22+ Easy Ways To Express Flavors In Tagalog

flavors in Tagalog - A photo of a chef

If you are interested in creating an authentic bond with Filipinos, one of the easiest ways to do so is by conversing about native dishes and adding your perceptions about the taste and flavors in Tagalog. Ready to finally say maasim and Sinigang! or comment on how matamis the local Biko is?

To help you get started on learning these flavor’s vocabulary, we have listed in this post the most basic words and phrases that you can use to describe food in the Filipino language. So, are you ready to learn more Tagalog words? Let’s get to it!

What Are Flavors In Tagalog?

In Tagalog, the English word “flavor” can be directly translated into the word lasa and “flavors” to mga lasa in plural form. If you do not like the taste of something, you can simply say ayoko ng lasa nito (I do not like how this tastes).

On the other hand, if you have become a fan of any popular Tagalog foods, you can comment ang sarap naman nito (it tastes good). But what if another person asks you to explain why you like the taste? To help you in expressing the exact words to use, we have here the most comprehensive list of Tagalog vocabulary relating to food tastes. We will talk about more of this later on in this article.

Read on below to see the direct Tagalog word, the pronunciation guide, the translation, and the example sentence, which may come in handy, especially for sudden conversations.

Of course, it is not enough that you know the basics of Tagalog flavors. To give you a more native-like expression, make sure to use the words below, and I am sure that you will instantly see Filipinos smile when they hear you say these.

And if you want to learn more Tagalog, try using the Ling app. With this language app, you can have fun while learning any of the 60+ languages in the easiest way possible. You can get it from Google Play and the App Store and use it for free!

How To Describe Flavors With ‘Lasang’ In Tagalog?

For times when you do not know how exactly to describe the taste of something. You can simply use the combination below to compare something with a specific taste. Please note that you can also use the word lasang for a specific dish.

For instance, you can simply say that the Filipino Sinigang is lasang hotpot na maasim or, in English, “it tastes like traditional hotpot which is sour.” In this sense, lasang is a versatile word that you can use anytime you feel like you want to describe how it relates to another dish or to something else, like the examples in the table below.

What Is Tikim In Tagalog?

Tikim means tasting in Tagalog, but it’s so much more than just checking if the salt is right or the food is too bland. In the Philippines, offering someone a tikim is a way of sharing something special. It’s like saying, “I put my heart into this dish, and I want you to experience the joy of it, too.”

You might also hear someone say, Pwede patikim ng niluluto mo? (Can I taste the food you’re cooking?). It shows their excitement and eagerness to savor the flavors in Tagalog, a way of saying, “That smells amazing, and I want a little taste, too!”

Different Ways To Taste Food In The Philippines

  • Eating with Hands (Kamayan): This traditional way of eating is all about connection. It might feel a bit unusual at first, but there’s something satisfying about scooping up rice and flavorful sauces with your hands and fingers. The textures become a whole extra part of the taste.

  • Tasting the Soup First (Sabaw First): The Tagalog term sabaw or the soup or broth, is like a sneak peek of the meal because Filipinos prefer to taste the broth first. A sip of the tangy broth from sinigang tells you something different than the rich, savory flavors of kare-kare. It sets the stage for what’s to come.

  • Mixing Flavors: Filipino cuisine is about finding balance. You might dip crispy lumpia in sweet-and-sour sauce or add a squeeze of calamansi to your leche flan. With tikim, you play around until you hit that perfect combination that makes your tastebuds happy.

  • Trying Bit by Bit: There’s always something new to try in Filipino cooking! Taking a small tikim when you’re not sure about a dish is a polite way to show you appreciate the effort, and it lets you decide if you want a bigger portion.

  • Playing with Condiments: Filipinos love their Tagalog food ingredients! A splash of vinegar adds brightness, a touch of soy sauce brings saltiness, and a bit of bagoong (shrimp paste) gives a dish an extra layer of flavor. Tikim helps you customize your meal just the way you like it.
flavors in Tagalog - A photo of a woman tasting soup or broth

Common Phrases And Reactions After Tikim

When you share a taste of something delicious with someone, or when you’re the one trying something new, there’s always a reaction or a phrase that follows. These expressions add to the fun and communal feeling of tikim. Here are some common ones you might hear:

  • Ang sarap! (It’s delicious!) – This is probably the most hoped-for reaction. It’s what you say when the flavor just hits the spot.

  • Subukan mo ito! (Try this!) – When you’ve tasted something amazing, it’s almost automatic to want others to experience it too. This phrase is your invitation to share the joy.

  • Iba ‘to! (This is different!) – Used when the taste is unexpectedly unique or when a dish offers a new flavor experience that stands out.

  • Hindi ko inaasahan ‘yun! (I didn’t expect that!) – This is for those moments when a food surprises you, maybe because it looked deceivingly simple but was bursting with flavors in Tagalog.

  • Pwede na. (It’s okay.) – When the food is good but doesn’t quite wow you, this is a polite way to acknowledge the taste without overpraising it.

  • May kakaiba eh. (There’s something off.) – Used when there’s an unusual flavor that you can’t quite place — not necessarily bad, just unexpected.

  • Lasang [flavor]. (Tastes like [flavor].) – A straightforward way to describe the dominant flavor you’re tasting, like lasang mangga (tastes like mango) or lasang bawang (tastes like garlic).

  • Kulang sa [ingredient]. (It lacks [ingredient].) – If you think the dish could use a bit more salt, sugar, or any other ingredient, this phrase comes in handy.

  • Tama lang. (Just right.) – When the flavors are perfectly balanced, and nothing is too overpowering, tama lang is the phrase you use to describe it.

  • Di ko bet. (I don’t like it.) – When a dish just isn’t to your liking, this Tagalog slang phrase is a casual way to express your opinion.

As I end this article, I hope that I was able to shed light and give you the most comprehensive set of words that you can use for daily conversation, especially when it is related to flavors in Tagalog and food. If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it online through your social platforms to help us reach out to other Tagalog enthusiasts out there.

Updated By: Jefbeck

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