When visiting a new country, its food and culture are some of the top points for research. This should be stressed even more if you’re thinking about going to the Philippines, where Filipino food is a culture in itself.
Although we have our meals every day, Filipinos find it a very important part of their daily lives. Food is not only for nutrition, but as a means of interaction as well. To them, it is not enough that they welcome guests into their home – these guests must eat with them. Every celebration that you can think of is done with a wealth of food for everyone – even those who were not formally invited. Even Filipino soap operas make significant changes in the plot within family dinners.
If you want to successfully get in touch with Filipinos, the best way is to dine with them and enjoy doing so. Thankfully, that’s not really hard to do, since Filipino food is great! They have a knack for taking what might be a boring dish in your culture, and turning it into something unique to what you’ve experienced before. With the right spices and other ingredients that are native to the country, the Filipino correlation to your uninteresting soup could be their famous sinigang or tinola, and those bland crops and vegetables become the amazing pinakbet or kare kare.
This is because the Filipino food and culture have a taste for a wide variety of spices. They also love their salted dishes every now and then – these things are great for building up your appetite!
Fruit lovers will also find the Philippines a haven. As a tropical country, their fruits almost never go out of season.
In the Philippines, you will also learn to appreciate rice. No meal will ever be called a meal without it. As an agricultural country, the Philippines is the largest producer (and importer) of rice in the world. Almost all Filipino dishes are intended to be eaten with rice. Sauce is another staple to meal time, whether the dish is cooked in its own sauce, or a separate sauce is provided for dipping.
Utensils at meal time are hardly ceremonial. In fact, the Filipino way of eating is with bare hands – even in public places! This is a sign of comfort and camaraderie with the people one is eating with, or simply that food is literally finger-licking good. Note that, as a stark contrast within the Filipino food and culture, homes have huge wooden spoons and forks as a common display in the dining room.
Aside from the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Filipinos also enjoy their midmorning and midafternoon merienda. These meals are supposed to be snacks in between meals, but sometimes they serve so much that they count as full meals as well. Filipinos also have a practice of not letting any food go to waste, so they make it a point to always serve leftovers in the next meal. Leftovers can either be served the same as the original dish, or mixed into a new dish entirely.
Lastly, you’ll want to take note of the favorites in the Filipino food and culture. You will always find lechon at every special occasion. Filipinos also love their ube and halo-halo for dessert or snacks. There’s so much more, but don’t worry. Chances are, the Filipinos you’ll be going with will make sure you don’t miss any of it.