10 Strange Pinoy Food Pairings That Actually Work

10 Strange Pinoy Food Pairings That Actually Work



Pinoys love to eat and we also love to try out new things. What some people find strange, we find filling or more appetizing. We even have a unique taste when it comes to street food and we are not afraid to dare try the food that others find unusual, or even a quite disgusting.

With this, we listed 10 weird Pinoy food pairings that some of us have known since we were kids, some we knew about when we grew up, but all are part of our eccentric food culture.


10. Tinapay sa Kape (Bread on Coffee)

Kickstart coffee - coffee and pandesal

Most Pinoys love to have this in the morning. Upon waking up, we have a quick breakfast of pandesal (salt bread usually associated to breakfast in the Philippines) dipped in black coffee.

Tinapay at Kape(Photo credit: indogeolabs.com)

Way before we were introduced to Starbucks coffee, we had this. Possibly, many of our lolos and lolas, and other older relatives living in the province still have this for breakfast.


9. Manggang Hilaw at Bagoong (Green Mango and Shrimp Paste)

Mangga at Bagoong(Photo credit: angsarap.net)

We love having green mango as snack, and we enjoy dipping it on shrimp paste. The sourness of the green mango is balanced out by the saltiness, and sometimes, spiciness of the shrimp paste. Some even prefer to have a sweet shrimp paste, which also works well.

We may be familiar with eating green mango with shrimp paste, but have you tried eating it while dipping it in vinegar. The first time I tried this, I was also iffy about it because green mango is sour so how will a sour sauce make it better? Apparently, it does. It seemed like the acidity of the vinegar washed out the sourness of the green mango, making it taste a bit sweeter. Patis (fish sauce) or toyo (soy sauce) also works.


8. Dinuguan at Puto (Pork and Blood Stew and Steamed Rice Cake)

Dinuguan at Puto(Photo credit: foodspotting.com)

Dinuguan is already strange on its own, and eating it with puto doesn’t make it less strange. Dinuguan is a Pinoy dish that has pork meat (and most often pork innards such as small and large intestines) stewed in pork blood. Some people jokingly call it chocolate pork because of its chocolate-like color. On the other hand, puto like a moist bread that is usually white or yellow in color, and topped with a small slice of cheese. Eating them together brings a snack in harmony.


7. Mainit na Kanin at Gatas ng Kalabaw (Freshly-Cooked Rice and Carabao’s Milk)

Kanin at Gatas(Photo credit: traveltothephilippines.info)

Another breakfast favorite in the province is the tandem of rice and carabao’s milk. This pairing can sometimes be confusing especially if it’s your first time to try it. Is it a main course because it has rice? Is it dessert because it comes with something creamy and sweet?

In Manila, where access to carabao’s milk is a tough challenge, those who want to have a taste of this food pair resort to evaporated or condensed milk readily available in the supermarkets. Others prefer to even use powdered milk, if that’s the only milk available. Still, whatever type of milk you used, this is a palate-pleaser.


6. Pancit Canton with Mayonnaise

That instant pancit canton, although unhealthy, is a go-to snack by many. It is cheap and easy to prepare, and it can satiate your hunger quickly. We love having instant pancit canton with a side of six-minute egg. The runny yolk on the egg is beauty, both for the eyes and our taste buds.

Another thing that can be paired with pancit canton is a dollop of mayonnaise. Put a copious amount of mayonnaise to add a bit of sweetness to this noodle dish.


5. Fried Chicken and (Banana) Ketchup

Max's Fried Chicken Frank Ruaya Mae Ilagan When in Manila (9 of 9)

This might not seem unusual to us Pinoys because we grew up having this, but some foreign buddies may find it a bit odd since they are used to having fried chicken with gravy. Our sweet tooth is something notable of us. Maybe that is why we want to pair our chicken with ketchup. Another proof, we enjoy a sweet spaghetti than a sour one, that’s why you can find spaghetti sauce in the supermarket labeled Pinoy-style.


4. Suman at Manggang Hinog (Rice Cake and Ripe Mango)

Suman at Mangga(Photo credit: sallylyngestrella.blogspot.com)

Food pairs, though unusual, are all about balance. Or sometimes, we just grew having it and we got used to it. This pair is quite new to me although some may have known it since they were kids. I just got familiar with it when I visited in Rizal province. Suman, on its own, is bland so pairing it with ripe mango gives it sweetness. So, instead of dipping suman on sugar, which is what I used to do, it’s healthier and even better to eat it with a slice of ripe mango. And yes, our mangoes are really sweet.


3. Saging sa Adobo (Ripe Banana on Adob0)

Adobo is a popular Filipino dish. It also a cooking process that involves meat, seafood, or vegetables marinated in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.

The usual adobo has pork or chicken or both, and sometimes has potatoes. In other cases, ripe banana is added to it, which makes it quite unusual, but is logical since it creates a balance in taste. The salty and savory adobo is made a bit subtle by the sweetness of the banana. It may be strange, but it works.


2. Sorbetes sa Tinapay (Ice Cream on Bread)

Sorbetes sa Tinapay - watermarked(Photo credit: @maisabelreyes on Instagram)

A favorite snack that helps us cool down especially during summer is ice cream that is placed on bread. We use it as palaman (spread) instead of the usual cheese or peanut butter we have around. However, we use an extremely generous amount. The thicker, the better.

A word of warning though, you have to eat it quick or else the ice cream will melt and the bread will absorb all of it, making it soggy. But hey, we like our breads like that sometimes like when we dip it in hot coffee.


1. Champorado at Tuyo (Chocolate Rice Porridge and Fried Dried Fish)


An ultra-strange food pair that we love to have, especially when it’s raining outside, champorado and tuyo brings a feeling of comfort. Eating this is pair like having a blanket over us that keeps us warm amid the storm.

Champorado is a sticky rice porridge cooked with cocoa or tablea. Tuyo is the penniless man’s fish, which is outstandingly salty. The bitterness, and slight hint of sweetness in the champorado, is in perfect balance with the saltiness of tuyo. Some may find it weird, but to most Pinoys, these two together are just right.

Many like this simple pairing so much that you can even find champorado and tuyo in gourmet restaurants in the metro.


So, did we miss anything?

What’s your favorite Pinoy food pairings?

Share your thoughts with us.




10 Strange Pinoy Food Pairings That Actually Work