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SobaAddict70

Filipino Food Is Fantastic!

309 posts in this topic

My uncle used to be the chief electrician on the QE2 cruise liner, and when he took us to the galley, it was the most amazing Filipino spread ever. As it turned out, the cooks were Filipino, and pretty much cooked what they liked. I had the best surprise lunch there belowdecks.

My folks went cruising recently, and said that on the last night of the cruise, one of the Filipino waiters asked them if they were Filipino. They said they were, and he told them that if they had known, they could have served them any Filipino dishes they wanted. (Apparently, the predominantly Filipino kitchen staff on some of these cruises keeps a well-stocked pantry, and you just have to know to ask!)


"He who distinguishes the true savour of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise."

Thoreau

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And now that I think about it, some tortang talong would hit the spot.

Do you grill your eggplant first?

If you ever end up with extra grilled eggplants, they're awesome with a bit of chopped onions, tomatoes, a few slivers of ginger and coconut cream (unsweetened) vinaigrette!

...which in turn goes great with inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly which are first marinated in calamansi, vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt and bay leaves)....

Yep, absolutely.

And then the typical eggy batter, then fried and served with garlic fried rice and *gasp* banana ketchup.

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It doesn't seem like any of the posters on this thread are in the Philippines at the moment, but I was wondering if any of you have been to Manila recently. Stagiare mentioned the surge of Filipino restaurants in Manila, and I wanted to add some comments along those lines. My parents arrived from Manila about a month ago and I was surprised that they ate mostly Filipino cuisine. That was certainly not the case in past visits when the only Filipino restaurant we would go to is Kamayan, and there only because you can choose to also get food from the adjoining Japanese and American buffets. This time around, friends and family brought them to a new place in The Fort (Fort Bonifacio?), Masa's in Greenbelt, Mangan in Alabang, and a couple of others I don't recall. These places appeared to serve more of the traditional dishes both with or without a spin. Mom said the nilaga at Masa's was basically just beef cooked with leeks. In any case, she was surprised by the very good quality of the dishes they tasted. Service was another matter in some of the restaurants, but I still think it's great that I can go to Manila and eat decent Filipino food outside of friends' homes.

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It wasn't until I moved to New York that I saw envelopes of Knorr's for sinigang and paksiw respectively. I've never had makeshift sinigang or paksiw, having only had the real thing from my Mom.

I've often wondered how those would taste...then again I'm not sure I want to find out. Anyone ever have experiences like those?

Just the other day I saw powdered abobo mix. I was like....um, why? :blink:

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For those in the Washington DC area, there is a new Filipino restaurant opening in Gaithersburg, on Rockville Pike across from King Farm (I will post the name as soon as I find where I wrote it down).

And, there is a Filipino market and Bakery in the Wheaton Triangle shopping center. If anyone has been to either of these places I'd love to hear about it.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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My folks went cruising recently, and said that on the last night of the cruise, one of the Filipino waiters asked them if they were Filipino.  They said they were, and he told them that if they had known, they could have served them any Filipino dishes they wanted.  (Apparently, the predominantly Filipino kitchen staff on some of these cruises keeps a well-stocked pantry, and you just have to know to ask!)

Do you know what cruise line they were using? My mother was on a cruise last year, but didn't get any such offer. Poor her! But she got sick everytime they left port (which coincidentally was always around dinnertime) so she couldn't have eaten anything, anyway.

However, she's going on another cruise in December, and this time with a big group of Filipinos. Now that she knows it has happened to others, she'll probably take the initiative and ask. Like many Filipinos, she's pretty bold when it comes to getting what she wants :biggrin: .

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Yep, absolutely.

And then the typical eggy batter, then fried and served with garlic fried rice and *gasp* banana ketchup.

Hey, banana ketchup is the ONLY way to go with that dish! It's also great with roast chicken stuffed with tanglad (lemongrass)....


#1456/5000

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It wasn't until I moved to New York that I saw envelopes of Knorr's for sinigang and paksiw respectively.

I grew up in Colorado, where it was difficult to find Filipino ingredients. (or any Asian ingredients, for that matter...luckily that changed in the nineties.) My mother used to use the sinigang packets. I guess powdered tamarind is better than none at all. (and better than the commonly substituted lemon juice)


"He who distinguishes the true savour of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise."

Thoreau

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Whoever wrote the review indicates the restaurant was only 1/6 full on one occasion and 1/5 the next two times. It must be tough to go to dinner with a slide rule and calculator as companions. Maybe that's the best the reviewer can get these days.

Interesting two star review. Whoever the writer was seems to be awarding the two stars because the restaurant serves different food from others of this ilk, rather than the quality of the overall experience.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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For those in the Washington DC area, there is a new Filipino restaurant opening in Gaithersburg, on Rockville Pike across from King Farm (I will post the name as soon as I find where I wrote it down). 

And, there is a Filipino market and Bakery in the Wheaton Triangle shopping center.  If anyone has been to either of these places I'd love to hear about it.

The aforementioned Filipino restaurant is called the Pampanguena Grill.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Is it just me or is Filipino food not well-known here in the U.S.?

A few Filipino food bloggers actually had a long discussion that touched on this. One of the reasons that came up is that Filipino migrants in US tend to measure 'success' with how assimilated they are into the prevailing culture. And that includes food which makes it difficult to project with deep knowledge and pride.

A product of the discussions is Lasang Pinoy, a Filipino food blogging event which aims to draw attention to Filipino food. We just recently concluded the event and the round-up is online.

Apologies for cross-posting on another thread.

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I've searched the site but haven't see any discussion regarding cookbooks on Filipino cuisine. Any suggestions?

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I've searched the site but haven't see any discussion regarding cookbooks on Filipino cuisine. Any suggestions?

Hi BettyK,

The cookbook by Gerry Gelle comes well-recommended. But if you want a background on Filipino food culture, check out the ones written by the late Doreen Fernandez. They're not cookbooks but they put almost everything into perspective.

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I've searched the site but haven't see any discussion regarding cookbooks on Filipino cuisine. Any suggestions?

Hi BettyK,

The cookbook by Gerry Gelle comes well-recommended. But if you want a background on Filipino food culture, check out the ones written by the late Doreen Fernandez. They're not cookbooks but they put almost everything into perspective.

Gerry Gelle's cookbook is a wonderful resource, as is Reynaldo Alejandro's. IMHO some of Gelle's recipes though are rewrites of Alejandro's (nothing wrong with that, just thought you might be interested in that information). There are several smaller cookbooks that also provide a good primer to Filipino cooking. In the Philippines there have also been an improvement in the quality of cookooks written, and there have been a number of cookbooks written in recent years -- I've seen the best selections at myayala.com and here:

http://www.kabayancentral.com/book/cookbook.html

Charmaine Solomon's Asian cookbook is also quite good and includes several (authentic enough) recipes. I have to say I'm kinda disappointed that most Asian cookbooks don't really cover Filipino cuisine very well, most are Thai-focused, at least the most recent ones published. I'd love to see Alford/Duguid do one on Filipino cuisine. OTOH, I'm working on a Filipino cookbook (shameless plug) that I hope will fill some of the gaps:)


Edited by stef_foodie (log)

stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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Ube is taro, and I like it very much.

Here, ube is the word for purple sweet potato. It's not a form of taro. It's very similar to the purple Okinawan sweet potato. Both are sold in supermarkets here. Imported ube jam (for desserts) is also readily available.

Edited to add: Pan, you might be thinking of a Filipino dessert that uses ube and taro. I'm not sure of its name... It's a lavender-colored coconut tapioca pudding that also contains cubes or ube, taro, and chewy mochi (sweet rice) dumplings. Kinda' strange to Western tastes, but I love it and would eat it frequently if it weren't for the cholesterol count!

I'm not sure whether I've had that particular dessert or not.

I think I may have been fooled by the taste, as well as the color. I've never thought "sweet potato" when I've had things with ube in them. Vision over taste?

I guess I owe you an apology for ignorantly "correcting" you. :biggrin:

In the Philippines, ube is purple yam. Gabi is taro, also called gandus in Kapampangan.

The purple in ginataan (also called sampelut and sinantan) is from the purple-coloured variety of camote (sweet potato). At least in the my province, ube would be too soft and crumbly to include in ginataan. Perhaps there are other varieties that are firmer and thus are an ingredient in ginataan.

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The spicyness/hotness is a factor of region. The southern provinces, such as Bicol, tend to cook spicier food although it's often tempered with coconut milk. There are also many Filipinos who eat most everything with spoonfuls of vinegar flavoured with squashed chili peppers. Also, spicier foods tend to be tapas-style dishes (pulutan) to serve with San Miguel beer. Otherwise, Soba is right that Filipino food isn't for the bold-tongued.

....

A dish that I think is totally inedible is burong isda. It's fish fermented with rice. A friend makes it and others seem to like it, but it just tastes rotten to me. To make it, salt raw fish, mix with cooked rice and let sit in an airtight container at room temp for several days. It becomes a disgusting pink mass that doesn't look too different from very old yogurt.

Rhea,

Even in some towns of Central Luzon you can find very spicy food. Caldereta does not merit its name without the heat of at least a handful labuyo chilli peppers. Quilo babi is ground pork stir-fried in garlic and onions with lots of chillies too. Even sinigang can be spicy hot.

The burong isda as you describe it would indeed be inedible, hehehe! It has to be thoroughly sauteed in garlic, at the very least. And if it's pink, it's most probably burong hipon or fermented rice and shrimp paste, also called tagilo or balo-balo.

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A note about Filipino meal patterns:

...

Dessert is not a part of a usual meal (except during parties). In fact, there is no word in Tagalog for "dessert". The closest to dessert that Filipinos eat are fruits. Sweets are eaten mostly during special occasions.

...

SA

Soba,

I have to disagree with having no Tagalog word for "dessert". Perhaps it becomes confusing because it is sometimes referred to as "postre" as in the Spanish term. However, there are older Tagalog words such as "pangmatamis", "panghimagas" and "pamutat". I think there are several more which I cannot remember off-hand. These are even precise as to be applied with a certain kind of sweet food. I am not sure if "panghimagas" is for fruits or if it's another word.

It may be a bit confusing too because traditional Filipino meals are not served the Western way of having starters, mains and so forth. Fruits are also eaten with rice.

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Welcome to e-gullet PPPans. I hope you keep posting inspite of the lack of response or if it sometimes feel people are posting over your head. That’s the nature of any (web) forum. Since you just joined, you probably missed the spirited discussion about Frank Bruni’s review of Cendrillon in NYC (see the Frank Bruni thread, around page 5-6). Basing on that, it seems to me too that Filipino cuisine suffers from a pityful case of low self-steem. Granted that the thread was about Frank Bruni’s system (or say absence thereof) and not Cendrillon, it still appears fair and sound to me if people recuse themselves from discussion of restaurants they have not personally experienced (or cuisines they have no immersion in). The restaurant in question gets positive press coverage from time to time though, including a brief one from David Rosengarten in the Gourmet magazine hmm a couple of years ago.

And going to the matter of Philippine cookbooks, I completely agree with you in your brief assessment of Doreen Fernandez’s compilations of her food columns. I have what I think is the most recent (last, in fact) called “Tikim.” Very informative, specially for someone like me who only gets to visit back very rarely. I hope she relayed the torch to somebody with equal talent and interest. And finally to the matter of real cookbooks, I find the compilation of Enriqueta David-Perez still reliable after all these years (mine is the 19th printing from 1973). She must have aimed it to an audience of already accomplished cooks which at the time of original publication was about right. At that time most good cooks, as my mother was, only referred to cookbooks as an “aide memoire.” In fact, my mother like everybody else cooked extemporaneously, you know, you go to market and pick up what is fresh or cheap and make something delicious or appropriate out of it for the family, the exact opposite of what we do here where we draw up our menu first and then shop for it. The only cookbook in her possession were an early edition of Fannie Farmer’s and a Spanish one. Her generation in our town did not need any. We knew where to go for the best puto, okoy, bibingka and suman, espasol and tikoy, lechon and salsa, bagoong and buro, tuyo, daing and tinapa. Incidentally, I bought a hard-bound copy of Reynado Alejandro’s and immediately passed it on to my sister after reading his recipe for puto using wheat flour.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Thanks for the welcome Apicio! Don't worry, I've been a long-time lurker on eGullet to be acquainted with the quality and rhythm of posts and since I've registered, I'll be posting as my schedule allows. I've read the Bruni thread at the time emotions were running high over Cendrillon and I've seen other positive reviews of Cendrillon.

On Filipino food's inferiority complex especially in the US, I post here what I've put forward on a different mailing list:

I believe we'll have to look at the patterns of migration and assimilation. Am currently reading an ethnography of Filipino-Americans. Several things stand out - that Filipinos are one of the earliest migrant workers in the US mainland (farmhands in California - 1600s, "Manilamen" in Louisiana - 1760s) who encountered severe persecution. There were even "No Filipinos Allowed" signs on shops. It was a shame to be a Filipino which perhaps affected the way values, customs and traditions were projected.

And then there's also the lack of understanding among mainstream American society which until very recently classified Filipinos as a Spanish-speaking ethnic group along with Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Even when we were a colony of Spain, only around 10% of the general population spoke Spanish!

Thus, compared to the other Asian ethnic groups in the US, Filipinos are more "familiar" and assimilated yet perhaps also least understood. Food-wise, perhaps it's the same.

That's just one reason, mind you. There's probably a myriad more.

I do not think there's any Filipino food writer like Doreen in terms of scope and depth. She really left a gaping void, same thing with her work on Philippine theatre history.

You are right about Filipinos cooking according to season and availability. That's the reason why even classic dishes like nilaga would have different versions even in the same house. I've not seen Alejandro's book but I've read it's meant for the American market. But nowadays, with the proliferation of Asian stores, I suppose it has to be updated.

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Yet more on Filipino terminology for dessert. Himagas is the general term you end a meal with. This includes most fruits in season or drinks made from them, any matamis which includes preserved fruits and (egg and milk based) confections. Ripe or green fruits (usually any of the several varieties of mango but specially the tiny ones called pahutan) you eat with the meal is called pamutat. Let us not forget that even the highly codified French cuisine’s dessert grouping overlaps into their “entre mets” classification. An Alliance Francaise martinet of a professor I had, however, insisted to my class that dessert was fruit and cheese. All the gateaus, tartes and tortes of the patisier’s repertoire are simply “entre mets.” So the large group of rice based sweet baked, boiled or steamed cakes (bibingka) and puddings (kalamay) are actually merienda fare although can sometimes blend in and expand the traditional dessert grouping (specially abroad) and we are not about to complain.

(OT) Reynaldo Alejandro btw called his nilaga linaga which I though was kind of illiterate until I came accross a similar locution in Francisco Balagtas. Live and learn.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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Ah so there! Thanks Apicio! :smile: Do you have the other terms? I remember they were around four or five, if I'm not mistaken.

Even the term merienda is precisely for the afternoon snack. I am not sure if it's the same case in Tagalog, but the morning snack is minindal in Kapampangan. My grandmother used to bristle at us if we interchanged the terms.

Hmmm... one thing about Filipino food is that we'll have to be very conscious of the regional variations and terms. Perhaps linaga is from a southern Tagalog dialect? Unlike the French and other cuisines that descended from the royal courts, our recipes have not been standardised for the whole archipelago. Notice how the Visayan humba is paksiw na pata in the Tagalog region.

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We cook both of them at home observing an ever so fine distinction though. Paksiw na pata has banana blossoms and sometimes even slices of cooking banana (saba) both of which Humba does not have and it, of course, requires a different cut of pork (the butt) and has salted black beans (tausi) instead. The big surprise to me, however, is I thought all along that Humba is Kapampangan instead of Bisaya, well, Waray actually. Nora Daza says its from Leyte. Another obvious close relatives are Pipian and Kari-kari in that both use ground roasted peanuts as predominant flavour. They use different kinds of meat and cuts though and Pipian drops all the vegetables making it a kind of Mexican mole which is probably where it originated. I only hear of Pipian from my friends from Cavite.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

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There is actually a Kapampangan humba (and it's pronounced 'umba' hehehe!) which is much closer to the Tagalog. No banana blossoms, no saba bananas. It does have black beans, sanque (star anise), cloves and a bit of canela (cinnamon bark, never powder). It's marinated and parboiled on the first day, steeped and covered in a clay pot, simmered on the second day. The proper way of cooking it takes at least five days when the pork is well-cured and melts in the mouth.

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hi pppans and apicio, interesting discussion you've got going on here. my parents, who are both Tagalog, use <i>minindal</i> and <i>merienda</i> interchangeably.

on the humba-paksiw na pata, i'll add something else that's confusing -- my hubby's family, who are also tagalog (they're from bulacan, cavite and makati) -- calls the dish "estofado" as well. my mom tells a different story -- paksiw na pata is an everyday dish, as opposed to the one used for entertaining which is estofado (the latter perhaps made more "special" by the addition of more ingredients considered optional in the everyday dish). no more time right now, but you can be sure i'll be back to read and add to this discussion later:).


Edited by stef_foodie (log)

stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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