15+ Common Tagalog Ingredients: An Easy List

Are you wondering about the common Tagalog ingredients or sangkap used to make the world-famous adobo and sinigang? There is no denying that Filipino cuisine is famous for its outstanding fusion of multiple cooking methods from different parts of the world. Historically speaking, the way of cooking of the locals was heavily influenced by its previous colonizers. Let’s discover more about that in the sections below.

Are you planning to visit the Philippines soon? If you are, then you should not miss out on some of the mouthwatering Filipino dishes available in different parts of the country. In fact, almost every region have their unique specialty, which is why you should make it a point to try out authentic traditional pagkain or food during your stay. One example of that is the adobo, also known as the “national dish.”

Adobo’s popularity can be attributed to its uniquely flexible recipe and manner of cooking. There are some who add particular ingredients like bay leaves (dahon ng laurel), brown sugar (asukal na pula), or star anise, depending on the taste they are going after. In addition to that, the locals can also use various types of meat, may it be chicken, pork, or sometimes even seafood! If you want to know some of the ingredients used in Filipino cooking, continue reading below.


15+ Common Tagalog Ingredients

Bawang (Garlic)


In the Philippines, ‘bawang’ is the most commonly used ingredient in every Filipino recipe. It is used for sauteeing or, in Tagalog, pag-gisa. Filipinos also add different spices like salt and pepper to make perfect and savory dishes. Garlic fried rice or ‘sinangag‘ is a Filipino breakfast meal that uses garlic as the main ingredient. Garlic fried rice is usually served during breakfast partnered with fried eggs, Filipino sausages (longganisa), and dried fish (tuyo).

Sibuyas (Onion)


Sibuyas is also one of the key ingredients in cooking when it comes to Filipinos. One primary reason behind that is that the locals enjoy growing this in their backyards. Aside from sauteing it with bawang, Sibuyas can also be a filling of Filipino bread and a common ingredient in street food sauces. Filipino use different onions (sweet onion, white onion, red onion, yellow onion, and shallot) to have a sweet and flavorful dish or sauce.

Chicken Adobo is an example of a Filipino dish that uses ‘Sibuyas’ as its key ingredients. This makes the Chicken adobo have a balanced taste (sour, sweet, salty, and spicy).

Toyo (Soy Sauce)

Since Filipinos love to eat ‘turo-turo‘ or street foods, they tried to create different ‘sawsawan’ or sauce varieties. That’s why ‘toyo’ is the most common of all sauces in the country. You can add chili pepper, garlic, brown sugar, calamansi, onions, and others that suit your taste buds. You can also have ‘toyo‘ as your partnered meal together with a bowl of hot steamed rice.

All in all, soy sauce in the Philippines is an essential ingredient in various Filipino foods and a significant dish when you are tired of eating the same meal.

Suka (Vinegar)


In the Philippines, four types of ‘suka‘ are used in Filipino cooking: ‘ suka ng niyog‘ or coconut vinegar, Sinamak or Iloilo version of spiced vinegar, ‘sukang puti‘ or white vinegar, and ‘sukang tuba‘ or cane vinegar.

Kinilaw is one of the unique Filipino dishes in the country that uses ‘suka’ as the main ingredient—using ‘suka’ as its sauce complimented the taste of the raw seafood appetizer. Since the country has a tropical climate, one way by which the locals prolong the shelflife of their food is by using this ingredient.

Patis (Fish Sauce)


Like in Thailand, ‘patis’ or fish sauce is also a commonly used ingredient in Filipino cooking. Even though ‘patis’ has a foul odor, Filipino cannot resist eating and using this sauce to make their Filipino dishes have umami or ‘linamnam’ flavor. The fish sauce can add a salty taste which is why it is a perfect combo for raw vegetables and even some soups!

Sili (Chili)


Most Filipinos, especially those in the Bicol region, love spicy flavors. They used different kinds of chili pepper or ‘sili‘ in making Filipino dishes. Aside from that, ‘sili‘ is also used in making various sauces and is partnered with soy sauce and vinegar sauce.

Paminta (Black Pepper)


We all know that black pepper or ‘paminta‘ in Tagalog is the ‘king of all spices worldwide. Because of its tempting aroma and herbaceous flavor, Filipinos tend to use this as a vital ingredient (along with some salt) in some traditional Filipino food.

Salt (Asin)


Asin‘ is one of the condiments to make the Filipino dishes have a salty yet tasty flavor. You can add it to almost everything, but it is more popular in the country when you season it while munching on some fresh fruits like watermelon and jicama.

Giniling (Minced or Ground Meat)


Some Filipino cuisines use ground meat or ‘giniling’ as essential ingredients. An example of that is the classic Filipino spaghetti, which is known for its meaty look! This ingredient is crucial in today’s Filipino recipes because it is readily available in the market, and it is usually sold at a meager price.

Malagkit (Glutinous Rice)


Besides Filipino side dishes, sweet treats are also popular among the locals. The key ingredient to some of these treats is the malagkit rice or sticky glutinous rice. Sumang malagkit, bibingka, and sapin-sapin are the most delicious Filipino dishes to try for those who have a sweet tooth.

Gatas Na Malapot / Kondensada (Condensed Milk)

Gatas na malapot

Just like what I mentioned earlier, Filipinos love sweet flavors. They commonly used condensed milk to sweeten the flavor of a particular Filipino dish. It is also used as a filling in other Filipino desserts.

Asukal Na Pula (Brown Sugar)

Asukal na pula

Aside from using condensed milk, Filipino also used brown sugar or ‘asukal na pula‘ to make a Filipino dish have a sweeter taste. More importantly, this is a great ingredient to use since it has better quality and can retain moisture, especially when used as a sweetener when baking goodies.

Bagoong (Fermented Shrimp Paste)


Fermented Shrimp Paste or ‘bagoong‘ in Tagalog is also a common ingredient and a side dish in the Philippines. Because of its salty and sour taste, this flavor complements almost anything! It is why it is used both as a condiment and a base for dipping sauce.

Calamansi (Lime Juice)

Aside from using ‘suka‘ to get that sour taste, they also use ‘calamansi‘ or lime juice. If you want to have a fresh and juicy flavor, adding ‘calamansi’ to your soy sauce will balance the sweet and sour taste of your favorite Filipino savory dishes.

Gata Ng Niyog (Coconut Milk)

Gata Ng Niyog

When we speak of sarsa and sauce, adding coconut milk or ‘gata’ will make a fried dish or Filipino dessert more mouthwatering.

Bicol express is one of the country’s well-known ‘gata’ dishes. Because of its spiciness, the ‘gata’ balanced the meaty and spicy flavor of the Filipino dish. Another one is the ‘Ginataang Bilu-bilo. With its ingredients like sweet bananas, rounded glutinous rice, tapioca pearls (sago), sweetened condensed milk, cassava, and pandan leaves, Filipino children can’t get over eating this during merienda time.

Kanin (Rice)


Rice or ‘kanin‘ is the staple food in the Philippines. This is also commonly served during breakfast like steamed rice, fried rice or ‘sinangag’ and cooking various merienda like ‘Goto,’ ‘Arroz Caldo,’ ‘Tutong,’ and ‘Champorado.’

Balinghoy (Cassava)


Same with ‘malagkit,’ cassava or ‘balinghoy’ is a common ingredient in making famous Filipino desserts. ‘Balinghoy’ is also a substitute for eating rice in most of the country’s rural areas. They used banana leaves in steaming ‘balinghoy,’ and

‘Suman Balinghoy,’ ‘Nilupak,’ at ‘Putong Balinghoy’ are other desserts that use ‘balinghoy’ as the main ingredient.

Other Ingredients In Tagalog

Other Tagalog Ingredients
Tagalog IngredientsEnglish Translation
AmpalayaBitter Melon
KangkongWater Spinach
UbePurple Yam
MaisSweet Corn
SitawString Beans
BukoYoung Coconut Flesh
NiyogMature Coconut Flesh
Karne ng BaboyPork
Karne ng BakaBeef
Karne ng ManokChicken
KetsapBanana Ketchup

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As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn more about the common ingredients used in the typical Filipino recipe. If you enjoyed this post and figured that you would love to learn more, you can read other Tagalog blog posts like Why You Should Learn Tagalog and 20 Most Popular Tagalog Food so you can explore new words today. If you want to explore more about Tagalog, download Ling App by Simya Solutions.

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