“Pinoy” is a nickname for Filipinos. However, it describes more than a people. It also describes the culture, including the food culture.
(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)
In this week’s Blast I want to share with you some cuisine, Pinoy style. After all, people ask me, “what is Filipino food?” My quick answer is: DELICOUS!
In a more technical sense, I would describe Pinoy food as a unique fusion of Asian and Spanish flavors. It has truly become a place of world flavors. Colonized by Spain, situated in the middle of Asia, and heavily visited by Europeans, Australians, and Americans for military purposes and exotic getaways, Filipinos have adapted their traditional plates to create unique flavor profiles.
(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)
(Click to watch a video: Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines. Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.)
Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations, showed the struggle to discern what is truly Filipino Food. The fact that the Philippines’ nation is comprised of more than 7,000 islands means each island has its way of doing things. Yes, the “island mentality” means the inhabitants of each island think their food is the best! But Chef Bourdain agreed, Philippines is the “Land of lechón!”
(Lechon – filipino style.)
Let’s start with the common foods. Filipinos eat pork, seafood, and chicken, in familiar sautéed, grilled, stewed, and fried preparations. Philippine beef is not as succulent as well-fed Midwestern cattle or Japanese Wagyu. Instead, the red meat more often used is goat. Slaughtering the fattened calf comes only during big celebrations.
Filipino fruits and Asian vegetables help maintain healthiness in a diet that can be saturated by fatty fried, but oh so tasty, foods. The use of rice wine vinegar to help break down richly flavored foods brings a vibrancy and variety to the flavor profile of dishes such as the lechón, Filipino manok (friend chicken with infusion of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce), and adobo (vinegar-braised pork or chicken that would be drained and refried).
(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)
Pancit, the famous clear rice noodle that combines poultry, pork, and seafood can be prepared in several ways. So too, the Filipino egg roll, called lumpia, which uses rice paper to wrap all types of fillings (primarily beef and vegetables) before its deep fried to a perfectly crisp golden brown.
(My mom’s egg rolls – a taste that makes you say “Thank you, GOD!”)
There are some very strange foods, like blood pudding (dinuguan); the famous Fear Factor speciality, Balut (a gestated and fermented duck egg); and a few others too unique for this family friendly E-mail Blast!
Despite the unique (or odd) foods, travelers to the Philippines never go hungry.
(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)
In fact, visitors often rave about the seemingly endless variety of flavors you can choose from, as long as you’re willing to be at least a little adventurous. For the American and European palate, Filipino food is best described as well marinated and exploding with flavor. If someone has to add salt or pepper to a Filipino dish, then that person must have muted taste buds!
(Mrs. Dorothy’s Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)
I (half) joke with people and explain the reason why I had friends as a kid was because my mother cooked so well.
(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka. Good food makes good friends.)
Maybe you can try my version of Filipino Food. Click here for the recipe.
Let Us Pray:
God bless our families with faithfulness, celebrations around their dining room table, and the perseverance to celebrate together around God’s sacred Table – His Altar of Sacrifice. In a special way, God bless those families that struggle with putting food on the table and bringing their families around it. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)
What was your favorite traditionally ethnic family meal? Have you ever had Filipino food? If so, what is your favorite? Your comments help encourage our community to share ideas and to spread the word. Be sure to encourage family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for these free E-mail Blasts.
Tender Inside and Out! Savory and Sweet Pork Tenderloin
Tenderness describes many things – emotions, food, a romantic feeling, or a recovering wound. The word opens our minds to something delicate, and something very much needed in a world that can be so harsh and hard, dry, and lifeless!
(The tender image of the Sedes Sapientiae – Seat of Wisdom – and how Mary serves as a “chair,” i.e., someone who tenderly cares for Jesus, who is Wisdom Incarnate.)
This week’s Blast will celebrate a great fall recipe that can bring some tenderness to your table, on your table, and around your table. I cooked this pork tenderloin for some of our Baltimore seminarians studying here Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. In the midst of a busy semester, they needed a little fraternity and food. While they would never admit it, these moments of friendship and brotherhood are compassionate moments of goodness and even tenderness. The food helped bring out the gentle side of these Christian gentlemen.
(At the recent Baltimore Book Festival, fellow Mount St. Joseph High School alumnus, Glen, class of ’88, came out to watch and support me, a fellow Mountie. High School is an important and tender time of development in the life of teenagers. Be sure to encourage friendships that endure – even if the friends don’t always see eye to eye!)
I hope you enjoy this pork recipe that is tender inside and out.
Kale and Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
(Kale and apple stuffed pork tenderloin.)
This week’s recipe has a couple different parts to it: first, preparing the filling, composed of sautéed kale and diced apples; second, wrapping the tenderloins in good quality bacon to keep the outside texture crispy and tender at the same time!
(Filling in the sautéed kale and apple in the butterflied tenderloin.)
(After rolling the pork tenderloins, top off with a few rosemary leaves, not just for garnish but for an extra savory taste.)
This meal can help heal tender wounds and provide the tender consolation of table communion with family and friends.
Father, help us to remain open to the tenderness of charity, the kindness that comes from authentic faith, and the consolation that hope gives to believers. May we always remember those who go without family, faith, and food. Keep us generous in our desire to feed those who hunger for the great gifts You generously give to Your people. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Another tender image of St. Joseph comforting the Lord Baby Jesus as he was crying, maybe fussing as Joseph tried to put Him to bed. Can you imagine the tender love that Mary and Joseph had for Jesus?)
Give this recipe a try, and tell us your thoughts. Do you have a recipe or cooking technique that helps keep meat tender and delicious? Your culinary comments help our members connect food, faith, and family. When you ask questions and share your stories you remind our Grace Before Meals team of the positive influence our work has in the world. Post your comments below.
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