By Gian Franco 2021-09-13

5 Unique Spicy Filipino Dishes for Weeknights


If cuisine indeed reflects culture and narrative of the people, Filipinos love sweets as much as they are hospitable and fun folks to have around wherever they are in the world. But Filipinos are also resilient and brave people – probably the most romantic answer to the question why we love spicy foods too. Filipinos crave for the surprise and thrill of having burning sensation in the mouth. Apparently, it’s our run-ins with sharp, peppery stuff that enhances experience and relationship with food at that very moment.

Filipinos’ affinity for piquant food choice isn’t well documented abroad, but several regions in the country declare their love for fiery experience in almost every dish. Filipinos might as well start mentioning these regional dishes to expand international understanding and significance of Filipino cuisine beyond adobo and sinigang. Bicol region and Mindanao, for example, rely on their locally cultivated chilies to define the flavors of their traditional dishes. Filipinos from these regions love that kind of extreme factor—so much so that they claim chilies make them healthier, breathe better, cool their body down, and feel good overall. 



Sinilihan is a strong name for a pork stew, and it is exactly what the name suggests: a dish so spicy it turns red due to the unnerving number of chilies in the plate. The dish is almost similar to its more popular cousin Bicol Express, except that Sinilihan actually hails from the Bicol region. Unlike Bicol Express, Sinilihan is spicier, more savory with the addition of bagoong (fermented fish), and slightly drier due to longer cooking time. The introduction of coconut cream to the cooking process helps the meat render oil and soak up flavors from the other ingredients. The result is an outstanding regional dish that activates all your senses with intense heat and flavor you’ve never had before. (Photo from