Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Philippine Regional Specialties

Filipino dishes are known to be delicious, savory and mouth-watering. There are many choices of Filipino dishes from all over the Philippine archipelago. Each region or province has its unique varieties of foods.

Northern Philippines

In Ilocos region, most of their specialties are seasoned with fermented anchovies. Ilocos is famous for its Pinakbet- a mixture of several vegetables such as squash, okra, eggplant, bitter gourd and string beans cooked with bagoong or fermented fish paste. Another authentic Ilocano dish is Dinengdeng- horseradish leaves boiled in watery soup, seasoned with bagoong and topped with grilled fish.

Pampanga and Bulacan are highly recognized for its sweetened delicacies and well prepared courses. In Pampanga, specialties include fermented crabs, fermented rice sauce, fermented frogs, milkfish in sour soup, fried mole crickets and sweetened cured pork slices known as tocino- a breakfast dish. Naturally rich in rice and sugar, Pampanga region sweetens most of its dishes particularly desserts. Its incredibly tasty turrones, marzipans and meringues are some Spanish-style creams puffs or egg yolk custards. A traditional dish called Tibok-tibok which is made out of water buffalo milk blended with corn is not far from the race. Enseymada, a buttery rolled ban ; bringhe, special rice prepared with coconut milk ; leche flan, a crème brulee cooked with water buffalo milk ; and a wide selection of rice cakes are Pampangeno dishes that made up the country’s delicious delicacies.

Bulacan created its traditional cuisine mostly from their wide agricultural lands and big rivers. Bulakeno cooking is leisurely, prepared the old-fashioned way. River fish are boiled with citrus or in palm wine, then flamed. Mudfish are fermented or packed in banana stalks and buried in live coals. They prepare seafood like shellfish, sauteed with guava and flavored with ginger broth. Considering animal-raising as their main industry, Bulakenos specialize on meat dishes. In Bulacan, they prepare chicken by having it sit in a clay pot lined with salt and cook it as is. They even claim their version of relleno and galantina (stuffed chicken rolls) ; asado or pot roast ; and estofado, pork leg ; and kare-kare, stewed beef in peanut sauce better than other regions.

The Igorots prefer roasted meats, particularly carabao meat, goat meat, and venison.

Due to its mild, sub-tropical climate, Baguio, along with the outlying mountainous regions, is renowned for its produce. Temperate-zone fruits and vegetables (strawberries being a notable example) which would otherwise wilt in lower regions are grown there. It is also known for a snack called sundot-kulangot which literally means "poke the booger." It's actually a sticky kind of sweet made from milled glutinous rice flour mixed with molasses, and served inside pitogo shells, and with a stick to "poke" its sticky substance with.

The town of Calasiao in Pangasinan is known for its puto, a type of steamed rice cake.

Cainta in Rizal province east of Manila is known for its Filipino rice cakes and puddings. These are usually topped with latik, a mixture of coconut milk and brown sugar, reduced to a dry crumbly texture. A more modern, and time saving alternative to latik are coconut flakes toasted in a frying pan.

Antipolo, straddled mid-level in the mountainous regions of the Philippine Sierra Madre, is a town known for its suman and cashew products.

Laguna is known for buko pie (coconut pie) and panutsa (peanut brittle).

Batangas is home to Taal Lake, a body of water that surrounds Taal Volcano. The lake is home to 75 species of freshwater fish. Among these, the maliputo and tawilis are two not commonly found elsewhere. These fish are delicious native delicacies. Batangas is also known for its special coffee, kapeng barako.

Central Philippines

In the Bicol region, most of their dishes are cooked with coconut milk and chilies. Bicol is famous for its Laing or Pinangat - a delicious native dish prepared in bundles of taro leaves, filled with shredded taro leaves, bits of meat or shrimp, lots of chillies, ginger, garlic and onion ; then cooked steadily in coconut cream. Bicol Express is also one of the famous Bicol’s specialty dishes.
It is a mixture of pork meat and shrimp paste sautéed in tomatoes and onions and lots of green chili strips simmered in coconut cream. Another specialty is the Kinunot - an unusual dish prepared with stingray meat and horseradish simmered in coconut cream and green chillies along with some slices of onion and garlic.

The Visayas is a gathering of big and small islands in the middle part of the archipelago where cuisine and delicacies vary according to their ancestral influences. Kinilaw is a common dish every Visayan prepare during a good catch. It refers to the marinating of freshest fish or shellfish in vinegar or any souring ingredients for eating raw.

The delicious Chinese noodle soup called Pancit molo of Iloilo are dumplings filled with minced chicken, pork and prawn cooked in a tasty soup that turns out a common dish in most Filipino restaurants. Another dish Iloilo contributed to the lush cuisine of the country is the mouth-watering lumpiang ubod- heart of palm in fresh crepes, slightly mixed with shrimp and strips of pork meat. Iloilo is also known for its famous La Paz batchoy, dinuguan, puto, biscocho and piyaya.

In Bacolod, a dish called Binakol is a specialty. It is chicken soup based not from chicken stock but on juice from young coconut. Bacolod also has Inasal or barbequed chicken marinated in kalamansi, a local citrus and atsuete or annatto, reddish seed used for food coloring.

Cebu is known for its lechón. Lechon prepared "Cebu style" is characterized by a crisp outer skin and a moist juicy meat with a unique taste given by a blend of spices. Cebu is also known for sweets like dried mangoes and caramel tarts.

Southern Philippines

In Mindanao, most cuisines are influenced by the exotic taste bud of the Malays. Spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, chillies, lemon grass roasted coconut are present in most of their dishes. Being free from Hispanization, the cuisine of the indigenous Moro and Lumad peoples of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago has much in common with the rich and spicy Malay cuisines of Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Indonesian and Thai cuisines.
Well-known dishes from the region include Satti (satay) and ginataang manok (chicken cooked in spiced coconut milk). Since this region is predominantly Muslim, pork is rarely if ever consumed.

Rendang, a spicy beef curry with its origins among the Minangkabau people of Sumatra; biryani and kiyoning (pilaf), dishes originally from the Middle East, are given a Mindanaoan touch and served at special occasions.

Pyanggang is a Tausug dish made from barbecued chicken marinaded in spices, and is served with coconut milk infused with toasted coconut meat.

Popular crops such as cassava root, sweet potatoes, and yams are grown.
Sambal, a spicy sauce made with belacan, tamarind, aromatic spices and chillies, is a popular base to many dishes in the region.

Another popular dish from this region is tiyula itum, a dark broth of beef or chicken lightly flavored with ginger, chili, turmeric, and toasted coconut flesh (which gives it its dark color).

Zamboanga’s cusido or commonly called pochero is a traditional Sunday platter served similarly to that of Spanish cusido, with sausages, pork ribs, salted pork, sweet potatoes corn and cooking banana or locally called saba. It is a famous dish that made Zamboanga cuisine a delightful blend of east and west.


Source:
Barreto, Glenda R. (2007). Flavors of the Philippines – A Culinary Guide to the Best of the Islands.

4 comments:

  1. Eating is really one of my hobby i mean part of my life and cooking is my passion. I also love going to a place and at the same time taste their delicious and most wanted food.I want to taste something that is new to my palate. Thanks for sharing your article with us.

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  2. I read, enjoy and learn from your blog. Thanks! Keep on posting.

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    1. Thank you, Leslie! You might enjoy reading my latest write ups and recipes on some specialty dishes from Luzon.

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