Rice-( 米) Rice is the Philippine staple food. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One can scrimp on viands like vegetables or meat, but never on rice. China and the Philippines share the same rice culture, visible in a variety of rice products that are local favorites until this day.
Still true to their Hokkien pronunciation, these words are now in the Filipino basic vocabulary:
Lumpia-(潤餅) The Lumpia is a popular dish which is notable for its shredded fillings and skin wrap. The term lumpia comes from lun pia (潤餅 or spring rolls). It has gradually evolved as evidence of the centuries of interaction and intercultural exchanges between Filipinos and the Chinese in their midst. Chinese food has evolved from its original Chinese Hokkien version or Cantonese version to a Filipinized version suited to the Filipino palate. Lumpia, aside from the pancit is a classic examples of this evolution.
In the Philippines though, the lumpia comes in a myriad of forms: fresh or fried, meat-filled or vegetable-filled. Popular localized ones include:
Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Lumpia) - normally contains bean sprouts, carrots, green beans, shredded cabbage, onions, garlic, kinchay, tokwa (tofu), cooked ground pork or shredded chicken. Variations would include cooked shrimp, or ground peanuts.
Lumpiang Prito (Fried Lumpia) - It can contain anything from just bean sprouts and sliced carrots and then fried. Potatoes are often added to make it more filling. There are also more elaborate or special (and more expensive) versions that would include more vegetables and meat, or even seafood like crab meat. Lumpiang prito with just bean sprouts and carrots could be found at any street food stall.
Lumpiang Ubod - This type simply contains sautéed heart of palm with garlic, pork and shrimps.
Lumpiang Shanghai - one of the most popular and common lumpia, contains ground pork, minced carrots, potatoes and onions. All ingredients are mashed together with egg and a bit of flour before being stuffed into small wrappers. Unlike the vegetable-based lumpia which are full meals in themselves simply because of their size (approximately six inches in length, and two inches in diameter), Lumpiang Shanghai is a mere half-inch in diameter and two inches in length and this is popularly served to accompany rice.
Siopao-(焼包) Long before dimsum became a byword in Philippine cuisine, the siopao was a regular "party" food item, especially in schools or office affairs. The Tagalog term from the word is again derived exactly from the Hokkien terms for this dimsum food, even if it is Cantonese in origin.
Siopao started with only two versions – bola bola (ground pork that looks like a balled up burger patty) and asado (minced pork meat). Nowadays, specialty siopao would include half a salted egg inside the bola bola, or a large piece of shitake mushroom inside the asado, or siopao filled with chicken instead of pork, vegetarian siopao, and even fried versions.
Siomai-(焼賣) Another "party" food item. The Tagalog term is also derived exactly from the Hokkien term for this dimsum food, similar to the Siopao it is Cantoniese in origin.Siomai is traditionally pork-based. Since the late 1990s, however, specialty siomai stores have come out, especially with the popularization of dimsum itself. There are now siomai that are purely vegetarian, crabstick siomai, quail egg with bacon, ham, chicken. To continue with the Filipino penchant for dipping sauces, siomai is commonly eaten with soy sauce and calamansi (Philippine lemon). A new variation that started in the 1990s is to add chili garlic sauce to the soy sauce-calamansi mixture.