Lutong Pinoy Recipes

Every country’s pride is the cuisine they inherit and present to the world. It is what binds everyone together, despite different races and cultures. In the Philippines, food literally does bring people together whenever there are “fiestas” or festivals.

There are dishes galore and it is well received and anticipated by locals and visitors. A few food adventurers travel to the Philippines just to get a taste of its authentic Philippine foods.  There are a lot of Filipinos scattered around the globe as well. It is safe to assume that, little by little, Filipino cuisine is growing recognition around the world.

Popular Philippine Food

The most well-known Philippine food that a lot of people, even foreigners, are more familiar with is called “Adobo”. It is usually cooked with either pork or chicken. Filipino families may have different recipes in cooking the dish but it is usually simmered in a marinade of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. “Adobo’ is an authentic Filipino food that did not necessarily stem from the Spanish origin. Another famous Philippine food is called “Sinigang”. This is a pork stew that has a soup that is associated with tamarind. Its taste is sour but savory at the same time. It is one of the healthier tradition Philippine foods available. It can be cooked with different vegetables like eggplant and water spinach. Its strong taste is very soothing to the throat and it is best served with warm rice.

Philippine food may sometimes be very similar to other foods in Southeast Asia. As a matter of fact, there are Philippine foods that are also dishes in other countries but with a few differences in the recipe and, of course, name. Nevertheless, it is still quite distinct among other Southeast Asian countries. An example of famous Philippine food that originated from another Asian country is called “Pancit”. It is a noodle dish and may be cooked in different kinds of ways. A popular variation of “Pancit” is ‘Pancit Palabok”. It is thick rice noodles with shrimp sauce topped with ingredients like sliced boiled eggs and shrimps.

Being known as a country with several island groups, the Philippines, naturally, is also rich in seafood delicacies. There are a lot of places to fish and gather fresh oysters, clams, crabs and many more. There is no shortage of seafood Philippines foods with all the fresh catch available. The dish, “Sinigang”, as mentioned, is also popularly made with “bangus” or milkfish. “Sinigang na bangus” is another Philippine food that is a fan favorite among Filipinos. Apart from the multitudinous kinds of fish available, there is also a wide choice of shellfish to choose from.

One can say that the topographical location of the Philippines is the reason the country is blessed with so many resources to choose from.  Although there are other Asian countries with wide land coverage and plenty of shores to fish from, the Philippines has one of the largest coastlines in the world. This not only means that there are more resources to harvest from, but it is also a good settlement for Filipinos whose livelihood depends on fishing.

Food in Philippine Festivals

In a lot of cases, festivals in the Philippines are the catalyst to a preparation for a feast fit for a whole village, literally. Filipinos are happy people that love food and enjoy celebrations to the fullest. Festivals, gatherings, and other celebrations allow Filipinos to showcase the Philippine foods and take pride in their own family recipes whenever there are putlocks. A dish called “Lechon” or a roasted suckling pig is always the star of the show on many special occasions. Seeing a whole “lechon” on the table is like a sign that there is something special happening.

Philippine foods have various styles and are made in different methods of cooking. Being a tropical country, a lot of Filipinos really like grilled food. The smell of charcoal is reminiscent of a peaceful day at the beach by the sea. Western countries are used to grilling meat. On the other hand, Philippine foods that are usually grilled are seafood like squid. “Inihaw na pusit” or grilled squid is usually marinated before grilling and stuffed with herbs and spices. Another famous type of method to cook Philippine food is by stewing. There are a lot of dishes in the Philippines that are stewed in sauces.

Philippine food around the country is also a reflection of the diverse cultures around its different regions. There are three island groups in the Philippines, namely; Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The northern part, which is Luzon, produces more of the classic Philippine foods like “sisig”. The southern part of the Philippines around Visayas and Mindanao have more dishes deeply influence by different unique ethnic groups. A lot of seafood is also incorporated in their dishes as they are a more clustered group of small islands rather than one big land space.  More of the exotic types of dishes also come from the southern part of the Philippines.

Philippine Exotic Food

Speaking of exotic dishes, a famous exotic Philippine food is called “balut”. It is probably already well known to other countries due to media coverage and the internet. It is a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell. A lot of “foodies” and travelers go out of their way to travel to the Philippines in search of this delicacy and have a taste. It is usually eaten with salt to taste but others prefer to eat it as it is. Another common food that Filipinos love, which may seem exotic to visitors is called “Isaw”. It is grilled chicken intestine. It is considered a street food and is usually good for “pulutan’ or snacks when having drinks. Other unique street foods that Filipinos love to eat are “Betamax” or grilled chicken blood and “Walkman” or barbecued pig’s ears.

Filipinos love to eat food and cook tasty but very sinful dishes. Philippine food is famous for its savory and strong tastes and is well received especially by visitors from Western countries like America. Dishes like “Crispy Pata” or deeply fried pig trotters are always tempting and delectable. Let us not forget “Lechon’, which is in almost every Filipino celebration. Despite all the dishes that seem like home-cooked comfort foods of the Philippines, there are also plenty of healthy recipes that Philippine foods have to offer. Vegetable dishes such as “Pinakbet” or vegetable stew with squash as the main ingredient, proves that a flavorful cuisine can be healthy too.

The Popularity of Filipino Food

The popularity of Philippine food is not solely based on their specific dishes and ingredients. The cultural experience brought upon by enjoying food in the Philippines is one of the most refreshing feelings a traveler can encounter. There are a few points to discuss this to truly make sense why it is a “refreshing feeling”. First of all, in traditional Filipino gatherings, there is a custom followed. When there are tons of variety of food that is meant to be shared, they prepare rice and different viands and serve it in a long banana leaf-line trestle table. This originated from a military practice of eating but has been adopted among the community. Secondly, to further have the authentic Filipino dining experience, one must practice “kamayan” or using their hands to eat the food. The way the food is eaten and presented gives off a homely kind of vibe. This is truly one of the best feelings when enjoying a dish. To have comfort and being involved with the community adds value to the whole experience of having Philippine food.

Undeniably the most noteworthy reason why Philippine food is popular is that they always associate food as a way of socialism. Their hospitality and eagerness to share food are heartwarming. Sharing food and making communities happy is in their blood. Filipinos use food to enhance their social life and enforce positivity. Within families, it is a bonding method to cook and eat food together. True to what is said by the famous American cook, James Beard, “Food is our common ground, it is a universal experience”, cuisines everywhere are building bridges and paving the way for the exploration and understanding of other cultures. With Filipinos all around the globe, foreigners are learning more and more about the Philippines.

The popularity of Philippine food is growing much more because Filipinos are doing their role to advocate their native dishes. Their love of food also allows them to evolve and continue to explore more food and incorporate different tastes into native dishes. They grow to create more delicious delicacies, whichever part of the world they may be. Food is the one wholesome thing in the world that can be shared with anyone despite language barriers, race and religion. Philippine food has grown with a culture that accepted these differences from colonialism and still accepts visitors from other countries openly. It goes without saying, Philippine food is a way of life more than a material need. It is a “hello, how are you?” from a happy and sociable group of people.