Me, Food and The Philippines

People who know me, knows that I love food. Not in the sense that I love eating like junkie but more like the food itself, just to see the food and know how to make it are making me so happy and blessed. Like a woman find a perfect shoes.

I am not really into shoes or bag. I am really into food. I can talk about food for… for a long time until people get bored. When I meet a new friend from a country where I know nothing about, the first questions pop up is “What is the food there?”, “What is the breakfast?”, “How you make your lunch?”.

Incredible how my brain always digest about food.

One time, I went to a Sunday Market in Salcedo-Manila, my mouth was wide open and couldn’t stop appraise all the food “What a beautiful view”, “OMG !! Look so delicious!”, “Pretty fish, you have it here”, “Look at the jackfruit, OMG! so beautiful!”. I feel like I am in heaven!

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Then I took picture of the food there and I asked the name of the food to my maid. I asked how to make it, searched it in internet, matched it with my maid, and then the next day, I cooked it and I could feel so damn satisfied because I nailed it.

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What I made there is Grill Bangus Fish! Oh, man! This food is heaven. I can make a real delicious one. 

Recently I know what my addiction is called “Food Enthusiast!”. I am a food enthusiast. It doesn’t matter what food, I am always curious like a child is enthusiast with a new toys.

So, the first time we moved to Philippines. I went to almost all the time to Philippines restaurant. What did I feel?

To be honest…

I felt slightly surprised.

I think Philippines food is one of the least known food in my world of food.

I never saw Philippines restaurant in another country, like in Europe or even in Indonesia. I have no reference on what is the taste of the food and what is the food culture in Philippines.

The look of the food is almost similar like Indonesian food, but the spices are totally different.

So my mind thought that the taste would be sweet, but it tasted sour or the other way around. So, most of the time, I was surprised to the taste because of what I think and what I taste are totally different.

For the first month, I couldn’t find Philippines food that satisfied my taste. It was a miserable moment for me as foodie. How come Sekar couldn’t enjoy the food?? That coulnd’t be happening. Please.

Until one day, I asked my driver “where you usually bought food?”

“It is in the canteen behind Manong restaurant, mam”.

“Is it good for your taste?”

“Yes, mam. It is open only from 6am to 10am”

“Is it crowded? Many Philippines go there?”

“Yes, mam! It is already finish around 9am, mam”.

It was still 8am so I said “We go there now. I want to buy the food.”

Like I expected, it was a super small canteen, with only local people come. It doesn’t have a bright light, even dark. People queue to buy the food. I thought “Great! I love when people queue for buying food. It must be a good food.”

I bought adobo and sinigang. I brought the food to home like a child brought a new toys, it was so precious and I smiled a long the way…. “I think I find what I am looking for….”

I opened the plastic. I spooned it. I jumped! It was so damn delicious!!!

Finally! I tasted a great Philippines food.

I said to my maid “I want to make like this. Taste this, taste this…” I asked them to taste it.

Usually I cooked every single day for the whole house and after I taste a great sinigang from the canteen, I asked my maid to cook Philippines food, together with me! We cooked together. She teach me about her food culture and the spices. I told her about my preference of food and we mixed our knowledge and everyday we cook many many Philippines food and discuss what should be better and what is already great.

I have to say that I wasn’t falling in love at the first time with Philippines food. It takes effort and determination to know further the beauty of adobo, sinigang, afritada, pancit palabok, kare-kare, sisig, kaldareta, longganisa, filipino spaghetti, and still many more. The beauty lies at the spices and the tastes are different than every food I’ve ever taste before.

The spices is less than Indonesian food. Most meal are meat meal, doesn’t have many vegetables meal. It is either frying or stewing. Vinegar is the most commonly used and there is no sambal (chili sauce made from real chilli and some more spiced and use stone pestle to make it).

I kinda miss sambal when I am in restaurant. So everyday I make sambal and one of our helper love sambal but the other two really hate it. Philippines are not used to hot, spicy, super spicy taste. But people are used to salty taste because most dishes use shrimp paste. It is salty. The food is either sour, sweet or salty, almost none is combination of those two or those three. There is always 1 taste are really dominant.

I am used to the taste and I can enjoy eating it 🙂 but if I made sinigang myself, I will cook chicken sinigang (which is not exist here), but pork sinigang is too heavy for the taste so I change with chicken and it turns delicious and light. I am not into BBQ sauce for typical Philippines satay, so I make the sauce myself and it turns that the taste is super fresh and people love it.

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That was the chicken sinigang I made. The recipe is exactly the same as sinigang but I use chicken. 🙂

I can’t compare Philippines food and Indonesian food. Both are very different. Both has its spices and exotic taste. I think Philippines foods somehow have heavier feeling taste than Indonesia. The spices are totally different. There is no kemiri here, rarely used sweet soya sauce and I never find laos here.

When I was in Holland, I can find every Indonesian spices, even in supermarket. It is heaven for Indonesian. But… here, Philippines has a strong bond with America, there are plenty source to find American spices but not Indonesian spices. 🙂 Weird he. It is still in South East Asia but Indonesian food is not well known here.

In that case, I am super happy to live here because it gives me more knowledge and broaden view about food culture. I feel blessed that I live in a country who has totally different food culture than Indonesia. I respect the food culture here. I love listening my helper explain how is her food culture in her family, I love listening to my driver telling me the recipe he usually used for the afridata. Sometime we have breakfast together with coffee and pandensal.

On the other way around, I introduce Indonesian food also for them. Every Saturday, I specially made Indonesian food for them and ask them to bring it to home for their family. They love it! Last time, I cooked my special fried rice with pork meat. It was super delicious!

It is not only the food that makes me happy but Philippines also love food. They love talking about food also with the same passion as I have! I remember waiting for doctor, I heard someone talked about her favorite sardine recipe. What! What! I want to join this conversation so I jumped to their conversations and they love it. So we begin to talk about how to make the recipe even better. So funny! 🙂 People said “It is more FUN in The Philippines”. It is true!

I meet some friends who also foodie like me. One time we learned who to bake apple pie. 🙂 It wasn’t as easy as I thought but we had super fun time.

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The photo was taken before making the crust of the apple pie. That was in my house. 🙂 

I also join a group that called Village Eats. It is a group from the housing complex where I live. We get together on Thursday to try new restaurant in town.

The first time I joined was in Kessaku Japanesse Restaurant in commerce center, Filinvest City, near Ayala Alabang. The restaurant has a very nice ambient. The first Japanesse restaurant I’ve ever visited that it feels like I am visiting a friend house. The guests are varied from a trendy young people, businessman, mother daughter, anyone.. They eat, they laugh, everyone can pop up join with another guest conversation. It has a very casual ambient. Yummie Aggabao the owner is super friendly young entrepreneur. She really make sure that we have good time. Top of that, the food is super fresh! I don’t have any complain with the food. I am glad that I join this group. All members are smart, witty, relax, funny Philippines.

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I love this group and looking forward to the next village eats meeting. 🙂 

In a summary, Me, Food and The Philippines are having a sweet and fun bond at this moment. I love food, Philippines love food the same as I do, and Philippines food is delicious.

It is really true “It is more FUN in THE PHILIPPINES”! Yeay!!

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2 thoughts on “Me, Food and The Philippines

  1. Leni says:

    Itu ayamnya mirip masakan pindang ya.. kalo ditempat tinggal ortuku ada masakan ciri khasnya namanya singang.. rasanya mirip ikan pindang.

    Like

    • Sekar Nareswari says:

      ayam sinigang? Barusan check google : ayam singgang. Beda kayaknya.. Ayam sinigang itu mirip garang asem tapi kentel karena ada gabi didalamnya yg bikin kuahnya jd kentel.. Perbandingan rasanya kayak garang asem jawa tengan. 🙂

      Like

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