The Cuisine Of The Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago located in Southeast Asia. It is composed of approximately 7,100 islands, the second largest archipelago before Indonesia. It is bounded by water on all sides, the Pacific Ocean on the east, the West Philippine Sea on the west, the South China Sea on the north and the Sulu and Celebes Seas on the south. It is a tropical country with a mostly temperate climate all year. It only has two seasons during the year, the wet season which is primarily from June to November and the dry season which occurs during the rest of the year.
Most cuisines in the world are influenced by the climate, the history of the land and the immediate environment. It is the same for Philippine cuisine, also known as Filipino cuisine. Filipino recipes have been largely ignored in comparison to the popular and fiery cuisines of its neighbors such as Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia. But it is no less tasty or less gastronomic as these popular cuisines. The Diaspora of Filipino migrants throughout the world also brought about the spread of Filipino Cuisine far and wide. Media attention has also been increasing with the recent rise of the Philippines in the international limelight.
Filipino cuisine is hugely influenced by tropical flavors and the abundant ingredients found in the seas and land of the archipelago. It is also richly flavored by its colonial heritage being ruled by Spain for over 300 years and the Americans and Japanese to a lesser extent. Cultural interchanges with its neighbors from China and Southeast Asia further enriched its already vibrant cuisine. Various seafood, pork, chicken and to a lesser extent, beef appear prominently in Filipino dinner tables.
Among condiments, vinegar and other natural souring agents such as tamarind, soy sauce and coconut milk are prominent flavorings found in Filipino recipes. Visitors to this tropical destination usually return home talking about Adobo, a vinegar based pork or chicken dish. Another popular local dish is Sinigang, a versatile sour soup made from natural souring agents such as tamarind, guava and other local tart fruits and cooked with a wide variety of protein such as pork, fish, shrimps, seafood and vegetables.
Like the Filipino people in general, Filipino recipes may not be as colorful or fiery as other cuisines but it is a cuisine which grows unto you bite after bite. Each bite is tastier than the last one. It draws you in like a friendly acquaintance and later embraces you like a warmly remembered family member. This is the primary reason why Filipino cuisine has been largely ignored. In comparison to other cuisines, it has been described as plain, oily and too salty. It is not a cuisine that invites you to take a first bite through culinary presentation or color but a cuisine that leaves a memory that lingers on long after the meal has gone.
Filipino recipes play a special role in Filipino society and important life events are celebrated through food. When you leave a Filipino dinner table, you do not only leave with a satisfied appetite but a long-lasting impression of warm Filipino hospitality. Filipino cuisine and Filipino recipes are not just a combination of flavors but rather an amalgamation of social experiences.