Pinoy Plates!

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.)

(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.)

(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)

(Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines. Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.) 

(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.)

(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.)

(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!")

(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.)

(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!)

(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.) 

(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!)

(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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Posted in Grace Before Meals, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Recipe- Pork, Recipe-Fish, Recipe-Pastry, Recipes | 7 Comments

7 Responses to “Menu Inspiration: Pinoy Plates!”

  • I work with a lot of Filipino nurses at my hospital in NYC and we frequently have parties to celebrate birthdays, retirements, as well as bridal and baby showers. It’s not considered to be a real party unless there are Filipino egg rolls and pandit!! Those foods have become part of our collective floor culture no matter what the race or ethnicity. Just thinking about them makes me hungry!!

    Posted by Carroll on February 8th, 2012 at 9:26 pm.
  • Yes, My Grandmother, Nany Espy (Esparanza ‘Hope’ ) taught me to make many if my favorites from Manila but Suman and Lumpia are Tops! Both have been a gathering point inside and out of my immediate family gatherings! The use of the Cucuran has been a gathering motivator and source of keeping our Filipino culture alive in the States…I mean wow, grate you’re own coconut even while sitting down :). What a priceless and yummy blessing and the way I keep Nany and her family alive in my heart! I visit there often :) thanks for the fown home message!
    Spirit be With you…sandra

    Posted by Sandra Lea (Eroles) on February 9th, 2012 at 2:13 am.
  • The fresh fruit and fish seem healthy. I think I would enjoy that!

    momma

    Posted by Fr. Leo on February 9th, 2012 at 10:07 am.
  • can’t you ever show case good old American comfort food -thanx-Barbee

    Posted by Fr. Leo on February 9th, 2012 at 10:07 am.
  • My family came from eastern Europe. I’ve heard of blood pudding, pickled pigs feet . Never tried them tho. My Mom used to make stuffed cabbage and sweet and sour cabbage with pork. I still make these dishes also. At Christmas there were always nut , prune and apricot filled cookies. At Easter, Babka,( Easter bread) I still make these also . I tried to let my children know about their heritage and the way to someone’s heart is thru their stomach, Right Fr.? : )

    Posted by Jesus is the reason for the on February 9th, 2012 at 3:52 pm.
  • I’m from California, and went to high school in Salinas, which has a Filipino population. I love and miss good Filipino food! It’s a little harder to find in Kansas. My own ethnic cuisine is Portuguese. I often have to order ingredients online, but with some good recipes I’m teaching my husband and kids about some of my favorite foods.

    Posted by Suzanne on February 22nd, 2012 at 1:06 am.
  • Hello Father Leo -

    I made your version of your mom’s pancit for my Asian (Laos) son in law and my daughter. They LOVED it, and so do we! Thank you for sharing it!

    Posted by Silvia D on February 23rd, 2012 at 10:14 am.

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