Before Filipino food became the global trendsetter it is today, Serious Eats examined what sets it apart. In an article by Drew Lazor, the culinary influences in Philippine history are shown to be one of many reasons. Key takeaways:
The Philippine’s history is shaped by the Spanish, who introduced Iberian ingredients to early Filipinos; by the Chinese, who contributed their spicy specialties; and by American products and tastes. These and other international influences contributed to Filipino fusion cuisine.
Regionality also plays a huge role in Filipino cooking, as the Philippines are a geographically divisive country populated by dozens of ethnic groups.
Vinegar is a mainstay in every Filipino kitchen. Used for marinating, braising, and glazing, as well as a table dip for entrées and pulutan (drinking snacks like chicharrón), vinegar is also the backbone of adobo, the Philippines’ most lauded dish.
Bananas, plantains, and coconuts are cherished staples. (Banana ketchup is a favorite in many homes.) Fish is a universal Filipino passion and pork the national dish. Vegetarians like pinakbet, a stew which blends eggplant, string beans, ampalaya (bitter melon) with coconut milk (gata).
The best cooking is found in Filipino homes, where a love of family-style meals prevails.
That just scratches the surface. Read Serious Eats’ complete article here: Coconut, Vinegar, and a Whole Lotta Pork: An Introduction to Filipino Cuisine.
Pictured: A Filipino party platter.