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Tropical Joe - My Food Network in Tropical Cooking and Its Photo Gallery

Updated on November 6, 2011

Food and Photography

This hubber is fond of taking photos on any subject that interests him. Food is not an exception. He's one of those food trippers, as your may call him, who always wanted a share of souvenir at the food he cooks, eats and share with family and friends.

Most of HubPages contributors are part-and-parcel food hubbers, too. Like others, he cannot be silenced in taking importance at the food dishes that emanate from his cranky kitchen, snack foods that are vended, whether he's at home or in the city hawking for street food or in special occasion, taking a bite at a sumptuous dinner in a local restaurant.

Some people are amused seeing him taking photos of the food he eats. He simply ignores it, but often laugh at himself if his date also thinks that he's a bit weird.

Making food dishes as subject in photography is no longer a fad issue. Professional photographers have included it in their specialization because visual presentation entices more clients to have a taste on what is vividly seen in the pictures.

Since digital photography is no longer a luxury these days, ordinary people who own handy digital cameras can share their food photos at the prime social media outlets online, like Facebook or even blog about it on Blogger or freewebs.

At Facebook, my food network, Tropical Joe, is slowly earning raves among some of my friends and a loyal fellow hubber (Ms. Treathyl of Texas who also owns a food network). Not bad for a free page where I can also advertise at an affordable fees (but not now).

I'm just contented on sharing what my camera records as different kinds of tropical dishes, fusion cuisine and the like fancy this hubber.

So, feast your eyes with my virtual food network. Some of the photos have been copyrighted by this hubber for he already used it in his Tropical Cooking series.

Recent photos are still in a raw publishing at his food network.

Some of the recipes are included while other dishes are tropical version of the western dishes that are adopted by Filipino chefs.

I even concocted my own innovation in Tropical Cooking, like Young Coconut Fried Noodles and Tropical Pasta.

LAING - dried taro leaves in coconut milk
LAING - dried taro leaves in coconut milk


Laing is a famous regional main dish of Bicol region in the Philippines.

It consists of dried gabi or taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and garnished with smoke fish or tinapa.
Small shrimps and crabs are also added, depending on the availability of the ingredients.
It's spices consist of the usual minced garlic and onion. You can also add yellow ginger or lemongrass stalk.
It's succulent taste is enhanced by the hot pepper or siling labuyo.
Serve it with newly cooked rice for a sumptuous meal.

TINOLANG MANOK - Stewed Chicken
TINOLANG MANOK - Stewed Chicken

Stewed Chicken

Tinolang Manok or Stewed Chicken is an easy-to-cook recipe in the Philippines.

Here in Bicol, we always use green papaya as the vegetable extender and at the same time, the meat tenderizer for the native chicken.

Spices used are yellow ginger, black whole pepper, garlic and onion.

Lemon juice or coconut vinegar is added in order to enhance its taste. Salt to taste.

Usually served during lunchtime.

Fish Picadillo
Fish Picadillo

Fish Picadillo

Fish Picadillo is a Spanish dish where Filipinos adopted. The fish is sliced on its back (not on the belly) and filled with mix of miced garlic, onion, ginger, tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Picadillong Isda (fish) can be steamed, broiled or even cooked with coconut milk.

I prefer the first two methods of cooking because fish meat is tender and only needed short time to be cooked.

The best thing to do when buying fish (as in tilapia or St. Peter's fish or tropical grouper) is to choose the live ones.

You can be sure of its succulent taste, its cleaned stomach filled with chopped spices -garlic, onion, yellow ginger, ripe tomatoes, enhanced with lemon juice or coconut vinegar with crushed black pepper, seasoned with salt.

Pancit Canton Guisado
Pancit Canton Guisado

Pancit Canton Guisado

PANCIT CANTON GUISADO - This is sauteed Dried Noodles. It is Cantonese in origin or it's part of the Chinese cuisine which has a great influence in Filipino cuisine.

A wok is suited to cook this Asian dish.

  1. Heat cooking oil and sauté garlic and onion.
  2. Add meat strips, usually pork meat and liver. Set aside if half-cooked already.
  3. Sauté strips of mix vegetables (julienned carrots, shredded cabbage, sitsaro or sweet pea, celery stalks, etc.). Add soy sauce then set aside.
  4. Sauté dried noodles (canton-style), add little soy sauce and water alternately until half-done.
  5. Add meat and vegetable mixture. Toss in the air until done.
  6. Season to taste, ground black pepper and oyster sauce.
  7. Serve hot with slice bread.

Lumpiang Shanghai
Lumpiang Shanghai

Lumpiang Shanghai

LUMPIANG SHANGHAI - Chinese-inspired cooking as the name suggests. Pork meat mixture with garlic/onion/salt/pepper (usually half-cooked).

Lumpia wrapper (made of duck egg/flour/water/mixture) will coat portion of meat mixture as shown then deep fry until brown.

Serve with tomato sauce dip or vinegar-garlic dip.



CHOPSUEY - Another part of Chinese link in Filipino cuisine.

Food history bared that this mix vegetable dish was formulated in order to utilize leftover vegetable ingredients as in strips of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, with meat strips cooked in oyster sauce.

It is modified by Filipinos by adding sweet corn, string beans, bell pepper and sweet peas. As time goes by, slices of cooked eggs are added.

Quail eggs are also highlighting this gastronomic dish

Sweet and Sour Tanigue
Sweet and Sour Tanigue

Sweet and Sour Tanigue

SWEET & SOUR TANIGUE - usually we joked at it as the cousin of TUNA fish.

Chunks or slices are half-fried then dip in a sweet & sour mixture of tomato sauce/vinegar with strips of carrots, sweet bell pepper, garlic, onion.

Add brown sugar to heighten the taste.

Chicken in Coconut Milk
Chicken in Coconut Milk

Chiecken in Coconut Milk

GINATAANG MANOK - Chicken in Coconut Milk. After slicing the meat, Bicolanos, like me, usually add lemon juice to the mixture (with garlic, onion and lemon grass pounded twigs).

When half-cooked or almost done, coconut milk is added and extenders or verduras (sliced green papaya) is also added for the purpose of tenderizing the meat.

A very enticing aroma will be smelled and it's the time when you can put bunch of young pepper leaves and garnish it with green/red long pepper

Fried Dried Herring
Fried Dried Herring

Fried Dried Herring

FRIED DRIED HERRING or TUNSOY - Filipinos are fond of eating this succulent dried fish during breakfast, served with fresh ripe but crunchy tomato slices.

You can also use vinegar-garlic dip as you savor it's taste with fried rice.

This is the best source for protein among fish, as dried fish accumulate 60 percent in our dietary needs.

Sauteed Bitter Gourd
Sauteed Bitter Gourd

Sauteed Bitter Gourd

AMPALAYA GUISADO - Sauteed bitter gourd. The secret of minimizing the bitter taste is to scrape the white part of the ampalaya and sauté it half-cooked.

Enhance its taste by sauteing pork meat strips with little fatty part on it with granulated vegetable seasoning.

Tropical Pasta
Tropical Pasta

Tropical Pasta

Tropical Pasta is an innovation by Tropical Joe (the monicker of this hubber) from the usual pasta recipes of the western cuisine.

I utilized strips of young coconut meat as alternative for pasta or noodles. I also added the rat-ear mushrooms, green papaya tidbits and shrimp paste in order to have an authentic tropical sauce for this very succulent pasta.

I never used ground meat and tomato sauce for the sauce. I used coconut milk, instead.

Electric Eel in Coconut Milk
Electric Eel in Coconut Milk

Electric Eel in Coconut Milk

ELECTRIC EEL in COCONUT MILK (GINATAANG KASILI) - it must be cooked with vinegar first, the coco milk (kakang gata) will highlight the cooking.

Spice it up with strips of yellow ginger, ground black pepper, laurel leaves, long hot pepper and season with salt.

Sprinkle little amount of lemon juice if you want to enhance its taste.

Boiled Beef or Nilagang Baka
Boiled Beef or Nilagang Baka

Beef Rumps with Mongo Beans

Beef Rumps with mongo beans (or mung beans) is a specialty of the sister of my landlady. She didn't want me mentioning her name her, but allowed me to share this specialty.

There's no fancy about this dish, but its nutritious content.

Boil the beef rump first then add the mongo. Let it boil, until done.

You can season it with fish sauce or patis.

Squid in Coconut Milk
Squid in Coconut Milk

Squid in Coconut Milk

Our neighbor here in Manila, gave me this sumptuous dish, calamares or squid in coconut milk.

You'll notice that most of our cooking is always highlighted with coconut milk.

In this this, squid rings are sauteed first in garlic, onion with little oil. Then, add little amount of soy sauce then add the coconut milk.

Avoid overcooking as it may leave squid rings in rubbery texture.

Dishes for Festivities

Filipinos are fond of eating delicious food. Almost everyday, we are in festive mood to celebrate life by preparing succulent dishes from breakfast, lunch to dinner.

Food experts say that Filipinos cling to more meaty foods than vegetable dishes. I disagree, because more than half of the population belongs to middle class and marginal families who will settle for fish and rice dishes to make things end meet.

But who can resist festive dishes like lechon baboy (roasted pig), pancit bihon (rice noodles in soya sauce with vegetables) and pancit palabok (boiled rice noodles with smoked fish and hardboiled egg gravy)?

I think none, but one must watch her/his health for every bite of these dishes.

Pancit Bijon Guisado
Pancit Bijon Guisado
Pancit Palabok
Pancit Palabok
Lechon Baboy
Lechon Baboy


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @KathyH: Yes, ma'am. Electric eel is considered a delicacy here in the Philippines. But you should evade its sting as it can really electrocute you once you're on the water catching it with fishnet.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @dinkan53: Thanks the appreciation. The feeling of being full after glancing at those photos overwhelmed me.

      I will say to myself, did I really make all those stuff? Yes, as a cook, it's not possible to be concocting new dishes inside the kitchen.

    • KathyH profile image


      9 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Very interesting hub! ;) I had NO idea you could even eat electric eel! Fascinating stuff, and the pictures make the dishes look delicious! :) Voted up!

    • dinkan53 profile image


      9 years ago from India

      A feeling of been gone through restaurant menu, with beautiful mouth watering pictures, which made be feel hungry. great work, rating it up


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