The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that boasts plentiful and beautiful tourist destinations with its many island groups. It is popular among many travelers because of its friendly and welcoming culture. The cuisine of the country is also one of the main factors that boosted the pull in its tourism. Filipino food is unique among other Asian countries just from the fact that flavors of their dishes are definitely an acquired taste, and very different from what one may label as “Asian food”.
The cuisine of the Philippines is a mix of influences from different countries that have made its impact in the homeland. The Spanish influence is the strongest among these as the Philippines was a colony of Spain for more than three hundred years. This is where the love of spices in dishes was incorporated with a lot of Filipino Food. Surrounding Asian countries have also influenced the cuisine of the Philippines. In early times, even before Spain colonized the Philippines, China was a major part of the trading in the country. With the flow of the trades, the Chinese influence slowly took its part. Filipinos discovered dishes like “pancit” (noodles), porridge and fried rice. A few of their dishes and flavors have been integrated into the Filipino’s pre-colonial indigenous way of cooking.
Filipino food, in general, always promises a flavorful taste for the curious palate. Most times, Filipino food shows an inclination to the sweet, salty and savory taste. The strong elements of taste in their dishes probably rooted from the cultural belief that food is made to be cooked for many. This started when the Spaniards brought in a culture of celebration and religion. A lot of Filipinos turned deeply Catholic. This, in turn, had a lot of locals dedicating days to their patron saints in a form of a celebration. These celebrations are accompanied by “fiestas”, which is basically a huge party for the community. Different houses cook enough food to feed a whole army, or in this case, the whole community.
The greatness of Filipino food is amplified with the countries’ abundant source of food and vegetables. With a lot of farms and fields allotted for produce, there is no need to import from another country and dishes are always kept fresh. Most importantly, Filipinos are always open to mixing things up with their food. Their open-mindedness enables them to discover different types of ways to cook a dish and different types of ingredients to cook a dish with.
Filipino food is not only known for its traditional dishes like adobo, sinigang or sisig – a sub-genre of Filipino cuisine is their exotic food. The famous “balut” (or a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten from its shell) is a delicacy known worldwide and tried by daring food fanatics. The variety of Filipino food is what makes it so special. There are endless kinds of dishes in different areas of the Philippines that are not known to a lot of visitors. Exclusive dishes made in distinct areas in the Philippines may not even be explored yet by Filipinos themselves.
Filipino food embodies the rich Filipino cultures and traditions. In every way and expression, Filipino food is special as they showcase the history that the Philippines had gone through. Ingredients show the influence incorporated by different countries that have passed by. The way that the dishes are cooked – labor-intensive and full of love, shows the patience and resilience of Filipinos in hardships. Most of all, how food is served, with the community, friends and family, shows a culture that is warm and unselfish.