Filipino food the next new trend?

What do you know about Filipino food, I believe it is the forgotten little sibling of the South East Asian cuisine. The reputation it has now, you might say that it is more of a distant cousin. Many have tried it, but they just know it is Filipino.

Pancit canton, click on the picture for the recipe

The palate of Filipino cuisine is entirely its own, relying on acids and sweetness perhaps more than any other cuisine. It in this cuisine that flavors don’t blend together so much as sit atop one another, lifting each up into an addictive symphony of tangy, salty, sweet and sometimes bitter. The dishes range from very simple food to complex meals.  Dishes like fried salted dried fish or crispy anchovies, crispy golden slices of spam sandwiched between white bread with fried egg to lechón, kaldereta, kare kare, puchero,  pinakbet sinigang, and many more. Our cuisine is as diverse as there are ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines, and are closely related to the Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. You might say it is the original fusion. The Filipino cooking style has evolved from their pre colonial dishes to a mixed of flavours from Spain, India, China, Japan, America and the Pacific Islands.

Analiza Gonzales, Kare kare, Fiipino, Ox tail, Peanut, Beef and peanut stew
Kare-kare, beef and peanut stew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Renown chefs like  Andrew Zimmerman and the late Anthony Bourdain has booth predicted that Filipino cuisine is going to be the next new trend.  Actually they said it to be the next American food trend. No matter, when it is popular there, the rest of the world is soon to follow.

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He pointed out that Filipinos “were able to assimilate and Americanize very easily and very quickly.”

“I think Filipinos embraced America and were embraced by America in a way that other cultures might not have been,” said Bourdain. “I think Filipinos in America maybe underrated their own food. They used to be mocked for balut.

Kaldereta, Spanish inspired dish. Click on the picture for the recipe

I did not grow up in America, but in Norway, and I think Bourdain is right, we assimilate and learn the new culture quickly. I have not seen or heard of a Filipino town yet, but we do group together at party’s and other happy events. I think he also is right about underrating our own food, and until lately I have, but it is not because of the balut.  And yes, some of the dishes will easily take root than others. Kare kare is one of them in my mind.

Our food is so similar to the rest of Asia, but yet different. One might say that the different cuisines have been Filipinized the way the different cuisines from around the world has been adjusted to the palates of the people of the country it has been introduced to. I have eaten gyros in California, Norway, Germany, Greece, Hong kong and South Korea, there have been slight differences but the one that was far from the others was the one in South Korea. And no, I have not tried gyros in the Philippines.

Chicken bbq, marinade made with banana ketchup, Click on the picture for the recipe

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He particularly likes sisig, which is made from the snout, jowl, ear and tongue of a pig, which he believes will lead the charge in Filipino cuisine’s rising international recognition.

“I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole,” he said, adding that he thinks the dish is “casual, accessible, exactly what you need after a few beers.

“I think it’s the most likely to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that’s the one that’s gonna hook them.”

I personally belive that Filipino cuisine has already won the hearts of many, as I wrote earlier, they just do not know it is Filipino.

Lecon Cebuano, Lecho, Pork, Filipino, filipinsk
Lechon Cebuano, click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino cuisine is pork heavy, but a natural abundance of seafood and tropical fruit has given rise to dishes that are light without being bland. We often use pineapple in our marinades and mango is often eaten as a side dish with bagoong, an umami-rich fermented krill condiment native to the Philippines. Or tilapia sinigang, a delicate soup for which whitefish is poached in sour tamarind broth alongside fresh greens like water spinach and bok choy.

Sinigang, Filipino, Filipinsk, Tamarind. Salmon
Sinigang, tamarind based soup. Click on the picture to get the recipe

Do you know of any Filipino dishes or have you tried any?

I have a few favorites, Sinigang is one of them wich is similar to Malayan Singgang Serai. Sinigang is also one of my childrens favorites. In Norwgian we used to call it(I still do) “got a suppe” When my oldest son was about two he could not say “Det var en god suppe”. He was trying to tell me that the soup was yummy. The sinigang in the picture above has been norwgianized, I have used salmon.

As in many Asian countries, Filipino food is also free of dairy or gluten, making it suitable for a many diets and health regimens. The reliance on vinegar as a condiment renders Western sauces full of sodium and fat redundant. This in itself should be seen as a welcome addition to any table.


Mung bean strew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino meals are traditionally eaten family style, allowing the cuisine to slide seamlessly into the trend of sharing plates and communal dining. At a fiesta in the Philippines you would often see meals decked on banana leaves covering the whole table, and we eat with a fork and spoon or with our hands.

Tosilog, tocino, sinagag(garlic fried rice) and Itlog(egg). Clik on the picture to get to the recipe.

Writing this I can not say that Norway have many Filipino restaurants to boost of. I have been to one in Oslo, but sad to say it will just be that one visit. I might be just picky or maybe it was their quality of cooking and menu, too many other Asian dishes. Having said this there are a lot of successful Filipino chefs and restauranteurs in Norway. Chefs and restaurants that get great revues, but none cook or serve Filipino food, only at home.

Filipino mussel soup. Click on the picture for the recipe

Last Filipino independence day celebration in Oslo there was one stand serving really nice barbequed beef, but unfortunately open to the public this one day or through catering. The people behind this stand have started up a bakery that makes Filipino buns and breads, Bread’n butter So far it is made to order, but this coming fall they will open a shop in Oslo. I will get back to this later.

Champorado, rice porridge with chocolate, came about after trade with Mexico. Click on the picture for the recipe.

Looking at the different pictures I have posted, many of you might say “I have tried that”. Did you know they were Filipino? As I have written earlier they are similar to Asian cuisine, but yet different.

I hope I have caught your curiosity and would like to try more Filipino food. If you click HERE you will find the rest of my Filipino recipes

Palitaw, sticky rice treat with coconut and sugar, click on the picture for the recipe