Exploring the Filipino’s Influence in Its Love Affair with Food

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pancitThe Filipinos’ love for food is one belief that is undeniably true. Every region offers at least two unique specialties each. Due to the country’s rich history, different cultures influenced the local cuisine and resulted in a whole new level of gastronomic experience. Foreigners and locals alike claim that Filipino food reflects the country’s culture, traditions, and lifestyle.

Filipinos already have methods and recipes of their own before foreign cultures came in. A great deal of influence poured in when the natives started trading with other countries.Here are just a few of the cultures that contributed to the Pinoy’s well-celebrated cuisine:

1. Malay – One distinct characteristic of Pinoy cuisine is the use of the bagoong or shrimp paste. This exotic flavoring for local dishes like pinakbet and kare-kare came from Malay-Indonesian countries. Aside from that, they also shared the use of coconut milk in cooking dishes, which also became a common ingredient for a Filipino’s everyday meal.

2. Chinese – Probably the most prevalent influence in Filipino cuisine is the Chinese culture. Chinese traders transacted with natives even before the Spanish Era and shared delicacies like pancit, lumpia, siopao, and siomai. This connection eventually gave birth to multitudes of Filipino-Chinese eateries and restaurants in the country. One example is Classic Savory, which perfectly captures the fusion of the two cultures with their delectable menu.

3. Spanish/Mexican – Spain’s colonization of the Philippines not only affected the local recipes, but also the eating habits. Apart from the more lavish use of spices, the Spaniards also introduced the concept of merienda. The culture welcomed recipes that are more complicated, not just for regular meals, but also for snacks like leche flan and empanada. Provinces like Ilocos, Cebu, and Zamboanga have more Spanish influence than the rest of the country. These regions provide a more authentic take on this culture’s influence on the local cuisine.

People say that when you want to learn more about a country, you have to experience its food – not just by eating, but also by discovering the culture and tradition behind the food. The Filipino food greatly exemplifies this concept. When you eat Pinoy, you get more than food. You will understand its culture, and best of all, the unmatched hospitality.