A brief history about Philippine cuisine and a recipe for an old favourite!
In pre-Hispanic times Austronesian people occupied the Philippine Islands along with the Negritos. These Austronesians brought with them Malay, Hindu and Islamic cultures. Trading with the Chinese brought on Chinese settlement which also introduced Chinese influences to the islands. This ancestral history evolved with the Spanish and Mexican traditions and today's Philippine culture is a melting pot of these developments.
This is apparent in their gastronomy and general love of food. The Chinese brought the knowledge of rice farming which is now the main staple in Philippine cuisine and the Spanish settlers introduced spices and produce such as chili, tomatoes, corn and garlic, that are now commonly used in their cooking. A common characteristic of Philippine cuisine is the combination of sweet, sour and savoury flavours all at once, in a single dish. Philippine dishes are not only full of flavour but also strong in flavour. Take a trip to the Philippines and book accommodation in Davao city, Mindano, Cainta or a Cebu CBD hotel, and sample regional local specialties such as Satti, rice cakes and Lechon.
In the mean time below is a recipe for a dish called Adobo, which is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines and is considered the national dish. An easy dish to cook and a great way to start your exploration of the Philippine cuisine.
2 lbs pork belly
2 tbsp garlic, minced or crushed
5 pieces dried bay leaves
4 tbsp vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp whole pepper corn
1 cup water
salt to taste
Marinate the pork, soy sauce and garlic for at least 1 hour.
Cook the marinated pork for a few minutes in a heated pot.
Add water, whole pepper corn, and dried bay leaves then bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour
Put-in the vinegar and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes
Add salt to taste
Chicken is also commonly used as a substitute for the pork. In certain places you can even get a seafood Adobo.
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