“Our food is only as brown as we want it to be.”
May 3, 2013 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Filipino food writer Clinton Palanca on the least celebrated Asian culinary tradition, the glory of gloop, and the sadness of being so neglected that there aren't any "bastardized versions of adobo and sinigang" in cookbooks. "The Philippines may have never had, or will never have, a national cuisine, but it has always been an international cuisine. We’ve always looked outwards; what we’re upset about is that the outside isn’t looking back at us."
posted by spamandkimchi (57 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Filipino food is amazing. My wife makes amazing torto, sinigang, adobo (she usually makes it with lean pork - so good), lumpia, pancit (oh my God her pancit), morcon and a dozen other dishes. Lots of people are squigged out by balut and dinaguan but they're both really good - dinaguan especially. If you don't know what it is when you eat it, it tastes like the richest, spiciest sauce you've ever tasted and you won't be squigged out at all.

Her family and I sat down once and watched Anthony Bourdain's episode on the food of the Philippines and drooled the whole was through it. Bourdain proclaimed the slow roasted pig he tasted there to be the best he'd ever tasted in the world. The only dish that put us off was goat bile soup. Yeah, no.

If you've not eaten Filipino food before - good Filipino food - you're really missing out. There are some flavors and dishes that you're not really going to find in the food of any other culture. Seek it out. You won't be sorry.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:17 PM on May 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Do they really eat spaghetti with sweet ketchup sauce?
posted by vic_viper at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2013


I think one of the main problems with Filipino food is that it's somewhat unremarkable. Chicken Adobo is ... spiced vinegar chicken with rice. Lumpia is ... egg rolls. Roasted pig is ... Roasted pig. Etc. Filipino food is basically just Chinese-Spanish fusion.

There's nothing wrong with that I guess. Except that most people don't think to themselves "You know what I could really go for right now? Vinegar chicken paella with a side of egg rolls!" .

It just doesn't sound immediately appetizing, IMO.
posted by Avenger at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I discovered filipino food when I started dating my half-filipino husband. Longanisa for breakfast with garlic fried rice and a fried egg on top is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Who knew vinegar with some garlic and cracked pepper goes well with so many things?

One of my favorite filipino food bloggers is Burnt Lumpia. He just released a cookbook and had tried to start up a filipino food truck in LA but I'm not sure how that worked out. Here's one of the first recipes of his I tried, tortang talong. An eggplant roasted, smashed, dipped in egg, and fried. Served with sriracha and rice it's amazing! There are some great classic recipes and more fusion-y ones as well.
posted by wilky at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


sweet ketchup sauce?

Actually, they eat it with banana ketchup.
posted by FJT at 4:24 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone who's never tried dinuguan hasn't lived. It's one of the most addictive dishes on the planet.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:26 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I adore Fiilipino food and make adobo and sinigang quite often. I personally think Russian food is far more obscure in many places. There is not a single Russian restaurant in Calgary, but several great Filipino ones.
posted by tatiana131 at 4:26 PM on May 3, 2013


oh and for the unremarkable cuisine comment above? Dinuguan, or chocolate meat, is stew meat cooked in the blood of the animal it came from.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:27 PM on May 3, 2013


The concluding paragraphs made the essay for me. I'm sorry my one and only time in Manila was on a business trip, but I couldn't seem to easily find good local food (aside from Jolibees of course!) at the malls, and I felt too insecure as a lone woman traveller to go around the city too much. Mea culpa.
posted by cendawanita at 4:28 PM on May 3, 2013


(of course, being Muslim also was another factor, she says sheepishly, slinking away)
posted by cendawanita at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2013


Another favorite: Jun-Blog. He's going through the alphabet of filipino dishes and ingredients.
posted by wilky at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2013


It just doesn't sound immediately appetizing, IMO.

I think it has an opposite problem in Southern California. Here, it vies against stiff competition from other Asian cuisines: Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Cambodian, and let's not forget the big three: Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

For whatever reason, they also don't have one "gateway" dish that's easy to replicate. I mean, Adobo or Pancit should be like Teriyaki or Banh Mi or Pad Thai, but for whatever reason, it's not.
posted by FJT at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Banana ketchup is terrible, btw.

That's a great well reasoned article. I originally wanted to come in here and mouth off that the reason it's not more popular is that it's terrible. Which all iterations I've ever had are, but my knowledge base is pretty shallow. Maybe I should seek out something better.

In a world where Korean is the new hotness, it's not inconceivable that The Philippines gets it's turn in the sun. Who would have predicted a decade ago that we'd all be versed in banchan and eat kimchi in every trendy restaurant between here and Omaha.
posted by Keith Talent at 4:30 PM on May 3, 2013


I can highly recomment Royal Tru Orange Soda. It's a carbonated fruit drink brand owned by the Coca-Cola Company that is only available in the Philippines.

When I think of orange soda, I think of Fanta Orange, an over-sweetened synthetic orange flavor. But Royal Orange is an eye-opener, Not too sweet, with a hint of pepper.

Go Filipino cuisine!
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:46 PM on May 3, 2013


Any vegetarian dishes to recommend? That's one of the reasons I eat so much Asian food — the Buddhist and Hindu influences mean that there are tons of veg. options. All I've ever seen veg. from Filipino meals friends have cooked was sticky rice in chocolate sauce, which was great, but I'm not gonna plan a trip to a restaurant over it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on May 3, 2013


Garlic rice?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:00 PM on May 3, 2013


I think one of the main problems with Filipino food is that it's somewhat unremarkable.

Oh, really? One word: Balut. Google it.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:01 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


My father-in-law's wife is from the Philippines. It could just be her family, but the food is underwhelming. I like parts of the roast pig (depending on the cut you get it might be funky), but I'll take it without the gray unsalted organ meat sauce. Don't like the bland greasy noodle dish and bland spring rolls. Also was never a fan of yam or taro in dessert.

Of course I'm only seeing a subset of Filipino food from one family. Adobo? Marinated grilled chicken? Sounds awesome.

I love garlic rice though. Simple and delicious.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2013


Filipino food is basically just Chinese-Spanish fusion.

I will see you and raise you a Halo-halo
posted by benzenedream at 5:18 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've recently just started making adobo chicken regularly. It is easy and delicious and pleases the wife.
posted by srboisvert at 5:19 PM on May 3, 2013


If anyone here is in the San Francisco Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to visit Daly City, an epicenter of Filipino population. There's a plethora of restaurants here covering several different regional cuisines (some restaurants will be more fish heavy and others more pork, some will be more into slow cooked adobo and others are all sisig).

To a western palate there's a lot of familiar stuff in Filipino cuisine. It hits recognizable umami and other flavor notes, but the accents make things pop. The lemon in the sisig combined with the grilled smokiness, the interplay of garlic and vinegar in the pork adobo. Those sorts of flavors distinguish the cuisine for me.
posted by anateus at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any vegetarian dishes to recommend?

Funny you should ask...
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I too admit that my first encounters with Filipino food were underwhelming. Then again, I was at Pistahan San Francisco (coming up in August!) and if you judged Korean food by the lukewarm, mass-prepared kalbi available at Korean food booths, you'd be a silly duck. Also I'm a squeamish American, so anything made with blood or the parts of a pig that aren't bacon immediately freak me out.

Anyway, I ended up in Manila a few years ago as part of my Asia-only re-creation of the SF Bay Area ethnic makeup (went to India, Vietnam, various kinds of China, Japan, and of course was living in Korea at the time) and was blown away by the vegetables and seafood used in Filipino cuisine and how damn delicious everything was. I must give big ups to the Manila CouchSurfing folks who responded graciously to me messaging them "I WANT TO EAT! WHERE? LET'S GO NOW"

I suspect part of the problem with North American versions of Filipino food is that cooks/chefs are working from a limited palette. Those whole fishies fried into deliciousness? The kelp-thingie that I need to find the name for because it was a revelation of tasty? If the raw ingredients are unavailable here, the easy thing is to fall back on pig and chicken. Also any place that teaches me the glory of the calamansi lime will forever have my gratitude.

klangklangston, will try to get you some recommendations. I believe Oakland had a vegetarian Filipino joint for a while too.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:22 PM on May 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I lived in the Philippines for a several years as a child, and I miss the food so, so much. Banana lumpia and pancit, especially, but also chicken with green papaya, and adobo, and all of the fruits you just can't get here. Though I've heard a rumor you can get lanzones in NY Chinatown under another name at the right time of year...

Oh, nostalgia. I really, really need to find a great Filipino restaurant. That can handle gluten-free. Sigh.
posted by Andrhia at 5:28 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Filipino food writer Clinton Palanca on the least celebrated Asian culinary tradition,

Huh I must have a skewed perspective on that, because I haven't ever had this perception.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:29 PM on May 3, 2013


If you are a food adventurer, you have to understand how Filipino cuisine works.

Go on the weekends. For example: Weekend Specials. Try the Oxtail Beef Stew. Try the Sauteed Pork Heart and Lungs. Try the Tripe Stew.

Stop eating burgers as a default. This food is tastier.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:34 PM on May 3, 2013


By the way, I'm cooking up a bunch of dinguan and you're all invited. You just have to know what it is before you show up. OK?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:42 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, also kids? Before we say filipino food is meh, remember this fun fact about the culture: Filipinos usually ask Kumain ka na? (have you eaten yet?) in the same way Americans ask "What's up?"

Grumble grumble lived in SF for 8 years, and am a pinoy fluent in Tagalog grumble don't badmouth kababayan chow grumble
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:58 PM on May 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also I'm a squeamish American, so anything made with blood or the parts of a pig that aren't bacon immediately freak me out.

I take it that you aren't one of us Americans who eat scrapple, then.
posted by XMLicious at 6:47 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Filipino cuisine has scrapple-like stuff? Give it to me now. Apparently the reason I have traveled thousands of miles was to eat it.
posted by Nomyte at 7:05 PM on May 3, 2013


We have a couple restaurants in NYC that serve Filipino, or at least Filipino-influenced food. Maharlika is one of my favorites for brunch although recently it's because nigh impossible to get a table there just walking in. We also have the Kuma Inn, and I think the owners of Maharlika opened another restaurant serving Filipino food.

And, out in Queens, we have a branch of Jollibee! I've never tried it, as I only journey that far out to eat Thai food, but I've always been curious.
posted by pravit at 7:13 PM on May 3, 2013


Dinuguan, or chocolate meat,

Go on...

is stew meat cooked in the blood of the animal it came from

Ah.
posted by chronic sublime at 7:26 PM on May 3, 2013


We also have the Kuma Inn.....

That is an awesome pun.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:31 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you guys have never tried the Filipino bar cookie known as Food For the Gods, you are missing out.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:39 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a Filipino who lived in Manila for 1/3 of his life and in the West for the other 2/3ds, I always liked to describe my native cuisine as:

"Imagine that you're a Spaniard sent to Mexico in the 18th century to administer the household of a tobacco plantation. You live there for a few years, and maybe develop a taste for some of the local foods, some of the local population. You get into trouble for seducing the jefe's native mistress, and then you get yourself exiled to some little Asian colony on the far side of the world. There you're given a kitchen with Chinese assistants. You have no chiles, few beans and a small, precious allotment of tomatoes. But you also discover soy sauce, noodles, and coconuts. Then you learn to improvise. A Spaniard by way of Mexico, put in a Chinese kitchen, who has a tendency to make rash decisions and therefore may not live long, but will at least live happily... that is Filipino food."

We are the original fusion cuisine, and we've been reconstituting, re-adapting and reconfiguring our tastes way before most Americans ever heard of cilantro or most Asians heard of fried chicken. However, I think, perhaps that's also been a reason why we haven't been that fully embraced by others, because we're not necessarily 'foreign' enough to be novel. Someone upthread wrote that Filipino cuisine is "pretty unremarkable."
Chicken Adobo is ... spiced vinegar chicken with rice. Lumpia is ... egg rolls. Roasted pig is ... Roasted pig
like General Gau's Chicken is ... fried chicken in a spicy orange sauce? like sushi is ... raw fish? I mean, sure, you could, if you wanted to, come up with the most generic and boring way to describe any kind of dish (I mean, it's just milk simmered with butter and flour, if you want to call it a bechamel sauce, you can but aren't you being a bit pretentious?) But aside from that, most Filipino food looks enough like Spanish or Cantonese food that people look at it and ask, 'well what's so special about that? I mean besides the duck fetuses?'

And, I don't know -- why does the cuisine have to be utterly distinct? Why does it have to be artificially unique? Why can't it just be good on its own merits? I recall being in Hawaii and eating at this food truck that was mobbed during a lunchtime rush. It was a Filipino food truck, but you wouldn't necessarily know it by the menu. They didn't list adobo or lechon or kalabasa ginataan but just read "soy sauce garlic chicken", "barbecue pork", "coconut braised squash". Why throw up the foreign sounding barrier labels? The food doesn't care what it's called.

I personally think that Filipino food will be appreciated when we get to the point in the West where "pan Asian" isn't just a restaurant where you can select from udon, ramen or pho but where the specific barriers between cuisines become optional and we're able to borrow freely from each of the culinary traditions -- where Korean short rib char siu pork meatloafs are a thing and people stop slicing hairs about the difference between gyoza or jiaozi. Let us be part of that spectrum that tilts to the sour, the umami and the sweet, and less on the spicy. Let us also be that other bridge into Latin food and let you traipse your way from sushi to ceviche by way of the Filipino kinilaw.

Don't get me wrong: I think there are some real and specific reasons about why Filipino food hasn't caught on to the Western palette or dietary tastes. As alluded to by others, we utterly fail at having a vegetarian friendly menu. Blame the Catholic heritage and its exclusion of Buddhist and Hindu influences in our food for that. The linked article is 'fine' but it's written within a secluded niche of American East Coast Filipino cooks who are trying to push an envelope but ignoring the fact that the center of gravity of expatriate Filipino cooking is still on the West Coast of the US ... and that side ain't innovating any time soon.

We also don't do spicy -- at least not to the extent that Koreans, Indonesians, or Thais do; and that can get us labelled as 'bland' in a lot of taste palettes. Even the Japanese use of wasabi is something that has no Filipino equivalent. I don't necessarily think that it's something that Filipino cuisine has to embrace. It's not who we are at the moment, but I think that we have to accept that it's a particular trait of ours.

as far as what others wrote:

For whatever reason, they also don't have one "gateway" dish that's easy to replicate..

I -love- converting my Western friends to the simple, glories of adobo and breakfasts of garlic fried rice.

Adobo = 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce. combine in a pot. add lots of crushed garlic, pepper and one bay leaf. Add chicken (or pork or mushrooms or eggplant) and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Start some rice. When the rice is done the adobo is done.

that's like, two less ingredients and three less steps than teriyaki. Try it the next time you want something simple for dinner. It also scales up awesome so is great for leftovers.

Garlic fried rice = 1 cup of leftover rice, 1 tbsp cooking oil., 1 tbsp minced garlic. Heat oil in a pan. Fry garlic. When crispy, remove to a cup with a slotted spoon. Fry rice in garlic infused oil until heated. Top with crispy garlic. use as a side with eggs and sausage like you would use hash browns. Best after a night out with friends, and ideally with the same friends after they wake up on your couch.

You're welcome.
posted by bl1nk at 9:01 PM on May 3, 2013 [51 favorites]


If Filipino food had nothing to offer more than sisig, lechon and calamansi, it would have earned its place. Bagoong is the only item that has mastered me and left me totally cold. I have no idea what about that is supposed to be a thing I should try more than once.
posted by minedev at 9:02 PM on May 3, 2013


I tried it for the first time tonight. I'd put the middle point in the carribean rather than Mexico, based on my limited expertise.
posted by wotsac at 9:47 PM on May 3, 2013


Lumpia plus as much fresh mango juice as you can make, please.
Also there are so many flavours of banana in the Phillippines (that was a lovely surprise to me as a visitor).
posted by chapps at 9:55 PM on May 3, 2013


"Banana ketchup" sounds like a Ween song title, not a real food.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:56 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wotsac - I can understand the inference but the I'd clarify my Mexican connection by saying that historically, Mexico (and specifically Acapulco) was the main endpoint for the galleon trade with Manila; so most of our colonial heritage was filtered through that connection. As my grandmother described it, "we were a colony of a colony." There is a commonality with Caribbean cooking in that we are island nations and so lean heavily on fish and fruit but that is more geographic circumstance than cultural heritage. But menudo, rellenos, and the various floured sweets and candies that we have are all specifically Mexican.
posted by bl1nk at 10:12 PM on May 3, 2013


bl1nk - you take the garlic out? I usually just drop the rice onto the oil and garlic and toss mercilessly. I also add a pinch of sea salt to the rice before putting it on to cook. But that's the great thing about garlic fried rice (sinangag to those of us who live in the old country) - it's a very forgiving dish. You can only mess it up by adding too much salt or too much oil.

And it doesn't even have to go with anything local (although tocino and fried egg are classic pairings with sinangag for breakfast); the wife and I really love to have our sinangag with scrambled eggs and a few slices of Spam. Good old Spam.
posted by micketymoc at 10:21 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I aodre the Phillipines. Entirely IMO, the food is awful.
posted by bardic at 10:22 PM on May 3, 2013


I'm from Pakistan. I love Mexican food. I love Thai food. Korean food. The melange in these cuisines is so spot on, the garlic and onion and ginger bases, the different seasonings, the heartiness, the searing spices. And I love the simplicity of lots of different South/Central American foods. Cuban, Argentinian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian.

Filipino food, on the other hand. All the different aspects of their dishes seem incongruous. The dishes are mostly overpowering and the textures, flavors, odors, spices--none of them match. It seems like they take reasonable Asian fusion, reduce the number of spices, mix in more than one kind of meat, and infuse it with grease. Worst cuisine ever.
posted by legospaceman at 12:16 AM on May 4, 2013


sticky rice in chocolate sauce

You mean dessert chocolate sauce, or do you mean "chocolate" sauce? Because if it was "chocolate" sauce I got bad news for you: the dinguan pig blood sauce people are raving about above was introduced to me as "Filipino chocolate sauce." At least one other comment above mentions the alt name as well.

The more you know... or
Sometimes it is best not to ask...
posted by whatzit at 12:36 AM on May 4, 2013


XMLicious I should have perhaps hyphenated that as "Squeamish-American." There are many of us Squeamish-Americans, but it's true, not all Americans are scared of offal.

klangklangston -- if you can find marunggay, try making some pinakbet sans the fish sauce!

In looking vainly for that seaweed dish, I came across a blogger who does justice to Filipino seafood: sauteed bangus* or some fresh fried tilapia.

*Bangus is also known as milkfish. It's a staple!
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:51 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You mean dessert chocolate sauce, or do you mean "chocolate" sauce? Because if it was "chocolate" sauce I got bad news for you...

klangklangston - no way anybody would ever serve dinuguan gravy with suman, that's disgusting. Suman with chocolate, however, mmm.
posted by micketymoc at 3:35 AM on May 4, 2013


As someone who grew up among the dedicated makan lah foodies of Malaysia and then later, Singapore, I found Filipino food (fieldwork in the Visayas with home stay) very blah. And dry rice. Too much dry rice, not enough curries.
posted by infini at 4:41 AM on May 4, 2013


A Filipino place just opened in Madison, our first. I kind of love it. There's 7-up in the barbecue sauce, man! Sweet, sticky, delicious. The place is a buffet with no labels so you just scoop onto your plate and enjoy. I have almost no idea what I've been eating.
posted by escabeche at 5:40 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok first of all, how has nobody linked to this amazing video yet?

There are two big strikes against filipino food making it big internationally, in my estimation:

The first is that many of the most popular dishes involve cow and pig body parts that middle class westerners are not used to. I've heard this blamed on the relative scarcity of pigs and cows until recently and everyone being poor. But in retrospect I'm not sure why these effects would have been so unique to the Philippines.

Also, fried fish is surely the most common dish and it's hard to call plain fried fish "filipino food"--and bagoong is definitely an acquired taste.

The second is that the traditional filipino flavor palette is limited. The food generally lacks the spices found elsewhere in the region and they compensate with salt, fat, and MSG. As an american in the Philippines, my primary complaint about the food was that it was all too salty. Partly this was because I was getting the rice to ulam (non-rice) ratio wrong. Partly it was because filipino food is pretty salty.

The high point of eating in the Philippines for me was the fruit. Because it was fantastic.

This all sounds harsher than I wanted to--there is some delicious filipino food (much of it captured in the video above). But I can see why there are more Thai, Indian, and Chinese restaurants in most western countries.
posted by ropeladder at 7:20 AM on May 4, 2013


My godmother was Filipino and she used to cook for us. Her pancit remains (in my memory) the best dish I have ever eaten anywhere. I've looked online and in bookstores for the recipe and have never been able to find anything that comes close, even though the ingredients were probably very simple. I think everyone has a different version of it.
posted by jenh526 at 12:33 PM on May 4, 2013


I have a profound empathetic reaction to Filipino foodies bemoaning the lack of respect. I mean, back in the benighted 1990s, white Americans would eat kalbi and say things like "oh it's just like teriyaki beef!" Or squint at the various bubbling cauldrons of stew in disbelief, muttering "Why can't Korean food be pretty like Japanese food?"*

Given that Korean cuisine is one of the cool kids**, I think a lot of the limitations that ropeladder pointed about Filipino food can be flipped into positives. Snout-to-tail is surely no flash in the pan for fancy pants dining in the West and part of what people rave about Japanese food is how the quality of the raw ingredients can shine through the simple use of soy sauce and sugar (and those amazing bowls of tonkotsu ramen are really just salt & fat broth). Re: the ubiquity of fried fish, I'm thinking "Yes! Delicious fresh fried fish! Eat it now!"

* My dad's hoary saying about the East Asian cuisines is "Chinese food smells good, Japanese food looks good, but Korean food tastes the best!"

** Some mixed feelings here, let's be honest. It's like going to your reunion after you've turned into a beautiful swan but not really trusting anyone who ignored you in your ugly duckling phase.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


All the different aspects of their dishes seem incongruous.

Exit off the South Luzon expressway from Ninoy Aquino and you can hit a Wendy's.

In fact, I get dragged there (or the ubiquitous fast food places) sometimes.

This, I think, is emblematic of the problem with most of the cuisine worldwide.

I won't claim a refined palate (I'll eat anything) but I try to eat healthy and that can be a huge pain in civilization. It's easier and cheaper to fry and sell anything.
So almost the only place you can get the real local cuisine is at someone's house and even then it's often mixed with whatever the advertising has trained kids' expectations to. (Forget it, kids, it's Jollitown)

Which, because it's easy to sell...

All very different from what "mom" really makes anywhere in the world.

Philippines specifically though I think have been heavily influenced by an American presence. Even where not influenced in flavor, in packaging and delivery, and so back to how to best sell the most product cheapest.
(Not to mention how one eats. I mean, I grew up in the U.S. but eating out of a leaf seems more natural and right to me than eating on unnaturally soft bleached bread)

Whole world seems to be getting like that though. Monoculture, even where the difference is celebrated. But I think the author here alludes to that.
That is, the best food is explored at home rather than eating out and imitated from somewhere else.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:47 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"klangklangston - no way anybody would ever serve dinuguan gravy with suman, that's disgusting. Suman with chocolate, however, mmm."

Yeah, it was actual chocolate sauce, like the dessert. They were delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 6:46 PM on May 4, 2013


The food generally lacks the spices found elsewhere in the region and they compensate with salt, fat, and MSG.

I lived in the Philippines as a child, and my best friend is Filipino. With the exception of adobo, I completely agree with this. I love the fruit available there, but the cooked stuff just doesn't do it for me, even in Manila.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:47 PM on May 4, 2013


I usually just drop the rice onto the oil and garlic and toss mercilessly

I think if I did that I would burn the garlic.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:20 PM on May 4, 2013


Pruitt-Igoe - timing is everything. :)
posted by micketymoc at 12:02 AM on May 5, 2013


If you guys have never tried the Filipino bar cookie known as Food For the Gods, you are missing out.

I made the recipe in the first link. It's good but oily. I don't know how it's supposed to turn out but in any other recipe i would say there's too much butter.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:29 AM on May 5, 2013


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