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10 Breads and Pastries That Filipinos Love


Kerlyn loves to share her passion for Filipino food with others so that they too can delight in delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.

Try These Traditional Filipino Breads and Pastries

Unfussy, modest, and without airs—if Filipino breads and pastries have character, then that's what it is.

These breads and pastries from the Philippines are well-liked by their equally self-effacing Filipino or Pinoy makers, who take delight in the thought that their baked creations nourish their bodies and lift their spirits.

In fact, any true-blue Pinoy should be able to recall a morning of eating hot pandesal with his or her family, an afternoon of eating siopao with friends, or the surprise of opening his or her lunch box at school and seeing a large, puffy, creamy ensaymada.

In the Philippines, breads and pastries are not just for eating. They are a tradition. Filipinos share these breads and pastries with their loved ones, bringing them home as pasalubong or gifts, and eating them together with family and friends during special occasions.

Much has changed in the tastes and lifestyles of most Filipinos. Many of us are now heavy eaters of muffins, bars, scones, turnovers, buns and rolls, croissants, Danish pastries, French breads, and other non-Filipino breads and pastries.

Amazingly, we Filipinos almost always come back to our time-honored Pinoy hopia, monay, and pan de coco. And we never miss out on buko pie and crema de fruta for special get-togethers.

While there are a lot of well-loved breads and pastries in the Philippines, below is a list of ten kinds that Filipinos are especially fond of.

1. Pan de Sal or Pandesal

The most humble of Filipino breads is also the most popular: pandesal, which is made simply with eggs, flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.

Created in the Philippines in the 16th century, pandesal has become a part of the traditional Filipino breakfast. Filipinos usually eat it in the mornings while it is oven-fresh and warm.

While pandesal can be eaten on its own, many Filipinos fill it with cheese, coconut jam, peanut butter, butter, fried eggs, sardines, or cooked meat. A cup of hot coffee or chocolate drink goes well with it.

Originally, pandesal was hard and crusty outside and bland inside. Over the years, it has changed into a softer and sweeter bread.

2. Siopao

Siopao is a round white steamed bun stuffed with pork, beef, shrimp, or salted egg and flavored with sweet or spicy sauces. It is very filling, and is usually eaten by Filipinos on the go as snacks in mid-afternoons.

Siopao is originally from China where is it called baozi. It is also popular in Thailand where it is called salapao.

3. Ensaymada

A kind of brioche, ensaymada is a rounded Filipino bread flavored with grated cheese and sprinkled with sugar on top, making it popular among sweet-toothed kids and kids-at-heart alike.

Ensaymada is suited to people from all walks of like. Our local bakeshop sells it for a dime. But we can also get upscale ensaymada in five-star hotels, where it is topped with buttercream and filled with purple yam, ham, salted eggs, or macapuno (a jelly-like coconut variety).

Ensaymada originally came from Majorca, Spain where it is called ensaimada. It has become hugely popular in South America where Spain held several territories.

4. Buko Pie

Buko pie is a traditional Filipino baked pastry that uses coconut, a fruit present everywhere in the Philippines. It is filled with young coconut meat and is made sweet, thick, and rich with condensed milk.

Buko pie was originally plain. More recently, essences of almond, pandan and vanilla have been used to add interesting flavors to this already yummy dish.

5. Crema de Fruta

A staple during the yuletide season in the Philippines, crema de fruta was originally a soft cake layered with cream, custard, candied fruit, and topped off with gelatin.

Recently, however, Filipinos have created crema de fruta using layers of honey-flavored crackers, cream, condensed milk, candied fruits, and gelatin.

This colorful and lip-smacking treat is chilled until the gelatin is set. It is served cold.

Dice-shaped hopia with mung bean paste filling.

Dice-shaped hopia with mung bean paste filling.

6. Hopia

Hopia is a customary, delicious gift that Filipinos give to friends and families on special occasions. It can, however, be eaten on just about any ordinary day.

This round, bean-filled pastry is so popular in the Philippines that it has spawned varieties:

  • Hopiang mungo: Filled with mung bean paste
  • Hopiang baboy: Filled with pork, winter melon, and onions
  • Hopiang ube: Filled with purple yam paste
  • Hopiang hapon: Filled with azuki beans

7. Empanada

Empanada is a world-recognized pastry that got its name from the Spanish verb empanar, which means to wrap in bread. It is made by wrapping dough around fillings of meat, cheese, fruits, and vegetables.

The Filipino-style empanada is usually filled with beef, chicken, potatoes, onions, and raisins.

In the Ilocos region of the northern Philippines, famous for its local empanada, the pastry is made with egg yolks, local sausages, green papayas, and mung beans.

Pinoy empanada is either baked or deep-fried, giving it either a chewy or a crunchy texture.

8. Monay

Basically a milk and egg bread, monay is a heavy, fine, and solid baked goodie that is easily recognized by its large size, round shape, and crease on the top.

Its exterior is a bit hard but its interior is soft, chewy, and tasty enough to eat without any spreads.

9. Pan de Coco

Literally translated to English as coconut bread, pan de coco is a sweet, medium-sized bread with sweet shredded coconut meat inside.

Plump, round, and golden brown, it is usually eaten as a mid-afternoon snack.

10. Puto Seko

Light, crunchy and a bit tough on the outside, puto seko is a Filipino butter pastry that Pinoys love to dip into coffee or hot chocolate.

It is quickly recognizable by its small size, round shape, and white color.

Puto seko can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

Its ingredients are simply butter, sugar, corn flour, and baking powder.

Filipino Pan de Sal Recipe

© 2011 kerlynb


Weeeeeeeeeeeee on October 22, 2019:

Mm yes bean bread

Gemma on August 15, 2018:

Good to know the proper way to do and i ingredients how long and time consuming baking

princess on January 24, 2018:


Steve on September 10, 2016:

I wonder if you can find any bread that doesn't have massive amounts of sugar in it.

baker#din on September 21, 2014:

Not all listed above falls under the bread category. Some of them are under pastries. Buko pie, the name speaks for itself, it's definitely a pie. Crema de fruta is a dessert not a bread, and falls under pastry so with hopia.

jj on September 02, 2013:

Can I ask for the source of this information about the top 10 baked good that Filipinos are fond to eat??I just need to know for my project study. Thanks

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 25, 2011:

@leann2800 Hello! Siopao is a category of foods in the Philippines - you can have siopao asado, siopao bulalo and the other kinds :)

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 25, 2011:

@pinoyortiz Hello kabayan! I love everything here. Just like you, I also like pan de coco. I think I'm quite lucky I can have it almost everyday :)

leann2800 on October 25, 2011:

The Siopao look so good as well as the empanadas. I have heard of the empanadas before ebut never the siopaos. The descriptions are mouth watering. You should make a few hubs with Filipino recipes. Thanks for sharing.

pinoyortiz from Quezon City, Philippines on October 11, 2011:

Number 9 is my favorite! Pan de coco is a welcome treat especially at our province :)

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 11, 2011:

@stylezink Hope Filipinos there would put up shops in Atlanta. Philippine cuisine is a bit underrated :(

- Siopao! Yum-yum! You can surely find one in Chinese restaurants if you do not have a Pinoy siopao stand there :)

- Pandesal? Yeah, there's a quick and easy recipe for that. Pandesal is so common though in the Philippines that we opt to buy it from the bakeries instead of making it ourselves :)

stylezink from Atlanta, GA. on October 10, 2011:

OMG, I can believe there's a pan de sal recipe! I will have to try it! I love pan de sal. I miss the kind I was able to get in Virginia. It seems the only Filipino store I have access to never has fresh pan de sal and it tends to be a little tough and goes bad pretty quickly. I haven't been lucky to find a good siopao around here either. They need more Filipino businesses in Atlanta.

Thanks for posting these recipes I will definitely try them. My son will be so happy if I can make the siopao!

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 05, 2011:

@Movie Master Oh you're very kind! Thank you so much :)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 04, 2011:

This is such a mouth watering hub! the photos are fabulous, excellent writing and voting up.

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 04, 2011:

@blueBit Hmmm... What about mango float or pastillas de leche? Both are from the Philippines :)

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 04, 2011:

@ignugent17 Hope you bake a yummy treat! Thanks for leaving a comment :)

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 04, 2011:

@tirelesstraveler Thank you for stopping by my hub!

blueBit from United Kingdom on October 03, 2011:

Ah, all this stuff looks delicious! You've made me realise that I should be more adventurous and try more things from around the world. Maybe I'll try to make one of these :) Hmm, my girlfriend can't eat wheat though. What do you recommend for something that we can cook together?

ignugent17 on October 03, 2011:

Wow! thank you very much Kerlynb. This hub gives me an idea on what to bake next. Your pictures are really so tempting.voted up.

Judy Specht from California on October 03, 2011:

My mouth is watering. This hub is so descriptive even I could make these breads. Nice hub

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 03, 2011:

@anjperez, thanks for your message :) If you only knew, I had a lot of misses, LOL! I just try to write about the things that drive me, my country, and ESL. Oh BTW, I didn't know you're Pinoy! Hi kabayan!

anjperez on October 03, 2011:

@kerlynb, i am just starting my hub and glad you came my way. looking at all the stuff that you have written, looks like "marami pa akong kakaining bigas". kasi for now, i just go with my guts. write whatever i feel. most are "miss" than "hits". with your hubs, i have something to look up to while i go "hubbing" my way around. thanks, thanks, thanks!

kerlynb (author) from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on October 03, 2011:

@GeneralHowitzer That was quick! Thanks for the feedback :)

Gener Geminiano from Land of Salt, Philippines on October 02, 2011:

Great hub my friend just liked it voted it up!

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