The Best Herbs and Spices of the Philippines and Where to Find Them

herbs and spices of the philippines and where to find them
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The Philippines is known for its vibrant and diverse cuisine, which is influenced by the country’s history and its interactions with other cultures. A key aspect of Filipino cooking is the use of herbs and spices, which are used to add flavor and depth to dishes. In this article, we will explore some of the most commonly used herbs and spices in the Philippines and how they are used in traditional dishes.

One of the most popular herbs in the Philippines is siling labuyo, a type of chili pepper that is often used to add heat to dishes. It is commonly used in dishes such as sinigang, a sour soup made with tamarind, and adobo, a popular dish made with chicken or pork that is marinated in vinegar and garlic.

siling labuyo

Kinchay, also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro, is another popular herb in the Philippines. It is often used as a garnish or to add a fresh, herbaceous flavor to dishes. In addition to being used in pancit and salads, it is also commonly used in dishes such as sinigang and in ginataan, a type of stew made with coconut milk.

chinese parsley or cilantro

Black pepper and bay leaves are two of the most commonly used spices in the Philippines. Black pepper is often used to add heat and flavor to dishes, while bay leaves are used to add a subtle, woody flavor. These spices are often used in dishes such as adobo, kare-kare, and in stews.

black pepper and bay leaves
Image by Sokor Space/Shutterstock

Shrimp paste, or bagoong, is another important ingredient in Filipino cuisine. It is made from fermented shrimp and is often used as a condiment or as a flavor base for dishes. In addition to being used in sinigang, it is also commonly used in dishes such as kare-kare, kinilaw – a type of ceviche, and in grilled dishes.

bagoong alamang
Bagoong alamang by pinoybites

Annatto seeds, also known as atsuete, are another commonly used spice in the Philippines. These seeds are used to add a reddish-orange color to dishes, and are often used in dishes such as chicken inasal and in pork dishes.

annattoo seed
Annatoo seed by anbiaskin

In the Philippines, herbs and spices can typically be found in local markets or supermarkets. The specific herbs and spices mentioned above, such as siling labuyo, kinchay, black pepper, bay leaves, shrimp paste, and annatto seeds, can typically be found in the spice or herb section of these markets or supermarkets. Some of these ingredients may also be available at specialty stores or online.

It is also possible to grow some of these herbs and spices at home in a garden or in pots. For example, siling labuyo, kinchay, and annatto seeds can be easily grown in a home garden and can be harvested when needed for cooking. Black pepper and bay leaves can also be grown at home, although they may require more specialized care and conditions. Shrimp paste, on the other hand, is typically not grown at home and must be purchased from a market or store.

Overall, the use of herbs and spices in Filipino cuisine is essential for adding flavor and depth to dishes. These ingredients play a crucial role in the country’s vibrant and diverse culinary tradition.


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About Lutong Bahay Recipe 739 Articles
Lutong Bahay Recipe is a website dedicated in introducing different dishes in the Filipino Cuisine to the world. We feature various recipes like meals and snacks, which you can cook right at your own home. In fact, the term “lutong-bahay or lutong bahay” translates to “Home cooked”, and the site aims to help you with that. Filipino, Asian or not, you’re welcome to browse through the site for the best and popular Filipino dishes. Get the recipes you want, so you and your companions could have a great time on the table.

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