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Loving the Filipino Food : Philippine Cuisine
Loving the Filipino Cuisine
Are you prepared to eat "balut" -- ducks egg, bagoong -- shrimp paste, fish sauces and taste some tropical produce? Let us add rice cakes which has many variations that you will love. Rice is of course the Filipino staple food and they eat rice with main dishes mostly meat -- pork, beef and fishes. Stew, grill, boiled fish, meat with vegetables and food with coconut milk are some of Filipino dishes. San Miguel beer and gin is a beverage unique to Filipinos. We have also the version of rice wine -- tapuy and lambanog -- coconut wine. These are some of Filipino main cuisine.
And of course after eating you go, visit and enjoy the beaches that surrounds the island. Philippines is floating and surrounded by bodies of water and is rich in natural resources. Seafoods are abound and tropical fruits are grown.
Philippine Cuisine - Filipino Food
The beauty of a culture is partly seen in the choices of food among the people. We grew up eating the kinds of food we eat because it is what our parents feed us. It is a conditioning process we all take part in. It is a part of us. Nature has prepared for us foods we will eat, and usually the cheaper foods are the ones available locally and not the imported ones. Our gustatory choices are affected by the things we are used to eat and what is available to us. So we have the nature to thank for, plus the traditions and culture embedded in a certain place, and yes of course our personal preferences. I think to a certain degree food is a factor of the way of life, how busy life is, religion (beliefs and what the market has to offer, plus your capacity to buy certain foods. Factor in the environmental conditions whether it is hot or cold, and it affects our choices of what food to eat. When I migrated here in the US, I thought that I will miss the food I used to eat in the Philippines, growing there for most part of my life, I am very lucky, America has everything in one place for me --the Asian market is everywhere making sure I will not miss the food I love.Yes I still love Filipino food and I cooked it from time to time. It will always be a part of me.
Map of some part of Asia and the Philippines
Location of The Philippines
Philippines is located in Southeast Asia and surrounded by Vietnam, Malaysia, Formosa and big oceans like the Pacific Ocean and Sea - Celebes Sea. Manila, the capital city is just a nap away from Hong Kong, two hours by plane to Manila, the capital city. Part of Southeast Asian regions are : Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands and three subdivisions, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Southeast Asian region is located south of China and to the east of India and farther north of Australia.
People from the Philippines are called Filipinos
This is a typical house -- nipa hut in the rural areas
My Philippines and Southeast Asian HUBS
- Hubtrail Capstone, Visit and Travel to the Beautiful Tropic Island Philippines
- Philippines-Pearl of the Orient seas
- Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park -- Worlds Longest Underground River
- Boracay White Beach, Philippines -- One of the Worlds Best
Culture and traditions : Food Choices Among Filipinos
Filipino food today is a by product of the colonization by Spain, American and to some extent Japan. Added to this is the strong effect of Chinese cuisine and other neighboring cuisines -- that of Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Of course the indigenous Filipinos food culture cant be taken for granted. Mix all of these and you have got the kind of Filipino food today.
Colonization factors in the choice of food :
The Spaniards colonized the Philippines for more than 300 years, Japan for three years and almost half a century by the Americans. The indigenous people are still living in the mountainside of Luzon and in Mindanao where they are Muslim by religion.
The Spaniards from 16th to 9th century brought with them recipes and the exchange of trade between Mexico (another colony of Spain) to South America and to the Philippines brought a food culture which is similar to some South American food like menudo - stew, escabeche and sopas -- meaning soups.
The Spaniards brought with them festivities and feast which we call "fiesta" and is celebrated to honor the patron saint. Foods are showcased and we feed everybody who visit the house, plus there is day activities of fun, games and dancing.
The American influenced the Philippine way of life in terms of fastfood, (the version of McDonalds in the Philippines is called Jollibee) educational system and other ways of living. For most America is dream to majority of Filipinos and that is true. We have American fastfood chains in every corner of the country, most in the cities and urban areas. An American traveling in the Philippines will find that the foods here are also available there like pizzas, Pizza hut, Dominoes, Shakeys, Carls Jr. and Kentucky Fried Chicken to name a few.For most part burgers are eaten all over the country including french fries.
Nearby country influences : For most of Southeast Asian region, religion plays a major part in choice of food. Indonesians are mostly Muslims they don't partake pork. Malaysia is mostly Muslim. Noodle soups is eaten widely in the Philippines. Noodles like "pancit and bijon" are very popular specially during special occasions and birthday.
Some Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Vietnam and Thailand are mostly Buddhist while the Philippines is predominantly Christians -- 80 plus percent are Roman Catholics, so we almost eat anything except during Lenten season.
Chinese Influences in Filipino cuisine and food choices
The migration of some Chinese merchants in the Philippines influenced the food choices of the people. It created a type of dishes that are mixed with indigenous culture plus the culture derived from Spanish culture. Sauces like hoisin, oyster sauce and variations of noodles soups are brought about by the intermingling of culture. Stir frying and the use of wok is introduced by the Chinese.
Indigenous influences are strong and intact -- people in the Mountain province cooked their food mostly grilled and boiled plus rely on vegetables for food -- mostly in higher mountains. These people weren't colonized by the Spaniards and their culture remained intact.
For most of the Muslim region down the South, they mostly eat seafoods, chicken and vegetables minus of course pork which is against their religions. They too haven't been colonized and haven't been affected by the cultural exchange between the colonizers and people in the mainland.
Fried rice with shrimp -- Rice is the staple Filipino food
Meals are eaten during breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus two snacks time "merienda" halfway meal between noon and evening plus morning and lunchtime usually ten am and 3 pm. In the countryside breakfast is eaten as early as 4 tp 5 amas the farmers, fisherman usually wake up earlier. In the urban areas, breakfast depends whether how far you are commuting to work.
A typical Filipino breakfast, dried fish, egg, fried rice and tomato plus coffee
Filipino Breakfast -- variations
Rice is the staple food among Filipinos and throughout Southeast Asia. We have different version of rice from sticky -- "malagkit" to "Milagrosa" and other variants. Staple food is rice eaten in breakfast, lunch and dinner with another major meal usually, vegetables, meat and pork plus fishes.
Breakfast -- for breakfast there are variations in some places, but most eat fried rice, egg, tuyo (dried fish). There are also fried rice in combination of the following which is usually served with tomato and sauce:
- tapsilog -- egg with fried rice and beef jerky
- Longsilog -- sausage -- chorizo plus fried rice and egg
- tocilog -- red meat, fried rice and egg
Another breakfast variation is a bread dough which is called "pandesal", an oval shaped dough made of flour and a butter or margarine put in the middle side plus coffee is another version of breakfast.
Coffee usually the brand Nescafe is popular and in some areas they drink the native coffee blends
Typical Filipino lunch or dinner with rice
Filipino Lunch and Dinner
Rice in combination with other main food from fishes, vegetables, meat produced is a characteristics of lunch or dinner in every Filipino table.
Rice can be eaten with another main meal which has several variations of meat and vegetables plus fishes like:
- Vegetables can be stir fried with other ingredients like meat. Vegetables can be mixed with pork, beef and fishes to cook stew foods like :
- Adobo -- stew -- pork "adobo" with ingredients like bay leaf, black pepper, soy sauce and vinegar, plus garlic -- cooked in medium temperature. This is similar to abodabo Spanish cuisine. "Bistek", which is beef steak is also eaten with rice
- Boiled meat or fishes with vegetables -- ":nilaga" mixed with vegetables like cabbages, "pechay" and with ingredients like onions, sour lime and which is called "sinigang", could be fish and por. Tinolang manok -- boiled chicken with ingredients plus veggies
- Fried fishes like milkfish -- bangus -- they can be smoked, dried -- daing and cooked with vinegar and other spices - "paksiw". Other fishes are galunggong and "tilapia" -- carp, salmon etc.
- Paksiw -- is a menu which is comprosed of ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ground black pepper and cooked with main food like fishes or pork
- Fried meat, chicken and fishes with coconut oil as the cooking oil,
- Grilled fishes and meat products -- pork barbecue, grilled fish, "daing" -- salted and dried under the sun
There are regional variations like the people in South of Manila like to mixed gata -- coconut milk with their food like "laing" with chili" and some foods whcoh are mixed with chili pepper and popular to those who like spicy foods.
The people in Central Luzon also have kare kare which is made of stewed oxtail and vegetables with other ingredients mixed together.
People in the coastline partakes, seafoods, shrimp, seaweeds, arosip, and shells like "tahong", can be simply simmered with ingredients and some fishes are fried, boiled or made into dried fishes -- daing.
Variations in Fish Paste -- In the Visayas region, they used "ginamos" -- different kind of fish paste from the Ilocos Region and Pangasinan area where the fish paste is called "bagoong" and is made out of small fishes. There is also alamang which are made of smaller fish that the two pastes.
Variations in Vegetables
Vegetables is cooked with coconut juices or "gata' in Southern Luzon while in Northern Luzon, vegetables are usually cooked -- "pinakbet". In Southern Luzon, the chopsuey -- Chinese inspired vegetables mixed is cooked a lot. In Kapampangan, they love to cook kare kare.
Noodles soup in Iloilo part is made up of batchoy as differentiated wit the usual noodles in Manila and Southern Tagalog region, it is called "mami" noodles.
Typical Filipino main food mixed with rice always
Roasted pig is part of big celebration and festivities
Filipino foods for special occasions and/ or festivities
There are lots of festivities and feasts attended by many Filipinos. Filipinos love to gather together and enjoy food and talking, plus dancing or singing, Usually these activities are conducted with partaking food like wedding ceremonies, feast of the patron saint, birthdays, baptism into the Christian world, wedding, Christmas season, and even funerals where people feed all the people who will visit the ceremony.
Roasted pig also called "litson" is always served in feasts of great importance. It is the national food of the Filipinos and is always present in marriage ceremonies and feasts or birthdays. It is also served in "coming out" ceremonies when one reaches 18 years of age for women.
Fried chicken or roasted chicken, usually marinated with soy sauce, lime and other herbs and spices which I described above.
Pancit --is a mean consisting of noodles stir fry with ingredients and vegetables. There are variations of noodles used like "bijon", pancit molo or the thicker ones.
Caldereta is stew meat with lots of ingredients and spices. Menudo is also composed of meat and other vegetables thinly minced and with sauce, cooked in medium temperature
Typical Celebration In the Philippines, you have to feed all the people in the communities
Filipino foods at restaurant
Street foods Balut is sold in the street and is ducks egg
There are street foods and beverages sold in the side of the streets all over the place.
- Barbecue pork
- chicken feet
- intestines of chicken
- ears of pigs
- insides of pigs
and dip in sauces of your choice, sweet and sour, sweet, chili
Balut -- is a famous street food -- ducks egg, can be delivered by a man selling it in the street shouting" Balut"
Beverages sold at the streets
Juice or "palamig" like orange juice, pineapple, coconut juice with artificial flavorings, ice and sold by glass
Filipino street foods
Other Filipino street foods
Herbs spices dips in Filipino cuisine
Herbs, Sauces and Dips Plus Spices Used as Ingredients
- bay leaf, cilantro, pandan leaves for rice
Spices and Seasonings
- black pepper
- red chili pepper
Dips "sawsawan" or Sauces
- soy sauce
- fish sauce -- patis
and mixed with some ingredients like
- lime with soy sauce and red pepper
- lime with vinegar and red pepper
- sweet and sour sauce
- chili sauce
Sawsawan or dip variation composed of herbs and seasonings used to dip fishes, grilled meat or stew fishes and boiled meat and fishes
Mango is the national fruit
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits are usually tropical fruits like banana, mango, pineapple, guava, caimito, mangosteen, jackfruit and oranges. There are also other fruits which are usually imported like grapes, berries, apple, peaches and cherries.
These fruits are made into juices, fruit salad and smoothies or served as a dessert after meal.
Mango -- national fruit
Vegetables in the Philippines are green and very healthy. Some plant it in their backyard and is planted all over the country. Cabbages and some vegetables that need a colder environment are planted in Baguio City part -- Cordillera region like cabbages, carrots and beans -- Baguio beans. Malunggay is a very healthy leafy green vegetable as well as pechay. Tomato is always incorporated in dishes. Chayote, cauliflower and broccoli are also part of the main meals cooked mixed with meat. We have also spinach.
"Bahal Kubo" -- a song that shows all the vegetables in the Philippines
Coconut is considered the wonder fruit used in cooking
Coconut can be used as :
- coconut cooking oil
- the young coconut can be used in fruit salad or coconut salad
- the juice of coconut is good for urethra and for our kidneys
- coconut juice is made into tuba -- lambanog -- famous wine distilled
- coconut juice is ingredients for many desserts like ginataan, rice cakes and cassava cake
- coconut milk is used for cooking food like "gata" literally means coconut milk
durian is a delicious fruit with thornlike husk cover and with distinct smell, also found in other Southeast Asian countries
Philippine Fruits -- mangosteen, pomelo, banana -- saba and jackfruit
Side dish -- atsara -- papaya pickle
Side dishes, Snacks and Desserts
Side dishes are at times pickles -- we cal it atsara-- papaya pickles, cucumber pickles and some fruits which we pickle. Pickle is done with vinegar, pepper and salt.
Salad specially green salad are mixed with tomatoes vinegar and other seasonings. Camote and kangkong" salad leaf and "are also partaken including jute -- "saluyot".
Snacks and Desserts -- sometimes it consists of spaghetti, pancit bijon and pancit molo, noodles, noodle soups and kakanin - like the famous rice cakes, sapin sapin, kalamay, bibingka, ginataan -- with coconut milk, cassava cake, suman -- ibos -- a variety of suman -- from rice sticky cooked with sugar and coconut milk covered with coconut leaves-
Fruit salad is composed of fruits, usually tropical fruit and mixed with condensed milk and sugar plus cream frozen and is served cold. This is also a dessert after eating in special occasions
Halo halo is a combination of crushed ice and cooked fruits -- banana, yam, ube and mixed with sugar and condensed milk
Arroz caldo -- rice with chicken cooked with seasonings and ingredients
Noodle soups like mami and chicken soups are eaten during snacks time
Leche flan is well loved dessert, plus cassava cake.
Cassava cake is composed of cassava flour, coconut juice and sugar
Filipino desserts -- rice cakes, fruit salads etc
Popular Filipino Beverages
Coke is famous and other soda like Sprite, Royal (orange flavor), calamansi (lime) juice, pineapple juice and orange juices are also famous and being drink regularly. The coconut juice is also famous specially in the southern Luzon area.
For alcoholic drinks, we have beer -- San Miguel Beer and gin - San Miguel Gin and other mixed drinks popular with the young ones, Rum (Tanduay rum) with juice, Gin with juice and other mixed blends usually mixed with the juice available.
Lambanog is a wine distilled from the coconut sap, tuba
Rice wine is fermented form rice and is very strong -- also called tapuy
Coffee is a part of everyday routine breakfast and mid afternoon drink. Native (barako) or Nescafe brand is famous.
beverages -- artificially flavored drinks sold in the streets
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