Have you ever wondered what constitutes a traditional agahan or Filipino breakfast? For the locals, this is considered the most important meal of the day, so the country has hundreds of recipes just for this time of the day alone! Add to that is that specific places also have their delicious local delicacies that are only meant to be served during the morning, such as Pancit Luglog, Puto Bumbong, Kasilyo, Dulong, and Danggit. To help you get started on what to try out, continue reading our list of the best meals for starting the day in Filipino style!
In the Philippines, two words are interchangeably used to refer to the first meal of the day, and these are almusal and agahan. The word almusal came from the Spanish word almorzar, which means "to have lunch." This word is used to mean breakfast because the Spanish people usually have two types of breakfasts, the almorzar, and the desayuno. As for the word agahan, this can be considered the native Tagalog word for breakfast.
And speaking of breakfast, you might be surprised to know that Filipinos actually love having heavy meals which usually consist of sunny side up eggs, fried rice (made of day-old rice), a very filling ulam or dish, and some hot chocolate (fermented tablea or cacao beans) or coffee drink. Since the tastiest food is usually during the morning, tons of restaurants serve only breakfast cuisine, including the popular silog meals! When we say silog this refers to a cooked combination of food like the following:
Let's get to know more about all these in the next part below.
Unlike food for lunch, Filipinos do not do kamayan (boodle fight) during the morning, no matter what the occasion is. The common sight for mornings is that the one who will be assigned to cook will prepare food for the whole family and serve it at the lamesa (table). There are usually three types of dishes that you can see and this includes the fried ones, sinangag (fried rice), and some side dishes like itlog na maalat (salted egg), sliced kamatis na may asin (tomato with salt), atchara (pickled green papaya), or kilawin (Filipino ceviche). With all of those, you can say that the breakfast usually combines a whole lot of flavors - salty, sweet, and spicy!
Filipinos love Arroz Caldo as it is best served hot (with or without egg) since it is also known as a comfort food if someone is not feeling well. It resembles the classic risotto recipes since it makes use of glutinous rice and chicken, but what makes it different is that the locals use the safflower plant or kasubha to give it a yellowish color. When ordering it from restaurants or street vendors, you can also add other dishes like fried tokwa (tofu) in vinegar mixture or pandesal.
Being the Asians that they are, Filipinos love rice which is why there is no surprise why they also have sweet delicacies made of rice like the champorado. The comaporado in a large pan uses simple ingredients such as glutinous rice, tablea chocolate (or any dark chocolate powder), evaporated milk, and sugar. It can be served on its own, but if you prefer some contrasting taste, you can try it with some crispy and salty danggit (rabbitfish) or tuyo (dried salted fish).
Not to be confused with Mexican torta, this delicious Filipino breakfast dish is made of just eggs, onions, eggplant, and bell peppers and can be eaten on its own with some banana ketchup. However, you can also eat this with some side dishes and sinangag (garlic rice) or steamed white rice. In addition, there are a number of recipes that you can do for torta, like with diced potatoes, fish, beef, vegetables, and cheese!
Since Bangus (milkfish) is the national fish of the Philippines, there is no surprise why this is also a popular dish, according to the locals. What gives it an interesting taste is that it is often marinated in vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt and is deep-fried to perfection the following day. It can be dipped into some soy sauce mixture but can also be eaten on its own since it already has its amazing taste. This is served with egg or tomato and cucumber slices making it a nutritious recipe you shouldn't miss out on!
Whenever you think about Filipino breakfasts, the first thing that the locals will tell you to try is the Tapsilog. Of course, Filipinos are a fan of the silog meals, but there is nothing more that they love other than the Tapsilog. It makes use of tapa, which refers to the type of meat (thinly sliced beef sirloin) that is cured with spices (salt, pepper, brown sugar, and soy sauce) and calamansi or lime juice.
Once it is ready for cooking, it is either grilled, fried, or sautéed and is served with rice with lots of garlic chips for an added crunch and taste. What makes this an easy meal to prepare is that you only need 10 minutes to serve it so long as you already marinated the meat.
This is another Filipino breakfast from the Silog list and is popular due to its sweet taste. It is a pork belly recipe that the Spanish have handed down to the Filipinos, and it remains to be a classic favorite since it has a distinct sweet and garlicky taste perfect to be served with hot rice, eggs, and some kilawin.
If you are looking for a delicious and easily available breakfast, then this combination is definitely what you should try out. What makes this easy to eat is because it offers lots of textures like crispiness due to the deep-fried tuyo and softness due to the egg. You can also add a few other side dishes to boost the umami to make it a more filling dish. The locals sometimes eat the tuyo fish as a snack (without the rice and egg) and are usually dipped with some vinegar.
Are you in a rush but are interested in having something filling for your tummy? The Taho is a breakfast food, a dessert, and also a snack rolled in one cup! It is made of fresh soft tofu, a Filipino arnibal (sweet syrup with flavorings), and sago pearls (somewhat similar to tapioca), which are best served hot. However, Filipinos also enjoy eating this chilled, especially as a snack in the afternoon. If you visit Baguio in the Philippines, you can also find Tahô made of strawberries or those with syrups made of chocolate or cane sugar.
This type of sweet rice cake is made of galapong (finely milled glutinous rice), eggs, salted egg, cheese, margarine or butter, granulated sugar, and coconut milk. It is usually available in restaurants and street vendors, but it is more popular during the Christmas season, along with the puto bumbong. What makes this interesting is the baking method since it does not use an oven! For the locals, Bibingka should be made with banana leaves as a baking sheet and cooked using traditional clay pots lit with uling (charcoal).
The Pandesal (also written as Pan De Sal) is a baked goodie that is slightly sweet and is best known for its fluffy texture, perfect to be paired with cheese, ham, peanut butter, and mayonnaise! This one is best served fresh out of the oven, and the locals sometimes eat it on its own by dipping it on some hot choco or coffee! In fact, it was so ingrained in the Filipino culture that it was even the center of one of the classic Filipino literary pieces known as the Bread of Salt by NVM Gonzales.
Now that we already know some of the best Filipino breakfast dishes, we hope that you will try out any of these the next time you visit a Filipino restaurant or travel to the Philippines. After all, what better way to appreciate the country and its culture but through its yummy delicacies, right? If you enjoyed this post, don't miss out on our other language tips related to Tagalog, like the top 10 Filipino desserts and the top Tagalog movies that can help you master the Tagalog language. And speaking of learning, would you also like master Tagalog?
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