Filipino food, recently dubbed “ascendant” and “underrated” by globe-trotting chef Anthony Bourdain, is becoming super-popular here, in part because Filipinos are our fourth-largest immigrant group, and the second-largest Asian population after Chinese.
Because the Philippines were invaded by other countries for centuries, Filipino food is a melting pot of flavors, the biggest influences being Spanish—Spain ruled the Philippines for about 500 years—and Asian.
And, yes, a lot of the fare focuses on fattier pork, fried delights, starchy stuff like purple yams, and baked goods. And the popular “sawsaw”— dipping food in sauces like soy and shrimp paste—is an easy way to rack up sodium. Interestingly, though, adobo—a very healthy marinade for meats and veggies—is often thought of as Hispanic but is actually Filipino. (The Spanish co-opted it during their reign.)
So, if you’re a little cautious, you can find—or, better yet, make—healthy Filipino meals by skipping the greasier foods (duh); swapping pork for chicken, shrimp, or fish; cutting excess fat off meats; and searching out lower-sodium broths and sauces.
Here are some of the tastiest, and most fit guy-friendly, Filipino dishes you can munch on.