Filipino cuisine provides a very powerful culinary history of the Philippines and its foreign influences. It basically shares the important timelines of the foreign settlers, colonizers, and missionaries who left quite an irresistible culinary impression from the simplest meal to elaborated preparations during fiestas. These Filipino dishes that define the Philippines are well-loved by the locals, even if you can find most of them being sold on the street food karenderias.
The combination of sour, sweet, salty and spicy dishes along with the soy sauce dip with calamansi have evolved over several centuries, always present in the table and are part of our Filipino culture. In my island, the dips are guaranteed to make you drool!
Funny how thinking about Philippine foods amazingly gives me that kind of boost needed to create and write articles for this blog. Are my endorphins giving me a runner’s high merely browsing on these Pinoy cuisine images? You may be right, because imagining Humba cooked the native way, makes me drool already.
Why eating a lot of Pinoy foods cooked the native way taste so good? If I go home for the barrio fiesta to my home town, I usually just stay in the kitchen and talk to the chefs there and wait for the food to be cooked so I can have the first bite.
My mom used to hire several people from the remote areas in our place to cook for the San Miguel fiesta celebration. Remote means, you have to ask somebody to climb some mountains to where they live and ask them to come down and cook.
Photos taken December 24 2014
They have no mobile phones and messages are being carried by people they know who may be able to see them anytime by chance. Yes, that is how difficult it is to reach them, so you have to make an agreement when they come to the city and cook for you during the fiesta.
Every year, these uncertified chefs from the provinces, prepare the same recipe and every year I waited for the moment to get the first bite of their cooking. But, that was years ago. Now that I moved to the city, everything else has changed here. The lifestyle in the city is far different from what I happened to grow up in the province.
For clarification of those who do not know what a fiesta or fiesta celebration is, let me briefly define it here. Fiesta is a Spanish word for a religious festival in honor of a saint.
The festive celebration, which is usually a local holiday, was introduced to the Filipinos when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines eons of years ago. That is the origin of the fiesta carnival here in the Philippines.
The Philippines Department of Tourism has even exemplified the fact that foreigners coming to the Philippines for even a short visit should be ready to put on extra pounds when they indulge in Filipino dishes, especially the home cooked ones. Because part of the Filipino culture and hospitality is to let you eat when you visit their houses.
Photos taken January 6 2017
Photo taken January 6 2016
When people asked if you have eaten and offered you food, you are expected to eat the food! Not eating would be an insult. It means, the food is not good enough for you and you can be perceived as a social snob. That is why you grow fat touring in the islands, because you need to eat whatever and whenever food is being offered.
Most main dishes are made with chicken, pork, fish or seafood flavored with coconut milk, patis, spices, lemon, hot chilies, bay leaves, and garlic. You should try my favorites
Lechon baboy is a Visayan dialect (I am in Cebu, remember?) for roasted pork cooked whole outside the house using a bamboo stick. No family gathering is complete without a roasted pig at the table. It often serves as the core dish during fiesta celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other special occasions.
If you want to order one whole lechon baboy in Cebu, just message me and I will facilitate it for you for a small service fee. Please give me two weeks’ notice so I can inform my business partner. Just comment here, or message SMS to 0998 561 4066.
Here in the Philippines, Cebu has gained wide recognition as the “island with the best tasting lechon baboy”. Across the 7,106 islands of the Philippines, people sometimes order lechon baboy here in Cebu and have them delivered through plane. Imagine that? Should I say I am lucky am here?
Whenever you hear about the Queen City of the South, that is Cebu. Many lechon makers in Manila are actually from Cebu.
In Cebu, from corner to corner, especially during Sundays, you can see these lechon baboy vendors lining up as early as 6am. This is just in time for families who go to the beach. They usually bring lechon baboy and puso as the main course for lunch along with the sinugbang baboy and isda.
You may want to read about the funny origin of the lechon baboy. Actually, in China, a barn got burned and all the pigs were not able to escape from the fire. The barn owner smelled something good from the ruins and found out they were the pigs that were totally roasted from the fire. When he tasted the crisp and golden skin of the pig, he realized it was not only aromatic, but also delicious. So, when he wanted to eat lechon, he set up a barn, set it on fire, and burn the pig inside. Such a story yeah?
That was just the funny part of the story to amuse you. Seriously, a huge part of the influence came from the Spanish colonization. 300 hundred years of being under their regime, the Filipinos had adapted by heart their cuisine, strict domestic discipline, and their fiesta festivities. One of which is eating a lechon baboy during the fiesta celebrations.
I prefer to eat lechon the truly native Filipino way – my hands. It tastes so much better this way. No spoon and fork, just hands and that sauce. Goodness, I am drooling as I am writing this article now.
The puso and the lechon baboy can be so addictive, you would want to eat this every Sunday. Eat it hot and girl, you’ll be seated over an hour just eating and slurping the sauce right from your fingers. Make sure to wash your hands before you eat ha ha.
I am not sure what’s with the fingers and the lechon baboy that makes the combination perfect for savoring the lechon’s dripping sauce, especially if you dip the pork and the puso to the dripping sauce coming from the roasted pork. It is like a taste of heaven!
Photos taken March 28 2015
Humba is the Visayan counterpart of the mainstream adobo pork. Just like the adobo, there are many ways to cook this, but the most tasty ones are the recipes of the people from the remote areas in the provinces. Humba can be done using pork singly or combined it with chicken.
Humba is a stewed pork dish that tastes sweet, sour, and salty. You have to simmer it until all the sauce thickened and the pork becomes tender.
One secret I have in cooking humba is to pan fry and really wait until all the oil in the pork comes out. This is good for lunch and dinner.
Please eat with lots of rice ready or you get disappointed having to wait for your additional rice to get cooked. When you eat this dish, you need a lot of rice he he.
This dish is something you cook when you are ready to fence yourself with the hot oil popping out of the casserole. Lechon kawali is a crispy, fried pork belly that has been boiled first and then deep fried.
The exterior of the meat is salty and extra crispy, while the interior is tender and moist with fat and juicy meat. The mild tartness of the cane vinegar cuts through the fat just enough to make eating a whole plate of fried pork a dangerously simple task.
You have to achieve that much coveted crackling by continuously sprinkling cold water into the sizzling hot oil while you deep fry the meat. This is the time when I hide under the table and get my working space clear of anything so I can run when the oil is trying to burn me ha ha.
Actually, it was my mom cooking and I am watching at her back standing on a chair. My childhood was such fun as I remember it now. I practically jump out of the chair and run under the kitchen table when the hot oil starts to shoot like an erupting volcano.
Lechon manok bisaya
Lechon manok is a roasted native chicken cooked just like the way you cook lechon baboy. Just cook it on the fire outside the house and not in an oven.
If you are in the Philippines, you cannot find native chicken in the grocery store. You have to ask someone who is from the province to help you find and buy a manok bisaya.
Manok bisaya taste very differently from the regular chickens sold in the grocery store. With the right seasoning, one person can eat one whole chicken in one setting.
Depending on the size of the native chicken, I can eat 1 and a half. Just being truthful. Duh, nothing to hide. Just so you know, I love our native dishes here.
If you want to have a tour of the native foods and Filipino dishes here in Cebu, please message 0998 561 4066 for booking and arrangement, plus my fee.
The native chicken is the best choice than the commercially grown chicken. This dish has captivated the taste buds of the locals, but is usually hard to get.
This chicken is juicy, crisp and tender to the bite. Depending on the cooking technique, there can be a big difference in the way you make the compelling flavor and texture unique and unusual to the taste.
The manok bisaya is smaller than the broiler chickens, but are more tasty. They make one delectable lechon manok bisaya!
Manok bisaya sabaw
Manok bisaya sabaw is also referred as tinolang manok cooked the native way. In English, you can call this native chicken soup. Native chicken is a market niche in the Philippines.
Specialty buyers prefer these birds for a reason, and one is that it tastes so much better than the commercially grown chicken. If you are a foreigner looking for a farming venture, you can lease a lot and grow native chickens. This is a low cost poultry farming venture with very low capital investment.
There are restaurants here that serve the native chickens to their patrons, but because many farmers in the Philippines ignore them for the more intensive and profitable commercial varieties, it is not easy to source them these days. If you can find any, it would cost a lot.
Generally, the farmers would just let these chickens roam around their area and let the chickens take care of themselves. There is no standardized production model and quality care of the products, except that they were all home grown and feeding themselves from an environment friendly backyard.
Tinolang manok is a stew cooked with green papaya, ginger, chili leaves, bay leaves, and other flavoring. This usually gives you a great feeling of fullness and satisfaction, with much sweating due to the hot soup. Advise you bring a face towel when you set out to eat a tinolang manok.
This is very delicious. Back at home, my father used to raise ducks and cook them whenever one of the siblings has a birthday to celebrate. The ducks are being cook similar to the way you cook the humba, but are very satisfying to the taste.
My brother used to make a story about the ducks eating and slurping anything from the canal so we lose our appetite eating the dish and he ends up eating everything ha ha. Smart move eh?
Not many people eat ducks here in the Philippines, because they are kind of a special dish due to poorer source of the duck meat. However, there are a few you can visit to eat ducks here. The best one is to ask a friend to cook for you.
The Bam-i is a combination of the pancit and sotanghon cooked with shelled or peeled shrimps, parsley, mushrooms, chicken, chorizo Bilbao, and many more. This Cebuano noodle dish is very common among the street venders. Depending on the ingredients, you can eat a good in less cost. If you want all the ingredients, you can do the cooking yourself. It is very easy. Just run to YouTube for the recipe. Hate cooking? No problem, if you are in Iligan City and wish to order, please message 0998 561 4066. I have a business partner there too.
Crispy pata is a famous Philippine dish that uses the whole of a pork leg. The leg or pata is made tender by simmering in water along with the other spices.
It is then rubbed with seasonings and deep fried until the texture becomes very crispy. This crunchy dish can be eaten as the main dish along with an achara.
Native restaurants sell a whole crispy pata from P400 to P600. This is not easy to cook, so you better go to the restaurant and just order than burn your hand.
It is best eaten with a good dipping sauce. The dipping sauce makes everything perfect and unique to the taste. Sometimes, you may get this confused with the lechon kawali. Remember, the crispy pata is the pork leg, while the lechon kawali is the pork belly cut in bigger portions.
If you are in Iligan City, you can also order Crispy Pata from my partner, just message 0998 561 4066. Payment upfront.
I am already running into 12 pages so I will stop here. They are my favorites so I wrote them first. I love eating, but for sure they give you an increase of cholesterol and the possibility of a heart attack ha ha. Just look at the recipes.
Mindlessly, we eat them still, because they are really super yummy and addictive. Now we all agree on one thing, it is mom’s cooking that lands you in a hospital! Ssshh, don’t tell mom he he. There are many panlasang Pinoy restaurants in Cebu, but mom’s cooking has always produced the best Filipino dishes that define the Philippines and its islands.