For Filipinos, Christmas isn’t just about presents. There are also plenty of delicious Filipino Christmas foods to be enjoyed at Christmas time!
Nothing says Christmas quite like the taste of home, and if you have Filipino heritage, then you know that taste is heavy on festive food!
How we celebrate Christmas in the Philippines varies by location, especially because different islands are predominantly Catholic or Muslim.
Still, one thing that stays consistent year after year is the food that gets cooked and shared with family and friends.
On this list of Filipino Christmas foods, we’ve compiled some of the most popular recipes so you can bring the taste of home to your holiday celebrations here in America!
1. Buko Pandan Salad
This is the first on our list of Filipino Christmas foods. Buko Pandan Salad is a Filipino dessert made with sweetened young coconut flesh, pandan extract, and water.
It’s made by boiling the coconut flesh in sugar water. The mixture is then allowed to cool before being mixed with pandan extract.
Buko Pandan Salad tastes like a refreshing blend between custard and gelatin, with just a hint of pandan flavor. It can be served as a dessert or enjoyed as an afternoon snack with tea.
Lumpia is a Filipino dish that’s usually filled with ground pork and vegetables. The ones we make for our family on Christmas Eve are filled with shrimp, carrots, green peas, onions, and cabbage.
They’re wrapped in lumpia wrappers instead of spring roll wrappers like you might be used to. They’re fried until golden brown, so they’re crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Lumpia is an everyday snack or even breakfast food traditionally served as an appetizer, but it’s also popular as one of the Filipino Christmas foods
3. Lechon Cebu
Lechon Cebu is also on the list of Filipino Christmas foods. The dish is often served during Christmas and New Year.
It’s a roasted suckling pig that has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices before it is cooked over an open fire.
The Lechon Cebu can be cooked whole or as individual cuts. Other popular festive dishes from the Philippines include hamonado, pandesal, puto bumbong, kutsinta, and suman.
4. Buko Salad
Buko Salad is a Filipino dish made from fresh coconut meat, milk, and sugar. The mixture is combined with macapuno (a variety of coconut), crushed ice, and a banana for added sweetness.
Buko Salad can be enjoyed as a dessert or as an appetizer to a meal. It’s also commonly served alongside other Filipino dishes like pancit bihon or sinigang na baboy-tomato soup.
The dish got its name from buko, which means young coconut, and has been said to be named after the Filipino word for the envelope.
Buko salad should be served chilled, so it doesn’t melt quickly – but it can also be eaten at room temperature if you’re not looking to serve it right away.
5. Leche Flan
Leche Flan is one of the traditional Filipino foods eaten during the Christmas season. It’s made with egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk, all whipped with vanilla extract until it becomes light and fluffy.
The mixture is then poured into individual molds and baked until the top becomes caramelized. Once cooled, Leche Flan is topped with freshly grated coconut or shaved chocolate before being served.
Bibingka is a rice cake that is traditionally served for Christmas in many parts of the Philippines.
Bibingka is also called puto or bibingkang puti and is typically made from ground rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, and eggs.
Some variations may use additional ingredients such as yeast, butter or margarine, water chestnuts, and raisins.
The mixture can either be poured into a mold or cooked inside a banana leaf. The bibingka will then be cooked over an open flame for about 5 to 10 minutes until it has puffed up into a dome shape and is golden brown on top.
7. Crispy Pata
Pata is a Filipino dish that has become a popular traditional Filipino Christmas food. It is pork cooked with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.
The meat is then deep-fried until it becomes crisp on the outside yet still tender on the inside. The word pata means foot in Spanish because it resembles a pig’s trotter or hoof.
This dish can be served as an appetizer or main course, as it usually comes with fried rice or noodles on the side.
Pata may also include other ingredients, such as onions, tomatoes, and eggplants, which are all chopped up and added to the sauce before cooking to give it more flavor.
Embutido is a Filipino-style meatloaf wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. The banana leaves provide a subtle flavor and also impart their own flavor to the dish, which often ends up tasting like roast chicken.
Traditionally, embutido is made with ground pork and ground beef, which are combined with raisins, carrots, onions, garlic, pepper vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
The mixture is then shaped into a log or loaf wrapped in banana leaves before being boiled for about an hour.
In some regions of the country where there are no banana trees (such as Camarines Norte), mango leaves are used instead.
Embutido can be served hot or cold for breakfast or as part of a light lunch or dinner meal.
9. Lechon Kawali
Lechon kawali is a dish that is served as one of many Filipino Christmas foods. It is often a part of the merienda or the midday meal.
It can also be eaten as a midnight snack after a day-long celebration. Lecon kawali consists mostly of crispy fried pork belly and sometimes parts like chicharon (deep-fried pork rind).
The meat is cut into strips, placed in a frying pan with some oil, and then deep-fried until it turns golden brown and crispy.
The skin becomes crispier than regular bacon or pork chops would because it does not come into contact with any liquid during cooking.
10. Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara
This dish is a Filipino-style pasta carbonara. It’s made with bacon, onions, garlic, eggs, cream or evaporated milk, and grated cheese.
The bacon is fried until it’s crispy and then set aside. In the same pan without adding oil, cook onions and garlic until they’re lightly browned.
Add salt to taste while cooking these ingredients, so they don’t burn. In another pan that’s been preheated to high heat with a tablespoon of oil, fry one egg per person slowly over low heat until cooked through (about two minutes).
Remove from heat when done and set aside. Make a roux by whisking together flour and butter over low heat for about three minutes or until it turns golden brown.
11. Lechon Manok
Lechon Manok is one of the most popular Filipino Christmas foods. It is roasted chicken served with either a sweet or spicy sauce.
The chicken is traditionally cooked whole, stuffed with lots of garlic and lemongrass, and then cooked slowly over a low flame until it falls off the bone.
Lechon has always been used as a celebratory dish because it takes so much time to prepare and usually costs more than other dishes at this time of year. Plus, we Filipinos love to indulge during this season!
12. Classic Menudo Recipe
Filipino Christmas foods are not complete without a taste of Menudo, a beef tripe soup. Though it’s not a typical meal for your average Filipino family, Menudo has long been a tradition on the day before Christmas Eve.
13. Filipino-Style Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a staple in Filipino-style holiday celebrations, served alongside traditional dishes like Arroz Caldo, hamonado, and sinigang.
It’s often served with rice and other side dishes such as eggplant paksiw or pancit palabok.
In its simplest form, fried chicken is made by coating pieces of chicken with flour or cornstarch before frying them until crisp.
Some cooks add garlic powder, pepper, or salt to enhance the flavor. Other recipes call for dredging the chicken in a mixture of flour and seasonings before frying it.
14. Filipino-Style Pineapple Glazed Ham
When it comes to Christmas cooking, a number of Filipino Christmas foods are served at family gatherings.
One such dish is Filipino-Style Pineapple Glazed Ham. This dish combines sweet and savory flavors with a hint of spiciness for those who want an extra kick.
There are many variations to this recipe, but below are the general ingredients and steps to creating this dish.
First, select your favorite ham (a thick cut should work well). Next, heat up some oil on medium heat and brown your ham.
After about 2 minutes per side, add pineapple chunks and water chestnuts and cook until the water evaporates from the pan.
On medium heat, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar or honey, and a little chili pepper flakes in another pan or pot.
Tinapa is a smoked fish and meat preparation that is served as an appetizer. It can also be made into a sandwich or eaten with rice, usually as part of a meal.
Tinapa is usually served at home but can also be purchased from street vendors. Tinapa is traditionally smoked over a fire.
The most popular meat to smoke over this type of fire would be pork belly and chicken breast, but other meats such as beef, goat, duck, and bacon can also be used.
16. Filipino Pancit
Pancit is a noodle dish that is very popular with Filipinos. This dish has many variations, but most are made with either fresh or dried rice noodles and vegetables such as onions, green beans, carrots, celery, and cabbage.
The noodles are cooked in a sauce made from a meat stock or fish sauce (paminta), garlic, soy sauce, and peppercorns.
Some versions may also add small pieces of chicken or pork. Another variation on pancit is called Pancit Palabok, which is made from rice noodles that have been boiled in water until they turn soft.
The noodles are then fried with garlic and oil before being mixed with shrimp paste (bagoong), ground black pepper, and dried shrimp, giving this dish its distinctive flavor.
Kare-Kare is a Filipino dish made from stewing oxtail, beef, or pork with vegetables such as eggplant, green beans, and potatoes.
The dish is cooked in peanut sauce and can be either very spicy or spicy. It is traditionally eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste).
The recipe for kare-kare varies depending on what region it is being prepared for. Some versions call for crushed peanuts, while others call for garlic and onion to flavor the sauce.
Kare-Kare is considered one of the traditional Filipino Christmas foods many Filipinos eat during Christmas.
18. Chicken Macaroni Salad
One of my favorite Filipino Christmas foods to eat during the Christmas season is chicken macaroni salad.
Macaroni salad typically consists of cooked macaroni noodles, mayonnaise, and various other ingredients such as chopped onion, celery, boiled eggs, and pickles.
The Filipino version usually has soy sauce instead of mayonnaise and shredded boiled chicken or grilled shrimp mixed into it. Celery is not used in this dish.
In addition to these ingredients, Filipino versions also often include green peas or edamame beans and carrots.
19. Puto Bumbong
This is the last on our list of Filipino Christmas foods. Puto bumbong is a Filipino delicacy prepared using glutinous rice or regular rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar.
Its ingredients are mixed to form a dough-like consistency, then placed in an aluminum container and steamed for an hour.
It is traditionally served for breakfast on Christmas morning. Puto Bumbong is made from glutinous rice or plain rice with coconut milk and brown sugar, which are mixed until forming a dough-like consistency, wrapped up, and steamed over high heat for an hour.
If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, there’s no better way than to sample some holiday food specialties from around the world!
Filipino Christmas foods are perfect for any holiday celebration and can be enjoyed with family and friends at home or served in your own restaurant.
Next time you are up for Christmas, explore some of these popular Filipino Christmas foods.