“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Yeah, we’ve heard of that. Too many times our ears are already bleeding.
Kidding aside, breakfast is indeed important. But why?
Try to recall that morning you skipped breakfast. Mid-morning, usually around ten o’clock, you already feel sluggish and your mind is already thinking about what you would eat for lunch. Your mind turns cloudy and you find yourself glancing at the clock, wishing time flies faster so you could dash in the cafeteria and grab some lunch.
We’ve all been there, right? Applause to those who haven’t skipped breakfast even once. You’re doing a great job.
But what are the reasons we skip breakfast?
No time for a quick meal
Poor cooking skills
Lack of breakfast ideas
The first reason can be valid if you had an all-nighter for important matters but if you stayed up late watching YouTube videos or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, then you’re screwed. So if you don’t want to skip breakfast, sleep early and get up as soon as your alarm rings.
The second reason is just an excuse. There are various breakfast ideas you can come up with even with poor cooking skills.
Lastly, the third reason is why this article exists. If you’ve been preparing the typical American breakfast—egg, pancakes, waffles, ham, bacon, toast, coffee, etc., then continue reading.
Scroll down for breakfast ideas that we Filipinos take pride in.
1. Pan de Sal
Are you even Filipino if you haven’t eaten or seen pan de sal? Pan de sal is a type of soft bread rolls covered in fine crumbs. Hot pan de sal is undeniably the best pan de sal. Filipinos eat pan de sal by dipping it on coffee or any hot flavored drink. Nonetheless, pan de sal can be stuffed with corned beef or eggs or with sandwich spread.
For a healthier twist, try making an avocado toast with pan de sal instead of bread slices. Avocado is rich in fiber and low in saturated fats. Excellent cooking skills are not required to make a toast. Cut the pan de sal in half and toast it in a pan until it turns crispy. Cut thin slices of avocado and stuff them inside the pan de sal. Aside from avocados, peanut butter and banana can be a hearty filling for your toasted pan de sal. Banana and peanut butter have high-calorie content so be cautious in eating too much of this toast if you are trying to lose weight.
Nevertheless, pan de sal is still enjoyable even without yummy filling or creamy sandwich spread.
Aside from bread, eggs are breakfast staples in a Filipino breakfast. Fluffy eggs just make morning sunnier. Eggs are readily available in small stores nearby and easy to cook. There’s the sunny side up in silog, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs for Arroz Caldo, and omelet for a hearty meal. However, do not eat them daily to prevent the risk of heart disease.
2. Filipino Scrambled Eggs
The basic scrambled egg recipe is frying beaten egg mixture in a pan and you’re done in a few minutes. Filipinos are extra we don’t cook scrambled eggs just like that. We add tomatoes, onion, and other chopped vegetables in the mixture.
The Filipino-style scrambled eggs recipe commonly uses tomatoes as it is readily available in the kitchen along with onion and garlic but potatoes, carrots, and spinach can be added, too. Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants, including lycopene, that provides numerous health benefits.
Use cooking oils with unsaturated fats for a healthier option in sautéing the veggies in the pan. Add the beaten egg mixture in and stir until cooked. There you have nutrient-packed scrambled eggs. Best paired with rice or pan de sal.
Omelet is a breakfast staple similar to scrambled eggs stuffed with veggies, meat, or cheese. It looks similar to scrambled eggs only that the fried egg is wrapped around the filling.
Different variations of this recipe exist in every cookbook but the Filipino variation of an omelet uses eggplant which we call tortang talong. Torta is derived from the same Spanish word which means “cake”. The fluffy, light texture of the dish is similar to that of a pastry.
Eggplants are rich in fiber and low in calories and loaded with antioxidants that help fight diseases. The eggplant is roasted in a pan until the skins are charred. Peel off the skin and mash the naked flesh with a fork. Dip the mashed flesh in the beaten egg mixture and fry it in the pan until the surface turns golden brown and crispy.
Rellenong talong is a variation of tortang talong stuffed with pre-cooked meat like ham, sausage, pork or longganisa, veggies, and even flaked tinapa for an extra smoky flavor. The soft, creamy tortang talong is best paired with rice.
Or if you think eggplant is not your type, try sorting tuna instead. Replace the eggplant with sautéed tuna for a protein boost.
Omelet is usually dipped in ketchup or soy sauce. Omelet in the Philippines is not strictly eaten for breakfast. It can be eaten at any time of the day.
Moving on, the kitchen staple of Asian households is the main ingredient for the next set of recipes. Either cooked as congee, fried or plain, rice is a must-have in every Asian meal.
Read: 18 Best Filipino Pork Recipes
While Americans have their toast and butter combo for breakfast, Filipinos take pride in the rice meal we call “silog”. Silog is a shortened term for SINangag (garlic fried rice) and itLOG (fried egg). This dish usually comes with three, adding meat in the equation.
Filipinos are resourceful people, recycling and reusing things (usually to save money). Our resourcefulness also applies to food. Aside from reheating, leftovers can be revamped or used as sahog or an ingredient for another dish. Sinangag is made from leftover rice, usually refrigerated, Cold, leftover rice is preferred than freshly cooked one since its texture is coarser and goes well with the oil. The leftover is kneaded to break apart any clump before frying it. Then sauté garlic until golden brown and add the kneaded leftover rice and sprinkle salt to taste.
The eggs can be cooked with either the runny sunny side up style or the soft scrambled egg.
Canned goods have been breakfast staples in the Philippines when American soldiers introduced cheap, ready-to-cook meals, which makes up the silog equation. There are several types of silog that exists, depending on the meat: hamsilog, hotsilog (hotdog), bangsilog (Bangus), and longsilog (longganisa) but the most popular, and probably the first, a type is tapsilog which uses tapa.
Tapa is beef slices marinated in soy sauce and dried under the sun. Tapa has been around since the Spanish colonial period where they eat the beef slices as an appetizer with liquor. Tapa can either be a pulutan or a hangover cure. Tapsilog is a popular hangover food that most people crave for this meal after drinking.
Several tapsihan (eateries that sell tapsilog) had emerged in all parts of the country, as it is relatively affordable and easy to prepare.
Who says you can’t eat chocolate or any sweets for breakfast? Champorado is a chocolate rice porridge made with tablea and rice.
Tablea is small tablets of chocolate made from cocoa beans and muscovado sugar. It is primarily used to make hot tsokolate (hot chocolate drink) made with tablea melted in boiling water. Tsokolate has two versions: the thick and creamy tsokolate, eh and thinner, watered-down tsokolate, ah. In Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere, this hot chocolate drink shows the tyranny of Spaniards over Filipinos and symbolizes the division of social classes. Tsokolate, eh was served only for Spanish guests and other important people while tsokolate, ah was for commoners and Filipinos. According to beliefs, champorado was inspired by the Mexicans thick chocolate drink called champurrado usually served with churros. The preparation for Mexican champurrado is more intricate than our version.
So how do you cook champorado?
First, boil the tablea in a pot of hot water until dissolved then add the grains of rice. Most people prefer glutinous rice for a plump, sticky porridge but long grain rice goes well with this recipe, too. Stir it regularly to avoid clumps and add sugar as you stir. Add milk in the porridge for a creamy delight.
Tuyo (salted dried fish) balances the sweetness of the porridge with its saltiness. This well-loved porridge can also be served for an afternoon snack.
6. Arroz caldo
Most dishes in our cuisine are of mixed heritage. Arroz Caldo is a rice congee with chicken and egg. The term arroz caldo maybe a Spanish term but its origin is from the Chinese. Congee has been popular in Asia long before the Spaniards colonized our country. The history of this dish dates back to the trade between our ancestors and the Chinese merchants during the Song Dynasty. Aside from silk, porcelain, and ceramics, the Chinese merchants also shared the congee recipe to our ancestors. The Chinese term for congee was hard for the Spaniards to pronounce so they named it in Spanish.
Arroz Caldo is a light meal, which mainly gets its flavor from ginger, typically served during cold weather or sick days. Rice congee is easy to digest, which is why it is served for sick people.
Arroz Caldo is garnished with toasted garlic bits, scallions, and black pepper. People squeeze calamansi juice or drizzle a bit of fish sauce (patis) on the congee as condiments. Slices of hard-boiled eggs are also served with the rice congee.
It is optional to add safflower, saffron, or turmeric in the recipe. They primarily add a yellow hue in the congee but saffron adds a depth of flavor when added.
Lugaw with tokwa’t baboy
Lugaw, or plain rice congee, is the simplest and easiest rice congee to make as it only uses rice and salt without adding meat. Arroz caldo uses chicken and goto uses innards, tripe, and beef.
Lugaw is commonly paired with fried tofu (tokwa) and pork (baboy). Tofu, or bean curd, is small cubes of curdled fresh soya milk. Tofu has been a staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cuisine that offers several health benefits. It contains protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1. Like most of the dishes influenced by Chinese culture, fried tofu has been part of our cuisine. Tofu and fried pork slices are dipped in toyomansi (soy cause and lime).Lugaw can be a substitute for your usual plain or garlic fried rice. Some people add chicken Mami noodles for added flavor or use sugar instead of salt.
7. Fried Rice
The classic garlic fried rice uses garlic and salt but some recipes add leftover meat such as bacon, ham, hotdogs, and longganisa to make use of them instead of tossing them in the trash bin. Special fried rice recipes also include chopped veggies like green peas, carrots, potatoes, and spinach with thin meat slices. Longganisa is usually used since it adds a meatier flavor in the dish. It is a long, pork sausage seasoned with aniseed, cinnamon, garlic, paprika, and vinegar. It is usually confused with chorizo. The latter is mostly fermented, smoker, or cured and does not cook. Spaniards introduced longganisa in the Philippines and various interpretations appeared since then.
Tuyo is the general term for salted dried fish while daing specifically refers to the salted fish split in half and dried under the sun. The fish is marinated in vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. In Visayas and Mindanao, daing is called pinikas which means “halved”. Danggit, a variation of daing, is a dried rabbitfish usually eaten with rice and fried eggs for breakfast.
Tuyo is commonly served for breakfast with rice or champorado but can be eaten at any time of the day.
Traditionally, the process of making dried fish is a preservation method to prevent fish from spoiling with the use of salt.
Tuyo or salted dried fish are usually bought as pasalubong from provinces since it is relatively cheaper in the provinces. Furthermore, it is considered a poverty food because it is relatively cheap and can be sold per piece compared to other meat.