The culinary kitchen of the Philippines part 1

17 May 2019

What is Filipino cuisine?

Filipino cuisine has been influenced over the centuries by the different colonies that have influenced Filipino culture and history, but what exactly is Filipino cuisine ???

The different influences are clearly visible in the so many different types of dishes. We have the adobo, a dish whose name is derived from the Spanish Adobado and which can consist of chicken, pork, vegetables or even seafood stewed in vinegar and garlic. Another famous dish is pancit noodles. This dish is prepared with local vegetables and has clear Chinese influences. Another side of the Filipino kitchen are the dishes that bring refreshment, such as the sinigang. This sour broth is reminiscent of Southeast Asian soups and stews that have a refreshing effect in the tropical climate. In addition, we also get the fried chicken marinated in garlic and vinegar and the traditional dish Arroz Caldo. A rice porridge dish in combination with, among other things, chicken. In summary, Filipino cuisine is really just a collection of the best of Asian cuisine, fully adapted only to the availability of the local vegetables and the meat and fish from the regions.

Each region has its own taste

The Philippines is an island formation with no fewer than 7000 islands. The islands and the areas are separated by several rivers, swamps, lakes and seas. The areas offer a very wide choice of fish, meat and fresh fruit and vegetables. Filipino cuisine is therefore very dependent on local products, which also explains that recipes can differ per region. Rice is one of the most important components of Filipino dishes. The meat and fish and vegetable dishes are often added to this, and can be stewed, grilled or cooked. What is striking is that especially acidic raw materials such as the Filipino Kalamansi (lime) and vinegar are often used for marinades and sauces.

The Culture of the Philippines

As mentioned, the Philippines is an island formation consisting of more than 7000 islands. The country is divided into a period of a dry period and a rainy period. The country has several beautiful locations such as the Cordillera mountains and plains in Luzon, but of course also the reefs of Palawan and the underwater caves. The Inhabitants of the Philippines are spread over over 120 different ethnic groups, and the many regions we all have their own dialect such as Tagalog, Ilocano, Pampango, Visayan. Each group in the Philippines has developed its own way of life over the centuries and this is also reflected in the type of homes, handmade clothing and the art works. The Philippines has been influenced by the Chinese and the Spanish over the centuries. The Spanish introduced Christianity during their colonization, and also built the necessary villages and towns in the Spanish style. Incidentally, the colonization of Spain by the Muslim part was successfully opposed from the south. After the revolution in 1889, the Battle of Manila Bay, the Philippines was handed over from the Spanish to the Americans. The American influence and the structure introduced from the Americans made the Philippines one of the largest English speaking countries in Asia.

The Evolution of Filipino Cuisine

During the period in which the Chinese traded a lot with the Philippines, it was of course inevitable that the Chinese also settled in the Philippines themselves. Of course, they also took a part of their kitchen with them, but this was gradually being supplemented more and more with fruit and vegetables from the regions. Some examples of this are:

  • Pancit> known in china as noodles or noodles.
  • Lumpia> vegetables rolled up in edible sheets
  • Siopao> Steamed stuffed buns known as bapao, siomai or dumplings.

During the Spanish period, the Filipino cuisine was mainly influenced by dishes with Spanish / Mexican dishes. The Spanish kitchen brought back very different herbs and spices such as olive oil, paprika, saffron, ham, cheese, spiced sausages. Paella became a festive dish for Filipino cuisine prepared with a variety of local ingredients, including pork, chicken, seafood, ham, sausages and local vegetables. In addition to these delicious main dishes, the desserts have also been considerably influenced over time, some examples are:

  • Native Rice Cakes
  • Ensaymadas (a brioche-like bread with butter, cheese and sugar)
  • Suman sa Ibos (a sticky rice dessert in banana leaf, derived from the Mexican Tamal)

The Americans brought modern influences, such as preserving by freezing, blanching. Of course we can still see the influences today. The burgers, fried chicken restaurants and grill restaurants were introduced into the Filipino culture by the Americans. Over time there have been several influences that have influenced the street scene in Philippines, some examples are:

  • Japanese> sushi restaurants
  • French kitchen
  • Italian Kitchen
  • Middle East
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

>>> To Be Continued… ..