Filipinos celebrate Christmas with great enthusiasm, and the abundance of food during the holiday season is deeply rooted in cultural and religious traditions. As soon as the “ber” months have started, Christmas lights are lit, decors are displayed and seen, and Christmas jingles are played in malls, hotels, and stores. It makes the Christmas season in the Philippines feel exciting! As they say, Christmas in the Philippines is different.

Noche Buena and Media Noche

In the Philippines, various sweet and savory dishes and delicacies are served during the Noche Buena and the Media Noche. Massive feasts are held this season as most families, such as OFWs returning home, working adults on vacation, and teens and kids on school breaks, reunite. What foods are you excited to cook or buy as the holidays approach? Here are some dishes that we always look forward to!

Bibingka: Bibingka is a type of rice cake traditionally cooked in clay pots with banana leaves and comes with different toppings, such as salted egg slices, cheese, and grated coconut. It is commonly bought after Simbang Gabi and often sold outside churches.


©️ Wikipedia

Puto Bumbong: A crowd favorite and is often sold outside churches after mass. It is a purple-coloured rice cake steamed in bamboo tubes and served with muscovado sugar and grated coconut. 

Puto Bumbong

©️ About Filipino Food

Kakanin: Kakanin can be a variety of rice cakes. The most common kakanins are kutsinta, sapin-sapin, and suman. They are mostly sold outside churches and are patronised by church-goers.

Leche Flan: Although leche flan is sold chiefly everywhere, it is typically served during Christmas and other special occasions. It is a creamy caramel custard made from egg yolks, condensed milk, and sugar. 

Leche Flan

©️ Pexels


Ube Halaya: A sweet purple yam pudding made with ube, coconut milk, sugar, and sometimes condensed milk. It is often served alongside Leche Flan.

Fruit Salad: A dessert always present on significant occasions and celebrations. It is a sweet, creamy dessert made with a canned fruit cocktail, condensed milk, and all-purpose cream. 

Filipino Fruit Salad

©️ Foxy Folksy

Pinoy Fruitcake: A Filipino version of the traditional fruitcake is often made with dried fruits, nuts, and sometimes rum. It is a popular gift during the Christmas season.

Aside from the sweet desserts, let us check out the savory dishes commonly served!

Lechon: A whole roasted pig with tender, flavorful meat and crispy skin. Lechon is served during big celebrations like fiestas, weddings, and Christmas. Leftovers are then cooked into lechon paksiw.


©️ Booky


Christmas Ham: Filipino-style Christmas ham is a sweet and savory dish. It’s typically glazed with a sugary mixture, often including pineapple juice, and is a common feature of the Noche Buena table.

Quezo de Bola: The Filipino version of Edam cheese. The Noche Buena table would not be complete without it, as it is a popular holiday snack often paired with hamon and pandesal (Filipino bread rolls).

Lumpia: Filipino spring rolls can be served fresh (lumpiang sariwa) or fried (lumpiang shanghai). Both are popular appetisers during the holiday season.



©️ Pexels

Pancit: Chinese food has significantly influenced our cuisine, evidently so as Filipinos would serve pancit on almost every occasion. This dish has multiple variations, such as pancit malabon, pancit bihon, pancit canton, pancit miki, and much more. This dish is often served in the belief that it symbolises long life.


©️ Pexels


Pinoy-Style Spaghetti: For most Filipinos, their take on spaghetti sparks fond childhood memories and the comfort of home. Unlike the traditional Italian way, Filipinos use the banana catsup and add a fair amount of sugar to the sauce, putting the Pinoy-style spaghetti on the sweeter side. Some even add hotdogs to make it more special.


Pinoy Spaghetti

©️ Maggi

These dishes showcase the Philippines’ diverse and flavorful culinary traditions. It creates a festive and joyous atmosphere during Christmas, with the Noche Buena and the Media Noche reuniting many families, friends, and loved ones. Christmas celebrations are indeed different in the Philippines.

What foods do you often serve during the Noche Buena and the Media Noche? Which dishes will be on your tables at Christmas and New Year? Share it with us!