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The Philippines is an Archipelagic country, situated in Southeast Asia, and it has about 7,641 islands, and that makes it a country that can offer diverse cuisine. Join us as we unravel the rich and flavorful Filipino dishes.
Just like the country itself, Pinoy cuisine is also rich in history since the country has been conquered many times by Americans, Japanese and Spaniards. Also, the country welcomes people of any nationalities, like Chinese and Koreans.
When talking about Pinoy cuisine, Spain and China are the two countries that have great impact on Filipino cooking method.
Filipino Food Influenced by Spanish
Aside from Catholicism, Spanish also has so much influence to the Philippines when it comes to our cuisine. Spanish colonization brought significant improvement in the Filipino way of cooking. Two of the most important contributions of Spaniards is the introduction of ingredients and the birth of Filipino profound way of cooking.
We, Filipinos, are fond of feasts and celebrations, and since Catholic is the most dominant religion, which was introduced by Spaniards, people in this country consider Catholic-related holidays the most important ones, and talking about the most important, Jesus Christ is the most significant figure of Christianity, and his birth which many Catholic members call Christmas, is the most celebrated holiday in the Philippines.
Christmas day is on the 25th of December, and during that special day, many households prepare special dishes that they don’t often get to eat. Some of the dishes prepared by many on that day have spanish influence.
Some examples of Filipino Food prepared on special days with Spanish Influence
FAMOUS PINOY ADOBO
You aren’t true-blooded Pinoy if at least once in your life you’ve never tried this dish unless from the time you were born, you’re a vegetarian. Well, Adobo is arguably the national food of The Philippines. Adobo (From the Spanish word, Adobar which means to marinade) is a famous Filipino dish locally and internationally. Two of the most commonly cooked types of Adobo are the pork adobo and the chicken adobo. Originally during the pre-colonial, Adobo was cooked with Vinegar to have it preserved longer since it’s a tropical country, which means we have a warm climate. However, because of the innovation, Adobo is now known to be complete with Soy Sauce as per many different Pinoy Food recipes!
WORLD CLASS lechon
The word lechon originated from the spanish word leche or milk, and this refers to a roasted suckling pig. The dish was originally from Spain, but since the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the country adapted it and made it taste even better, with the help of spices and ingredients that also have Spanish influence. Our best lechon can be found in the region of Cebu.
PINOY SAUSAGE, EMBUTIDO
It is actually a type of sausage in Spain, but luckily, this special dish was also introduced to the Filipinos during their colonization. It evolved into a version that suits filipino taste perfectly. Nowadays, embutido is often part of a typical filipino party food menu.
SPECIAL leche flan
The food name itself clearly shows that it has Spanish Influence. Leche means milk, and flan means crème caramel. I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s the sweetest Filipino dessert, and we love it for that! Since Leche Flan Recipe is intricate, we usually prepare it during special occasions, like Christmas and New Year!
Filipino Food Influenced by Chinese
With the improving relationship between the Philippines and China, it’s not surprising that you will see chinese nationals walking around Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Chinese are embraced and welcomed with arms wide open by Filipinos that a town in Binondo was named after their country. Since the history of Chinese-Filipino has existed for so long, they have imparted many food recipes that we, Filipinos, have learned to love.
Mostly, foods with Chinese influence are the ones we see in the streets. Below are some of the examples of Filipino Food influenced by Chinese.
FLAVORFUL PINOY pancit
Pancit is a noodle dish which was introduced by the chinese, which later on turned into a dish that we love. The word Pancit originated from the chinese word piān-ê-si̍t which literally means ‘convenience food’, and that’s true enough ‘cause it’s easy to prepare. Usually, we prepare Pancit during Fiestas and especially birthdays as many of us believe it’s food for long life.There are many varieties of Pancit such as Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton, Pancit luglug, Pancit Malabon and many more that may vary according to their localities.
Taho is composed of Tofu (silken tofu as the base), (then coated with) brown sugar syrup and sago pearl (for added texture and taste)! There are two versions of Taho discovery, but the more realistic one is that it started when a cook in China accidentally mixed in a handful of sea salt to a slurry of boiled, ground soybeans while attempting to make a savory soy milk soup. The supposed mistake has been a filipino favorite breakfast partner since it’s introduced to us.
It originated from the Chinese spring roll. This is a product of the Chinese attempt to create a meal that would involve all spring vegetables. Now, this dish is famous basically in Indonesia and in the Philippines. Filipinos love to have Lumpia in birthday parties and even as every day meal. It has lots of variations such as Lumpiang Togue (Spring roll), Lumpiang Shanghai (Meat based), Lumpiang sariwa (another variation of Spring roll), and many more versions according to their localities.
HOT AND DELICIOUS mami
It can be attributed to Ma Mon Luk, immigrant to the Philippines from China, who used to sell noodles with chicken broth in Binondo, Manila in 1920. The word Mami (Ma-mi) literally means Ma’s noodles. Now, Mami is sold in many streets in the Philippines, especially when the weather is cold. Since we, Filipinos, love to innovate, we have invented many versions of it such as chicken mami (chicken-based soup), pork mami (pork-based soup) and beef mami (beef-based soup), and it’s regarded by many as the counterpart of the famous Japanese ramen.
Original Filipino Dishes
Aside from food with other countries’ influences, there are also many dishes discovered and invented by Filipinos.
SIZZLING HOT SISIG
Sisig was recorded in a Kapampangan dictionary In 1732 by Spanish friar Diego Bergaño. At that time, the dish was just a salad with a spicy vinegar dressing as some believe that the term derived from Kapampangan words, Manyisig (to make salad) and mapanisig (one who makes a lot of salad, or frequently eats salad or picks tidbits of it), and as time passed by, our ancestors modified it and added chopped pig parts such as pig cheeks and pig ears.
Then, Aling Lucia Cunanan also known as “Aling Lucing” made it even better with her way of cooking this dish, and that’s the delicious Sisig served on a sizzling plate that we all know and love now.
SAVORY AND SOUR SINIGANG
Arguably, it’s a toss between Adobo and Sinigang when we talk about our national dish.
Some say that the delicious Sinigang should be it because it’s origin is totally from the Philippines. Sigang means “to stew”, so Sinigang is a stewed dish. Basically, Sinigang has a sour soup with meat and vegetables. There are many variations such as “Sinigang na Baboy” (Pork), “Sinigang na Hipon” (Shrimp) and many more versions.
MOUTHWATERING BICOL EXPRESS
Bicol is a region in the Philippines that is popular for its spicy dishes! Thus, both the name and the locality where it started suggest that this dish is HOT and SPICY! It is a pork stew cooked in coconut milk with chillies, the red (siling labuyo) and the longer green ones (siling haba). The meat cuts depends on your preference, but mostly, it’s either, cubes or strips. Because this dish is popular, there are lots of delicious Bicol Express Recipes. Click here if you want to learn how to cook this dish.
Why you should try Filipino Dishes and Learn the Best Filipino Food Recipes?
To reiterate it, the Philippines is an archipelago, that every region has its own unique traits. Because of that, every region offers a way of cooking that’s different from the others. The differences make Filipino food interesting and always surprising. If you’ve already tried Adobo in Manila, you better try Adobo in Bicol (a region in the Philippines that’s known for its spicy cuisine with fresh coconut milk).
Lastly, as they say, one way to get to know a country better is by learning and enjoying its cuisine, and ours speaks so much of our culture and history!