Make These Filipino Recipes As Appetizers This Christmas Season

These make delicious appetizers.

IMAGE Majoy Siason

Filipino food is one of those cuisines that many take for granted. We eat it and taste it on a daily basis and sometimes, we forget just how delicious our food can be. While it's not always the most glamorous looking dishes, you can't deny that the flavors are always fantastic. 

For this holiday season, why not take advantage of your love for the local cuisine. Learn to fall in love with all those flavors all again with dishes that you can jazz up and make as part of your Noche Buena. Your main course can easily be a Filipino favorite such as an easy chicken galantina, a rolled up Cebu-style or homemade lechon, or even a rellenong bangus recipe that you took the time to make yourself. Desserts such as leche flans, brazo de Mercedes, cathedral windows, and yema cakes are equally easy, especially since we love our sweets. 


However, when it comes to appetizers, it might be harder to determine what to start your meal with. The majority of our regular meals are the main meals, but it's a complete one with the meat and vegetable courses served at once. 

If you're thinking of what to cook as appetizers for your Noche Buena, we suggest these Filipino recipes as appetizers. Serve these chopped small, so small plates won't be unwieldy when it's got this hearty food on it. You can even serve some of these on top of saltine crackers so they can "scoop" the flavorful food directly.  

Recommended Videos
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

1 Bagnet Chicharon Recipe 

Chicharon and bagnet are classic Filipino recipes so it's not surprising to see either as a choice as finger food. This recipe however combines the two into a brilliant and spiced version that will have everyone who is hungry, eager to grab each crispy bit before it runs out. You can even use bacon, too.     

Photo by Toto Labrador

2 Crispy Kangkong Recipe 

You get a crispy but light bite with this recipe. Kangkong leaves are delicate so it's an equally light batter these are dunked in. It only takes seconds to make these crispy and about the same amount of time for these to become a hit on your table, too. Make sure to have serving spoons for the dip!  

Photo by Patrick Martires

3 Coconut Shrimp Popcorn Recipe

You can easily pop these shrimp in one succulent bite! Provide toothpicks for spearing these onto plates. If shrimp is too pricey for your budget, use chicken fillets cut to bite-sized pieces and make chicken popcorn. 

Photo by Karishma Etong

4 Chicken Lollipop Recipe  

Chicken is highly versatile so if you're looking for an instant hit, make these chicken pieces with their exposed drumsticks that are easy to grasp. It's too easy to nibble more than you should if these fried chicken bites are perfectly cooked!  


Photo by Bianca Laxamana

5 Pinoy-style Caesar Salad Recipe 

Thnk refreshing and a salad might be what you want to serve as a starting point for your meal. If so, change a few things up to make it Pinoy-style such as swapping the anchovies for tuyo flakes and the Parmesan cheese for shaved and grated queso de bola instead.    


Photo by Majoy Siason

6 Spicy Dilis Recipe 

Dilis are automatically snack winners in many people's eyes so why not jack up the flavor of these tiny fish with this sweet and spicy version? 

Photo by Majoy Siason | Styling by Roselle Miranda

7 Sinuglaw Recipe 

Sinuglaw is the local version of the surf and turf. It's made with a fresh tuna kinilaw or kilawin topped with chopped grilled pork liempo. Cut these fish and pork pieces into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Remember to keep it chilled over a bowl of ice to keep it cold.

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

8 Lumpiang Shanghai Recipe 

Few parties can go without the lumpiang Shanghai and if Christmas is an occasion that is similar, you need these tiny bites. Make the lumpia long then slice them into bite-sized pieces before serving to make it easy to spear with a toothpick and pop into your mouth. 

You can also try this easy lumpiang Shanghai version that doesn't require you chopping; instead, you grate the vegetables. How's that for easy?   

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

9 Baked Tahong Recipe 

These succulent shellfish are morsels baked on its shell so it's easy to grab one or three to place on your plate. Use quick-melting cheese to top these and for added crunch, breadcrumbs made from leftover pandesal keep it very Filipino. 

Photo by Patrick Martires

10 Gambas Recipe 

Speaking of bite-sized appetizers, Spanish influence is strong so why not let that be a guide to else you can serve as appetizers? These garlic-infused shrimp become even more flavorful when sauteed with slices of paprika-loaded chorizo.     


See Also

Make this holiday season about delicious local flavors and celebrate the season with these flavorful starters. 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

Comments. Join the discussion below!
Trending in Summit Network

How To Make Easy Crepes At Home

Yes, you can do it. No special tools needed!

Check Out The History Behind Kapampangan Dishes

So many delicious Filipino dishes came from this province!

Devein Or Not To Devein: Why You Do Not Need To Devein Shrimp

Learn two ways to do it if you think it's necessary to do.
Load More