“Pinoy” is a nickname for Filipinos. However, it describes more than a people. It also describes the culture, including the food culture.
(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)
In this week’s Blast I want to share with you some cuisine, Pinoy style. After all, people ask me, “what is Filipino food?” My quick answer is: DELICOUS!
In a more technical sense, I would describe Pinoy food as a unique fusion of Asian and Spanish flavors. It has truly become a place of world flavors. Colonized by Spain, situated in the middle of Asia, and heavily visited by Europeans, Australians, and Americans for military purposes and exotic getaways, Filipinos have adapted their traditional plates to create unique flavor profiles.
(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)
(Click to watch a video: Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines. Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.)
Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations, showed the struggle to discern what is truly Filipino Food. The fact that the Philippines’ nation is comprised of more than 7,000 islands means each island has its way of doing things. Yes, the “island mentality” means the inhabitants of each island think their food is the best! But Chef Bourdain agreed, Philippines is the “Land of lechón!”
(Lechon – filipino style.)
Let’s start with the common foods. Filipinos eat pork, seafood, and chicken, in familiar sautéed, grilled, stewed, and fried preparations. Philippine beef is not as succulent as well-fed Midwestern cattle or Japanese Wagyu. Instead, the red meat more often used is goat. Slaughtering the fattened calf comes only during big celebrations.
Filipino fruits and Asian vegetables help maintain healthiness in a diet that can be saturated by fatty fried, but oh so tasty, foods. The use of rice wine vinegar to help break down richly flavored foods brings a vibrancy and variety to the flavor profile of dishes such as the lechón, Filipino manok (friend chicken with infusion of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce), and adobo (vinegar-braised pork or chicken that would be drained and refried).
(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)
Pancit, the famous clear rice noodle that combines poultry, pork, and seafood can be prepared in several ways. So too, the Filipino egg roll, called lumpia, which uses rice paper to wrap all types of fillings (primarily beef and vegetables) before its deep fried to a perfectly crisp golden brown.
(My mom’s egg rolls – a taste that makes you say “Thank you, GOD!”)
There are some very strange foods, like blood pudding (dinuguan); the famous Fear Factor speciality, Balut (a gestated and fermented duck egg); and a few others too unique for this family friendly E-mail Blast!
Despite the unique (or odd) foods, travelers to the Philippines never go hungry.
(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)
In fact, visitors often rave about the seemingly endless variety of flavors you can choose from, as long as you’re willing to be at least a little adventurous. For the American and European palate, Filipino food is best described as well marinated and exploding with flavor. If someone has to add salt or pepper to a Filipino dish, then that person must have muted taste buds!
(Mrs. Dorothy’s Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)
I (half) joke with people and explain the reason why I had friends as a kid was because my mother cooked so well.
(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka. Good food makes good friends.)
Maybe you can try my version of Filipino Food. Click here for the recipe.
Let Us Pray:
God bless our families with faithfulness, celebrations around their dining room table, and the perseverance to celebrate together around God’s sacred Table – His Altar of Sacrifice. In a special way, God bless those families that struggle with putting food on the table and bringing their families around it. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)
What was your favorite traditionally ethnic family meal? Have you ever had Filipino food? If so, what is your favorite? Your comments help encourage our community to share ideas and to spread the word. Be sure to encourage family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for these free E-mail Blasts.
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