Kalamunda (Tagaytay) Paella.jpg
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 (malagkít), giving it a soft and sticky texture, unlike the al dente texture favoured in Spanish paella. It is also characteristically topped with sliced eggs.[1][2] Filipino paelya does not use saffron, but is instead coloured with atsuete (anatto), luyang diláw (turmeric), or kasubhâ (safflower).[3][4][5]

Paelya is also 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 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]


Filipino paelya is prepared similarly to its ancestors, the Valencian paella and the Latin American arroz a la valenciana, but consists of more indigenous ingredients. Instead of arroz bomba, paelya favors high-quality, local heirloom rice varieties, like Ifugao tinawon, which has similar characteristics to arroz bomba.[2] Imported long-grain rice (like jasmine rice) are also used. This is mixed with glutinous rice (malagkít) in varying 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 annatto (atsuete), turmeric (luyang dilaw), or safflower (kasubhâ).[10][11][4] Sometimes, a knot of pandán (screwpine) leaves is added, infusing the dish with a vanilla-like scent.[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 lóngganisa, but it is usually chorizo de bilbao (which despite its name, is a native Filipino sausage).[13] Seafood paelya typically include mussels (tahóng), blue crab (alimasag), large prawns (hipon), clams (kabibì), and squid (pusít).[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 lemongrass (tanglád), patís (fish sauce), and bagoóng alamáng (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 kawalì (wok).[15] Due to the complexity of the dish and its ingredients, paelya is rarely served in everyday meals. It is considered luxurious, reserved for special occasions. Paelya is commonly served on Christmas Eve 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]


Main article: bringhe

Biringi (also known as bringhi, beringhe, biringhe, biringye, biringyi or kalame manuc) is a paelya variant from the province of Pampanga. It is similar to the original Valencian dish, but uses rice and glutinous rice mixtures cooked in gata (coconut milk) with saffron or turmeric (ange in Kapampangan), giving it a distinct flavour and colour. 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 added aroma.[18]

Biringi is precolonial in origin, and while the name is a cognate of those for South Asian biryani dishes, it has since merged with the Spanish paella. The original version made without the chorizo, eggs, or other paelya ingredients is differentiated as nasing biringye, which is more similar to the 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 by Alba Restaurante Español, a notable Spanish-Filipino restaurant in Manila established in 1954. It is a fusion dish, combining Spanish paella with Filipino adobo.[21]

Paella parillada

This variant, named for the word for “grill”, is 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 Chinese-influenced variant of paelya using glass noodles (sótanghon) instead of rice.[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. (August 8, 2015). "Viva Paella at Arrozeria Manila". Business Mirror. Retrieved December 15, 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 December 15, 2018.
  5. ^ Uy, Amy A. (July 3, 2012). "Paella: A Spanish fiesta in a pan". GMA News Online. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Taylor-Gross, Matt. "Philippine Paella". Saveur. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Arroz Valenciana". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved December 14, 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 (December 6, 2017). "Paella, Filipino Style for Christmas or Noche Buena". Pinoy Food Recipes. Retrieved December 15, 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 December 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Paella Ala Afritada". Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Damo, Ida. "Paella, Pinoy Style!". ChoosePhilippines. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Easy Seafood Paella". Pinoy Kitchentte. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "Differences between Filipino dishes and Spanish dishes". My Filipino Kitchen. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Pamaran, Maan D'Asis (October 12, 2016). "The Filipino-Spanish food connection". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "Bringhe". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Bringhe (Bringhi)". Pinoy Recipe at iba pa. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  19. ^ "6 International Dishes With Must-Try Filipino Versions". Philippine Primer. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  20. ^ Pangilinan, Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto. "Násîng Biringyi, a Kapampángan Pre-colonial Dish". Siuálâ ding Meángûbié. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  21. ^ "How to make Paella de Adobo by Senor Anastacio de Alba". Asian in America. March 23, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Paellitos Negritos (Squid Ink Paella)". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  23. ^ "Paella Sotanghon". Panlasang Pinoy Meaty Recipes. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "Paella (Sotanghon) Vermicelli". My Yummy Menu Foods. Retrieved December 16, 2018.