Tagalog Cooking Terms: A Superb Guide For 2021

Ling Learn Languages
5 min readAug 25, 2021

Original blog post: https://ling-app.com/fil/tagalog-cooking-terms/

Interested in finding out how the locals create your favorite tsibog (slang for food)?In this post, we will walk you through the common Tagalog cooking terms you might encounter when conversing with the locals, especially when the topic is about pagkain (food in English). Filipinos love eating, and it would be wise to master this since this can be one of the many topics that will help you connect with the locals interestingly. In fact, speaking about this might even get you to be invited to a salu-salo (feast)!

Flavorful spices here and there. Steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves. Charcoal-grilled seafood. These are some of the delicious cooked meals that almost all Filipinos will ask you to try out if ever you visit the country. Some of the locals call the country “a melting pot of flavors,” and the reason for that is because most of the cooking style has been influenced by other cultures, including Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish, and American.

If you are wondering what Filipino food usually tastes like, then allow us to be blunt here: The food is very saucy and has a strong seasoning! This is very different from some of the Southeast Asian styles that usually involve large amounts of herbs. In addition, the locals enjoy complex and time-consuming dishes like Paella and Lechon, which is why you need to expect that restaurants sometimes take 30 minutes to almost an hour when serving these types of food.

Let’s get to know more about it in the section below.

What Makes Filipino Cooking Interesting

Whenever one thinks of Filipino cooking, what foreigners usually crave are chicken/pork adobo, bagoong with mangang hilaw, sinigang, stuffed morcon, or maybe tapa and paksiw. However, these classic dishes remain to be the most popular ones since they have a unique, intriguing taste that is somewhat the same… yet different from the cuisines of neighboring countries.

Usually, the flavor you can expect from the traditional food in the country is maanghang (spicy), maalat (salty), and maasim (sour). They also love adding gata or coconut milk when cooking since they enjoy ma-gatas (creamy) and masarsa (saucy) food paired with rice! In fact, they use this dairy-free milk substitute for cooking rice, making sweet popsicle treats, and concocting their own coconut ice cream!

There are also exotic food selections that are only cooked in the Philippines, and not all individuals have an appetite for it! Some of the top exotic picks we have are balut (incubated duck eggs), butete tugak (deep fried frogs), isaw (chicken intestines), betamax (grilled blood cubes), kinilaw na tamilok (woodworm dipped in vinegar and salt). Interesting set of food for thrill-seekers, don’t you think?

Now that we already know the flavor and interesting dishes that the country offers let us now walk you through the common cooking vocabulary words used by the locals.

Common Tagalog Cooking Terms

Ready to learn what fry, boil, and roast mean in Tagalog? Take your notes out and start reading the translations below.

Common Ingredients For Cooking

Since you are already learning some of the cooking techniques in Tagalog, it would also be wise to learn some of the most basic ingredients used by the locals.


As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to explore the exact terminologies usually used in Filipino cooking. With knowledge of these, you can now easily follow traditional recipes and even start a conversation about Filipino food and the common cooking styles of the locals. If you enjoyed this post, we highly recommend that you read our other food-related posts, such as the most popular dishes cooked for gatherings, the desserts you can try out, and the breakfast recipes raved by the Filipinos.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about how you can improve or gain confidence in speaking Tagalog, we definitely recommend that you try downloading the Ling App. Read on below why we think you should start with this today!

Enhance Your Skills In Tagalog For Free!

Language learning has always been part of the bucket list of many. Aside from the fact that it can help you connect with the people around you, it also paves the way for you to lock in positions abroad. If you plan to visit the Philippine Islands or move there for good, then it would be wise to start learning their local language. It is true that you can get by simply speaking English since it is the second language of the citizens, but you will never be able to connect through that authentically!

Our advice? Start exposing yourself in Tagalog today through the Ling App! The Ling App is a FREE language learning application developed by Simya Solutions with the goal of helping you and millions of language enthusiasts master 60+ foreign languages (including Tagalog). From the inside, you’ll get instant access to gamified content (interactive quizzes and mini-games) that will get you motivated and excited to learn anytime and anywhere.

So, what are you waiting for? Get the Ling app now.



Ling Learn Languages

Ling is a game-like language learning app with a pack of 60+ languages. You will learn languages in fun ways!