Pepper’s English-Filipino Cheat Sheet: Common Herbs

April 12, 2019

Our country grows a plethora of root crops, fruits, and vegetables, but when it comes to naming herbs, we almost always default to using their English names. Although some of these herbs first thrived in Western countries, we do have Tagalog or Spanish-derived names for them as well.


Curious about what to call other animal parts, plants, spices, or other common ingredients in Filipino? Let us know what terms you want translated or need help with by commenting below.

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

23 comments in this post SHOW

23 responses to “Pepper’s English-Filipino Cheat Sheet: Common Herbs”

  1. Mitza says:

    ooooooh maybe you guys can put a cheat sheet for meat and seafood 🙂

  2. Mitza says:

    correct me if im wrong ginger is called luya ? galangal is a relative of ginger

    • jA says:

      I think you’re correct.. Galangal is different from ginger, though they look the same and belong in the same family..

      • gela velasco says:

        Hi guys, you’re right. Galangal is a relative of ginger. Sorry about the confusion, the specific relation wasn’t included in the infographic 🙂

  3. Ancora Imparo says:

    Could you please use a font that’s more legible to read in you images next time? Or, if you still want to use script, could you space the letters out a bit more?

  4. Harold Casapao says:

    Do you have the Tagalog translation for Veggies (Kangkong = Swamp Cabbage or Water Spinach?) and Fish (Pampano = Pompano or Pomfret?) ?

  5. jA says:

    Parsley also called Kinchay. ^_^

    • Harold Casapao says:

      Actually Kinchay and Wansuy are commonly mistaken with each other because of its looks but you can differentiate the taste.

      In this article, Wansuy is Cilantro, which is also called as Coriander (, which is also called as Chinese Parsley, which we sometimes call Kinchay ( Both (Wansuy and Kinchay) seems like in the same parsley (Perehil – this is Spanish right?) family.

      I think the name depends where it grew or maybe they have a different scientific name? Any Botanist that can enlighten us here? 😀

  6. Crchu says:

    Like Mitza said, Galangal is also called blue ginger and ginger sold here are usually interchanged with both. A sure fire way to tell it apart is the size and skin. Ginger has looser skin while Galangal has that tight shiny skin. Galangal is also the one with the bigger root and that blue ring when you cross section it.

    Ahh sorry for the rant but they taste really different (Galangal is peppery, ginger is milder). I had a hard time when I accidentally picked Galangal instead of Ginger.

  7. Maria says:

    Galangal is woody/tougher compared to ginger. Galangal is flowery/fragrant and ginger is earthy.
    Kinchay is chinese celery and is not parsley. Wansuy is coriander. I’m not sure if cilantro (mexican) is the same as coriander because I’ve never tasted cilantro. If anybody knows, do coriander and cilantro taste the same?
    And does anyone know what onion chives and garlic chives are in Filipino? Just curious.
    I second the suggestion for Filipino-English-Filipino translation of vegetables and fish. Hard to ask for maya-maya, hasa-hasa, matangbaka from the fishmonger. Thanks

    • Harold Casapao says:

      Chives = Kuchay? Dunno the correct spelling.

    • CulinaryStudent says:

      Coriander and Cilantro are interchangeable names for the same plant. Often, “coriander” refers to the dried seeds ( used as a spice), and “cilantro” refers to the leaves and stems ( used as an herb and an aromatic, respectively)

      Onion chives are sometimes called “Sibuyas na Mura (‘young’ onions)” and Garlic chives are “kuchay”.

      In the Philippines, there is little difference between leeks, scallions, spring onions, and “chives” apart from size. In Europe and other (western) countries though, chives are way way different from scallions, and from leeks ( which tend to be much much sweeter, tougher, and bigger, than what he have as “leeks” here….which are actually just big scallions).

    • CulinaryStudent says:

      mahi-mahi = dolphin fish = dorado
      brill = dapa ( often, fishmongers sell brill (relatively cheap) as Sole)
      perch = tilapia
      grouper/garoupa = lapu lapu
      red snapper = maya maya
      seabass (pacific) = apahap ( aka barramundi, in australia)
      whiting = asohos ( usually in tempura)
      Escolar/Oil fish/Traveler’s Nightmare = Gindara
      Spanish Mackerel = tanigue

      • Harold Casapao says:

        Tilapia is already the English name right?

        • CulinaryStudent says:

          Yup 😀 but in the Philippines, fishmongers often confuse fish that look alike but aren’t really the same….. So “tilapia” in the Philippines could mean the actual Tilapia, or other freshwater fish that look a lot like tilapia….like Perch 😀

  8. disqus_7h4Q8XTyzs says:

    I like this! I want a cheat sheet for native fruit. 🙂

  9. sweet_kamote says:

    I once heard a well-known local chef (with an Asian Food Channel show) carelessly call kamote tops “sweet potato leaves”. Genius. LOL

  10. Lee says:

    I think Galangal is called Langkawas locally. It is commonly used in the Visayas as one of the spices used to infuse sinamak or spiced vinegar.

  11. inday joy says:

    i just found your site. i appreciate your code of ethics. We do need that amidst the plethora of food blogs around.

    love your herbs cheat sheet. Ilonggos’ herbs include ahos (garlic), sibuyas bombay (red onions), kamatis, luy-a, langkawas (galangal), kusay (chives), sibuyas dahon, recado (bay leaf), paminta (black pepper).

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