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Tropical Experience Travel Services - Tours of the Philippines
Blog : Top Filipino Food - Part 1
When planning a trip to an exotic and far place, we can classify two extreme kind of tourists: those who want to try absoloutely everything and, there are those who are scared by inconveniencies not wanting to change their habits. Between those two extreme groups, we have a lot more sub-categories. So, if you are planning a trip to the Philippines, it might be helpful to know a bit about the local food habits in advance.
Firstly, be at ease that the Philippines, when it comes to consumer goods, can be considered as one of the most “westernized” Asian Countries: European food choices (pasta dishes are very much available) and American dishes (fast-food, American breakfast). So, the most worried tourists can be relieved, maybe pizza will not be like eating it in Naples, but you can survive without significant problems.
Said this, the Filipino cuisine has great peculiarities and vast choices, and it might be a pity to avoid them. It is a tasty cuisine, very flavored but not exceeding with the use of hot spices or pepper. Dishes are almost always served with white steamed rice, that it is used mostly for “neutralizing” intense flavors or enhance different ones, making the meal more digestible and complete.
Meat is surely the boss, particularly pork and beef. Also chicken is widely used, while it is very difficult to find lamb, turkey or horse meat. Meats are often marinated in soy sauce, giving more or less the same effect of salt and are served with many different types of sauces of vegetable or fish provenience.
Obviously, being a country with more than 7000 islands, fish and all other kinds of seafoods are always fresh and affordable, tasty and easy to find. A fresh catch of crabs, prawns, squids, clam shells, lobsters, octopus, tuna or whatever the vast seas may offer are always available. Though a fresh water breed, the Bangus (Milk Fish) is the most abundant one (it is defined as their national fish), while it is unknown in Europe. It is a fresh water of small-medium size, with a firm and well-defined taste. Usually served already deboned and easy to eat, it can be cooked fried or oven-baked, but even steamed or boiled it can maintain its very interesting taste.
The vegetables are somewhat the same of westernn countries (for instance eggplant, potato, cucumber or cabbage) or they can be completely new for tourists, usually specifically tropical and rich of nutrients. For instance we have Ampalaya (bitter melon very rich of iron and vitamins), Okra, Camote (sweet potato) and Ube, a very tasty a tuber naturally colored of a surprising shiny purple. It is very surprising also that the “Banana heart”, the bloom of bananas before they become the fruit that we usually eat, is great when chopped coarsely and cooked in coconut milk. Very good!
Concluding, aside from the various dessert, a strength is the abundant tropical fruits: coconuts, pineapples and mangos are always very fresh, sweet and affordable. We might talk now about pomelo, durian and much more fruits, but we will keep further explanations in the next posts!
See you soon!
(written on May 2013)