The lasting influence of Chinese culture on Filipino cuisine

When defining the Philippines' culinary identity, it's almost impossible to separate it from other cultures that have helped shape and enrich it over the years.

One of these is their neighbor to the east, China. From the 9th century when trading ships first docked in the country to the present, their influence can be felt, from hearty broths to stir-fried dishes that have become a staple of Filipino feasts and celebrations.

Here are some of the dishes that prove the lasting influence of Chinese culture on Filipino cuisine...

Pancit 

Many Asian cultures have some type of traditional noodle dish and the Philippines is no exception.

Pancit, which is a stir-fried noodle dish, is so beloved by the local palate that practically every region of the Philippines has their own version of it.

One of the more popular takes on this national favorite hails from the city of Malabon. Also known as pancit luglog, these rice noodles are boiled and tossed in a flavorful sauce, before being topped with shrimp, chicharon,green onions, and boiled eggs.

filipino chinese food image courtesy of: Junior Filipino Restaurant Montreal

Lumpia 

Also known as Filipino spring rolls, lumpia is a classic Filipino comfort food and a staple during celebrations that can be enjoyed fresh or fried.

Though commonly filled with savory ingredients, like ground meat, carrots, celery, onions, and water chestnuts, Filipinos have made it their own by creating a sweet variety from local produce called turon, which is made with sweet banana and jackfruit enveloped in a caramelized, crepe-like wrapper. 

filipino chinese food

image courtesy of Dina Polyashov

Batchoy

Batchoy is a traditional Filipino comfort food typically made with chicken stock, pork offal, pork cracklings, and miki (round egg noodles). It can be served with puto (steamed Filipino rice cake).

Though the exact origin of this hearty broth is unknown, many believe it was the Chinese community in La Paz, Iloilo who first whipped this up. No matter what the story behind this delicious broth is, there's no denying that it's become one of the most popular soups in Filipino cuisine and proof of the rich influence of Chinese.

filipino chinese food image courtesy of Tara Yap

Arroz Caldo

Though obviously Spanish in origin, Arroz caldo (rice porridge) is also a testament to the lasting influence of Chinese cooking in Filipino dishes in that it's similar to congee. 

It's typically made with chicken broth, Jasmine rice, shredded chicken, garlic, ginger, onions, and topped with scallions, fried garlic chips, soy sauce, and calamansi zest (Philippine lime).

 filipino chinese food

image courtesy of Cups of Rice Instagram account 

Aside from these Chinese-inspired Filipino dishes, traditional Chinese eats have also been embraced. Siomai and siopao stands abound across the country and even Chinese methods of cooking have found their way into Filipino favorites, from stir-frying noodles to steaming dumplings. 

What Filipino Chinese food would you add to this list? 

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