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Food Finds Fun Philippines

Credit for original gif: SF Chronicle

Here are 5 reasons why eating Filipino food is more fun in the Philippines!

The country’s tourism slogan, ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ is attached to everything from carpools (think jeepneys) to chasing sunsets (insert Boracay beach pic here) and even to chocolate (as in the hills of Bohol, as in “chocolate” meat… get it???) But no concept warrants the tagline more so than the concept of eating Filipino food.

Interested in learning more about the Philippines? Click here for a complete country guide to The Philippines.

1. Filipino food is a lifestyle.

If there’s one thing that’s been hardwired into every Filipino brain, it’s that we don’t eat to live… we live to eat! In a Filipino household, the dining table is a place of worship, laughter, friendship, and family. It’s our center of gravity. Our livelihoods revolve around the table. We adjust our schedules around mealtimes. If you ask any Filipino what room they spend the most time in at home, I bet they’ll either say the kitchen or dining area. And upon any first encounter with a Filipino, you will definitely be asked a revolving number of food-related inquiries such as,  Are you hungry?, Have you eaten yet?, What do you want to eat,?… Why are you not hungry?! Go eat!!!

More fun in the Philippines

Credit goes to Tumblr.com

2. Our dishes are inventive.

The flavor profile for Filipino dishes is extraordinary and that’s because we like to take risks when it comes to pairing ingredients. Our dishes utilize strange combinations like sour green mangoes dipped in fermented shrimp paste (bagoong) or savory pork belly –the fattiest chunks you can find– cured in a sweet, tangy marinade made from brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. Or how about boiled rice swimming in a sea of chocolate sauce for breakfast (champorado?) Yea, you read that right! You can start your day off with chocolate for breakfast in the Philippines! No judgements here! On the menu at NYC’s Maharlika, where Filipino cuisine has been updated for western eaters, you can find ube (purple yam) waffles with a dollop of bagoong-infused butter, caramelized macapuno (young coconut) syrup and fried chicken.  All of these ingredients are recognizably 100% Filipino even though the recipe itself may not be. We Filipinos invite creativity into our kitchens!

More Fun in the Philippines

The marriage of peach and mangoes was engineered by Filipinos. Learn how to make Jollibee’s peach-mango pie at the Obsessive Cooking Blog.

3. Food is our love language.

Try following this logic – If food is life, and love is life, then food equals love. (Emoji translation: if 🍴=😊 and ❤️ =😊,  then🍴=❤️.) In the Philippines, our foodways are symbolic of our great love for one another. We give food as presents. We eat together to commemorate happy occasions. We even welcome guests with food! For us Filipinos, we share food because we care. It’s a gesture of hospitality and goodwill. My mom proved how much she loved me when she spent almost a week handrolling 300 pieces of lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) for my college graduation, which disappeared in less than an hour after hitting the table. Filipino food, at its best, is always a labor of love. And truly, there’s no sight more endearing than watching Filipinos cook together. In the event of any major milestone, family friends would come over in droves to help prepare for the feast. The sounds of laughter accompany visions of my titos and titas in their borrowed aprons acting as extensions of my grandmother and mother, chopping, stirring, frying, and doing whatever else was asked of them. Food brings people together ❤️.

4. Eating is playful.

Filipino cuisine is not a sophisticated cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. Its gastronomy is rooted in the home and continues to be comfort food, not food for the masses. Maybe it’s the “comfort” factor, but Filipinos are not afraid to let loose when it comes to dining. Imagine a glass of crushed ice. Now throw in some purple yam spread, red beans, coconut gelatin, jackfruit, leche flan and condensed milk. Boom! You got the famous halo-halo, which literally translates to “mix-mix.” It’s like a party in a cup! When we eat kamayan-style, we eat with our bare hands — sans utensils. Its less barbaric than it sounds and is probably one of the most memorably dining experiences you could ever participate in. And our cheekiness shows in the names of street food. Barbecued chicken feet have been christened ‘Adidas’ as they bear an uncanny resemblance to the shoe brand’s logo. Skewered chicken intestines are lovingly called ‘IUDs’. And don’t forget ‘The Walkman,’ aka grilled pig ears. Eating for us is a lively, animated affair almost akin to a sporting event. We cheer each other on, strategically assess what dish to dig into first, and cry when it’s all over. If you’re not enjoying yourself to the fullest when eating, you’re not doing it right.

More Fun in the Philippines

Jollibee, the only fast food establishment in the world that out-competes McDonalds in the local markets, looks like a play place more than a fast food joint

5. When it comes to food, the more the merrier!

Part of the fun of eating Filipino is that there is plenty of food to go around! The overabundance of food at Filipino gatherings alludes to the generous nature of Filipinos. In order to make sure everyone eats well and “feels the love” so-to- speak, we don’t skimp on our servings. Second helpings, third helpings… the sky’s the limit at a Filipino feast! Don’t even utter the words “portion-control.” It’s strictly forbidden. Same goes with “dieting.” A Filipino feast is a pageantry of excess. Usually, you’ll find multiple variations of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and even rice dishes! We Filipinos have a lifetime of experience devouring mass quantities of everything and anything. And we always make sure to leave room for dessert.

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For more fun, #EatFilipino today!

👉 If you’ve tried Filipino food, comment below with your favorite Filipino dishes.

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Millette Pulido is a Bay Area-based, Boston-bred Filipina who loves to vagabond. At 29, the former expat has traded in her nomadic ways for a semi-grounded life in San Jose, CA. Recently married, she's focusing on balancing travel with a full-time job and a destination wedding side hustle, all while planning her honeymoon in 2020. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps. Find out her #wheretonext on Instagram @thenextsomewhere.

Comments:

  • Florante P. Tangonan

    April 7, 2016

    What a writer you are, my dear grand niece! I will be the first on line to buy your first book on the joys of ” mangan tayon” (C’mon, chow time). You are a literary artist, among other artistry.

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  • April 11, 2016

    I love all your foodporn. I had no idea Filipino food was so colorful and flavorful. Some of it looks similar to Spanish and Mexican food because of the pig roast. I always love finding similarities in other cultures around the world. It makes me realize as a people, we are connected by the wind, land and sea. P.s. The emojis are so cute! hahaha

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  • April 11, 2016

    I love spending time in the Philippines and trying the food. I only wish I was able to stay longer and try more deliciousness!! My trip was only for 5 days 🙁 I live and teach in Korea — and it’s very similar with the friends and family gathering aspect. Thanks for this post!

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  • April 11, 2016

    I have so many Filipino friends and they all love to eat, especially one of my colleagues. He is always talking about amazing the pork is from Philippines and the different dishes he eats everyday.

    I would love to visit the country, not just to try the food but to see all those amazing beaches you have there. Hopefully I will be there this year for the TBEX Asia.

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  • April 11, 2016

    I have not had the privilege of trying Filipino food, but you really make it sound that food is more a way of life in the Philippines. I wouldn’t mind trying the Peach n Mango pie!

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  • April 12, 2016

    OMG I never been to the Philippines.. but now I know for sure to go with an empty stomach! Your blog is too much beauty to handle <3

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  • April 13, 2016

    I loved that you mentioned food being a love language. I couldn’t agree more, we should petition to add that to the book!

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  • November 23, 2018

    One of the things I found funny in the beginning there was how you would always be invited to join others in their eating. “Lets Eat” and at times i would almost feel embarassed if I didnt. Especially if i just finished eating, you still get asked “Lets Eat” and im like, but i just ate… 🙂 But yeah, its the culture and how social everyone is. Its nice, but takes a bit of getting used to 🙂

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