If you're looking for savory sides to go with a mouthwatering main dish, we've got something for everyone in this complete collection of the Best Filipino Side Dishes!
As a Filipino-American, I am always so proud to share my heritage with you all through food. I love watching so many of you make my family's Instant Pot Chicken Adobo, Filipino BBQ Pork Skewers, and our Jollibee Filipino-style Spaghetti recipes for your own family gatherings. And all of these hearty main dishes need some tasty side dishes to go with them!
Filipino cuisine is known for bold flavors, sweet taste, and hearty comfort food. But what really makes a Filipino meal complete are the delicious side dishes. We usually pair 2-4 side dishes with every main course.
From Filipino Spanish Bread, to Instant Pot Garlic Rice, Pancit Bihon and ensaladang talong, there is a Filipino side dish to suit everyone's taste. And because they are so versatile, they can be paired with just about any main course. So I've rounded up my best Filipino side dishes, perfect for dinner parties and weeknight family dinners alike.
If you're new to Filipino food, be sure to check out my Filipino Pantry Staples. You can learn more about common Filipino ingredients and where to find them.
🍚 How to choose the best side dish for your meal
When choosing the perfect side dish for your Filipino meal, it is important to consider the following factors:
- The main course - What are you serving for the main course? Some side dishes pair better with certain main courses than others. For example, Ginisang Togue (sauteed mung bean sprouts) is a popular side dish for grilled or fried fish. Meanwhile, pancit bihon (Filipino stir-fried noodles) is a good side dish for chicken or pork dishes.
- The overall flavor profile of your meal - Do you want a meal with a variety of textures and different flavors? Or do you prefer a simpler meal with fewer dishes? If you want a variety, you can choose side dishes with different flavor profiles, such as a sweet and savory dish and a sour and spicy dish. If you prefer a simpler meal, you can choose side dishes with similar flavor profiles
- The dietary restrictions of your guests - Do you have any guests with dietary restrictions? If so, be sure to choose side dishes that are suitable for their dietary needs. For example, if you have a vegan guest, you may want to consider serving side dishes such as ginisang ampalaya or laing (taro leaves in coconut milk).
Delicious Filipino side dish combinations
Here are some specific examples of Filipino main dishes and the side dishes that go well with them:
- Air fryer pork belly (lechon kawali) - Spam fried rice, Ginisang ampalaya, Asian Carrot Cucumber Salad, ensaladang mangga (mango salad), and atchara (pickled papaya).
- Fried fish - Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls or egg rolls), pancit bihon or pancit palabok (Filipino stir-fried noodles), and kalamansi dipping sauce.
- Chicken adobo or chicken inasal - Garlic fried rice, lumpia, Filipino macaroni salad, ensaladang mangga.
- Pork sinigang (pork sour soup) - Laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), bagoong alamang (shrimp paste), bagoong isda (fish paste) and patis (fish sauce).
- Hearty stews (Caldereta, kare kare, or Mechado) - Pan de sal, Filipino garlic rice or white rice.
Whether you're preparing a meal for special occasions or weeknight dinners, there is sure to be a Filipino side dish that is perfect for your meal. So don't be afraid to experiment and try new things!
Filipino food FAQs
Ginisang is a Filipino cooking method that involves stir-frying vegetables or meat in oil and garlic. Adobo is a Filipino dish made with meat or seafood marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and black peppercorns.
Some popular dipping sauces for Filipino dishes include: Mang Tomas, Lechon Sauce, Datu Puti Vinegar, Bagoong (shrimp paste), Toyomansi (soy sauce and calamansi juice), Patis (fish sauce)
Some Filipino side dishes that are good for vegetarians and vegans include: Ginisang Ampalaya (Stir-Fried Bitter Melon), Laing (Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk), Ensaladang Mangga (Mango Salad), Atchara (Pickled Papaya), Pancit Bihon (Filipino Stir-Fried Noodles), Garlic Fried Rice, Puto Cheese (Steamed Rice Cakes with Cheese), Kalamay (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice).
How can I make Filipino side dishes healthier?
I hear this question a lot. Filipino food can be healthy! Here are a few things you can do to make almost any dish healthier:
- Use less oil when cooking.
- Use leaner cuts of meat.
- Add more vegetables to your dishes.
- Reduce the amount of salt and sugar in your recipes.
- Use healthier cooking methods, such as grilling, steaming, air frying, or baking.
The Best Filipino Side Dishes
These best side dishes are a delicious and versatile way to add flavor and excitement to your meals. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or simply enjoying a weeknight meal at home, Filipino side dishes are sure to please your taste buds.
If you are new to Filipino cuisine, I encourage you to visit your local Asian markets and explore the wide variety of Filipino ingredients available. You may be surprised at how easy it is to find everything you need to make delicious side dish at home.
Did you make any of these recipes? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating and comment below letting us know which one you made and how it turned out. Thank you!