Well it seems that I’ve been conscripted into writing on my loving Wife’s websites on a regular basis due to my last articles success. The problem is that I’m never sure what I should write about, so I need guidance from you, the readers.
If there’s something that you would like to hear my thoughts about, questions about Japan or America, or if you just want some humorous anecdotes to brighten your day, just let me know in the comments below. With that said, the topic for this particular post is about my first great love — FOOD.
Between my limited time in the Philippines, and my nearly unlimited time amongst Filipinos, I’ve come to love most of the food I’ve tasted during get-togethers and various Pinoy restaurants; however as most foreigners will attest, there are some limits to how long you can eat something without asking how it’s made and/or what part of the animal did it come from (American hotdogs being the one exception), and that’s where most people put the meat down and walk away slowly pondering the cost of therapy.
But fear not young traveler for I bring you the gift of knowledge, and a number of dishes which I have extensively researched, tested, and approved, which will set your taste buds soaring, and your mind at ease. So here are a few Pinoy dishes to set you on your path of culinary discovery and enlightenment. But seriously, don’t ask what Filipino hot dogs are made of…
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Probably one of the better known Pinoy foods, Adobo is at its most basic level a meat -usually chicken or pork- marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, and peppercorns. Now, I’m not sure where it happens but I’m quite sure at some point when you’re not looking a little food fairy must come and, using some kind of dark magic, make this one of the most flavorful and delicious foods you can eat. Click here for a delicious chicken adobo recipe.
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Have you ever been eating a pork leg and said to yourself, “You know, I really like this, but I sure wish it was thrown into a deep fryer with its skin and bones included.”
If so, then this dish is for you! And as a side note, you should probably go to the doctor and get a check-up. Crispy Pata is made by first boiling a section of pork (usually a cut from the leg) to tenderize the meat and skin, patting dry completely, then deep frying until finished and served with a vinegar based sauce. It is quite possibly the unhealthiest food I’ve ever eaten in my life, and is also one of the most delicious.
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Sinangag (Good luck pronouncing it)
Another great addition to any meal, Sinangag is garlic fried rice which is served in place of white rice with meals. It is surprisingly easy to make and can be the base for many other variations of fried rice dishes. I personally enjoy adding spam and/or veggies into the mix to turn this little side dish into a meal.
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This one is my favorite of the foods on this list and it tends to be the first thing to be devoured at parties. Lumpia Shanghai is the most popular version of this finger food, consisting of a spring roll wrap filled with ground pork and vegetables that has been mixed in a food processer, then deep fried and served with chili sauce. Honestly, I have yet to find a person who dislikes Lumpia, but I have a strong feeling that if such a person exists they probably also hate puppies and happiness.
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Not to be confused with Sinangag, this is a sour soup which is easy to make and can be modified to fit the tastes of those eating it. The traditional soup is made with either shrimp or pork, but other variations exist, with my personal favorite being corned beef. The incredible thing about this dish is that such a delicious soup is made from such a tart ingredient like Tamarind; it’s like taking lemons and making chicken noodle from the juice, it just doesn’t make sense, but in this case it works.
There are many more great dishes to experience, some a bit more exotic than others *Cough* BALUT *Cough*. But if you’re not into exploring the wilder side of Philippine cooking (Because I know I’m not), then a few more honorable mentions for you would be Tapsilog, Menudo, Pancit Canton/Bihon, and Kare Kare; each one is notably different from each other and shows off the impressive variety which exists within the country’s cuisine.
The Philippines have a strong Spanish influence combined with their Asian heritage, because of this their food has become an amalgam of both cultures to produce some of the most interesting and delicious foods you’ll experience.