Filipino appetizers offer a tantalizing array of textures, flavors, and creativity that will excite your palate and delight your guests.
From crisp, delicate egg rolls to hearty street food skewers and refreshing bites, these nibbles encapsulate the spirit of Filipino cuisine.
Here are 24 authentic and delicious Filipino appetizers to try at your next gathering.
Fried And Crispy Delights
Lumpiang Shanghai are petite Filipino egg rolls featuring a savory ground pork filling (you can swap for chicken or also add shrimp) wrapped up in a thin egg roll wrapper.
They are always fried until shatteringly crispy and served alongside a sweet chili garlic dipping sauce.
We enjoy a pork and shrimp filling as this provides a salty savoriness that balances beautifully with the sweet and acidic chili sauce.
Crisp on the outside while moist inside, Lumpiang Shanghai make for easy finger food and are a quintessential Filipino appetizer.
A type of fritter, ukoy (or okoy) features chopped shrimp combined with julienned vegetables like squash and carrots. We also enjoy the addition of beansprouts for extra crunch.
The mixture is formed into flat patties and fried until crispy and golden on the exterior while still moist inside.
Ukoy is delicious enjoyed on its own or with a bright vinegar dipping sauce on the side for contrast.
Quail eggs are boiled and then dipped into an orange-hued batter containing annatto powder before deep frying.
The batter puffs up around the egg into a crispy, golden shell enveloping the rich yolk inside. Kwek-kwek are enjoyed with a sweet and sour vinegar dipping sauce.
We love how the contrast of textures is just so satisfying.
4. Adobo Wings
These finger-licking chicken wings are marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and are baked until crispy on the outside while remaining juicy inside.
You can also fry them or pop them in the air fryer if you prefer.
The iconic adobo marinade infuses them with a signature sweet-tangy-salty Filipino flavor.
Trust us when we tell you that this is one Filipino appetizer that always disappears in a hurry!
These are boiled chicken eggs that are dipped into an orange-hued batter before being deep-fried.
Much like their quail egg counterparts, kwek-kwek, tokneneng offers a satisfying combination of a crispy shell and a soft, flavorful egg center.
They are usually served with a vinegar-based dipping sauce or a spiced gravy.
This dish features beef ribs that are marinated and then deep-fried until crispy.
The result is a mouth-watering blend of textures: the outer layer is crunchy, while the meat inside remains tender and juicy.
A vinegar-based dipping sauce works wonders as an accompaniment for this dish, adding a tangy contrast to the rich beef flavors.
Filled with a mixture of ground beef, potatoes, and carrots, these empanadas are wrapped in a buttery, flaky pastry.
They are traditionally deep-fried to golden-brown perfection, but you can also oven-bake them if you prefer.
These empanadas are great with a side of spicy dipping sauce.
8. Crispy Tenga
Crispy Tenga is a Filipino delicacy that celebrates the culinary potential of pork ears.
First, the ears are boiled in a spiced broth until tender, which also helps to remove any impurities.
They are then marinated in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, and local spices to infuse them with flavor.
The final step is deep frying the marinated ears until they achieve a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
This transformation gives the dish its characteristic crunch, making it a satisfying and texturally intriguing appetizer.
Crispy Tenga is usually served with a vinegar dipping sauce, spiced with garlic and chilies, that adds a tangy contrast to the dish’s rich flavors.
Cubed tofu is deep-fried until golden and then sautéed with a mixture of mayonnaise, soy sauce, and chilies.
The dish is often garnished with chopped onions and served on a sizzling plate, offering a vegetarian option that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor.
Panara is a Filipino appetizer made with shrimp. The filling is wrapped in a delicate wonton wrapper and deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior.
These golden-brown nibbles offer a delightful crunch that gives way to the soft, flavorful medley inside.
They are often served with a vinegar or soy sauce-based dip.
This Filipino-style ceviche features bite-sized raw fish or seafood marinated in vinegar or calamansi juice, plus ginger and pepper.
The acidity “cooks” the seafood while infusing it with bright flavor. Common additions include shrimp, fish, or octopus, but this particular recipe features a yellowfin tuna fillet.
Kilawin delivers a fresh texture and zing.
A textural delight – whole fried shrimp are tossed in salted egg yolks and butter and then topped with chilies and scallions.
The richness of the egg yolks coats the shrimp in an almost creamy sauce, contrasted by pops of garlic.
A Filipino party favorite!
13. Lumpiang Tinapa
These are similar to the classic lumpiang Shanghai but feature smoked fish instead of pork and shrimp.
This particular recipe uses salmon for a flavor-packed twist on the classic dish.
The flavors of the fish give a unique taste to the well-loved egg roll, and they are often served with a spicy vinegar dip to enhance the overall experience.
Light And Refreshing
14. Lumpiang Sariwa
The unfried, fresh version of lumpia features crisp, raw spring roll wrappers enveloping savory fillings.
Common combinations include julienned carrots, tender bean sprouts, cabbage, pork, shrimp, or tofu.
They’re served chilled and often accompanied by a rich peanut sauce for dipping. The freshness balances the rich sauce wonderfully.
For a lighter sisig, skip the sizzling hot plate and serve this boldly flavored chicken mixture wrapped in cool, crisp lettuce leaves instead.
The lettuce provides crunch and contrasts beautifully with the savory meat.
You can swap the chicken for pork if you prefer a more traditional dish.
16. Calamansi Juice
Freshly squeezed calamansi lime juice makes for a delightful palate cleanser between dishes.
The small, round citrus fruit offers a bright, acidic juice that’s often served still or over ice, with or without a touch of sugar or honey. It balances the rich flavors of the cuisine.
Unique And Delicious
Sizzling sisig starts with finely chopped pork belly or cheek seasoned with calamansi lime juice, chili, and onions.
It’s seared in a screaming hot pan at the last minute before serving to create slightly crispy bits while still moist.
A raw egg is cracked over the top, along with crisp chicharon pork rinds.
The tangy, savory, and spicy flavors have made this a quintessential Filipino appetizer.
Chicharon Bulaklak is a unique and addictive appetizer that features the ruffled fat of pork deep-fried to perfection.
This dish takes its name from the word “bulaklak,” meaning flower, as the ruffled fat resembles flower petals when fried.
After a preliminary boiling to tenderize the fat and infuse it with aromatics like garlic and bay leaves, it’s deep-fried until golden and crisp.
The end result is a rich, crunchy, and indulgent appetizer that pairs well with a vinegar-based dipping sauce, often spiced with garlic and chilies, which cuts through the dish’s richness.
19. Pork Siomai
Pork Siomai is a beloved staple in Filipino gatherings and street food stalls.
These steamed dumplings are filled with a succulent mixture of ground pork (and sometimes shrimp, too), minced garlic, and an array of aromatic seasonings.
The blend might also include finely chopped mushrooms and spring onions for additional flavor and texture.
While they are not fried, their hearty, meaty filling offers a satisfying bite that contrasts well with the soft, pliant dumpling wrapper.
Pork Siomai is typically served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce and calamansi.
20. Pork Skewers
Skewered grilled pork is a favorite street food, with cuts like pork belly.
They’re seasoned with oyster sauce, soy sauce, pepper, banana ketchup and more.
Grilling over hot coals gives the pork attractive char marks and caramelized edges that provide textural contrast to the moist interior.
21. Tokwa’t Baboy
Cubes of fried tofu and boiled pork are topped with a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, chili, and scallion for a salty-sour-spicy blend everyone loves. Add some
Some versions even add crispy pork rinds on top for more crunch. It’s protein-packed!
22. Fish Balls
Made from a seasoned paste of white fish and starch, these are formed into ping pong ball sizes and deep fried until golden.
The crispy exterior gives way to a tender, mild interior.
They make for great finger food when dipped into spiced vinegar for bold flavor in every bite.
With their varied textures, bright flavors, and creativity, Filipino appetizers are the perfect way to kick off any meal.
Sample these authentic nibbles to add Filipino flair to your next gathering – your guests will be delighted.
Hungry for more? Try these Filipino chicken dishes.
22 Filipino Appetizers You Need To TryCourse: Cookbooks
- Choose an appetizer from the list
- Collect your ingredients
- Prepare your dish