Recently, Filipino food has been dubbed the “next great thing” in the culinary world. Filipino cuisine is unique because of its diverse ingredients and flavours and Filipinos are known for their unique culinary culture.
The country boasts of its rich history in cooking and baking, and, from the Spanish era to the American occupation, Filipinos have developed their own distinct style of cooking.
The only problem with creating a buffet of Filipino delicacies is deciding what to order. Most people have never been exposed to Filipino foods, so they don’t know what’s available.
There are plenty of different dishes you can ask for; from savoury to sweet and from spicy to sour. You may want to start by asking your guests what kind of tastes they like best. Then, you can decide on which dishes to serve based on those preferences.
However, if you don’t have enough time to do that or would rather surprise them, we are here to help you out. So, if you’re planning your next party or event and want to bring the Philippines to your table, then be sure to check out our list of Filipino catering food ideas that everyone will love.
It’s one of the most popular Filipino dishes, made by slow-cooking meat – originally chicken thighs – until tender.
You can also find variations of it, with meat like beef, flank steak, oxtail, pork shoulder, lamb shanks, short ribs, and more. As you can tell, it’s a very wholesome food, perfect for meat lovers.
It’s also one of the most famous dishes from The Philippines, so it had to be amongst our Filipino Catering food ideas.
If you are looking for a great way to feed carnivores en mass, see our post on Spit Roast Catering
This dish consists of a roasted pig prepared differently depending on the region of the Philippines. A classic Lechon recipe requires the pig to be spit-roasted slowly over charcoal for hours.
The result? Crispy skin and juicy meat that will have everyone drooling over their plates.
Fun fact: It is prepared within an hour of slaughtering the pig, so if your caterer is from the Philippines and wants to serve it the authentic way, then this dish could be a great talking point.
Wondering what to do with Leftover Pork? See our recipes.
Sinigang is a classic national soup of the Philippines. It is a meaty, sour soup commonly made with pork. However, feel free to ask for it to be cooked with seafood or beef if that is what you and your guests would prefer.
Especially if you are also serving Lechon (roast pork), as it’s better to have some variety.
Mami is the Filipino version of ramen noodles. Noodles, chicken, egg, carrots, and cabbage are all added to a large bowl so wholesome that people will be asking for more.
Looking for the Best Ramen in Melbourne? See our guide.
5. Paksiw Na Isda
Paksiw na Isda is a flavoursome fish stew. The fish is cooked in vinegar and served with hot fried rice.
With the addition of eggplant and some chilli fish sauce on the side, this dish is unique in taste and will pleasantly surprise your guests.
Do you love fish and shellfish? Then check out our Seafood Recipes.
People will love this just by the sound of it. Halo-halo means “mix-mix” and that is exactly what this dessert is about.
It is a combination of shaved ice served with condensed milk and various toppings such as jelly, chocolate syrup, and fruits. Easy to eat and refreshing, it is a great option for a light dessert and a perfect alternative to a Sundae.
If this colourful example of a Filipino dessert has aroused your curiosity, see our recipes for Best Filipino Desserts.
Mangoes are native to the Philippines, so it makes sense that they feature amongst our Filipino catering food ideas. Just don’t confuse them with Mexican mangoes which are actually guavas.
Philippine mangoes grow big and very juicy, and you can eat them just as they are since they are absolutely delicious. Alternatively, you can mix them up with other fruits and serve them as part of a fruit salad.
For a selection of the Best Mango Recipes, click here.
Suman is a sticky rice porridge or cake cooked in coconut milk.
Having a dish with coconut milk is kind of essential when we’re talking about Filipino catering food ideas. Suman is a safe choice as its basic ingredients are only coconut milk and rice.
Can’t get enough coconut milk? Take a look at our Easy Coconut Milk Recipes
Taho is a Filipino dessert similar to a pudding. It is a classic sweet snack made with silken tofu, sago, or tapioca pearls, and usually topped with simple brown sugar syrup.
What’s great about taho is that you can serve it in cups so it is very easy to eat.
10. Pinoy Fruit Salad
Similar to halo-halo, the Pinoy fruit salad is basically made from mixed fruits, condensed milk, and cream. It is another option for a light dessert that is served chilled and usually kept in the fridge from the previous day to taste even better.
This fruit salad uses mostly seasonal fruits like papaya, bananas, pineapples, apples, oranges, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
Are you looking for an Easy Mango Dessert? Check out our recipes.
11. Ginataang Manok
Ginataang manok is another classic Filipino dish that is flavoured with ginger and coconut milk. Every household cooks and serves it differently, but you can play it safe and stick to the basics. It’s a rich dish with chicken as its main ingredient, so you know it is another must-have.
Have you ever thought of holding a paella party? See our post on Paella Catering for all the info.
Kinilaw is a dish similar to the Latin-American ceviche, only much milder and spicier. The fish or seafood is lightly cured in vinegar, then chopped and topped with spices.
You can ask for it to be more salad-style by adding some coconut milk, onion, and ginger slices for that extra taste, even though it’s best to stick to the classics.
Do you have a big party coming up and no time to cook? Why not use Costco Catering instead?
Another noodle dish, pancit consists of chewy rice noodles mixed with vegetables and chicken.
This dish is cooked in a sweet and salty sauce that makes it perfectly balanced and hard to say no to. It is very easy to eat, so it is another safe option for people who might be a bit hard to please.
It’s a spicy stew that originated from Chinese immigrants, although its taste has been greatly influenced by Spanish and American cuisines. Everything is cooked up and mixed with lemon juice, tomatoes, chilli peppers, onions, and other ingredients. Yum!
14. Crispy Pata
If lechon sounds like too much to you, you can still have Filipino-cooked pig served at your party by asking your caterer to prepare some crispy pata. Instead of the whole pig, what you’ll get is a whole pork leg cooked with spices and then deep-fried.
Tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, full of taste from the first to the last bite.
Finger Food is a great crowd-pleaser. We’ve got lots of suggestions in our Finger Food Catering post.
You should be able to tell by now that pork is the star of a Filipino buffet. Binagoongan is one more dish to add to the list of pork stews you can serve. This one is made with pork belly cooked in tomatoes and chilli peppers.
Hearty and full of aromas, you can ask for it to be served with steamed rice or on its own.
Want more Pork Belly Recipes? See here.
Filipinos really like food that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and their desserts follow that pattern. Carioca is a popular Filipino dessert that is easy to eat.
Served in skewers, cariocas are coconut mochi fritters made from rice balls dipped in coconut caramel.
Struggling with gluten tolerance issues? We have lots of Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes for you to try.
A very nutritious dish, Pinakbet is another classic Filipino stew. Made with okra, eggplants, and beans, you can either serve it on its own or as a side dish to grilled meat or even fish.
The secret ingredient, however, is the small cubes of pork belly and the shrimp paste added to the broth, both of which make it taste amazing.
Puto is a type of steamed cake, similar to Japanese okonomiyaki. It is made with white flour and rice flour and is normally filled with leek, spinach, egg, potatoes, and/or meat.
When sweet, it comes filled with custard, so you can go with both versions for more variety.
Are you a fan of all things chicken? The check out our article on Red Rooster Catering.
19. Pan De Sal
Pan de sal is a soft and fluffy bread roll that is commonly found in the Philippines and is made with flour, salt, baking powder, and oil.
It is a bit sweet, but people love to eat it with the saltiest of cheese, so you can ask for a cheese platter with cheddar, gouda, and other types of cheese to accompany the pan de sal platter.
This hearty stew is cooked with peanut sauce and oxtail, but other meatier pieces of beef can be used.
However, it is very important to serve kare-kare with a side of the Filipino fermented seafood paste, bagoong, in order to keep it authentic.
Are you working to a tight budget? Take a look at Cheap Catering Food Ideas.
We hope these 20 Filipino catering food ideas will help you out with choosing what’s best for your party. The Philippines has over 7,000 islands, so that means that the list of food suggestions is endless, and no matter what you think you already know, you will always find something new to try.
So, if you’re thinking of hosting a party and bringing a caterer to take care of the buffet, then make sure that they know the Filipino cuisine so that they can offer you the best menu possible.