Filipino expats in UAE share their go-to comfort food—and where they visit to sample them
Joanne Rico, Head of Marketing and Sales
Sisig is a Kapampangan delicacy cooked with chicken liver and beef, topped off with an egg. It is seasoned with onion, green chilli, garlic, mayonnaise, and calamansi — a citrus fruit often used in Filipino cuisine. Served often in a sizzling hot cast iron pan, this showstopping main is perfect for any gathering.
Available at The Hot Palayok in Abu Dhabi
Nerry Toledo, Yoga Instructor, Client Services and Business Development Manager
This dish from the Bicol region is cooked with coconut milk, chillies, onion, garlic and dried fish, layered with dried taro leaves. While the traditional version is devoid of meat, feel free to add your choice of meat to the dish. What sets Laing apart is the simplicity its few ingredients imparts. Every time I eat this dish, I think of my father, a connoisseur of Bicol food.
Available at Carinderia ni Tandang Sora in Deira, Dubai
Gaudencio Jr Mapesos, Assistant Manager — IT
Originating in the Northern regions of the Philippines, Pinakbet is a vegetable dish cooked with a source of protein. One could add meat, shrimp or even fermented fish to prepare this wholesome stew. This dish contains a variety of vegetables, ranging from squash and bitter melon to okra and eggplant. During my childhood, my mother used to cook this stew to ensure I had my regular servings of vegetables. I turn to this dish whenever I have sudden cravings for comfort food.
Available at Lamesa Restaurant in Asiana Hotel in Dubai
Rico Rey Monteverde, Archive Clerk
This Filipino soup is prepared with a mix of vegetables such as radish, beans and okra; and shrimp or beef. The broth is flavoured with green or unripe tamarind pods. A couple of tablespoons of fish sauce is added for the umami flavour. The sourness of the dish along with diverse vegetables create a unique flavour combination. Sinigang brings back memories of Sunday family gatherings for me.
Available at Max’s Restaurant at Karama, Dubai
Elipas Cahaponan Sibua, Music Teacher
Adobo is the most popular Filipino dish and there are various versions of it across the country, cooked with regional twists and local flavours. The classic version features chicken, vinegar, garlic, onion and soy sauce. Adobo tastes much better the next day. Having a plate of Adobo that is a day old is simply an experience in itself. Adobo reminds me of my days in high school when I used to cook for myself.
Available at Fiesta Pinoy Restaurant on Al Rigga Road, Dubai
The writer is an intern with Gulf News Commercial Publishing
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