Challenge Your Taste Buds With These Iconic Filipino Dishes | Apart from its beautiful islands, tourist spots and welcoming people, the Philippines is also known for its local delicacies. The country is rich in diverse flavors either entice or challenge the taste buds (or both!). The variety of dishes speaks much about the country’s rich history, which has evolved much over the years.
The uniqueness of Filipino cuisine is unlike its Asian neighbors. While the country’s dishes are influenced by its colonizers, the Philippines manages to still boast off a unique touch to its delicacies. From “crazy” duck eggs to sweet, salty and chili bagoong , the Philippines isn’t afraid to experiment with flavors – even if the rest of the world is.
What Makes Filipino Food Exciting?
Filipino cuisine is the epitome of fusion food. As mentioned above, the country’s local dishes are a product of years of cultures from different colonizers, resulting in a melting pot of different cultures. The country’s location in the South China Sea has always been a strategic point, which made the Philippines a focal point of migration and trade during 3,000 BC. The first settlers, the Malayo-Polynesians, were responsible for bringing the country’s staple food: rice.
Eventually, other settlers left their mark on the country via the food they brought with them. For instance, the Spanish introduced new ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes and corn, as well as new cooking techniques like braising and sauteing. The Americans introduced the idea of hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and all convenient meals.
Most Filipino dishes are all of these influences combined in one meal. Consider the country’s national dish, adobo. It is influenced by the Spanish adobo but with soy sauce, an ingredient from the Chinese. To make it more local, Filipinos use herbs native to the country, like peppercorns and bay leaves.
Eating in the Philippines (or at least, eating like a Filipino) isn’t just a quick meal; it’s a joyful experience. Filipinos are known for being sociable during meal times. Food just makes the conversations livelier.
Challenge Your Taste Buds With These Filipino Delicacies
Instead of settling for the bland flavors of everyday living, give your taste buds something new by diving into the world of Filipino cuisine. Consider the following snacks and dishes from the PH:
Think of spring rolls, only sweet! Turon is a sweet spring roll filled with plantains. Traditionally, turon was made from a certain type of banana called a saba. In some cases, people would only use sweet jack fruit for the filling. Today, many people prepare turon with thinly sliced bananas (longways) that are dusted with brown sugar and wrapped in a spring roll wrapper before deep frying them in oil.
Turon is a street snack for most Filipinos. Many stores sell different varieties of this snack by filling it with coconut, cheese, sweet potato or mango. No matter what the filling is, you can expect something gooey and sweet inside.
Kare Kare: Oxtail Stew
This Filipino stew is served with ox tripes, oxtail, plenty of vegetables (often flavored with peanut butter or ground roasted peanuts), garlic and onions. Kare kare is often served with bagoong, which is a shrimp paste, as well as some calamansi and chili.
The name kare kare originated from the word “curry,” which is a nod to the country’s Indian community. The rich peanut sauce combined with the oxtail and ox tripes will make you want to finish the whole bowl.
Sinigang takes soup and stew to the next level with its sour yet delicious flavor. Cooks use tamarind to infuse the soup with its trademark sour taste. If you don’t have tamarind, you can use calamansi, tomatoes or guava.
A traditional sinigang dish is served as a soup or stew and is usually rich in vegetables like onions, eggplants, daikon and water spinach. The common mean used for singang is pork but others prefer to use chicken, fish, or beef.
Also known as “suckling pig,” lechon draws its roots from Spain. The dish involves a young pig roasted over charcoal for many hours. The pig is usually fed only with the mother’s milk (hence, the word leche). Lechon is another national dish of the Philippines and the city of Cebu is considered as one of the best places to buy lechon.
If you have leftover lechon, you can stew the pork with spices and vinegar to create another dish called paksiw na lechon.
The Philippines always understands the assignment when it comes to food. So if you want to challenge your taste buds and discover something wonderful, go and try Filipino dishes today!