Holidays

Traditional Filipino Christmas Foods for the Holidays

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Last Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Christmas in the Philippines is all about celebrations, festivities with family and friends, lots of singing, and good food. The festive season begins as early as September. In fact, Christmas in the Philippines is the longest Christmas celebration in the world, only ending in January.

After 9 days of mass in December, the people of the Philippines celebrate Christmas Eve with a traditional Noche Buena feast with family and friends. 

Filipino Christmas food ideas

Food is a big part of the Christmas celebrations in the Philippines. During the Noche Buena feast, you get to experience some of the rich and bold flavors of Filipino cuisine. For the Christmas feast, families bring out their best dishes, from Filipino spaghetti to Filipino roast turkey, along with some unique desserts.

If you’re wondering about Filipino Christmas food ideas, here are 20 Christmas foods you may find in the Philippines.

1. Lechon

Roasted pork meat cooked on grill.

Lechon is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines and is traditionally served for festivities and celebrations. It is a slowly roasted pig, often stuffed with other ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, spring onions, chilies, ginger, peppers, or pineapples and served with a dipping sauce.

2. Bibingka

Made from glutinous rice, coconut, sugar, and margarine, bibingka is a rice cake that’s especially popular during the Christmas season. Traditionally cooked by street vendors, bibingka is baked in a clay pot lined with leaves over hot coal for extra flavor.

3. Filipino-style spaghetti

Unlike any spaghetti you have had, the Filipino version has hotdog slices along with ground beef. And its unique sweet flavor comes from its sauce made from tomato puree, brown sugar, and banana ketchup.

4. Buko salad

This Filipino fruit salad is made from shredded young coconut and other ingredients such as fruits, jelly-like sweets, tapioca pearls, sago, sugar palm, cream, and condensed milk. It is served chilled.

5. Lumpiang ubod

This is a fresh spring roll stuffed with a julienned heart of palm and carrots along with other veggies, coconut, shrimp, and pork. It is served with a lumpia sauce made with brown sugar, soy sauce, and other ingredients.

6. Embutido

Another popular Filipino Christmas food is this meatloaf made from ground pork, veggies, cheeses, and raisins. It is stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and sliced ham or with hotdogs and other sausages.

7. Pancit Malabon

Photo of freshly cooked Filipino food called Pancit Malabon.

This is a Filipino noodle dish with a characteristic yellow-orange sauce that comes from annatto seeds. The recipe uses thick rice noodles and is topped with an array of seafood and sliced boiled eggs.

8. Morcon

Morcon is quite like embutido. It is a braised beef roulade where beef flank steaks are stuffed with various sausages, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, pickles, and carrots.

9. Leche flan

This delicious dessert resembles a caramel custard or a crème caramel and is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. This classic flan recipe is made from sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk for a richer taste.

10. Puto bumbong

This purple-hued rice cake is traditionally sold during the Christmas season. Made from steamed glutinous rice cooked in bamboo, puto bumbong is wrapped in banana leaves and served with warm butter, grated coconut, and brown sugar.

11. Lechon manok

Lechon manok, or spit-roast chicken, is another Filipino favorite for festivities. The chicken is marinated in a mixture of garlic, onions, bay leaf, black pepper, soy sauce, and fish sauce and roasted or cooked on a rotisserie.

12. Kaldereta

filipino beef kaldereta in bowl close up

A Filipino beef stew, kaldereta can be cooked with chicken, pork, beef, or goat meat in a tomato-based sauce with liver spread.

13. Macaroni fruit salad

This easy and simple fruit salad dish is a Filipino classic made with macaroni and fruit cocktail, pineapple pieces, condensed milk, and mayonnaise, along with some other ingredients.

14. Arroz Valenciana

This Filipino-style paella is another favorite for Christmas celebrations made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, chicken, sausages, boiled eggs, and seafood, along with potatoes, red and green peppers, and other ingredients.

15. Rellenong bangus

A popular party food dish, Rellenong bangus is stuffed milkfish, which is filled with its own meat, potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers and fried until it is golden and crispy.

16. Buko pandan

Buko Pandan, a dessert from Philippines, made from jelly, young coconut, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and ice.

Buko pandan is a Filipino cold dessert that immediately gets your attention with bright green jelly cubes and tropical palm fruits infused and mixed with shredded coconut and sweetened cream.

17. Beef mechado

Another tomato-based beef stew similar to kaldereta, beef mechado is also one of the many dishes served for a Christmas feast in the Philippines. Meats like pork and beef are cut into cubes and cooked with potato, bay leaves, soy sauce, and lemon rind or lemon juice.

18. Liempo

Liempo is grilled pork belly in Filipino. The pork belly is marinated in soy sauce, banana sauce, black pepper, and lemon and grilled on a barbeque.

19. Lumpia Shanghai

A delectable Filipino appetizer, Lumpia Shanghai is basically an egg roll with a filling consisting of pork, onions, carrots, and seasoning wrapped in a thin egg crepe and then deep-fried.

20. Hamon

Also known as “Hamonada”, this Filipino-style pineapple-glazed Christmas ham is one of the main meals for a Noche Buena feast.

Don’t forget Filipino Christmas drinks

Filipinos enjoy their Christmas feast with their favorite holiday drinks such as:

  • Sangria made with fresh fruits
  • Filipino fruit punch that’s non-alcoholic
  • Herbal tea, especially ginger tea with lemon and honey
  • A classic tsokolate, or hot chocolate, made from a paste of roasted cocoa beans and sugar

How can you make Filipino Christmas recipes?

Enjoy delectable Filipino foods this Christmas with these Christmas food ideas from the Philippines. If you want to cook some dishes at home, there are plenty of recipes you can try with ingredients from Instacart that are delivered to your door.

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