people talk about the most indulgent Filipino dishes, most of the time, they’re referring to the ones made out of fatty red meat. Some examples are sizzling sisig, lechon, crispy pata, and bulalo. Those are definitely dishes that merit a penance, like a larger serving of veggies or an exhaustive workout. But they aren’t the only ones that can be considered on the sinful side. There are a lot of seafood dishes in Pinoy cuisine that are great for cheat days or for days that you need to treat yourself. For best results, try cooking some of these yourself and sharing the indulgence with family or friends!
What are the top Filipino seafood dishes you need to try at least once before your time on earth is up? Here’s a roundup of eight Pinoy specialties to sample before you kick the bucket.
Pork and chicken adobo are everyday fare in Filipino households. But the snappy squid meat in adobong pusit is best enjoyed on special occasions. As you’ll see from this adobong pusit recipe, this dish isn’t that hard to cook or source ingredients for. The challenge is to clean the squid properly and to keep it from overcooking. When it’s time to eat, watch out for any stains that the adobo sauce may leave on your shirt, because you may be too busy scarfing it all down.
In Filipino cuisine, relleno dishes consist of a cut of meat that’s stuffed with a filling and then baked. You may already be familiar with rellenong bangus, chicken relleno, or lomo relleno, but in this lifetime, you have to try either rellenong alimasag (blue crab) or rellenong alimango (mud crab). The presentation for this dish, which involves crab shells stuffed with a luscious filling, is already a showstopper in itself. The same definitely applies to the taste!
On the topic of showstoppers, the bright orange hue of this pasta dish will surely get some admiring looks at the dining table. If not taken in moderation, however, it may stop a few hearts, too. Aligue pasta is made with rich and salty crab fat, and this dominant flavor is best offset with a little acid like calamansi juice. Enjoy this only once in a blue moon, but make sure it’s part of your bucket list.
Nilasing na Hipon
As you can see from dishes like rum cake and pasta with wine-based sauces, mixing cooking ingredients with alcohol isn’t a new thing. But one adaptation that’s delightfully unique to Filipino cuisine is that of nilasing na hipon. This dish involves soaking shrimp in an intoxicating marinade of either gin or white rum, then frying it to a crisp. If you want to level-up your next inuman, these tipsy shrimps will go down quite well with a side of beer.
What’s one way to make a dish like pork sisig even more indulgent than it already is? The answer is to switch out the chopped pork meat for oysters before serving them on a sizzling plate. This dish will still have the characteristic tang of sisig, but it will be made even more complex with the rich, saline taste of cooked oysters. Season with hot sauce and calamansi, dig in, and be reminded of a leisurely drink by the beach.
Don’t let the simplicity of this dish’s name fool you. Fish mayonnaise is a recipe that’s famous for its festive look and equally festive taste. In this dish, a hardy grouper fish like lapu-lapu is generously lathered in mayonnaise and topped with colorful, neatly diced vegetables. Save this dish for a special occasion, like Christmas or New Year, because it’ll fit right in with other fantastic party food items.
For spice and fresh seafood you shouldn’t miss out on in this life, head to the Bicol region and try a dish like kinunot. This dish is often made with shark or stingray, two meats that you don’t typically encounter elsewhere. The robust taste of either cartilaginous fish goes well with creamy coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and of course chili peppers. This dish isn’t one for the faint of heart, but it should be a welcome bucket list addition to the adventurous eater!
One last item that you should have on your to-eat list before you kick the bucket is seafood kare-kare. Kare-kare is already a hearty and substantial dish when made with oxtail or beef, but switching out the meat ingredient for fresh seafood like shrimp or mussels will give it an extra special touch. Make sure you eat seafood kare-kare in this lifetime and savor every bite of it!
In many places in the Philippines, seafood is typically reserved for special occasions. There’s nothing quite as reminiscent of the good life as seafood caught fresh from the ocean, then cooked into something substantial. Which of these dishes are you most excited to try, and which of them have earned a place on your personal bucket list?