Why not as popular as Thai, Chinese and other Asian cuisines?
This is the Filipinos' favorite topic other than politics. Filipinos for a fact are fond of eating. Whether in expensive restaurants or at Mom's kitchen, we eat with gusto.Do we live to eat or eat to live? - I guess both, what is life without those cholesterol loaded and high fat gastronomical Filipino cooking. Filipino men love to cook and exchanging recipes among them is common. My brother-in-law would call my wife just to make sure he is doing it right. We delight our selves with fine Filipino cooking whenever there are occasions - a grand feast or fiesta. On such occasions, we showcase the Filipino dishes that are blending of the various cooking styles and cultures that are made with Filipino touched. And we never run out of occasions, sometimes we invite people just for a get together and to eat. Potluck is very common among Filipinos, we usually bring our favorite dish which we cooked ourselves - well most of the time. I remember aeons ago (on internet years), when Josephine Roberto, a singer known as "Banig" was interviewed by Arsenio Hall in his own show. Hall asked Banig what's her favorite food?, she answered "Macdonald's spaghetti" and the audience started laughing. Where in the world that they could find any McDonald's serving 'spaghetti', where else but the Philippines. Taste the 'spaghetti' and you'll say 'what a sweet spaghetti' not like the sour and tangy taste of the American or for that matter, the Italian spaghetti. The Philippine McDonald's created the spaghetti because it is popular to the Filipinos and it has to be sweet - the way most Filipinos want them. Someone told me a story about Ambassador Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez, Imelda Marcos's brother, who was once the Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Romualdez found out that Pres.Reagan was fond of 'Adobo' and he started sending Reagan 'Adobo' on a regular basis.I wonder if Reagan still love the dish from thereon? The adobo diplomacy did not worked in my opinion, brother-in-law Ferdinand Marcos got booted out of Philippines. Have you tried our 'Paella'? Compared to its Spanish cousin, ours is so different? What about our sausages? the 'longganisa'. Our cuisine is so varied and in some cases unique - try our dinuguan (made mostly of animal blood),boffis(pig's organs), the papaet (goat's intestines), adidas (chicken feet) and more but the most unique in my book is 'balut'. Balut with the tiny almost but not quite chick is so good and nutritious that only a Pinoy (Filipinos fondly called themselves with this name) would love, not 'Penoy', that's another kind of egg which is similar to 'balut'. What about our desserts and meriendas? The leche plan, the kalamays, the siopaos(Filipino style), the ukoys, the halo-halo and other sweets that are absolutely Filipino. We would say our food is so good and can be compared with other kind of cuisine, and yet the American mainstream have not accepted our cooking. Why? It could be for some reason, could it be that our restaurants cater to Filipinos only, or is it the ambiance or the turo-turo style may be not acceptable to a lot of non Filipinos who prefer sit down dinners. Or food was not made presentable enough to other nationalities. But believe me, once eaten, they're hook for life - my non Filipino friends keep on asking for lumpia and adobo every time we have a pot luck since I brought some before. We know they love them but beats me how come they don't flock to our eateries like flies. Observe the next time you are in a Filipino restaurant as to what needs to be done - knowing the reason could be your key to riches. But there is hope as far as propagating the Filipino cuisine to the American mainstream. Several Filipino-American chefs have been trying to bring the cuisine to the American palates. We have Chef Larry Banares, a San Diego TV and Cable cooking personality to name one multi awarded Filipino chef. He came from a family of chefs, his Philippine-born father, Benny Banares was at one time the executive chef at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Another Filipino chef, Romy Dorotan of Cendrillon Asian Grill & Merienda Bar in SoHo in New York who is promoting our culinary artistry on the east coast.Though the name says 'Asian' in Dorotan's restaurant, its mainly of Filipino influence.In San Francisco area, several Filipino chefs are busy introducing the Filipino cooking with the likes of Enrique Gatchalian, executive chef of Betelnut and Phil Estipular, free lance chef and a Certified Teaching Chef at the HomeChef Cooking School. And us, by taking our famous dishes to company potlucks and serving them to our non Filipino friends in our parties. It will be sooner than we think that we will have to hustle for a table with non Filipino patrons in our favorite restaurants - the price of discovery. But for now, go easy on that 'lechon '(roast pig) and save some of those crispy balat (roasted pig's skin) for me. Interesting Links:
Filipino Recipes in this website Chef Larry's Cuisine Club at 'Discover San Diego' site Chef Phil Estipular
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