Traditional recipes

Travel Photo of the Day: Puto From the Philippines

Travel Photo of the Day: Puto From the Philippines

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If you’re traveling through the Philippines, it’s likely that you’ll come across puto, or a traditional steamed rice cake.

Click here to see the Travel Photo of the Day Slideshow!

This small cake is considered to be a merienda, or a light meal or snack typically eaten in the afternoon. A common accompaniment is dinuguan, or pork blood stew. As seen above, puto are usually white, but are sometimes dyed different colors. These colors oftentimes indicate the addition of local ingredients like ube (a purple yam).

There are many variations of the basic puto recipe, including sweeter versions garnished with coconut and more savory presentations topped with cheese. As one might expect, traditions vary depending on region.

Craving your own puto? Check out our recipe!

Do you have a travel photo that you would like to share? Send it on over to lwilson[at]


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11 Traditional Filipino Sweets And Desserts You Need to Try

For those with a sweet tooth visiting the Philippines, the country has many a treat to satisfy a sugar craving — and they aren’t run of the mill desserts either. With many cultural influences throughout the country’s history, along with the use of Filipino flair and taste, a wealth of interesting sweets has resulted. So save the donuts and cakes for another day, and get your hands on some of these scrumptious Filipino treats and desserts instead.

Delicacies in Cebu for heavy meals

1. Lechon de Cebu

Photo credit: dbgg1979

You’ve never been to Cebu if you haven’t tried lechon. This is one of the most popular food delicacies in Cebu. You can also find this roasted pig dish in other parts of the country. But what sets Lechon de Cebu apart from others is its distinct flavour attributed to the stuffed spices like tanglad (lemon grass), garlic, onions, and black pepper. If you’re wondering what to eat in Cebu, lechon should be on top of your list.

Where to buy lechon in Cebu

CNT Lechon is one of the best brands of lechon with three accessible locations in Cebu City. You can go to the top most floor of Ayala Center Cebu, alongside the movie theatres. You can easily spot that CNT stall there. Another CNT branch is right across the terminal of SM City Cebu. You can also go directly to its main branch at 1377 V Rama Avenue. There are other brands selling the famous lechon like Rico’s Lechon, but I prefer CNT the most.

2. Balamban liempo

Photo credit: Official Balamban Liempo Facebook Page

“Tastier than Lechon” as they claim it, Balamban Liempo is a chunk of pork stuffed with some secret ingredients like green grass of some sort, making it so flavourful. It has a crispy outer layer which makes it even tastier. Their tag line must have been true after all.

Where to buy Balamban Liempo in Cebu

Balamban Liempo has accessible locations in Cebu. One is at Gorordo Avenue, right across the Mormon Temple before JY Square. The other one is at F. Cabahug Street Mabolo, just in front of Rainforest Park Cebu and Center for International Education (CIE).

3. Siomai sa Tisa

Photo credit: George Parrilla

Siomai sa Tisa is the Cebuano version of the steamed Chinese pork dumplings. What’s unique about it compared to other commercially sold siomai is its distinct taste, bursting with flavours you can’t find anywhere else. The signature sauce, which is made up of soy sauce, vinegar, chilli-garlic, and of course, calamansi, will leave you craving for more!

Where to buy Siomai sa Tisa in Cebu

Where else to buy Siomai sa Tisa than in Barangay Tisa in Cebu City. Stalls selling this Cebu delicacy line the streets of Tisa. You can just ask around and the locals will point you to the best-selling stores. You can also find Siomai sa Tisa in Larsian, an area in Fuente Osmeña where you can sample a variety of Cebuano street food like barbecue and siomai.

4. Danggit

Photo credit: George Parrilla

Danggit is just dried fish that can be fried or grilled. It has a very strong smell and salty taste, so dipping it in vinegar before eating is highly recommended.

Where to buy danggit in Cebu

Cheap danggit and other dried seafood can be found in Tabo-an Market, Tress De Abril, Cebu City.

5. Puso

Photo credit: whologwhy

Hanging rice is called “puso” in Cebu. I’m not sure about the etymology of the word but I’m guessing it’s due to its resemblance to a human heart (puso means heart in Filipino / Tagalog) but with a different pronunciation: pusô. It’s just plain rice cooked inside coconut fronds.

Where to buy puso in Cebu

You can buy puso almost everywhere, especially when you buy lechon, liempo, or barbecue on the streets.

6. Ngohiong

Photo credit: George Parrilla

This is like a version of lumpia or spring roll, except that it uses a five-spice powder seasoning which typically includes cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, and Sichuan pepper. What makes Cebu ngohiong special is the spicy, sweet and sour sauce, which also utilises the five-spice powder.

Where to buy ngohiong in Cebu

Pungko-Pungko sa Fuente | Can you spot the ngohiong?

Ngohiong is usually sold in the street food stalls called “pungko-pungko” together with lumpia, ginabot (chicharon bulaklak), and longanisa, among others. Some of the best ngohiong in Cebu can be found in 032 Ngohiong House in Panagdait, Pungko-Pungko sa Fuente, and ngohiongan stores outside University of San Carlos (Talamban Campus and Main Campus).

7. Steamed fried rice

Photo credit: Harbour City 港 都 Dimsum House

Steamed fried rice may not be an authentic Cebuano dish, but I like how it is prepared to cater to Cebuano taste buds. A savoury broth with shrimp, pork, beef and green peas is poured on top of the steamed fried rice. I don’t know what other spices and ingredients are mixed to arrive at such an appetising dish.

Where to buy steamed fried rice in Cebu

You can find this in almost all dimsum restaurants, but my favourite restaurant is Harbour City. You can find the two branches: one on the lower ground floor of SM City Cebu, and another on the second floor of Ayala Center Cebu. Another dimsum restaurant selling steamed fried rice is Ding Qua Qua at JY Mall, Lahug, Cebu City.

For merienda, there are the ones made from root crops, such as the banana-cue or sweetened banana on a stick, camote cue or sweetened camote (sweet potato) on sticks, cassava, yams, taro on coconut meat.

There are also different rice cakes to enjoy, like the kakanin,

kutchinta, and the puto. During the Christmas season, there are many rice cake vendors selling the typical Christmas treats, the bibinkas, puto sulot and puto bumbong.

The merienda is also not limited to the local products, the Chinese influence can be seen in the pancits or noodles served for meriendas. Of course, there are a huge variety of fruit to enjoy, completing each meal.

The banana, mango, papaya are common on almost every table but there are also more exotic fruits you should try, such as the chico, atis and jackfruit.

But since there are plenty to enjoy, what you should not miss when you try a Filipino dish is the adobo, sinigang and kare-kare. And if you are more of the adventurous type, then you should definitely try the street food, found in almost every street in Manila. You will not find them elsewhere in the world and they are definitely a treat.

Have a look here at other Philipine dishes.

Beef Kaldereta

Serves: 4-6

Time: 1:00

Kaldereta or caldereta, is a Filipino delicacy of Spanish adaptation that derives its name from the Spanish word caldera, which translates to cauldron in English. The adoption of calderata in to the Filipino cuisine was [&hellip]

Recipe Summary

  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.

Stir together the egg, white sugar, butter, flour, cornstarch, powdered milk, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Knead for a few minutes to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten slightly. Place on the prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake in the preheated oven until light brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Sweet, spicy, savory and so flavorful, this Malaysian yellow noodles stir-fry (mee goreng mamak) will blow your tastebuds away!

This baked spaghetti dish is so tasty and always a huge hit! With a combo of ground beef and Italian sausage plus herbs all simmered in a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce plus cream cheese mixture in between layers of pasta, your tastebuds are in for a treat. When company’s coming and I want easy but delicious comfort food, I always rely on this easy and creamy Million Dollar Spaghetti.

Travel Photo of the Day: Puto From the Philippines - Recipes

Feb. 12, 2013 by OC Team

Most of the people living here in the Philippines love to eat native delicacies. Roughly 30% of them started a new business to serve the Filipinos and foreigners, especially, with native foods. In Filipino houses, when its Holy Week or All Souls’ Day, they prefer to prepare some native foods than the usual desserts. They are comfortable eating this food, because of its delicious taste and health benefits. One of the native delicacy in our country is the Bibingka (Rice Cake). When its your first time to saw a bibingka you will think it is a puto. A puto is similar to a bibingka, but usually made smaller.

In our new generation, some children don’t want to eat these kinds of foods, they beg their parents to eat junk foods or candies. Because of this more teenagers have no idea about native foods, maybe their parents are not also familiar with this.

Here in Cebu City, some businessmen and women are trying to sell bibingka. There are many kinds of bibingka, including bibingka of Mandaue City. It appears on television that they cooked a huge bibingka (rice cake) so big that it occupies their basketball court. This was made this year, 2011.

The makers of bibingka, wake up early in the morning, forcing their body to get up and go to the grind place. If they will grind 1 kilo of rice they will finish it within 15 minutes, but mostly bibingka makers use 7 kilos of rice and it will be made in 1 hour. In preparing the food you must have a scheduled time cause it is really time-consuming. Based on its process you have to grind the rice first, and add some coconut milk to let the milky taste came out when you eat it.

Cooking bibingka (rice cake) is not an easy task, you have to master the steps. Just like baking a cake, you have to be careful. They use coal to heated it up and down.

I will share to you the process on how a bibingka is made. They also use refined sugar cause it taste little sweeter. We will just base the procedure on the bibingka vendors here in Cebu. Prepare your ingredients!

First of all, you have to grind your rice until its fine enough and powdered.

Put the coconut milk on the ground rice, add sugar and baking powder. Before putting the yeast, dissolve it in a little water, then mix all.

Cut the banana leaves into circles, it must be based on the size of a tin cup.

Put the banana leaves on the tin cup, balanced and with enough space enough so that the edge of our bibingka will be attractive.

You can now put your bibingka mixture in the middle of an oven. Wait for 30 minutes, until it is brown.

You can now have your own bibingka (rice cake). If you failed in this attempt, you can still try and try until you succeed.

Filipino Food Recipes – Main Course

A whole body of pork roasted on a big stick. It is seasoned with lemongrass and tamarind flavor. The crust is crunchy and tasty.

Pork Adobo
The aroma of bay leaves makes the adobo inviting for dinner. The flavoring of adobo is sweetened and a bit a chilly. It is a perfect match for rice.

Chicken Adobo
Savor the chicken adobo’s broth and topped on your rice. The chicken has a medium rare texture. The chicken easily absorbs the flavor of adobo and you will surely love every bite of it.

A dish that can be distinguished because of its pleasant sour taste. For this recipe, they used pork as the main ingredient. Pork may be replaced with chicken, shrimps or fish.

Kare Kare
Peanut butter is added in the dish to make sweet sauce flavor. Oxtail and beef are cooked until tender. You can also substitute goat meat and chicken as the main ingredient. It is served with anchovies for a tastier viand.

Beef Caldereta uses the short ribs of a beef as the main ingredient. It is cooked with a lot of tomato sauce. It has a sweet and sour taste, which you can pair up with rice.
Chicken Recipes

The food recipes Pinoys search for the most in this pandemic, according to Google

The community quarantine has been making kitchen warriors out of many Filipinos and Google has the proof. Based on the most searched recipes by Pinoys, people have been on the lookout for dishes that make use of local or easily sourced ingredients. The list also revealed that people want simpler recipes that use fewer ingredients. This can probably be explained by the fact that they are going to the supermarket less often due to social distancing precautions.

For the month of April 2020, the top 10 most Googled recipes in the Philippines were the following: carbonara, maja blanca, pancake, banana cake, puto, menudo, leche flan, pandesal, chicken curry, and the trendy Dalgona coffee. How many of these have you searched for and tried cooking?

Much easier to make than bread, banana cake is the top most baked item on the Google list.

As for myself, it turns out I&rsquove actually made five recipes from the list, without knowing they were Google&rsquos most popular recipes. That may mean that, like most Filipinos on the Internet these days, I&rsquom also in search of the same flavors, comforts, and conveniences that others are craving for during this crisis.

Except for the more complicated pandesal recipe and the viral Dalgona coffee, Pinoys have been going for relatively easy-to-follow recipes that don&rsquot require a lot of technical know-how in the kitchen. Although I have no formal training in the kitchen (just an insatiable appetite), I enjoyed trying out these recipes at home. I&rsquom sure this pandemic has found many first-time cooks and bakers creating something out of necessity and loving the results. Here are the recipes that I Googled and found myself making during quarantine:

1. Carbonara

This pasta dish is the most searched for recipe on Google and for good reason. It&rsquos quick, easy, and uses very common ingredients. Although the recipe that I used uses guanciale (cured pork cheek from Italy), you can still get very satisfying results substituting it with something everyone already has in their fridge: bacon.

2. Pancakes

This quarantine is seeing more and more people preparing and relishing breakfast. We are no longer skipping it as we rush out in the morning to get to work. Only 7 ingredients mixed in a big bowl can bring you closer to fluffy pancakes. For the ones I made, I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and topped them with sweet aratiles fruit in season picked from my backyard. Recipe from

3. Banana cake or bread

Banana bread or cake is a handy way to use overripe bananas that are about to go bad. This example of zero waste behavior speaks volumes of how the pandemic is affecting how we view and value every ingredient in our pantry. Although this recipe suggests walnuts, they can easily be omitted or substituted for chocolate chips or almonds. Recipe from

4. Pandesal

Whether your neighborhood bakery is always running out of pandesal or you just want to avoid going out altogether to buy some, people have taken it in their own hands to make their own. American flour brand King Arthur states that their flour sales during the first two weeks of April doubled compared to their usual busiest season in fall. For others, the lack of time is their main obstacle in making their own bread. (Note that this recipe requires about a 2-hour resting time for your dough.) But once you make your first batch, you either realize how easy it is to make, or you have a newfound respect for bakers. Using this Googled recipe at, I&rsquom of the opinion that both are correct.

5. Dalgona coffee

This is that one recipe that people searched for, but not because it&rsquos convenient to make or it&rsquos particularly tasty. While that caramel-like froth looks great in pictures, whisking for 10 minutes straight (I couldn&rsquot do it longer) is just too tedious. But it&rsquos a trend that really caught on, spiking in April with a 5,000 percent increase in searches on Google, and so I couldn&rsquot not try it, at least once. Perhaps the interest in making this at home could reflect everyone&rsquos yearning for traveling again, whether to Korea or even to your nearest café which is likely closed even in this MECQ.

The pandemic is accelerating certain food trends and it shows in what we are searching for on Google: home cooking because we want to feed our families healthier, comforting fare support of local establishments for delivery instead of us going out zero waste because we&rsquore learning to be thrifty during uncertain times and cooking and baking which seem to serve as therapeutic tools for when we&rsquore feeling down. With all the Zoom meetings, social media consumption, and screen time we go through every day, it really is satisfying to be doing something tangible, like baking bread and making a meal for our loved ones.