Don’t argue with us on this one: bagoong is one of the best condiments in our Filipino canon.

While not unique to the Philippines, our version is one-of-a-kind, and it’s signature saltiness is the cornerstone of our cuisine. The fermented paste, usually made from fish, shrimp, or krill, adds a beautiful, funky hit of salt to whatever dish it’s cooked into. 

Because of its popularity, bagoong is often found in many of our Filipino staples, dishes from our history that are known for bringing people together at the dinner table. We’ve partnered with Barrio Fiesta to bring you a list about the most traditional ways bagoong is eaten in the Philippines, and how it unites flavors with its distinct taste.


There’s no other way to start this list than with binagoongan, whose name speaks for itself. Usually made with pork, this dish makes bagoong the star. It is the foundation of the stew, and is cooked with tomatoes to add some brightness and acidity. 

Mangga’t Bagoong

Mangga’t bagoong is probably as traditional as you can get. A snack eaten countrywide, the simplicity of this famous pairing is truly a match representative of Filipino taste buds. The mango is sour and sweet, the bagoong salty–the two are perfect foils to one another.


Mention bagoong, and the first thing that comes to mind is probably kare-kare. The creamy, orange-hued stew, filled with unctuous bits of beef like oxtail, tripe, was born in the pre-colonial years of our country. Over time, the nutty, complex bowl has become synonymous with a generous serving of bagoong by its side, which serves as an excellent counterpart to kare-kare’s inherent sweetness.


Because bagoong’s fermented notes are incredibly assertive, it usually accompanies ingredients that often need a little bit of help in the flavor department. That’s why it’s the first seasoning cooks reach for when vegetables need a boost, like ensalada, or the popular pinakbet. Ask for a veggie dish that’s often on Filipino tables, and you’ll get this local specialty.

If this article has made you hungry for bagoong, then check out our partner Barrio Fiesta Foods. A separate entity from the popular restaurants, the brand has expanded their line to include more than just their flagship bagoong, including condiments, dry mixes and spreads. Find more information about them here, here, or here.

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