Saturday, January 15, 2005

Our Food

When talking with people from other countries, I've noticed that one thing consistent was that they've not come across a Filipino restaurant, or if they have, it was one patronized only by Filipinos, and they've only eaten there because a Filipino invited them over.

This is a contrast to the Philippines, which has popular American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Persian restaurant chains. There are even more nations represented by specialty establishments. I've come to the conclusion that eating something new is higher on the Pinoy priority list than sharing with others the things we eat.

If I were to open a restaurant in another country, or have a stranger try out food that I think is quite Filipino, these are my choices.


Chicharon – We can go with the wonderfully meaty chicharon Cebu, or chicharon bituka or bulaklak, which impart such a unique texture to the palate

Sisig - Crunchy and succulent all at once

Kinilaw - With an island country, take your pick from tanigue, swordfish, tuna, or even sea urchin. You can even toss in bits of kambing or inihaw na baboy.

Mushrooms, lited, or squid a la pobre - The garlic-laden gravy hissing and steaming on a hot plate


Adobo - Regular or tostado. For places with sensitivities to pork, e.g. Jakarta, Rhiyad, etc., kambing is a more than capable alternative for baboy

Caldereta - Lean chunks of beef or goat stewed to tender perfection in a rich sauce filled with chorizo de Bilbao, potatos, and bell peppers

Nilaga or bulalo – Our esteemed food critic Jet may not favor consommés or the like, but there is more than a bit of charm to the beef's subtle flavor, peppered, with a hint of onion and ginger

Tinola - Even more delicious with a native chicken

Bangus, squid, or tilapia - Charcoal-grilled and stuffed with chopped onions, tomatos, and ginger

Sinigang - The sour sampaloc is such an amazing complement to fresh bangus, hipon, or baboy
Kare-kare – I don’t really like bagoong myself, so I can’t properly appreciate this dish, but with its tasty peanut sauce and chunks of beef and lamang loob, I just can’t leave it off the list.


Monggo guisado with bits of tinapa

Side dishes

Taba ng talangka
Enseladang mangga
Itlog na maalat with kamatis


Puto bungbong
Buko pandan
Panyo-panyo pastries from Bacolod

Leche flan and halo-halo are fine, but they aren’t particularly unique.

Alcoholic beverages

San Miguel - Pale Pilsen, Light, Cerveza Negra. If only they still made Premium.

Tanduay - Superior or the recently introduced Premium

I'm sure there are a lot of local liquors out there that can be recommended, the drinks in clay jars that stay in the earth and are only dug up on special occassions, but I haven't been fortunate enough to try any.

I have tried good lambanog, but it just lacks the refinement for more formal social gatherings.

1 comment:

banzai cat said...

Well, you sell San Mig at your restaurant and definitely you'll get the foreigners in. I presume this is the local, regular-alcohol level beer we have and not the less-alcohol for-foreigners-only beer available in other countries? :-)