Eating. More Fun in the Philippines.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
Florante P. Tangonan
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.
Hello Lolo! Oh I would never make you wait in line for a book! You would have an autographed copy delivered straight to your doorstep if ever I were to publish a tome on our food heritage (scribbling down the Joys of Mangan Tayon for possible later usage.) I love you always and thank you for making me feel so loved and special.
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
Foodporn every damn day! Yea Filipino food is really similar to Spanish food because we were colonized by the Spaniards!! And you’re so right on that about how connected everyone is in terms of what we share. Look at you always being poignant 😛 I gotta use more emojis in these posts! I forgot how fun it is to communicate in images (says the graphic designer :P)
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!
I used to live and teach in Korea myself! Whereabouts are you now? I was in Daejeon this past year. I think Korean food culture is slightly different in comparison to Filipino food. Its not as warm and its more about reaffirming friendships and relationships rather than about family time. Would you agree? What was the best thing you tried on your trip to the Philippines?
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.
Hahaha Filipinos love their pork! Going to Korea was an absolute dream for me given my affinity for eating the bovine. And there is an eclectic number of Filipino dishes… I don’t even think Ive tried them all my self. I’m actually going to TBEX Asia this year! We should meet for sure! 😀 😀 😀 I’ll take you out for some amazing food!
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!
You nailed it right on the head! Yes, food is a way of life in the Philippines and I want everyone to know that about the culture. Also Peach Mango Pie is the stuff dreams are made of. If you can get your hands on it ever, DO IT!
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
Awww Salwa, thank you for that very sweet compliment. You need to go to the Philippines with an empty stomach and half your current size so that everything you gain is not “additional” 😛
I loved that you mentioned food being a love language. I couldn’t agree more, we should petition to add that to the book!
I actually love the Love Languages school of though and I think that they totally should add food as a means to communicate love! Petition with me?
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 🙂