While taking baking lessons and learning about wine and cheese is great and especially thrilling for millennials during the summer, we can always choose to explore traditions that are under-appreciated, and could even be eye-opening. 

We might be all praises for French or Italian food, but Filipino cuisine has got the yum factor too. Here’s one dish you will always remember once you have tasted it: buko pandan — a coconut dessert that looks dashing. It can be put on the list of culinary experiences we must have in the Philippines. 

The popularity of Thai or Japanese Cuisine from the southeast region is obvious. But it used to be really hard to put a plate of Filipino food without thinking that this dish was under-appreciated next to the celebrated dishes in Southeast Asian cuisine. We also talk about the warmth of Asian people which reflects in the cooking, but we don’t seem to specify what is it that touches our hearts. 

Today, it is still very tough to put Filipino cooking in the same category. The progress has been slow. Just the other day, I read an article that fleetingly mentioned Adobo which is a spicy reddish-brown dish with sauce and meat that is the national dish of the Philippines, but the writer had not said much except that adobo is not the same as your photoshop software. Filipino cuisine deserves better, and we must look beyond calling it exotic food. Here’s why — 

Filipino Cuisine Whets The Appetite 

Modern-day consumers are encouraged to be more educated, and they surely have made the effort to learn about the variety of new foods. If you may have heard of Filipino cuisine very recently, it may just only have been about ube ice cream. It is as popular as matcha now. Ube is a very familiar component in Filipino cuisine, that is used to make halayang ube — a dessert pudding. But it can also be used as ube jam, depending on how you use it. Have you heard of it?

Another treat that you must consider making is halo-halo, which also originated in the Philippines. It is a summertime quintessential mix of several beautiful ingredients, which enrich the flavour of the dessert such as bananas, jackfruit, sweet corn, evaporated milk, mangoes and purple sweet potato. One may also add jelly, ice cream and mung bean for a delicious twist. Consumers may find buko pie entering the market as well. It is a coconut cream pie. 

Filipino food has been stereotyped as being too sour and bland, but a lot of locals have an acquired taste for their sinigang - a delicious soup that is flavoured with tamarind or other sour fruit. If we’re talking about the noodles, then next time, take notice of palabok in which the rice is garnished with a wonderful concoction of meat, seafood, boiled egg, green onions and fried garlic in a thick yellow-orange sauce. If it sounds too good, so wouldn’t you like to try more Filipino food?

Photo: Eiliv-Sonas Aceron