Filipino food is typically eaten with rice, using a fork and spoon, or traditionally with your hands (kamayan)
Filipino cuisine reflects its centuries of colonization and foreign influences. Traditional Filipino cooking originally just involved boiling, grilling, roasting and steaming. It has since evolved to a cuisine predominantly Spanish-based but fused with Asian influences. The Chinese brought us soy sauce, noodles, frying and stir frying; while, the Spaniards brought us cattle, grains, tomatoes, potatoes and other staples. Spain, which ruled the Philippines for over 300 years, is its strongest culinary influence.
Filipino cuisine is so diverse it is hard to describe with just one dish or with just one word. Ask almost any Filipino to describe Filipino food and they will usually have a hard time. Common dishes are meat stews and vegetables, grilled fishes, and a wide variety of soups and noodles. Vinegar is common among many Filipino dishes as both a marinade and a condiment. And the Philippines has no shortage of vinegars: coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, cane vinegar, palm vinegar -- basically, if we found something that had natural sugars in it, we fermented a vinegar out of it. Whereas, bagoong and patis, fermented shrimp paste and fish sauce are very common salting agents used to flavor foods.
Unlike their Southeast Asian neighbors, most Filipinos do not eat chili-hot dishes. Yet, many dishes from the southern region, which is predominantly Muslim, are distinguished by their use of chili and coconut milk, similar to Indonesian, Malay and Thai foods. Thus, Filipino food can be defined by its combination of sour, sweet, salty and spicy...sometimes all in the same dish. Filipino culture and traditions revolve around food, it brings people and communities together, so much that it is common to greet someone with 'have you eaten yet?' instead of 'how are you?' Filipino food is typically eaten with rice, using a fork and spoon. And traditionally, by kamayan (with your hands).
FOOD, CULTURE and MEMORIES
Our culture influences our food which creates our memories. And as an American-born Filipino, we also share a bi-cultural experience of bridging our two cultures. Bringing passion, culinary expertise and cultural pride, Pampalasa celebrates and shares our Filipino American cooking with all of you. For some, whether it's your Tito (uncle) Junior prodding you to sing karaoke after dinner or your Tito Boy telling you to "pull my pinger" after a meal, Filipino food, as with all cultures, always reminds us of family and our community gatherings. And for those who have experienced the Filipino culture, it is a reminder of how much food and memory are connected, even within a diverse and evolving mainstream community that is San Francisco. Feel free to ask us how to eat Filipino food with a fork and spoon!
We look forward to celebrating our culture with all of you. ~PAMPALASA
photo credit: SINE68 FILMS