Top 5 Filipino “Vegetarian Dishes” That Are Not Really Vegetarian

Filipinos say these dishes are vegetarian but when I check the food, hindi naman talaga vegeterian kasi may chicharon, bagoong, giniling. Let’s check:

Vegetarian Dish – a dish that contains no meat

Here are my 5 Filipino “vegetarian” dishes that are not really vegetarian.


Pinakbet or pakbet is a popular dish that originated in the Ilocos region of Northern Luzon. This region borders the vegetable rich mountainous Cordillera region, and is a colorful medley of iconic tropical vegetables: squash, snake beans, eggplant and bitter melon traditionally cooked in clay pots. Although a predominantly vegetarian dish, pakbet has powerful flavours, the intense bitterness of the ampalaya is offset by the sweetness of the squash, while saltiness is added from the bagoong. Filipinos generally garnish the dish with either Chicharon, or Bagnet (crisp fried pork belly), making this NOT VEGETARIAN.


Chopsuey is a dish with vegetables as it’s dominant ingredient. A global selection of vegetables can be added including in carrots, snow peas, beans, bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and chayote. Shrimp, or processed fish or squid balls can be added, along with chicken, pork, liver, gizzard or quail eggs which makes this yummy dish NOT VEGETARIAN.

Ampalaya and Eggs

Ampalaya and eggs is a Filipino vegetable recipe that is easy and quick to cook. Just saute some garlic, onion and tomatoes, add in your ampalaya (soaked in salted water to eliminate the bitter taste) saute it and finish it off with your eggs. What makes this dish NOT VEGETARIAN is when Filipinos are so used to sneaking in a quarter of a kilo of ground beef in it!

Ginisang Gulay

Similar to ampalaya and eggs, ginisang gulay is very easy and quick to cook. You can choose your main veggies – sayote, string beans, pechay, cabbage, saute it and put a bit of ground beef in it! Some even put in spam as a substitute for ground beef. Verdict: NOT VEGETARIAN.

Monggo Guisado

Ginisang Monggo is the Philippines answer to Lentil Soup. It’s cheap, easy to make, delicious, and extremely nutritious. The basic monggo recipe can be a little bland, but the secret is to add the bittersweet combo of squash, and ampalaya (or the leaves), and top it off with some crispy dried fish (tuyo) or some chicharon bits which add salt, and texture to the meal – which makes this dish tastier, but definitely NOT VEGETARIAN.



Ikaw mga kabano, what vegetarian dishes you sneak pork/beef into that you love?

Here’s a link to all my favorite vege dishes but stil with meat 😀

Chop Suey with Quail Eggs and Squid Balls —
Tortang Talong –
Pinakbet or Pakbet –
Prawn Pnakbet –
Laing –

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