Typical of a Filipino, I grew up in a rather large household consisting of “Lolos and Lolas”, uncles and aunties and numerous “pinsans”. And in order to feed everyone and make everyone happy, a well-stocked pantry is a must. My Lola is the CEO of the kitchen and as CEO, she was in charge to restock the pantry. And restocking she did best! One of the most cherished memories of my childhood is going to the supermarket with my Lola. I recall spending a few hours in the supermarket, going in every aisle and picking out the items that we needed for our pantry until our shopping cart can’t take no more. The best part of it was going home and helping her replenish and restock what seemed to be a mini “sari-sari “store.
So what’s in my Lola’s pantry? It is almost all ingredients needed to cook Filipino dishes. It is my intention in this post to give you a summary of what should be a regular fixture in your kitchen if you intend to cook Filipino dishes. You should be able to find a description of the ingredient in our Glossary section. I may also throw out some brands that I have in my own pantry if necessary. This will be a great resource to some who may just be dipping their toes into Filipino cooking. And to those who are well versed with the cuisine, this may be a great tool to use when creating a grocery list or perhaps you may find new ingredients that you might want to explore in your next cooking adventure.
Where do you find these staple ingredients?
Most of the American supermarkets now offer an Asian section where you can find some of the ingredients. Best bet of course is to visit a Filipino/Asian supermarket to find these products. To make it even easier, I have also taken pictures for those who are not familiar with the Filipino brands. You can print this up and bring it to the Asian supermarket instead of playing the game of charades with some Asian dude who does not understand your American “slang”.
Note: Items marked (*) are optional and can be just add-ons
Sauce and Condiments:
Fish Sauce (Patis) – Rufina
Soy Sauce (Toyo) – Lauriat
Vinegar (Suka) – Spicy, Cane , Coconut – Datu Puti
Banana Ketchup – UFC (original or spicy)
Oyster Sauce -Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce
Tamarind Soup Mix (Pansigang) – Knorr
Seasoning – Knorr (available in different flavors)
Marinade Mix – Mama Sita*
Shrimp Paste (Bagoong) – Kamayan ( sweet, spicy)*
Lechon Sauce (Sarsa ng Lechon) – Mang Tomas*
Tomato Sauce – Del monte
Cocount Milk – Chau Doc
Bay Leaf (Laurel)
Ground Black Pepper
Rice – regular grain, sticky rice
Noodles – Canton/Bihon/Sotanghon/Lomi
All Purpose Flour
White Bread (Tasty)
Matamis na Bao
Kang Kong or Bok Choy
Bird’s Eye Chilis (Siling Labuyo)
The next time you go to your favorite market, bring this list with you to make sure you are stocked up.