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Philippines Questions Answered!

International Flavors: Asia and the Middle East

Philippines

Questions taken from Chicago Tribune Article by Colleen Taylor-Sen

  1. 1.      What type or variety of rice do most Filipinos prefer?

A Jasmine-scented Thai variety, that comes from Southeast Asia.

  1. 2.      What is the Filipino word for fish sauce?

Patis, this is a cousin to the Thai nam pla, and the Vietnamese nuoc nam.

  1. 3.      What is bagoong?

It is a salted, fermented shrimp paste, that when used with patis create part of the essential flavorings for many entrees.

 

  1. 4.      What are the main “spices” or flavorings in Filipino cuisine?

The Filipino use garlic, peppercorns, lemon grass, and ginger as the main “spices” but use them to enhance flavors instead of trying to mask them. The Philippines are the only country in Asia that did not embrace the hot chilies.

  1. 5.      What is pancit?

Pancit is a dish of noodles, vegetables, and seafood or meat. This dish is a contribution from Chinese traders who came to the islands in the 10th Century, and has become a centerpiece in every Filipino buffet.

 

  1. 6.      What two countries have had the most influence on the cuisine of the Philippines?

Chinese, and Spanish have had the most influence on the cuisine, but an argument could be made that they also have a lot of Southeast Asia as well. While this is still similar to Chinese cuisine it is different enough to still have a presence felt.

  1. 7.      How did this archipelago come to be known as the Philippines?

It was named by the Portuguese/Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the name of, King Philip II.

  1. 8.      Why is there a Mexican influence in the Philippines?

The Mexican influence is because of the very large trade routes between Mexico and India, which helped trade not only old and new world ingredients, but also helped to distribute the cooking techniques as well.

  1. 9.      What is the predominant religion in the Philippines? Why?

The predominant religion is Catholicism; because of the large Spanish influence that comes from the Spaniards rule of the islands from the mid 1500 to 1898, and since the main religion of Spain was Catholicism during this time, it carried over to the Philippines as well.

  1. 10.  How many meals a day are traditionally eaten in the Philippines?

The Filipinos eat five meals a day just like the Spaniards that ruled them. They will start out with a breakfast of eggs, meat, rice, bread and hot chocolate. A light lunch followed by a very late dinner that normally ends with dessert. The normal meals are complemented with two small meals or merindas, which take place late in the morning, and around 4 p.m.

  1. 11.  What is considered the national dish of the Philippines?

Chicken Adobo is the national dish since it was eaten at the banquet declaring independence in 1898, but Doreen Fernandez, a historian of Philippines cuisine, thinks that it should be sinigang, a delicate, slightly sour broth of pork or seafood, tomatoes, kangkong (a green vegetable), long beans, and other vegetables.

 

  1. 12.  Why does Sokolov question the Spanish influence/names on many dishes within the cuisine?

Sokolov claims that all of the dishes that have Spanish Names today probably predated the arrival of the Spanish, but as the Conquistadors took over the rule of the Philippines they just renamed these dishes that looked like things they would eat back home.

  1. 13.  What dish symbolizes the multi-ethnic spirit of the Philippines?

Lumpia, which is an European- style dough in the form of a large pink crepe, that gets its color from duck eggs; Filled with a Chinese style filling of pork and seafood, garlic, chickpeas, celery, and carrots. Lastly it is served with an Indonesian style sweet peanut sauce.

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