The Filipino Taste- National Foods of the Philippines
Made up of a collection of 7,000 or thereabout islands, the Philippines is famed for its delicacies and sumptuous cuisines. Lechon, Adobo, Bistek, Sinigang and Lumpia are just but a few of these much fancied cuisines and are all guaranteed to make your taste buds go gu-gu gaga. A finger-licking experience you will live to remember.
Lechon also referred to as “litson” is a whole spit-roasted suckling pig, basically the main attraction in any fiesta/celebration. This delicious meal is arrived at by first stuffing the pig with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves and lemongrass. The next step is to slow roast it, mainly through hand-turning over hot coals for a couple of hours. Once the skin is reddish-brown, crispy and the inside flesh is tender and full of flavor, your lechon is ready to be served. A serving of a thick liver sauce simmered with vinegar, sugar and herbs is recommended for greater enjoyment.
Adobo, a name of Spanish origin meaning “marinade/sauce/seasoning” , refers to the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. It’s the one dish you must have if you are a visitor here, in order to claim you were indeed here. It’s prepared from an array of ingredients that include chicken, pork, squid (pusit) or vegetables that have been stewed in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf. The dish is browned in oil first then simmered in the marinade. Further browning can be done using the oven, pan-frying, deep-frying or grilling to achieve those yummy crisped edges. Despite meat being an integral part of the ingredients, the dish isn’t restricted to this. Once cooked it is served with white rice.
Sinigang is another Filipino dish which is basically a slightly sour soup served with rice. It is safe to say it is considered the national soup of the Philippines. Made by souring unripe guavas, tamarind leaves and flowers, kamias and tomatoes. The sinigang is of different varieties depending on the ingredients, for instance, there is sour vegetable soup with fish (sinigang na isda) and sour vegetable soup with pork (sinigang na baboy). Enjoy with a San Miguel Beer, the national drink of the Philippines.
Lumpia is the Filipino version of the “egg rolls”. It is normally served as a side dish or preferably as an appetizer. An example is the lumpiang sariwa, “fresh spring roll”, made from minced ubod (coconut heart), flaked chicken, crushed peanuts, sweet potatoes and jicama as an extender. It’s then put into a double wrapping of lettuce leaf and yellowish egg. The condiment sauce is made from chicken or pork stock, a starch mixture, crushed roasted peanuts and fresh garlic. Frying isn’t recommended.
Bistek (Filipino beef steak) is another popular dish made with thinly sliced beef, cooked in soy sauce and lemon juice then garnished with fresh onion rings. Beforehand, the meat is first marinated with Kalamansi juice, soy sauce, black pepper and msg or vetsin. Next it is quickly pan fried just until cooked and topped with the onion rings.
A taste of each one of these dishes will provide you some insight into the cuisine of the Philippines so be sure to enjoy the Filipino Taste!