Filipino cuisine is distinguished by its
bold combination of sweet (tamis), sour
(asim) and salty (alat) flavors.
“Counterpoint” is a feature in
Philippine cuisine, which normally
comes by pairing something sweet
with something salty, and results in
surprisingly pleasing combinations.
Examples include champorado (a sweet
cocoa rice porridge) paired with tuyo
(salted, sun-dried fish); dinuguan (a
savory stew made of pig’s blood and
innards) paired with puto (sweet,
steamed rice cakes); unripe fruits such
as mangoes dipped in salt or bagoong;
and the unusual use of cheese in sweet
cakes (such as bibinka and puto) as well
as an ice cream flavoring.
Popular fruits in the culture are bananas
(the saba variety, in particular),
kalamansi, guavas, mangoes, papayas
and pineapples. Mainstay green leafy
vegetables are water spinach (kangkong),
Chinese cabbage, malungay, napa
cabbage and cabbage. Such other
vegetables as eggplant and yard-long
beans are just as commonly used.
Coconuts are ubiquitous. Coconut meat
is often used in desserts, coconut milk in
sauces and coconut oil for frying.
Also abundant are such root crops as
potatoes, carrots, taro, cassava, purple
yams and sweet potatoes.
Tamarind is used in many ways,
including in pangat, prepared with
vegetables and a souring agent to make
sinigang, simmered in vinegar and
peppers to make paksiw, or roasted over
hot charcoal or wood (inihaw).
Popular dishes include lechon baboy
(whole roasted pig), longanisa
(Philippine sausage), tapa (cured
beef), torta (omelet), adobo, kaldereta
(meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado
(larded beef in soy and tomato sauce),
puchero (beef in bananas and tomato
sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork
simmered in a tomato sauce with
vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail cooked
in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha
squash, eggplant, beans, okra and
tomato stew flavored with shrimp
paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s
leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in
pineapple sauce), sinagang (meat or
seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles)
and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).
Sauces or condiments include bagoong
(fermented tiny fish), patis (fish sauce),
puso, rendang and kare-kare. Coconut
milk is infused in such condiments as
laing and ginataang manok (chicken
stewed in coconut milk).
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS the philippines
above: There’s always a selection
of fresh fish at the farmers market.
This dish from Blue Carabao Diner,
Davao City, is simple, yet delicious.
The sweet aromatic meal is suitable
for all occasions.
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 kg. pork tenderloin
50 ml. soy sauce
50 ml. oyster sauce
3 pieces star anise
2 bay leaves
1T. black pepper
500 ml. water
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 green bell pepper, quartered
Caramelize sugar. Mix sugar, pork,
soy sauce, oyster sauce, star anise,
bay leaves, pepper and water in
deep frying pan on low to medium
heat for 20 minutes. Add peppers in
last couple of minutes of cooking.
Serve on a bed of steamed rice.