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Cavite City : Cuisines

A cuisine is style or method of cooking, especially as characteristic of a particular country, region, or establishment. It is often made unique by the special ingredients readily available in the area locally or thru trade, as well as the locals’ own take of using it on their dishes.

Caviteñean cuisine is primarily influenced by ingredients that are available locally or through trade. Manila Bay is the main source of seafood and the once agricultural land of upland Cavite supply fresh fruits and vegetables. The markets of Zapote, Imus, Silang and Cavite City are the main trading centers.

Here are some of the traditional Cavite City cuisines that truly bursting in flavors: 

Bacalao - a popular Lenten season dish made of dried fish, potatoes, garbanzos and bell pepper.

Calandracas - soup similar to minestrone sans the tomato sauce. It used to be traditionally served before during Media Noche or New Years Eve.

Adobo de Carajay - a ”sankutiado“ dish of pork , liver and chicken cooked in wok, flavored with  vinegar, atsuete for color and taste, bay leaf and potatoes, more of a cross between adobo and afritada but richer.

Malabanos - eel dish prepared with turmeric (luyang dilaw), cooked adobo style.

Chicken Pipian - chicken in spicy peanut sauce, which has a very strong Mexican influence

Kilawin - made of grated green papaya cooked in vinegar with grilled mashed pancreas and chopped librillo of cows. It is one of the most famous and highly favorite dish best eaten and paired with Adobo and Kare-Kare during Sundays.

And because of Chinese influences, Cavite City also has its own three savory and delicious noodle dishes:

Pancit Choco en su Tinta or Pancit Pusit - bihon or rice noodles cooked in squid ink and squid meat. It can be topped with chopped fresh kamias fruit or sliced green mango, fried garlic and green onions.

Pansate - a saucy stir fry egg noodle in sate sauce- medium hot best served as midnight snack and eaten with hot pandesal.

Pancit de Carajay with Puso ng Saging or Pancit Puso – bihon and miki noodles with vegetables, pork slices and banana heart with vinegar as sour sauce.

Add the unique cold drink that became a tradition during Lenten season:

Chin Chao - brown unsweetened kutsinta/tikoy like sliced into cubes and white pancit like thick noodles both made or rice and glutinous rice flour. It is serve in a cold drink together with sago, gulaman, arnibal and shaved ice. Others add coconut milk and pinipig.

There is also the most famous kakanin sold at Cavite City public market:

Bibingkoy -  a sticky rice dessert made of glutinous rice stuffed with boiled sweetened monggo then baked in a pugon topped with ginataan sauce. It is like a combination of tikoy, buchi and ginataan.

And of course the two popular bread fillings:

Quesillo - Kesilyo or Kasilyo is made of carabao's milk native cheese similar to ricotta cheese usually eaten with hot pandesal or pan bonete.

Tamales is made of ground rice and peanuts served during festive season like Noche Buena and Media Noche in Caviteñean houses. However it can also be bought daily from some sellers and comes in different varieties.

“In traditional Cavite cuisine there is no distinction between food for the rich and food for the poor. What we have is pagkaing pambisita at pagkaing pambahay. During fiestas bibingkoy, pancit pusit, tamales, bacalao and quesillo are not highlighted but instead the standard kare-kare, mechado, morcon, and menudo are served. Making the guests ignorant of the true essence of what Caviteño food is all about.”

 – Mr. Ige Ramos
  Cavite food writer and historian


  1. hi! any recommendations where in cavite city to sample these? intend to visit your city via the ferry :)

    1. Our public market is where everything you can find some of these cuisines.


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