Food for Christmas

Philippines Food for Christmas

Did you know that in the Philippines, Christmas is not just a day, but an entire season that starts as early as September? It’s a time of joy, family gatherings, and of course, delicious food. Filipino cuisine takes center stage during this festive season, offering a wide array of traditional dishes and indulgent treats that are sure to delight your taste buds.

Whether you’re looking for Christmas dinner ideas, traditional recipes, or easy holiday dishes, Filipino food for Christmas has got you covered. From hearty mains to sweet desserts, the flavors of the Philippines will make your holiday meal planning a breeze.

Let’s dive into the world of Filipino food for Christmas and discover the seasonal treats, mouthwatering recipes, and homemade desserts that make this holiday truly special.

Buko Pandan Salad – A Sweet Filipino Dessert

In the world of Filipino desserts, Buko Pandan Salad stands out as a beloved and indulgent treat, especially during Christmas and other special occasions. This delightful sweet coconut salad combines the freshness of young coconut strips with the delightful flavor of pandan-flavored jelly, all beautifully tossed in a sweet and creamy sauce.

The star ingredient of this dessert is the Buko, which refers to the young flesh of the coconut. Its naturally sweet taste and tender texture give the salad a refreshing twist. The pandan-flavored jelly brings a unique aroma and vibrant green color, making it visually appealing.

To create the creamy sauce that ties all the ingredients together, a combination of condensed milk and all-purpose cream is used. This luscious sauce adds richness to the salad, making it an irresistible treat for those with a sweet tooth.

Buko Pandan Salad is not only delicious, but it also offers a fascinating contrast of flavors and textures. The fragrant pandan leaves give the dish a distinct and enticing aroma, while the creamy coconut and jelly provide a delightful chewiness. The combination of sweet, creamy, and tropical flavors brings a taste of paradise to every bite.

Health Benefits of Buko Pandan Salad

Buko Pandan Salad not only satisfies your sweet cravings but also offers some health benefits. Young coconut, the star ingredient of this dessert, is a good source of essential electrolytes that are important for hydration. It also contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.

Recipe: Buko Pandan Salad

Here’s a simple recipe to recreate the beloved Buko Pandan Salad in the comfort of your own kitchen:

“Buko Pandan Salad Recipe”


  • 2 cups young coconut strips (buko)
  • 1 pack pandan-flavored jelly, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose cream
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 cup sweetened macapuno (optional)
  • Ice cubes (for chilling)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the young coconut strips, pandan-flavored jelly, and sweetened macapuno (if using).
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the all-purpose cream and condensed milk until well-blended.
  3. Pour the cream mixture over the coconut and jelly mixture. Mix gently to coat all the ingredients.
  4. Place the salad in the refrigerator for a few hours or until chilled.
  5. Serve the Buko Pandan Salad in individual bowls or dessert glasses.
  6. Enjoy!

Add a touch of Filipino sweetness to your Christmas feast with Buko Pandan Salad. Its tropical flavors and creamy texture will surely be a hit among your family and friends.

Ingredients Quantity
Young coconut strips 2 cups
Pandan-flavored jelly 1 pack
All-purpose cream 1 cup
Condensed milk 1 can
Sweetened macapuno (optional) 1 cup
Ice cubes For chilling

Indulge in the heavenly combination of young coconut, pandan-flavored jelly, and a creamy sauce in this delightful Buko Pandan Salad.

Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara – A Twist on an Italian Classic

Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara is a unique twist on the Italian classic. Instead of the traditional egg-and-parmesan-based sauce, the Filipino version is made with heavy cream and cheese, resulting in a richer and creamier sauce. This indulgent pasta dish is a popular choice for Christmas dinner, offering comfort and satisfaction to those who enjoy it. The Filipino twist adds a touch of decadence to the holiday meal.

While the original Italian Carbonara is known for its simplicity, the Filipino-style Carbonara takes it to another level by adding heavy cream and cheese to create a rich and creamy sauce. This creamy goodness coats the pasta perfectly, making each bite luxurious and satisfying. The heavy cream gives the sauce a velvety texture, while the cheese adds a delightful tang and extra creaminess.

Unlike the Italian version, Filipino-style Carbonara often includes additional ingredients such as mushrooms, ham, and even peas. These ingredients add more flavor and texture, making the dish even more interesting and delicious. The Filipino twist on this classic dish gives it a unique identity and showcases the creativity of Filipino cuisine.

Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara

Ingredients Instructions
  • Spaghetti or fettuccine pasta
  • Heavy cream
  • Cheese (Parmesan or a combination of Parmesan and Cheddar)
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Cooked bacon or ham
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • Peas (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a separate pan, melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked bacon or ham to the pan and cook until slightly crispy.
  4. If using mushrooms and peas, add them to the pan and cook until tender.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, and grated cheese.
  6. Slowly pour the egg and cream mixture into the pan, stirring constantly to coat the ingredients evenly.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss until well-coated with the sauce.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve hot, topped with additional grated cheese if desired.

Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara is a satisfying and indulgent dish that brings a Filipino twist to the classic Italian Carbonara. Its rich and creamy sauce, combined with the comforting flavors of bacon or ham, mushrooms, and cheese, make it a favorite at Christmas dinners and other special occasions in the Philippines. Try this Filipino twist on Carbonara and experience the deliciousness of Filipino cuisine.

Lechon Manok (Roasted Chicken) – A Classic Filipino Dish

Lechon Manok, or Roasted Chicken, is a classic Filipino dish that holds a special place in the hearts and palates of Filipinos. This mouthwatering delicacy is commonly served during lunch and dinner, and it is particularly popular during Christmas festivities. The delectable aroma and flavors of Lechon Manok are a testament to the skill and passion that goes into its preparation.

The secret to the aromatic and flavorful goodness of Lechon Manok lies in its lemongrass and savory marinade. The marinade consists of a harmonious blend of ingredients such as fish sauce, soy sauce, bay leaves, and brown sugar. These flavors infuse the chicken, resulting in a succulent and tantalizing taste experience that is uniquely Filipino.

What sets Lechon Manok apart from regular roasted chicken is the attention to detail in its cooking process. The chicken is slowly roasted over an open fire or charcoal, allowing the skin to become irresistibly crispy while sealing in the tender juiciness of the meat. This careful cooking technique gives Lechon Manok its signature appeal, making it a dish that is adored by both locals and visitors alike.

When it comes to Filipino Christmas celebrations, Lechon Manok is a staple on the festive dining table. Its presence brings forth feelings of warmth, togetherness, and tradition. Family and friends gather around, eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the beautifully roasted chicken, which becomes the centerpiece of the feast.

Lechon Manok is not only a delicious dish but also a symbol of Filipino hospitality and culinary heritage. It embodies the spirit of generosity and sharing, as it is often enjoyed with loved ones. The lemongrass-infused flavors, combined with the succulent meat, create a truly delightful experience that satisfies both the palate and the soul.

Classic Menudo Recipe – A Hearty Filipino Stew

Classic Menudo is a traditional Filipino stew that is often enjoyed during Christmas. This tomato-based dish features tender chunks of pork, liver cutlets, and a medley of colorful vegetables, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. What sets this stew apart is the addition of unique ingredients like plump raisins and cut-up hotdogs, which add a delightful touch of sweetness and savory flavor to the dish.

Menudo is a popular choice for festive gatherings and special occasions due to its rich flavors and vibrant presentation. The combination of the tangy tomato base, tender meat, and the burst of sweetness from the raisins creates a harmonious flavor profile that is loved by many.

This classic menudo recipe is a beloved dish that has been passed down through generations, representing the heart and soul of Filipino cuisine. It showcases the diverse culinary influences that have shaped Filipino food, making it a true representation of the country’s gastronomic heritage.

To make this classic menudo stew, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Ingredients Quantity
Pork, cubed 500 grams
Pork liver, sliced into thin strips 250 grams
Tomato sauce 1 cup
Chicken broth 2 cups
Potatoes, cubed 2 large
Carrots, cubed 1 large
Raisins 1/4 cup
Hotdogs, cut into small pieces 4 pieces
Garlic, minced 4 cloves
Onion, chopped 1 medium
Bell pepper, diced 1 medium
Soy sauce 2 tablespoons
Bay leaves 2 pieces
Oil 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper To taste

Here’s how you can prepare classic Menudo step-by-step:

  1. In a large pan or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant and translucent.
  2. Add the pork and liver to the pan and cook until browned.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce and chicken broth, then add the bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  4. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes or until the pork is tender.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots, raisins, hotdogs, bell pepper, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  6. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Classic Menudo is typically served over a bed of steaming white rice, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a satisfying meal that is perfect for celebrations.

Indulge in the comforting flavors of this classic Filipino stew and experience the warmth and joy it brings to your Christmas gatherings.

Classic Menudo Recipe

Filipino-Style Fried Chicken – A Crispy and Flavorful Delight

Filipino-Style Fried Chicken is a beloved dish in the Philippines and is often enjoyed during Christmas. This version of fried chicken is known for its crispy exterior and juicy interior, thanks to a special marinade.

Instead of the usual buttermilk marinade, Filipinos marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, and calamansi juice, which gives it a unique combination of savory, spicy, and citrusy flavors.

When it comes to Filipino-Style Fried Chicken, the secret lies in the marinade. The combination of soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, and calamansi juice infuses the meat with incredible flavor and tenderness. The chicken is then coated in a seasoned flour mixture and deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a dish that is both crispy and juicy.

What sets Filipino-Style Fried Chicken apart from other variations is the use of calamansi juice. Calamansi is a small citrus fruit native to the Philippines that has a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. It adds a refreshing citrusy kick to the chicken, complementing the savory marinade.

This mouthwatering dish is often served as a main course during Christmas celebrations in the Philippines. It pairs perfectly with rice and traditional Filipino side dishes like atchara (pickled papaya) or ensaladang talong (grilled eggplant salad).

Overall, Filipino-Style Fried Chicken is a crowd-pleaser and a must-have for any Filipino Christmas feast. Its crispy exterior, juicy interior, and flavorful marinade make it a truly delightful dish that will satisfy any chicken lover’s cravings.

Leche Flan – Creamy Filipino Custard Dessert

Leche Flan is a classic Filipino dessert that is often enjoyed during Christmas. This smooth and creamy custard is made with milk, sugar, and egg yolks, giving it a rich and velvety texture. It is then topped with a golden sugar syrup that adds an extra sweetness and a caramel flavor. Leche Flan is a decadent treat that is perfect for indulging in during the holiday season.

Leche Flan

Ingredients Instructions
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 can (390g) condensed milk
  • 1 can (370ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Whisk until well combined.
  2. In a separate saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and turns into a golden caramel syrup.
  3. Pour the caramel syrup into a llanera or round baking dish. Swirl the dish to evenly distribute the caramel on the bottom.
  4. Strain the milk mixture into the llanera to remove any lumps or bubbles. Gently tap the llanera on the counter to release any trapped air.
  5. Cover the llanera with aluminum foil and steam for about 30-40 minutes, or until the flan is set and jiggles slightly when shaken.
  6. Remove from the steamer and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. To serve, run a knife around the edges of the llanera and invert onto a serving plate. The caramel syrup will flow over the custard, creating a beautiful topping.

Leche Flan is often enjoyed on its own or served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra indulgent treat. Its creamy custard texture and caramel flavor make it a beloved dessert among Filipinos, especially during the Christmas season.


Filipino food for Christmas is a true embodiment of tradition and flavor. With a wide range of dishes, from delectable sweets like Buko Pandan Salad and Leche Flan to savory mains like Lechon Manok and Menudo, Filipino cuisine offers a diverse selection that is perfect for the festive holiday season. Whether you’re planning a grand Christmas dinner or seeking simple yet flavorful recipes, these traditional Filipino dishes are sure to bring the spirit of Christmas to your table.

Explore the rich and indulgent taste of the Philippines this Christmas and create a memorable culinary experience for your loved ones. From the vibrant colors and aromatic flavors to the unique combinations of ingredients, Filipino food for Christmas is a celebration of heritage and joy. Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors and festive holiday recipes, and let the warmth and happiness of this season fill your home.

Experience the joy of Christmas through the rich tapestry of Traditional Filipino dishes. With a plethora of options for every palate, these festive holiday recipes will surely bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces. So, whether you’re planning a grand Christmas dinner or simply looking for Christmas dinner ideas, embrace the flavors of the Philippines and let these traditional Filipino dishes become a part of your cherished holiday traditions.


What are some traditional Filipino dishes for Christmas?

Some traditional Filipino dishes for Christmas include Buko Pandan Salad, Lechon Manok (Roasted Chicken), Classic Menudo, Filipino-Style Fried Chicken, and Leche Flan.

What is Buko Pandan Salad?

Buko Pandan Salad is a sweet Filipino dessert made with strips of young coconut, pandan-flavored jelly, and a sweet and creamy sauce.

How is Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara different from the traditional Italian version?

Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara is made with heavy cream and cheese, giving it a richer and creamier sauce compared to the traditional egg-and-parmesan-based sauce.

What is Lechon Manok?

Lechon Manok is a classic Filipino dish of roasted chicken that is commonly served for lunch and dinner, especially during Christmas. It is known for its aromatic and flavorful qualities, thanks to a marinade made with lemongrass and a combination of savory ingredients.

What is Classic Menudo?

Classic Menudo is a traditional Filipino stew made with pork, liver cutlets, and a variety of vegetables. It is known for its tomato-based sauce and unique additions like raisins and cut-up hotdogs, which add sweetness and savory flavors to the dish.

What is Filipino-Style Fried Chicken?

Filipino-Style Fried Chicken is a beloved dish in the Philippines that is often enjoyed during Christmas. It is known for its crispy exterior and juicy interior, thanks to a marinade made with soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, and calamansi juice.

What is Leche Flan?

Leche Flan is a classic Filipino dessert that is often enjoyed during Christmas. It is a smooth and creamy custard made with milk, sugar, and egg yolks, topped with a golden sugar syrup for added sweetness and caramel flavor.

Where can I find more Christmas dinner ideas and easy holiday recipes?

For more Christmas dinner ideas and easy holiday recipes, explore the traditional Filipino dishes mentioned in this article. These festive holiday dishes and homemade Christmas desserts will bring the holiday spirit to your table.

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