Saturday, July 2, 2016

Filipino Food

If my Mother was reading this she would want to know what I have eaten. This page is dedicated to her and to Shiff the Chef our ancestor from whom some of us in the family (not me) inherited talents with cooking. 

Let's start with breakfast. Every morning at the convent where we were staying they prepared a very nice breakfast for us. Breakfast is a full meal. There was always rice and then three choices. One was some sort of meat, another was some sort of fish or egg and one was vegetable. The vegetable choice was very limited. 

However, the meal started with fruit and there was amazing fruit. Some mornings there were various types of mangos, other mornings there was a huge slice of papaya, and sometimes there were also bananas. In the Philippines there are a lot of different types of bananas. Our Filipino friends feel sorry for us that we have to get those long bland tasting bananas, but they are the only ones that can survive the transportation.

See this Article on banana varieties from the Huffington Post.

It seemed to me like lunch and dinner were both very similar. There is rice, some sort of meat or fish, and vegetables. We did eat out for lunch and there were sandwiches and salads and pancakes. Several lunches eaten with others included some sort of fish soup. There is a pretty clear looking broth and big pieces of fish including bones, clams in their shells or shrimp.

Often meat is adobo. All kinds of meat can be prepared as Adobo. According to Wikipedia Adobo come from the Spanish adobar which means marinade. Meat, seafood or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. This is then browned in oil and simmered in the marinade. We have had mostly pork adobo.

Some sort of seafood soup has been common with most meals that we have eaten. One lunch we had some sort of fish in broth, at another was a sour soup with another kind of fish. Yesterday we had a soup of clams with the shells and everything in it and later we had soup with shrimp in it.

Here are some things that were new to me:
  • Jackfruit-It was served as part of a main dish cooked in coconut sauce and eaten with rice.
  • Avocado is considered a fruit! Even though I saw them growing on many trees and for sale in markets I don't think I  ever ate any here. In one place that we went at the beach there was an avocado fruit shake. Betty Rae's Ice Cream has an avocado ice cream, so I guess they are on to something.
  • A snack is something totally different than I pictured. At one of Steve's talks there was a break and snack for everyone. Below you see a picture of the snack. I am not sure what it is called. It was sort of a rice porridge with half a fried egg, some pork adobo and some pieces of tongue. It came with lumpia, which was described to me as filipino fried spring roll. 
  • A Filipino (and probably other locations) delicacy is the head of the prawn. My friends debated about cooking the prawns with the heads on or off and decided to leave the heads on. 
Prawns with heads

Filipino Snack
Lucky for me I was trained well to try everything and did not make a scene, but the food was very different for me.

One breakfast I had in a restaurant I decided to order yogurt and fruit. It was a huge plate of really nice looking fruit cut in bite sized pieces and on the side was a container of yogurt. It was delicious

One evening at dinner I ordered "Asian Fried Rice and Chicken" (or something like that). I pictured that I would be getting a stir fry of sorts with rice and bits of chicken and some vegetables. What I got was a bowl of rice and a plate with a large piece of chicken (bone- in) sliced and dipping sauces. I think what is difficult for me is the number of bones and all of the seafood that I am encountering.

A talk about Filipino food would not be complete without mentioning JollyBee, the Filipino version of McDonalds. Filipinos LOVE JollyBee!  

We had a bacon, egg and cheese between two pancakes instead of muffins. Our friends had sausage, eggs and rice.

At another time we had a rice patty and fried chicken. I hear there is one in San Francisco (and probably in most cities where there are Filipinos). 


  1. Do they have lumpia at JollyBee? I don't like all the talk about fish and clams in things. I would like the pork adobo.
    Did you try all the bananas? Are they just sweeter or do they have different flavors/textures? -SS
    I have wondered about Jack Fruit. The picture looks sort of like a sliced kiwi, but then there are things that look like corn kernals next to it. Do you eat the whole fruit (sans skin) or are the kernel things what you eat?

    1. When I went to Jolly Bee I had not yet had Lumpia, so I did not look for it.... Who knows??? We did try some different bananas, but just once and not with others so that there were comparisons. I think I need more time there to try different bananas.

      Jack Fruit is really strange. It is huge, not like Kiwi at all. It is oblong and about 7-12 inches long and 4 inches high???? Maybe a better description would be weight. Here is the Wikipedia entry It says that they can be 80 lbs and 35 in x 20 in!!

      The things that look like corn kernels are actually the fruit and they have a seed in the middle. You can find videos on YouTube about how to eat them. this was a pretty good one. There is a good amount of edible flesh around the seed and that is what you can eat or slice up and cook.

      When I was looking for information about Jackfruit there were sites comparing and contrasting it to Durian. It is not related biologically to Durian and is not as controversial. It came from India and I think Durian came from Asia somewhere. People seem to LOVE or HATE durian. I didn't find so much opinion about Jackfruit!

    2. The utube video was very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. There was another fruit similar to Jackfruit, but much smaller that was falling from trees at the convent. Sister Annie showed them to us and opened one so that we could taste it. They are called santol and are about the size of an orange. You break them in half and they have pods that pop out and you put them in your mouth. There is either sweet or sour flesh around a large seed that you suck on (and enjoy) for a while and then you spit out the seed. It grows wild and kids really like to pick them up during the summer and eat them.