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27 Enticing Filipino Appetizers For A Five-Star Food Menu

Quick Answer: What Are The Best Filipino Appetizers?

Some of the most enticing Filipino appetizers include meat dishes like Beef Empanada, pork barbecue, crispy fried chicken, Filipino beef nachos, and Filipino chicken adobo kebab. In addition, savory kinds of seafood like mussels, shrimp shumai, kinilaw, and rellenong hippon are a true delight.

Other Filipino appetizers include flaky pastries like longaniza rolls, soft ube pandesal, and brioche bread.

You’re missing out if you’ve never been to the Philippines; the culture, hospitality, and breathtaking scenery are must-have adventures for any tourist.

Of course, Asian cuisine never disappoints, so travelers tend to give Filipino food a ten-out-of-ten rating and always return for more.

With this knowledge, why not include Filipino appetizers in your next party or family food menu? I guarantee everyone will have big smiles on tasting even the simplest lovingly-cooked appetizer from your kitchen. 

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve prepared a list of the most exquisite Filipino appetizers to completely transform your kitchen menu! 

Filipino Appetizers: Quick Table

RecipesCaloriesTotal Preparation Time
Filipino Beef Empanada246 kcal1hr 15mins
Squash Okoy71 kcal1hr
Crispy Tahong (Deep Fried Mussels)360 kcal35 mins
Ensaladang Pipino (Cucumber Salad)60 kcal10 mins
Rellenong Hippon107 kcal35 mins
Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls)99 kcal40 mins
Crispy Kangkong283 kcal15 mins
Kinilaw187 kcal1hr 5mins
Filipino Pork Barbecue On A Stick175 kcal50 mins (excluding marinating time)
Atsara (Pickled Green Papaya)60 kcal30 mins
Stuffed Baked Mussels (Baked Tahong)255 kcal25 mins
Siopao Asado (Filipino Steamed Pork Buns)342.8 kcal3hrs 25 mins
Filipino Chicken Adobo Kebabs With Sriracha Ketchup234 kcal6 – 8 mins
Pickled Mangoes (Burong Mangga)190 kcal30 mins
Pork Embutido 1hr 15 mins
Dynamite Lumpia With Cheese100 kcal35 mins
Shrimp Shumai130 kcal40 mins
Sisig With Pork Belly605 kcal30 mins
Lumpiang Sariwa403 kcal40 mins
Filipino Crispy Fried Chicken310 kcal1hr (with marinating time)
Chicharon Bulaklak
Mushroom Chicharon30 mins
Easy Fishless Cakes124 kcal45 mins
Longaniza Rolls
Beef Nachos Filipino Style
Ensaymada: Filipino Brioche Bread663 kcal2hrs
Ube Cheese Pandesal106 kcal2hrs 38 mins

1. Filipino Beef Empanada

You’re probably no stranger to empanadas; the tomato-and-meat-filled hand pie is prevalent in many cultures. If you’ve never had one, not to worry!

Merely cook beef, potatoes, and veggies in a tomato sauce and surround this goodness with warm, buttery dough.

If you’re entertaining a large group, you’ll find no better appetizer as these empanadas are perfect for feeding a crowd.

Moreover, you can switch up your filling with different veggies and meats if you want to wow your guests! Fried or baked, they’ll taste amazing. 

Total Preparation Time: 1hr 15 mins

Calories: 246 kcal

2. Squash Okoy

Fall is a splendid season to host a party, with its beautiful colors and many fluffy, delicious pumpkin delicacies. But, if you want to be different, try out these Filipino Kabocha squash fritters.

Although fritters are typical appetizers, the unique squash in this recipe is a surefire way to delight your guests with a seasonal vegetable. For that distinct Asian flavor, throw a dash of fish sauce into your mix before frying.

Then, serve the fritters with a vinegar and soy sauce or sriracha dip to give your guests the traditional Filipino experience. 

Total Preparation Time: 1hr

Calories: 71 kcal

3. Crispy Tahong (Deep-Fried Mussels)

Seafood enthusiasts are in for a real treat! These deep-fried mussels are the reigning king of Filipino appetizers.

This dish is an elegant addition to your party menu and easy to cook. Simply coat some New Zealand mussels in a batch of tastefully seasoned flour and deep fry. Also, you’ll need a dipping sauce, but don’t stress it; this recipe’s got you covered.

Total Preparation Time: 35 mins

Calories: 360 kcal

4. Ensaladang Pipino (Cucumber Salad)

What if you’re not the type to spend hours in the kitchen? This cucumber salad is your ideal Filipino appetizer – fast, easy to whip up, and reviving on a hot afternoon.

Dress thin cucumber slices with a generous drizzle of this Filipino-style vinegar dressing. The fish sauce and sesame oil in the recipe add a special tang and essence that’ll make this seemingly plain dish irresistible.

Additionally, it pairs well with any grilled meat or fish, making it the ideal appetizer for barbecues and picnics.

Total Preparation Time: 10 mins

Calories: 60 kcal

5. Rellenong Hipon

Here’s another seafood delight. Rather than fried mussels, this time, we have fried shrimp. But wait, this recipe contains much more than just shrimp.

Covered with spring roll wrappers, each shrimp has a rich, tasty pork filling with star ingredients like soy sauce and water chestnuts.

Follow the recipe to get scrumptious shrimp that’s juicy on the inside and fried to an excellent, golden crisp. Besides, this appetizer isn’t complete without a dipping sauce, so always include any favorites you have.

Total Preparation Time: 35 mins

Calories: 107 kcal

6. Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls)

Where’ve you been if you’ve never heard of egg rolls? The Filipino version of this classic is arguably tastier than what you’re probably used to, and whoever you serve this to will think the same.

Whether you’re Filipino or not, this recipe will be a walk in the park to recreate. Simply stir-fry some cooked pork and vegetables, fill the lumpia rolls with your veggie mix, then fry in sizzling hot oil.

Notably, this Filipino appetizer is a beautiful way to incorporate healthy veggies into a lovely meal, so that’s a plus if you have kids.

Total Preparation Time: 40 mins

Calories: 99 kcal

7. Crispy Kangkong

Bland vegetable dishes and salads shouldn’t be on your menu any longer; there are loads of fun ways to eat veggies. For example, here’s a rather hearty Filipino appetizer you can make by frying kangkong (or water spinach). 

Besides its appetizing taste, its countless nutritional benefits make this recipe healthy and suitable for any diet.

Dip the bright green leaves and stems in the seasoned flour mixture, fry, and enjoy them with any sauce you like. For a strictly vegan version, substitute the eggs with a vegan option.

Total Preparation Time: 15 mins

Calories: 283 kcal

8. Kinilaw

Raw fish is a delicacy in many cultures, including the Philippines. Maybe you just made a face at the mention of raw fish because you’ve had something similar, and it didn’t quite appeal to you?

Or, you’re thinking, ‘If this is anything like sushi, it costs more than I’m willing to spend.’

If you just had any of these thoughts, stop worrying. Kinilaw is easy to make at home, tastes divine, and the ingredients – fish, vinegar, and calmansi or lemon, are literally in every grocery store around you.

Garnish your fish with slices of ginger, onion, and pepper, and enjoy with your loved ones; just make sure you’re using fresh fish.

Total Preparation Time: 1hr 5mins

Calories: 187 kcal

9. Filipino Pork Barbecue On A Stick  

Barbecue is a staple everywhere; the aroma of grilled meat is undeniably irresistible. Pork barbecue is popular on the streets of the Philippines, but you can bring it to your dinner table with this recipe. 

Marinade a good-sized pork butt in a mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, banana ketchup, and vinegar. Then, grill and baste each piece for a gleaming, shiny look. 

Everyone will go through these sticks quickly, so make a good batch, or you’ll run out of appetizers! Watch this video for extra help.

Total Preparation Time: 50 mins (excluding marinating time)

Calories: 175 kcal

10. Atsara (Pickled Green Papaya)

If you love the tang of pickled food, this dish is right up your alley. Papaya tastes unforgettable, but when it’s pickled and served as a relish? You’ll be munching on it all day long.

Grate raw unripe papaya with carrots and red pepper and marinate in a boiled vinegar mix. Healthy eaters will gobble this one up, as papaya is famous for its nutritional benefits and vitamins.

However, you should prepare this relish a day or two in advance to infuse maximum flavor and zest into each slice.

A few pieces of grilled meat with Atsara will taste through the roof for parties or family gatherings. This video will guide you through each step, so cook away!

Total Preparation Time: 30 mins

Calories: 60 kcal

RELATED: 25 Quick And Easy Filipino Breakfast Ideas

11. Stuffed Baked Mussels (Baked Tahong)

Here’s another way to cook mussels, baked instead of fried. The mussels have lots of goodies this time, from a milk-and-butter sauce to cheese

Add a dash of salt, breadcrumbs, and some garlic to the sauce for taste. Next, pour the yummy sauce into each cooked mussel, top them up with grated cheese, then bake.

The aroma in your kitchen will be so divine that you’ll pounce on these mussels immediately after they’re out of the oven.

Total Preparation Time: 25 mins

Calories: 255 kcal

12. Siopao Asado Recipe (Filipino Steamed Pork Buns)

Hot, peppery food is always fun to eat (though it’s a challenge sometimes). This siopao asado merges extra-spicy pork with bouncy, fluffy buns.

Again, the numerous flavorful ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin combine beautifully to give buns that you’ll be eating non-stop.

Although the three-part recipe is time-consuming, its delightful result does justify the process. To begin, braise your pork cuts, prepare your filling, and wrap it up in the pillowy dough.

The pepper makes a massive difference in the siopao, but use the amount you can handle.

Bonus point – you can freeze these for up to a month and pop them in the microwave when you need an urgent appetizer.

Total Preparation Time: 3hrs 25 mins

Calories: 342.8 kcal

13. Filipino Chicken Adobo Kebabs With Sriracha Ketchup

Did you think we wouldn’t give you a Filipino chicken appetizer? No matter the culture or cuisine, you can be sure you’ll find a delicious chicken recipe.

Words can’t do this chicken justice; you must see the exceptional deep brown breasts and taste them yourself. 

Thankfully, both the kebabs and sriracha ketchup are easy to recreate.

First, soak the breasts for as long as possible in a rich marinade containing apple cider vinegar, soy and fish sauces, honey, and rare spices like peppercorns and anise pods. Then, grill and serve them with your ketchup.

Total Preparation Time: 6- 8 mins (excluding marinating time)

Calories: 234 kcal

14. Pickled Mangoes (Burong Mangga)

As we’ve seen with the previous papaya recipe, Filipinos love their pickled fruit. Accordingly, we have Burong Mangga, which equates to unripe mangoes traditionally preserved in vinegar.

The greener your mangoes are, the firmer they’ll keep in the vinegar. Choose a corresponding kind of vinegar depending on the flavor you want your mangoes to have.

Then, slice up your mangoes, immerse them completely in the vinegar solution and refrigerate for better preservation.

Add any herbs or spices you like to the solution to infuse more fruitiness or tang. You’ll have to prepare the mangoes a couple of days beforehand to let the flavors sit and combine with the mango slices. Watch this video to learn more.

Total Preparation Time: 30 mins

Calories: 190 kcal

15. Pork Embutido (Steamed Filipino Meatloaf)

Whether or not you know how to cook meatloaf, this version is nothing like you’ve ever experienced. Moreover, a novice chef looking to make a banging first-time impression can’t go wrong serving little slices of this super-delicious meatloaf

Simply combine the ground pork with other ingredients, including pickle relish, raisins, cheddar cheese, and breadcrumbs. Roll the mixture in foil, steam till it’s cooked, and just like that, you’re done! You’ll find more help in this video.

Total Preparation Time: 1hr 15 mins

16. Dynamite Lumpia With Cheese

This one’s a simple cheese stick. Fill the most ingredient here, green chili pepper, with cheese, wrap lumpia around each chili, then fry till you get the color you desire. 

For those who can’t handle the heat, take out every seed in each chili to make it more bearable while still tasting amazing. 

Total Preparation Time: 35 mins

Calories: 100 kcal

17. Shrimp Shumai

More seafood! Shrimp shumai is originally Chinese, but many Asian countries have adopted this delicacy, including the Philippines.

Stir diced shrimp, soy sauce, aromatic sesame oil, and much-loved soy sauce into blended spices and herbs, and pour this mix into wonton wrappers.

Finally, steam the dumplings and serve them with a scrumptious dipping sauce. You can whip up a large batch and freeze these dumplings for months to save you stress.

Total Preparation Time: 40 mins

Calories: 130 kcal

18. Sisig With Pork Belly

Despite the not-so-cool name, this pork belly tastes fantastic, especially with the chops of chicken liver mixed in it.

Season, grill, and deeply marinate the meat slices with lemon juice, soy sauce, chili, and pepper, and toss them in melted butter for hearty, sweet warmth. 

Slices of red onions add much-needed color to this dish; you don’t want a mass of boring brown pieces only. Here’s a hands-on video guide to help you.

Total Preparation Time: 30 mins

Calories: 605 kcal

19. Lumpiang Sariwa – Filipino Fresh Spring Rolls

This spring roll is a vegetable lover’s dream appetizer, featuring sauteed cabbage, potatoes, carrots, pork, tofu, and prawns. As always, fish sauce ensures a savory experience, and the accompanying lumpia sauce is undoubtedly elegant.

Lastly, garnishing with peanuts and lettuce leaves will certainly win you an A for your presentation.

Total Preparation Time: 40 mins

Calories: 403 kcal

20. Filipino Crispy Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is so versatile that you can use it anywhere, as a side for your main dish or served alone as an appetizer with a dipping sauce.

On sight, these pieces look like any other fried meat with no wow factor, but one taste will have your mouth drooling and begging for more.

The ingredients for this recipe are your usual fried chicken stuff – flour, eggs, cornstarch, and spices like paprika, garlic, and pepper for an indulgent flavor.

But, the secret here that’ll make your chicken stand out is fish sauce. You may not be a fan of fish, but trust me, you won’t regret the essence this sauce will give your chicken.

Total Preparation Time: 1hr (with marinating time)

Calories: 310 kcal

21. Chicharon Bulaklak

This traditional meal of pork intestines is as savory as it is uncommon. Crunchy and seasoned to perfection with rock salt, dried bay leaves, garlic, and celery, this Filipino appetizer will be the talk of any party. 

Meanwhile, you’ll never guess the secret to its famed crunchiness – drying! Alternatively, you can bake each piece in your oven until you get that signature texture.

Though the taste is incredible, note that this dish isn’t the healthiest option because of its high fat content.

Total Preparation Time: n/a

Calories: n/a

22. Mushroom Chicharon

Did the previous recipe spook you a little? It’s okay to be concerned; healthy eating should be a priority, but you don’t have to give up chicharon entirely. For a heart-friendly alternative, check out this mushroom recipe.

This appetizer, featuring oyster mushrooms in place of the fatty intestines, is tasty while being relatively healthier than its counterpart. Also, the cooking process and ingredients differ; you’ll need to douse the mushrooms in a seasoned flour batter.

Though optional, breadcrumbs add some texture to the mushrooms, while frying them in coconut oil lends more flavor and aroma.

Total Preparation Time: 30 mins

Calories: n/a

23. Easy Fishless Cakes

There’s something about revamping familiar food with a different culture’s cuisine. For instance, patties are an everyday food item but try using this recipe to touch them up.

Yes, using actual fish in these patties is more widespread; however, chopped banana hearts are a fabulous substitute for vegans. 

First, sautee the banana hearts, then mix them with your dough ingredients and mold your mixture into little cakes. Generously cover each cake with breadcrumbs and fry till you achieve that coveted golden brown color.

Total Preparation Time: 45 mins

Calories: 124 kcal

24. Longaniza Rolls

Ever had a sausage roll? If you have, these longaniza rolls won’t be strange to you. Like sausage rolls, longaniza rolls are Filipino sausages wrapped in puff pastry. 

The bright red sausages surrounded by round, golden pastry look heavenly and taste even better. ‘Short ingredient list’ cooks have hit the jackpot with this recipe.

Mix some minced pork for more meatiness and sprinkle breadcrumbs over it for a more inviting appearance.

Total Preparation Time: n/a

Calories: n/a

25. Beef Nachos Filipino Style

Did you know you could give nachos a Filipino touch? Transform plain beef nachos into a special appetizer with just a handful of ingredients. 

You’ll need beef, tomatoes, cabbage, black olives, cheese, and nacho chips. Because you should always take your cooking to the heights, spice your beef with taco seasoning before sauteeing.

Meanwhile, a dollop of sour cream and cheese spread over everything ties this dish together, so make sure to have some handy.

Total Preparation Time: n/a

Calories: n/a

26. Ensaymada: Filipino Brioche Bread

Bread is a common appetizer; it’s light (in small quantities), delicious, and generally liked. Still, if you want that jaw-dropping effect after anyone has a bite of your appetizer, try this Brioche Bread. 

Fluffy and soft, this bread consists of your classic bread ingredients, baked in a particular brioche mold.

To enhance its sweetness, sprinkle some sugar and cheddar cheese on your bread, and brush with butter to increase its softness and shine. 

Total Preparation Time: 2hrs

Calories: 663 kcal

27. Ube Cheese Pandesal

Lastly, we have another mouthwatering Filipino bread appetizer. The shiny purple color of this crumb-coated bread will have everyone reaching for your bread basket immediately and returning for second and even third helpings!

The rare color of this bread comes from the extract of ube, a delicious purple yam. Although this yam infuses flavor into the dough, the recipe still uses vanilla extract, cheddar cheese, and milk.

This combo results in a decadent burst of cheesy deliciousness from just one bite.

Total Preparation Time: 2hrs 38 mins

Calories: 106 kcal

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do Filipino Appetizers Have Roots In Other Cultures?

The Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years; hence, some of these appetizers (like empanadas) have Spanish origins and roots.

Besides Spain, other Asian cultures and cuisines have found their way to the Philippines, especially China. Appetizers like shrimp shumai are famously identical to the traditional Chinese dumpling, though it has Filipino trademarks.

Are All Filipino Appetizers Spicy?

While some Filipino appetizers have a substantial amount of heat, like the lumpia cheese stick or siopao asado, not all these dishes are extremely spicy. There’s a whole variety of appetizers to choose from.

With the notably spicy ones, you can always tone the amount of pepper to suit your or your guests’ needs, especially if you’re feeding kids.

How Many Courses Can I Serve Following A Filipino Appetizer?

Your table, your rules! You’re the host, so you decide how many courses you want to serve, but the norm is an appetizer, main course, then dessert.

Don’t stress about the workload; most of these appetizers are easy to whip up, and you can prepare them a few days before for easier cooking.

27 Enticing Filipino Appetizers For A Five-Star Food Menu.

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