So, WHAT IS FILIPINO FOOD? A lot of my friends in Doha are curious about it. When we talk about Indian food, we all know about biryani and kebab and samosas and all. When we talk about Thai food we know about pad thai and tomyum soup. When we talk about Japanese food, we crave for sushi and tempura. And we know pizza and pasta as Italian food, burgers as an American food, and hummus and falafel as an Arabic and Mediterranean food.
But what really is a FILIPINO FOOD? Is there more to it than adobo and Jollibee? Let me give you a hint. If Philippines is made up of more than 7000 islands, each one can have something unique to offer… be prepared to be surprised, to be satisfied, and to crave for more!
With that being said, the Philippines have a long history of being colonized by many countries. But during the pre-colonial period, the main source of food for Filipinos is the sea and the land, so they highly depend on fishing and farming, thus rice and fish is a staple food in the country.
They would probably be limited to BOILING (laga) with water or vinegar, ROASTING (ihaw), or even EATING IT RAW (kilaw). Without the modern ingredients and cooking technologies, they know how to cook rice, boil sweet potato or banana, cook fish in vinegar for preservation (pangat na isda), grill fish and other seafood, and even prepare raw food like seafood or fruits and vegetables.
When the Chinese settlers came, they were introduced to seasonings like soy sauce and their noodles. Then the Spanish conquerors largely influenced the country’s religion and the majority of its food – thus many of the party and fiesta dishes and those served for special occasions bear names like relleno, morcon, paella, callos, embutido, caldereta, etc. (https://asian-recipe.com/spanish-influence-on-filipino-food-2624). Then came the Americans who brought in new technologies that shaped our modern cooking techniques in food preparations.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POPULAR FOOD FROM THE PHILIPPINES?
Here are some of the common food that you will see in a typical Filipino home. Oftentimes, the name of the food is coined after the process of how it was cooked or prepared.
- ADOBO (meat simmered in soy sauce marinate)
- NILAGA, TINOLA, or SINIGANG (boiled fish or meat, variations)
- PRITO (fried fish or meat)
- GINISA (sautéed vegetables or meat )
- GINATAAN (vegetables, or fish, or meat boiled in coconut milk)
Below are some of the popular dishes being prepared during celebrations or fiestas. These food usually take time to prepare and would require a number of people that’s why it’s also a form of community gathering (bayanihan) and even a family bonding (for smaller celebrations).
- PANSIT (noodles, with so many different variations)
- LECHON (roasted pig)
- MENUDO, MECHADO, CALDERETA, AFRITADA (those with tomato sauce)
- EMBUTIDO, RELLENO, MORCON (STUFFED FOOD)
- BBQ (grilled meat)
And of course, let’s not forget the all-time favorite Pinoy desserts and kakanins:
- SUMAN, PUTO, BIKO, SAPIN-SAPIN, bilo-bilo, palitaw, maja blanca, etc. (rice cakes)
- BANANA CUE, maruya, etc (fritters)
- LECHE FLAN, gelatin, jellies, etc.
- FRUIT COCKTAIL, buko pandan, etc.
Let’s explore more of these colorful cuisines in our succeeding post and where you can have it in Qatar. We will be featuring restaurants offering Filipino dishes for those who want to discover the country through its food.
Since this week is devoted for FILIPINO FOOD in celebration of Philippine Independence Day (June12), we encourage everyone to use the hashtag #whatisFILIPINOfood so that our friends will come to know more about our well-loved dishes and cuisines. Let’s also support Filipino Restaurants and stores in Qatar by using the official hashtag whenever we post something about PINOY FOOD.
Our cover photo: from https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/chicken-adobo-recipe-filipino