There’s nothing quite like the taste of authentic Filipino cuisine to bring you back home—at least in heart and mind. That’s why returning OFWs’ top must-have when they go home is to eat the Filipino meals they’ve been craving for years.

Fortunately, hotels in Pasay near the international airport understand exactly how OFWs feel about missing their favorite dishes. To make their OFW guests feel right at home, hotels offer complimentary Filipino breakfasts whenever guests book a room. Moreover, most of their restaurants offer an array of classic Pinoy dishes that would make any returning OFW drool with anticipation.

Are you curious to know which Filipino cuisines returning OFWs miss the most? Here are some of them:

Sinigang (Sour Soup)

Hailed as the Best Soup in the World by Taste Atlas in 2021, the humble sinigang is at the top of the list when it comes to dishes that Pinoys abroad crave the most.

Most people may think this sour soup has simple ingredients, but if you live in a country with a mild climate, you may be hard-pressed to find even the substitute ingredients for the dish. And even if your relatives bring you the powdered ready-made sinigang mix that comes in a package, sourcing the right veggies may not be that easy.

That’s why when Pinoys come home, they immediately request sinigang for their lunch, preferably made from scratch with real tamarinds, boiled and strained.

Lechon (Roasted Pig)

The star of every Filipino celebration is the lechon—a whole pig roasted on a spit. It takes a lot of skill and patience to get that perfectly crackling skin and succulent meat.

Outside the country, lechon is prepared differently. In Spain, where the dish originated, lechón is made with suckling pig, which makes the meat a little gelatinous from the young pig’s collagen.

Apart from Spain and the Philippines, the dish is also served in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. That said, OFWs usually have to wait until they go home to the Philippines to sample the lechon they’ve known since childhood.

Tuyo (Dried Fish)

Many stories from the OFWs involve their neighbors complaining about the smell emanating from their kitchens when they fry tuyo or dried fish. That’s how legendary the smell of tuyo is—only a Filipino would know that someone’s in for a treat.

Surprisingly, you can actually bring tuyo on a plane. Just make sure you put it in your check-in baggage when you do. With its long shelf life, you can make your tuyo stash last for months. That said, all good things come to an end when you spend years away from home. Eventually, that stash is going to dwindle with only memories of that pungent tuyo smell left. That’s probably why tuyo made it to this list of foods Pinoys miss the most.


If there’s one Pinoy dish that non-Filipinos know the best, it’s most probably Adobo. As a remnant from the Spanish colonial era, the dish has taken a life of its own with variations on different ingredients—from the classic adobong manok (chicken adobo) to the regional adobo sa gata (adobo in coconut milk). In fact, there are almost 100 variations of this dish. It’s also easy to replicate abroad with its accessible basic ingredients, which are soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns. So why would OFWs miss this dish if they can make it themselves? It’s simple. What they miss is their nanay’s (mom’s) or lola’s (grandmother’s) version of adobo, which is the best adobo in the world because of the nostalgia factor.

Dinuguan (Blood Stew)

One of the best don’t-knock-it-until-you’ve-tried-it Pinoy dishes is dinuguan or blood stew. The translation alone is enough to horrify foreigners. That’s why if you want to introduce this dish to your foreign friends, it’s best if you don’t immediately mention the main ingredient.

Some countries with large Filipino communities are fortunate enough to have Filipino restaurants. That’s where OFWs get their fix of Filipino cuisine. However, like adobo, sometimes nothing beats a homemade dinuguan recipe. The balance of sour, sweet, and savory is very hard to replicate and even if you ask for their recipe, all they can say is that they use their eyes and senses for measuring.

Mangga’t Bagoong (Unripe Mango with Shrimp Paste)

If you want to make OFWs salivate with envy, post a picture of yourself eating unripe mangoes with ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste). This street food snack is a staple for school kids of every generation. Eating it brings back memories of your childhood when your allowance can only buy you that half a mango on a stick topped with precious little bagoong.

Balut (Fetal Duck Egg)

Made famous by Fear Factor and TikTok, the balut or fetal duck egg is one of those Filipino delicacies that foreigners avoid at all costs. What they don’t know is that it’s actually more delicious than it looks. If you get past the fact that you are eating a duck fetus, you’ll enjoy the unique savory taste that’s unlike any egg you’ve ever had. OFWs can usually find the uncooked version of the egg at Asian and Filipino grocery stores. But not all countries with OFWs have these specialized eggs, so when OFWs return home and go on food trips, this egg is usually on their list.

These are just a few of the dishes that OFWs would like to have when they come home. Do you agree with this list? What are your favorite Pinoy dishes that you miss?

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