All the Delicious Dishes You'll Eat at a Traditional Filipino American Thanksgiving

If you're Filipino American, chances are you have the best Thanksgiving feast around.

The meal lasts all night, consisting not only of American classics like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing, but also Filipino delicacies that both contrast and perfectly complement the traditional fixings.

Sound like you? Keep reading for a list of our favorite Filipino foods that always show up on Thanksgiving.


This Filipino version of an egg roll is the best egg roll you'll ever have. Typically filled with veggies and ground pork, they're crispy on the outside and savory on the inside, and they're the perfect finger food for any holiday meal. They're also perfect in a number of dipping sauces, from banana ketchup to sweet and sour, to tomato ketchup and hot mustard. The holidays just wouldn't be the same without them.

Shutterstock: Lumpia - Filipino Food

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The term "pancit" is kind of a blanket term for Filipino noodles, which makes sense because most families have a slightly different take on this scrumptious noodle dish. The type and thickness of the noodle, plus the ingredients that get stir-fried into the noodles, vary widely, but no pancit is as good as the kind your grandma makes. Our favorite recipe includes thin glass noodles, hard-boiled egg, chicken, pork, carrots, shrimp, onion and celery. But every pancit is worth a taste.

Shutterstock: Real Food - Tray of Philippine 'Palabok' (Pancit Luglug)

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Pandesal is a Filipino bread roll that's soft and sweet. Topped with butter, it walks a fine line between a dessert and a savory side. Either way, it's the perfect bread for sliders stuffed with leftovers the day after Thanksgiving.

Shutterstock: Pandesal, traditional bread for breakfast in the Philippines.

(via Shutterstock)



Kare-kare is a stew that combines the flavors of boiled oxtail and ground peanuts or peanut butter to create a truly unique flavor. It's definitely an acquired taste, but those who like it love it.

Shutterstock: kare kare, filipino oxtail stew, philippine cuisine

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Whether you love it or hate it, Filipino leche flan is a holiday dessert staple. It's much heavier than flan desserts from other countries, incorporating more egg yolks as well as condensed milk. If you're into rich desserts, this one is sure to satisfy.

Shutterstock: Exquisite sweet based on egg and milk. Flan, quesillo, creme brulee. Catalana

(via Shutterstock)



Bibingka is a rice cake that combines rice flour and coconut milk to create a sweet, slightly spongy dessert. The traditional variety is made in a terra cotta pot, wrapped with banana leaves and heated over coals, but the oven-cooked variety is more common at our Thanksgiving dinners, and we've grown quite fond of it.

Shutterstock: Photo of Filipino snack food called Bibingka Malagkit or rice cake made from glutenous rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with caramelized coconut.

(via Shutterstock)


White Rice

When you're Filipino, some meals just don't feel complete without a side of white rice. Rice perfectly accompanies proteins, like turkey or glazed ham, as well as noodle dishes, stews and stuffing. It may seem strange to an outsider, but it's just the way we roll.

Shutterstock: A bowl of cooked rice with a stew of soy meat and vegetables on a light gray background. vegan natural diet food. selective focus, horizontal

(via Shutterstock)


A Whole Roasted Pig

We're going to spare you the imagery—it's not for the faint of heart—but whether it's a birthday party or holiday celebration, roasted pigs are often a centerpiece of Filipino festivities. You definitely don't have one at every Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, but when you do, you know it's a serious feast. Your family will be full of pork for days.


Making more than one stop on Thanksgiving day? Click  HERE for tips on how to survive multiple Thanksgiving feasts.