Filipinos take the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” very seriously and don’t dare to skip it. This is why many start their mornings with full breakfast meals to give them energy throughout the day. So, don’t be surprised if you see heavy dishes in restaurant menus in the Philippines if you want to eat breakfast.
Like any other Southeast Asian country, rice is a staple in any meal in the country. Filipinos are rice lovers, so naturally, you’re going to see a lot of rice meals or hearty rice-based food being offered as the first meal of the day. And because breakfast food is popular, some establishments even serve them for lunch and dinner too!
Here are some full breakfast dishes you can find in restaurant menus if you want to try out eating breakfast like a Filipino.
The term ‘silog’ is a combination of the words ‘sinangag’ and ‘itlog’, which are Filipino terms for garlic fried rice and egg. For the egg, it can either be scrambled or sunny side up, depending on your preference. When you say breakfast, the majority of Filipinos are going to recommend this dish to you.
But don’t be mistaken, this type of meal isn’t complete without any type of meat as the viand. The possibilities are endless! You can partner beef tapa, pork, chicken or fish cuts. Cured or processed variants like longanisa, tocino, spam or hotdog are popular choices as well. In most homes, you’ll also see bangus (dried milkfish) and tuyo (salted dried fish) paired with the silog.
Filipinos are also fond of using sauces like ketchup, soy sauce or Knorr Liquid Seasoning to complement the flavours of the meat. Ask for recommendations if you’re trying this out for yourself.
Have you ever heard of sweet porridge? Because Filipinos have a sweet tooth, champorado is another favourite meal they have for breakfast. It’s also a type of comfort food that reminds them of warm, homecooked meals when they were younger.
Champorado is a thick chocolate porridge that is made using glutinous rice and tablets of raw, locally-sourced cacao called ‘tableya’. Mix in a splash of milk or powdered cream and sugar, and you’re good to go.
This dish is often paired with tuyo as the sweetness of the porridge complements the saltiness of the dried fish, making it a popular combination.
If you’re not in the mood for something sweet, you can have the champorado’s savoury counterpart, the arroz caldo. It looks like a mix between congee and risotto. Another rice-based dish, arroz caldo is perfect for cold mornings when you just want something warm in your stomach.
This porridge contains chunks of chicken, slices of hardboiled egg, and topped with scallions and garlic. Many recommend adding pepper, calamansi or a few drops of Knorr Liquid Seasoning to bring out the distinct, savoury flavours even more.
Some people don’t like to eat something as heavy as rice first thing in the morning and good thing Filipinos have alternatives to rice-based meals.
One of the most popular food that is associated with breakfast is pandesal, which is the Philippine version of a typical bread roll. It features golden crumbs on the outside and a slightly sweet taste. You can put any type of filling in it like cheese slices or fruit jams. If you want to do what the locals do, try dipping this bread in your coffee. It may sound strange, but it’s delicious!
Filipinos also have their version of the omelette called ‘torta’. A popular dish is tortang talong, which simply refers to eggplant omelette. You can make an omelette out of tomatoes, any type of meat, and even any leftovers from dinner last night. Torta can be eaten on its own or paired with a hot of warm rice.
There is a variety of full breakfast meals in the Philippines that you’re sure to find one that suits your style and taste. Don’t forget your cup of coffee or hot chocolate!