The influences in Filipino cuisine cannot be ignored or taken for granted. Like other countries, the unique flavor of each region of the Philippines is largely due to local influences. When people talk about a certain type of dish, they are usually referring to that specific regional food. For example, Soysas or sweet potatoes have many Sulu influences, and the fruit itself has influences from the other parts of the country. The Soysas or sweet potatoes of Cebu have a tangy after taste because of the vinegar they are soaked in, while in Mindanao, they are eaten raw, and the after taste is more intense and meaty.
If we were to focus on just one type of regional food from Filipino cuisine, it would be the Taino. It has a very distinct flavor, which can either be sweet or salty. It originated in the province of Sagada in the Northern Philippines. The most common preparation for this dish is a thin slice of crisp pork skin or fillet of wild game, cut into short strips. It can also be served as a condiment, like soymilk, or as a side dish with some mild sausages.
Another famous Japanese influenced dish is Baguio. This dish is called “Baguio” or “chard cake” in the South because of its appearance: a basket full of ripe fruits stacked high. The main course for this dish is usually an apple, cooked in a pig’s stomach. Another Singaporean dish, Bakulak, is a sweet pancake made from glutinous rice flour, egg, and eggs. The finished product is very rich and sticky pancakes which must not be eaten cold.
A big part of Filipino cuisine is seafood. In Mindanao, for example, Filipinos are fond of eating Chinese-style seafood called malabasco. It is made by boiling white fish and white potatoes with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and white sugar in a coconut shell for about an hour. Served with various meats, vegetables, and flavors, malabasco is a popular delicacy for the Filipinos.
Aside from seafood, another big influence of Filipino cuisine is fruit. The Philippines is known for its dried fruits (mung, ingot, andang) and desserts (port, kawlp, mango, Malabar, and pandan). All these desserts are created from sugarcane, a sweet liquid obtained from sugar cane, processed in different ways in the Philippines. The sweets are then painted with colors to improve their appeal among the Filipinos. This long history of mixing and matching fruits and other ingredients to make different desserts reflects the chef’s ingenuity in the Philippines.
Another big influence of Filipino cuisine is Chinese. Some of the most popular dishes include Chinese-style soups such as jook butternut soup, chicken pho, and san men soong. Chow mein, fried wheat noodles, and Hokkien are some other Chinese influences in Filipino cooking. In addition to these dishes, Chinese influence can also be seen in such foods as Cantonese noodles, Chinese noodles, dim sum, and baht, all eaten at traditional Chinese restaurants. The Chinese influence on Filipino food is quite strong, yet there have been times when Filipinos themselves developed their culinary styles.
One of Filipino cuisine dishes is the liver spread, which is a concoction of vegetables including beans, onions, garlic, coriander, chili, and tomatoes. This delicious dish is always served during meals. However, you can also find many versions of the liver spread in many hotels, restaurants, homes, and even in supermarkets as a quick fix for the day. For a more authentic version of the liver spread, you can substitute a pork rind and onion for the onions and coriander in this recipe.
Fish sauce, one of the most important influences in Filipino food, is made from anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and trout or shellfish. You can also use tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, salt, and white pepper for this dish. This delicious Filipino dish is usually served with steamed rice and fish as the main course. Some people even prefer to have fish and rice served together as a complete meal. Although the influences of these two ingredients mentioned above are the core ingredients of a Filipino dish, Filipinos are also known to add onion, garlic, and vinegar in combination with the spices mentioned above.