Undoubtedly, we Filipinos really love to eat. That’s why a lot of meals are made with a fusion of every culture we have. Filipino dishes are our pride when talking about our nationality and tradition. Furthermore, these delicacies are enjoyed with an added touch that leaves us wanting more. So without further ado, here are some easy-to-make Filipino side dishes that you can try at home.
Because of the Spaniards’ colonization, Filipinos learned how to make salads their own way. The term ensalada is a Spanish term for “salad”, and there are a lot of variations of Filipino ensalada. Two of the well-known ensaladas are ensaladang pako (sea grapes), and ensaladang talong (eggplant). The latter is my favorite because usually, eggplant is mixed with unripe mangoes and bagoong isda (fish paste). The eggplant is grilled first and mixed together with ripe tomatoes, and red onions for more flavor. This easy-to-make Filipino ensalada is perfect for any fried and grilled dishes like fish, and pork belly.
Out of all the side dishes in the Philippines, atchara or atsara may be the most popular one. This is made from unripe, green papayas pickled using vinegar, salt, sugar, and water. Bell peppers, and carrots are also added for additional flavors. Atchara originated in the Philippines, and has a complex flavor of sweet, sour, and spicy at the same time. There are also a lot of variations for atchara, and is also great when partnered with pork barbecue, and tinapa (smoked fish).
Burong isda, or fermented fish and rice is one of the side dishes that originated specifically in Pampanga, Philippines. Among the three I have mentioned, this may be the most complicated, yet still easy-to-make side dish. This Kapampangan dish is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially for those people who will first try it. Left-over rice, fish (tilapia or bangus), and salt are the only three ingredients you will need. You will put these ingredients into layers, and ferment them for 7-10 days. After the fermentation process, burong isda is now ready to be cooked over medium heat. This is best to saute in onions, garlic, plus a lot of tomatoes. After simmering, you can now enjoy it with your fried fish, and steamed vegetables.