Paelya from Tagaytay
Alternative namespaella
CourseMain dish
Place of originPhilippines
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsglutinous rice, rice
Variationsarroz a la valenciana, bringhe, paella negra

Paelya (Tagalog: [paˈɛlja]) or paella (Spanish), is a Philippine rice dish adapted from the Valencian paella. However, it differs significantly in its use of native glutinous rice (malagkit), giving it a soft and sticky texture, unlike the al dente texture favored in original paella. It is also characteristically topped with sliced eggs.[1][2] Filipino paelya also does not use saffron, but instead use achuete (anatto), luyang dilaw, (turmeric), or kasubha (safflower).[3][4][5]

Paelya is a general term for similar dishes in the Philippines, regardless of the ingredients used. It includes arroz a la valenciana (usually made with chicken and chorizo de bilbao), bringhe (made with coconut milk), and paella negra (made with squid ink).[6][4][7]


The name is derived from Spanish paella, but it is pronounced with lleismo. Like most occurrences of the ll digraph in Philippine languages, it is pronounced with [lj] rather than the Spanish [ʎ]. Hence the nativized spelling of "paelya".[8]


Paelya is prepared similarly to its ancestors, the Valencian paella and the Latin American arroz a la valenciana, but it uses more indigenous ingredients. Instead of arroz bomba, Filipino paelya favors heirloom high-quality local rice varieties, like the Ifugao tinawon rice, which has similar characteristics to arroz bomba.[2] Imported long-grain rice (like jasmine rice) are also used. This is mixed with glutinous rice (malagkit) at various ratios, ranging from a fourth of the regular rice to equal parts, depending on how sticky the final product is desired to be.[6][9]

In place of saffron, paelya uses achuete (anatto), luyang dilaw, (turmeric), or kasubha (safflower).[10][11][4] Sometimes, a knot of pandan (screwpine) leaves is even added, which imparts a vanilla-like fragrance to the dish.[3] Some variations will also use tomato sauce in the sofrito (ginisa) to color and flavor the dish.[3][12]

Meat paelya typically use chicken, pork, beef, and smoked spicy sausages. The sausages used in paelya can be any of the native smoked longganisa, but it is usually chorizo de bilbao (which despite its name, is a native Filipino sausage).[13] Seafood paelya typically include mussels (tahong), blue crab (alimasag), large prawns (hipon), clams (kabibi), and calamari (pusit).[9][14] The meat and seafood versions are commonly mixed together.[3] The typical vegetables and spices used include bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, ginger, carrots, green peas, black pepper, scallions, paprika, and raisins.[3][10][14] It is usually garnished with calamansi and sliced hard-boiled eggs.[10] Other native condiments and ingredients can also be added, like tanglad (lemongrass), patis (fish sauce), and bagoong alamang (shrimp paste).[10]

Paelya is usually cooked in a paellera, a shallow and wide pan with two handles. Though it can also be cooked in a kawali (wok).[15] Due to the complexity of the dish and its ingredients, paelya is rarely served in everyday meals. It is considered a "luxury meal" and is usually reserved for special occasions. Paelya are commonly served during the Nochebuena (Christmas dinner).[6][16][9]


Because the dish is easy to modify, there are numerous variants of paelya, depending on the ingredients at hand. They include the following:

Arroz a la valenciana

Main article: Arroz a la valenciana

Arroz a la valenciana or arroz valenciana is sometimes regarded as a separate dish. It originates from the Latin American adaptation of paella. But like other Filipino paelyas, it uses glutinous rice. It primarily uses chicken and chorizo de bilbao, but can also include pork or beef.[7]


Biringi (also known as bringhi, beringhe, biringhe, biringye, biringyi or kalame manuc) is a paelya variant from the province of Pampanga. It similar to the original Valencian dish, but use rice and glutinous rice mixtures cooked in gata (coconut milk) with saffron or turmeric (ange in Kapampangan), giving it a distinct flavor and color. It typically uses chicken, along with bell peppers, green peas, carrots, raisins, and chorizo de bilbao. However, it can also be made with seafood and other meats. It is also characteristically topped with sliced boiled eggs.[1][4][17][18][19] It is sometimes cooked in banana leaves for the added aroma.[18]

Biringi is pre-colonial in origin and the name is a cognate of the South Asian biryani dishes, but it has merged with the Spanish paella. The original version made without the chorizo, eggs, or other paelya ingredients is differentiated as nasing biringye or nasing biringye, which is more similar to nasi briyani of Malaysia and Singapore.[8][20]

Paella al horno con queso

A baked variant of paelya topped with cheese, chicken breasts, and roasted bell peppers.[8]

Paella de adobo

A relatively modern adaptation, developed in the Alba Restaurante Español, a notable Spanish-Filipino restaurant in Manila first established in 1954. It is a fusion dish, combining the Spanish paella with the Filipino adobo.[21]

Paella parillada

Paelya topped with grilled or barbecued meat or seafood.[8]

Paella negra

Filipino paella negra
Filipino paella negra

See also: Arròs negre

Paella negra, also called arroz negro, is a variant that uses squid ink and calamari. The dish is characteristically black, hence the name. It is most similar to the Valencian and Catalan dish arròs negre, but like other Filipino paelyas, it uses glutinous rice.[22]

Paella sotanghon

A variant of paelya that uses glass noodles (sotanghon).[23][24]

See also


  1. ^ a b Kirhsenblatt-Gimblet, Barbara; Fernandez, Doreen G. (2003). "Culture Ingested: On the Indigenization of Philippine Food" (PDF). Gastronomica. 3 (1): 58–71. doi:10.1525/gfc.2003.3.1.58.
  2. ^ a b Cruz, Cesar, Jr. (8 August 2015). "Viva Paella at Arrozeria Manila". Business Mirror. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Diego, Arlene (2011). Step by Step Cooking Filipino: Delightful Ideas for Everyday Meals. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 48. ISBN 9789814435154.
  4. ^ a b c d Miranda, Roselle. "This Is The Local + Easy Version Of The Spanish Paella That You Should Try". Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  5. ^ Uy, Amy A. (3 July 2012). "Paella: A Spanish fiesta in a pan". GMA News Online. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Taylor-Gross, Matt. "Philippine Paella". Saveur. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Arroz Valenciana". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Polistico, Edgie (2017). Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary. Anvil Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 9786214200870.
  9. ^ a b c Lardizabal-Dado, Noemi (6 December 2017). "Paella, Filipino Style for Christmas or Noche Buena". Pinoy Food Recipes. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Boi, Lee Geok (2017). Asian Seafood. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 9789814794084.
  11. ^ Veneracion, Connie. "Seafood Arroz a la Valenciana (Filipino-style Paella)". Casa Veneracion. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Paella Ala Afritada". Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  13. ^ Damo, Ida. "Paella, Pinoy Style!". ChoosePhilippines. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Easy Seafood Paella". Pinoy Kitchentte. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Differences between Filipino dishes and Spanish dishes". My Filipino Kitchen. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  16. ^ Pamaran, Maan D'Asis (12 October 2016). "The Filipino-Spanish food connection". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Bringhe". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Bringhe (Bringhi)". Pinoy Recipe at iba pa. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  19. ^ "6 International Dishes With Must-Try Filipino Versions". Philippine Primer. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  20. ^ Pangilinan, Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto. "Násîng Biringyi, a Kapampángan Pre-colonial Dish". Siuálâ ding Meángûbié. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  21. ^ "How to make Paella de Adobo by Senor Anastacio de Alba". Asian in America. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Paellitos Negritos (Squid Ink Paella)". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Paella Sotanghon". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Paella (Sotanghon) Vermicelli". My Yummy Menu Foods. Retrieved 16 December 2018.