Looking for ways to enhance this year’s Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Dinner)? Then there is no better way to achieve this than with these 23 traditional Filipino Christmas foods!
In the Philippines, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year – so you can be assured that they have some delicious festive recipes up their sleeves.
In fact, some households even start their Christmas preparations as early as September!
However, just be warned, in this recipe roundup, you won’t find anything remotely sugar-free and low-carb – it is Christmas, after all.
Instead, these Filipino recipes are fatty, rich, and packed with hearty delicious ingredients to kick your Christmas celebrations off the right way.
With this in mind, if you’re looking for some exotic Christmas comfort foods to include in your festive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, then you’ve come to the right place.
Carbonara is a well-known, delicious Italian recipe made with tender noodles and cheesy, extra creamy yet flavorful white sauce.
It is a world-renowned recipe all around the world, especially in the Philippines. It is one of the most popular foreign dishes you’ll find in the country. However, with a slight twist.
The traditional recipe is composed using hard cheese, egg, guanciale (cured pork), and pepper. However, using the resources of the Philippines, the Filipinos have created the Filipino-style pasta carbonara.
Here, you’ll find everything you love about the classic recipe but enhanced! We’re talking more cheese, more creamy, and much more deliciousness.
Trust us, you’ll want to try it.
If you’re unfamiliar with Buko Pandan salad, essentially it is a Filipino dessert composed of Pandan-flavored jelly and young coconut meat.
Not only is it simple to make but tastes delicious, too!
In addition to these ingredients, you’ll also find kaong, nata de coco, and tapioca/ sago pearls to make it an extra special experience.
During the summer, Buko Pandan salad is a popular dessert to help you cool down in the blaring heat. Although it is not only eaten in the summer, it is also eaten during the winter, too.
In fact, it is a popular Filipino dessert over the festive season simply because it is super simple to make, budget-friendly, and delicious! What’s there not to love?!
Menudo is a deliciously rich tomato-based stew containing liver and pork meat.
Considering the simplicity of the ingredients involved, this recipe is sure to wow you with its amazing flavors.
You may have already heard of Mundo before; more specifically, Mexican Menudo. However, these dishes are entirely different.
For once, the Mexican version is soup-based instead of a stew. Plus, the main ingredients include chilies and tripe. Whereas the Filipino version contains liver and sliced pork
In addition to this, you’ll also find bell peppers, potatoes, and carrots. Plus, you’ll also find raisins and green peas, too, in some recipes! Of course, you can’t forget the hot dog, either.
When feeding a large crowd, this is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines – making it the favored dish for family gatherings, celebrations, and festive occasions!
This Lechon manok (roasted chicken) is among the most popular dishes served in the Philippines, especially when you don’t have time to cook!
On every corner in the Philippines, you’ll find shops selling roasted chicken and pork. And while you may not find these shops in the U.S., it is simple enough to make at home!
This roasted chicken features a Pinoy twist which makes it incredibly aromatic due to the additional lemongrass.
Plus, it also contains gorgeous savory and sweet flavors thanks to soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and bay leaves.
For many years, Lechon Kawali has been the star of the show in all Filipino celebrations. Ask any local and they’ll tell you no party is complete without it!
Through Filipino ingenuity, this Lechon-like dish has been created without requiring a whole pig, since these are hard to come by unlike the old days.
Therefore, the idea of using pig parts, more especially the belly, where the fat, skin, and meat ratio is perfect, makes for a tender and crispy Lechon Kawali.
This recipe is different from Bagnet, Chicharon, and Kinupsan, however, they are all a testament to the Filipino’s love of pork.
This recipe specifically is eaten over the festive season and makes for a perfect combination when paired with a sweet and sour sauce.
You’re going to go crazy for this Filipino-style fried chicken! It is Pinoy-style that features a deliciously crispy shell with a perfectly tender and juicy inside.
Not to mention the flavor! It is truly one-of-a-kind, after you try this recipe, you’ll understand the hype!
Rather than the traditional buttermilk marinade you usually find in fried chicken, the Filipinos go the extra level!
Here, you’ll find salt, pepper, soy sauce, garlic, and calamansi juice – this is a local citrus fruit that is similar to a lemon.
Using the marinade, you’ll be provided with a beautiful combination of earth, savory, and spicy flavors with hints of tart to balance out the flavors.
7. Crispy Pata
If you’re unfamiliar with crispy pata, essentially it is a scrumptious recipe featuring a deep-fried whole pork leg.
Here, the deep-frying method provides a crispy pork skin with deliciously tender, savory, rich, and juicy meat inside.
On its own, this dish could be considered very buttery. That’s why it is dipped in salty, tangy, and sweet sauce composed of vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic to balance out the flavors.
Typically, crispy pata is served with a cold bottle of beer – perfect for the Filipino Christmas occasion, which isn’t complete without.
Embudo could be considered a Filipino-style meatloaf. As such, it is a popular dish over the holiday season, since it can be enjoyed daily without hassle.
Various meat processing companies are making their version of this meatloaf – you can simply head to the grocery store and pick up some – however, the homemade version is infinitely better.
This recipe focuses more on those aromatic flavors that can’t be achieved within the commercial Embutido.
While this recipe has a fairly long ingredient list, don’t let it intimidate you! It is surprisingly easier to make than you think!
Whether you serve it hot or cold, it tastes delicious either way. However, make sure you don’t forget the side of Banana Catsup.
9. Leche Flan
Since the Philippines was a part of the colony of Spain for over 300 years, it is no surprise that they draw major influence from the country in their food.
One of these influences is desserts, and this recipe, in particular, may look incredibly familiar.
Leche flan features a creamy and smooth custard texture composed of egg yolks, milk, and sugar.
To top it all off, the finishing touches include golden sugar syrup which provides a caramel, extra-sweet flavor.
As we have already seen, Filipinos love food nearly as much as they love Christmas! No one does Christmas food just as well and this Bibingka recipe is a testament to this.
Typically, bibingka is enjoyed with another type of rice cake known as puto bumbong, especially after celebrating Simbang Gabi.
For these treats, the ideal companion is a hot drink, including hot chocolate or coffee – bringing back cherished childhood memories of spending time with friends and family.
As we all know, food is memory and by successfully cooking this bibingka, all your favorite memories will come back to life.
11. Lechon Cebu
In the Philippines, Lechon is considered as necessary for a celebration as beer is for a party.
Whether you’re celebrating Noche Buena, fiestas, a wedding, or anything in between, then the occasion isn’t complete without Lechon Cebu.
This dish makes any celebration much grander, with its mouth-watering meat and succulent, crispy skin. Your guests will forget about all the other dishes and head straight to this one!
Flavored with anise, garlic, lemongrass, onions, and bay leaves, Lechon Cebu offers a unique taste with aromatic flavors that can’t be achieved in any other dish.
12. Buko Salad
If you’re a fan of fruit salad, then you’re sure to love this Filipino dessert – the perfect holiday dessert. It is easy to make and deliciously creamy and delicious – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Each Filipino has its own variation of this sweet classic dessert.
However, the basic ingredients you need to include are a fruit cocktail, shredded young coconut, nata de coco, kaong, all-purpose cream, and condensed milk.
You can also include corn kernels and cubed cheese for an even more authentic recipe. However, the beauty of the buko salad is that you can incorporate whatever ingredients you want!
You can perfectly personalize it to your liking – making it as simple or as festive as per your requirements.
This Filipino-style spaghetti is a popular pasta dish commonly served at children’s birthday parties and special festive occasions – perfect for feeding large crowds!
This dish is a unique adaptation to the traditional spaghetti recipe whereby instead of popular meatballs, you’ll find ground pork or beef, red bell peppers, and red hotdogs, as well as sweeteners including evaporated milk or banana ketchup.
These Lumpiang Shanghai are considered a Filipino alternative to the classic Chinese fried spring rolls.
Essentially, they are small logs composed of minced meat which are covered in a spring roll wrap and then deep-fried into a golden masterpiece.
However, you should be warned: these rolls are beyond addictive – especially when you dip them in a delicious sweet and sour sauce (or even ketchup!).
It is not an uncommon sight to see Filipino households gobbling these down on the morning of Christmas Eve.
In the Philippines, BBQs are reserved for pork cutlets threaded and marinated on skewers with a sweet BBQ sauce.
You then grill the skewers to smoky perfection with more BBQ sauce added to the top – it is that simple!
Make your Christmas celebrations extra delicious with this Filipino-style pineapple-glazed ham recipe.
Flavorful and juicy, this ham contains a tangy, sweet, and fruity glaze that makes for a special Christmas centerpiece!
If you’re looking to impress a crowd, then this holiday dish will certainly do the trick. It is flavorful and juicy with a fruit, thick glaze that works in perfect harmony with the savory flavors.
It is the perfect dish for your festive occasions, Plus, any leftovers can be used in bread rolls, pasta, and even soups!
If you ask any local to recommend you a dish, more likely than not, they’ll tell you to try Kare-Kare.
This dish is widely flavorful with a savory and rich stew and thick peanut-based sauce.
In addition to this, you’ll find melt-in-your-mouth beef swimming in the broth, as well as ox tripe and exotic vegetables, including banana heart, long beans, and bok choy.
Typically, this dish is served with sweet shrimp paste, known as bagoong, and white rice. The result is a seriously addictive dish that you can’t help but have seconds of.
18. Filipino Pancit
China’s neighbor, the Philippines, has had a huge influence on its cuisine. This Pancit is one example of this.
There are many different ways you can cook pancit, some prefer thick noodles while others prefer thin – however, both noodles provide amazing results.
For this recipe, you’ll need thin vermicelli noodles that are packed with colorful vegetables and pork cutlets for a flavor explosion.
19. Puto Bumbong
This is another rice-based dish that you can find sold by street vendors throughout the Philippines during Simbang Gabi (midnight masses).
This dish is wonderfully chewy and soft, with just the right amount of flavors and a traditional purple hue.
The garnish consists of a dab of butter, as well as muscovado sugar and shredded coconut for some added sweetness and texture.
This chicken macaroni salad is a staple dish in Filipino Christmas cuisine.
The salad is cream-based and is simply bursting with beautiful colors which include elbow macaroni carrots, shredded chicken, cheese cubes, raisins, bell peppers, and pineapple.
21. Queso De Bola
Christmas isn’t complete without Queso De Bola. It is an essential and special part of every Noche Buena.
This could be because the dish is wrapped like a perfect present using a gorgeous red wax sealing that reveals an aged, hard, deep-yellow, umami-packed cheese when opened.
Tsokolate is the ultimate Christmas treat that is sure to put you in a festive mood. Made with milk, tablea cacao, and peanut butter, this Filipino hot chocolate is decadent and creamy.
The best part? It is super simple to make! With only a few ingredients and a few minutes of your time, you’ll be sipping this sweet drink in no time.
23. Rellenong Manok
Rellenong Manok, otherwise known as stuffed deboned chicken, is an all-time Filipino favorite Christmas recipe.
Plus, it is the best way to test your friend’s and families’ culinary skills to see who can debone the chicken without breaking its skin!
Are any of the Filipino Chicken Recipes suitable for a Christmas dinner?
When planning a memorable Christmas dinner, filipino chicken recipes to drool over are an excellent choice. The vibrant flavors of traditional Filipino cuisine, combined with the heartiness of chicken, make for a mouthwatering holiday feast. From adobo to tinola, these recipes offer a delectable twist to your festive menu that will leave your guests craving for more.
No country celebrates Christmas as hard as the Philippines, packed with traditions and month-long celebrations, there is no surprise that their Christmas food is just as good.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you about the best Filipino Christmas food eaten over the holiday season.
Frequently Asked Questions
Christmas is like no other holiday in the Philippines. It is packed with traditions and festivities. In fact, the Philippines celebrates Christmas longer than any other country in the world.
In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated straight after the Christmas Midnight Mass, and celebrated by eating a feast on Noche Buena, Christmas Eve.