Breakfast is an important meal in the Philippines. Most Filipinos consider it a big deal hence they always make it a point to eat filling breakfast to fuel their busy day ahead. While some have adapted to having oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, or a bowl of fruits, many are still doing it the old way which has something to do with rice. A meal, including breakfast, in the Philippines isn’t complete without rice.
So, aside from rice, what other foods are common in the breakfast table of many Filipinos? Here’s a list of foods that can help start the day right.
1 | Arroz Caldo
Arroz caldo is a chicken rice porridge flavored with ginger, garlic, and onions. It is then topped with scallions and boiled eggs. This comfort food is best served warm especially during cold mornings, when feeling under the weather, or when you simply need a pick-me-upper. The popularity of the dish is evident in several eateries throughout the country specializing in arroz caldo and serving the dish throughout the day.
2 | Champorado
If you fancy something sweet for your first meal of the day, go for champorado, a thick rice porridge blended with cocoa powder and sweetened with sugar. It can be served either hot or cold and often drizzled with condensed milk. Many Filipinos also enjoy the sweet dish with tuyo (salty dried fish) which makes for a perfect combination of sweet and salty.
3 | Cured Meat
Cured meat, especially when eaten with rice, makes for a filling and tasty breakfast. Cooking doesn’t involve complicated procedures and only takes a few minutes which is perfect for busy mornings. Popular variations of cured meat eaten for breakfast in the Philippines include tocino (sweetened pork belly), corned beef, and longganisa (sausage) which comes in variants unique to a specific region such as Pampanga longganisa, Vigan longganisa, and longganisa de Cebu (also known as chorizo de Cebu).
4 | Dried Fish
Locally referred to as daing, tuyo, or bilad, dried fish is a popular breakfast food in the Philippines. Any kind of fish can be used but the most popular includes herring, rabbitfish (danggit), threadfin breams (bisugo), and sardines. Dried fish is known as poor man’s fish but due to its popularity, the demand increased so does the cost. It is always eaten with rice and considering its saltiness, a small amount of fish is enough for a whole cup of rice.
5 | Instant Noodles
If you only have a few minutes to spare, instant noodles is your best option, though not the best when it comes to nutritional value. It is the easiest to prepare and only needs boiling water to cook. You can also add eggs or malunggay (moringa) leaves for some nutritional value.
6 | Kakanin
Kakanin, or rice cakes, come in different kinds but the most commonly eaten for breakfast are bibingka and puto. Bibingka is made of milled glutinous rice and coconut milk. Its molder lined with banana leaves is cooked in a traditional oven called bibingka oven. It is often topped with margarine or butter. Puto, on the other hand, is made of milled plain rice, sugar, and coconut milk. The molder, either or not lined with banana leaves, is steamed for a few minutes until the puto becomes firm to the touch. Over the years, both foods have been adapted to include grated coconut or macapuno, cheese, and other toppings.
7 | Pandesal
The most popular bread in the country, pandesal is a soft and chewy bread roll covered in dust-like crumbs. The bread is available in every bakery in the country and many people head to the bakery at the crack of dawn as pandesal is best eaten when it is still warm. It is often paired and dunked in a coffee although it can be eaten on its own or sliced into half and filled with mayonnaise, mango jam, cheese spread, or other bread spreads available. In recent years, bakeries came up with other versions such as cheese pandesal, malunggay (moringa) pandesal, and ube pandesal.
8 | Silog Meals
Silog is a portmanteau of the words sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg) hence the meal is mainly fried rice and egg. However, it comes in several varieties such as tapsilog for tapa (cured beef), hotsilog for hotdog, tocilog for tocino (cured pork), longsilog for longganisa (Filipino sausage), bangsilog for bangus (milkfish), chicsilog for fried chicken, and many others.
9 | Taho
Taho is made of fresh or silken tofu, arnibal syrup (sweetener), and sago (tapioca) pearls. It is often served in a plastic cup and can be sipped up with a straw as it is so soft. Vendors are known to peddle their taho around the neighbor while shouting the signature “Tahooooooo!”.
Baguio has a strawberry version of this popular breakfast alternative.
10 | Torta
Torta is a Filipino omelette that comes in several variations including tortang giniling (ground meat omelette), tortang talong (eggplant omelette), tortang gulay (vegetable omelette), tortang dulong (silverfish omelette), tortang hipon (shrimp omelette), and many others. It is often served with rice and ketchup.
READ MORE: 10 Popular Street Foods in the Philippines
Morning is the busiest time of the day in almost every Filipino household. But no matter how busy, they always make it a point to grab breakfast. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day so why skip?