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  • Writer's pictureOne World Whisk

THE PHILIPPINES: Lechon Manok Roast Chicken, Filipino Rice Noodles, and Cucumber Salad

Updated: Jun 18

Lechon Manok Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, around 3-4 lbs

1 lemon*

1/4 cup brown sugar

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and cut in half

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

2 bay leaves

3 stalks lemongrass, cut into large pieces

1/3 cup dark soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/3 cup Sprite, 7up, or pineapple juice

*Calamansi juice is typically used. It is similar to a Meyer lemon. If you can find calamansi, you can use 1/4 cup of its juice.

  1. To make marinade, zest the lemon, then juice it, adding zest and juice to a large Ziplock bag or bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Add the remainder of the ingredients. Mix until sugar dissolves. Add cleaned chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

  2. 30 minutes before cooking, remove chicken from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400°.

  3. Place chicken on a roasting pan with rack. Stuff inside of chicken's cavity with the solids (garlic, onion, bay leaves, and lemongrass from the marinade. Place rest of marinade into a small saucepan, discarding any solids that did not fit inside the bird.

  4. Roast chicken for 10 minutes at 400°, then reduce temperature to 350° and roast another 50 minutes. While roasting, simmer marinade until reduced by half, around 10 minutes.

  5. Baste chicken with marinade, and return to oven for 20 minutes, basting one more time at the 10-minute mark. The chicken is done when it has an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest section of the meat. If you do not have a meat thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the chicken with a knife or fork and observe the color of the liquid that runs out. If it is a pink color, the chicken needs more time, if the juices are clear, the chicken is ready.

  6. Let rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve with leftover marinade on the side.

Filipino Rice Noodles (Pancit Bihon)

1 package rice noodle vermicelli

1/2 lb. pork cut into small thin slices (optional)

1/2 lb. chicken breast or thigh, cut into thin slices (optional)

1 onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 pound string beans or snow peas, cut into large pieces

1 carrot, cut into matchstick-sized pieces

1 cube chicken bouillon or 2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or 1 tablespoon tamari

1 teaspoon sugar

2 scallions, sliced, for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 additional minutes. Add remaining vegetables to pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until just soft.

  2. If using meats, add them to pan until just cooked, the remove the meats to a small bowl on the side.

  3. Soak noodles in hot water for 5 minutes.

  4. Add either 3 cups of water and the bouillon cube to sauté pan, or chicken broth and 1 additional cup of water. When simmering, add drained noodles, and meats if using, to pan. Cook, stirring every minute or two, until noodles are cooked through and sauce is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

  5. Garnish with scallions before serving.

Cucumber Salad (Ensaladang Pipino)

2 large cucumbers, peeled, or 4 Persian cucumbers

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 Thai chili pepper, minced (optional)

1 small red onion, peeled and sliced thinly (optional)

  1. Slice cucumber thinly.

  2. Mix together remainder of ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers and toss to coat.

  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes-4 hours, to allow flavors to meld.


  • The Philippines is home to one of the world’s longest underground rivers, Puerto Princesa Underground River. You can see and travel on parts of it.

  • The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a diver from the Philippines. The pearl is two-feet long and weighs nearly 75 pounds. The diver originally hid it under his bed as a good luck charm. Today is is valued at more than $100 million.

  • The Philippines is the largest supplier of nurses in the world. Around 25% of all nurses who work overseas come from the Philippines.

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