Are you new to Filipino appetizers and looking for popular Filipino appetizers or just missing that taste of home? If yes, don’t worry, we’ve rounded up 15 incredibly tasty Filipino appetizer recipes that are perfect for your upcoming fiesta!
Whether it’s a fiesta, birthday party, inuman (drinking session), beach day, funeral, or dinner parties, food has always been a highlight of every Filipino gathering.
Filipino cuisine is known for its crispy, intense-flavored dishes, umami-packed broths, sweet-sour sauces, and who could forget the classic Filipino street food, balut (fertilized duck egg)? Yikes, I know.
But you see, you won’t be able to experience the real Filipino feast if you haven’t tried some of these delicious appetizers.
From Beef Empanadas and Pork Siomai to Kinilaw and Panara, these Filipino starters are bound to impress and will have you shouting susmariosep! in no time!
If you love green papaya (or want to give it your best shot), try #14!
Empañadas of Spanish cuisine are a staple in many Latin countries and Southeast Asia, specifically in the Philippines.
In this Filipino version, the flaky pastry treats are filled with ground meat, diced potatoes, carrots, green peas, raisins, and baked to perfection.
The key to making them shiny and brown after baking is brushing each empañada with egg wash.
2. Crispy Tenga
Enjoy the crispy goodness of the crispy tenga, a Filipino hors d’oeuvre or snack made from deep-fried pigs’ ears.
The dish does take time to cook, but every bite of it is worth the wait.
The recipe starts by boiling the pork ears and then chilling before frying, resulting in crispier textural nuance.
It’s best served with vinegar, garlic, and chili dip.
Crunchy, spicy, and satisfyingly delicious, sisig is one of the best Filipino appetizers in the Philippines.
It’s made from grilled pork belly and seasoned with chili flakes, soy sauce, chili, and calamansi (lime) juice.
Sisig is also used as Filipino bar bites, a dish or snack often served whenever there’s a drinking session (inuman).
However, you can enjoy the food as a main dish alongside steamed rice.
4. Pork Siomai
Pork siomai (shumai) is a Filipino favorite consisting of meat, vegetables, wonton wrapper, and seasoning.
They’re best paired with chili garlic paste, soy sauce, and calamansi or lime.
Every bite of these steamed dumplings has a balanced flavor that shuffles between salty, tangy, and then heat from the paste.
Pork intestines, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic unite together to create this crispy Filipino snack or appetizer, which is great served with spicy vinegar with onions and chilies.
The key to the crispiness of this chicharon bulaklak lies in the pre-boiling stage.
You need to boil the sliced pork intestines with the spices then refrigerate them for several hours before frying.
These Filipino vegetable fritters that are crispy and crunchy are filled with togue (bean sprout), shrimp, combined with a thin batter, and then fried until golden.
You can play around with the recipe by adding or substituting the ingredients. Feel free to add other veggies like carrots, squash, or potatoes.
To enjoy, dunk them into a spicy vinegar garlic dip.
Ultra crispy, scrumptious and a cousin of egg rolls, lumpiang togue or mung bean sprout spring rolls are a tasty Filipino appetizer made from bean sprouts, pork strips, carrots, green beans—all wrapped in egg roll wrappers.
They’re then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown then served with any of your favorite dipping sauce.
If you’re not into pork, substitute the ingredient with shrimp or tofu.
Have you tried vegetable meatballs?
If not, then these eggplant meatballs should get you started!
Also known as bola-bola, these meatballs are sometimes enjoyed by Filipino kids during their break time in school.
In this traditional Filipino food, parmesan cheese is added into the mix, giving them that cheesy indulgence.
Don’t forget to make this garlic aioli for the sauce!
10. Dynamite Lumpia
Imagine, green chili peppers, cheese, and seasoned ground pork, wrapped in a lumpia wrapper then deep-fried into golden brown perfection. OMG!
It’s called dynamite because of that noticeable spicy flavor of the appetizer.
The finger food is insanely awesome with sriracha mayo dip, which adds an extra kick to the overall recipe.
Your Filipino eating experience won’t be complete without Filipino ceviche or locally known as kinilaw.
Though this Filipino recipe is delicious as a starter, it’s also often served during beer-drinking sessions, referred to as pulutan.
To create, you need to combine fish fillet, vinegar, onion, ginger, calamansi or lemon, chili, and green tomatoes.
12. Crispy Bagbagis
Bagbagis is a super crispy appetizer loaded with deep-fried pork intestines, dried bay, salt, and peppercorn.
The preparation and cooking process is somewhat similar to making crispy tenga, in which you need to pre-boil the intestines with spices.
Once done, you need to cut them into small pieces and then deep-fry until crispy.
Serve this heavenly dish with spicy vinegar, fish sauce, or lechon sauce.
Panara or deep-fried shrimp wonton is another Filipino appetizer that you must try; it’s filled with bottle gourd and shrimps, then wrapped in a wonton wrapper.
Apart from the crispy wrapper, don’t be surprised to find yourself jumping for joy with its savory and appetizing flavor profile.
Dip each panara in vinegar or soy sauce with calamansi or banana ketchup!
This Filipino-style pickled papaya or also popularly known as atchara is made from basic ingredients such as green papaya, carrots, and bell pepper.
It’s bursting with sweet and tangy flavors from cloves and vinegar.
But you shouldn’t stop there! Customize the crunchy appetizer by adding other ingredients such as jicama, onions, or chili pepper if you prefer it to be spicy.
15. Tokwa’t Baboy
Tokwa’t baboy comes from the Filipino word tokwa means tofu or bean curd and baboy means pork.
It’s versatile and can be served not only as an appetizer but also as a pulutan, main dish, or even a side dish alongside lugaw or rice soup.
It’s a spicy Filipino dish that authentically includes seasoned pork belly and pig ears then mixed with deep-fried tofu.
When served, the easy recipe is accompanied by a vinegar sauce, which features sweet and sour flavors.
The bottom line
Don’t be fooled by their looks—these Filipino appetizers are delectable enough to convince you that they’re possibly the best appetizer ever created.
They’re a great way to start your meal, especially if you’re hosting a fun gathering with a Filipino-inspired theme.
Though, keep in mind that most of these recipes are versatile—you can either serve them as a pulutan (hors d’oeuvre), as a main dish alongside steamed rice, or even as a side dish!
- Baked Filipino Beef Empanadas
- Crispy Tenga
- Pork Siomai
- Chicharon Bulaklak
- Fried Calamari
- Ukoy Na Togue
- Lumpiang Togue (Mung Bean Sprouts Spring Rolls)
- Talong Bola Bola
- Dynamite Lumpia
- Kinilaw (Filipino Ceviche)
- Crispy Bagbagis
- Panara (Deep-fried Shrimp Wonton)
- Atchara (Filipino Pickled Papaya)
- Tokwa't Baboy
- Choose one or more options from our list of Filipino appetizers here.
- Create your new favorite recipe.
- Pat yourself on the back for making food at home!
- Share and comment! Did you make any tweaks so it’s all your own?