Food in the Philippines

blends tastes of East and West

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Philippines food, like Philippine culture, is a blend of East and West.

In many of the so-called native dishes here, it's easy to detect some Spanish, Chinese, American, German, French, Indian, or Japanese flavor. The first three are probaby the most dominant.

Hamburgers have found a home in the Philippines. So have ham and eggs for breakfast, Southern fried chicken for lunch and roast beef for dinner.

On the Oriental side, there's sweet-sour sauce which Filipinos like to serve with pork or fish dishes. It's as Chinese as a mandarin.

Filipinos also have a dish called Pancit which was lifted right out of a Chinese cookbook. It has a noodle base (either sauteed or served in a soup) with chopped pork, chicken, liver and vegetables thrown in. Housewives add chopped hardboiled eggs and ground nuts. Even Chinese say this version taste better.

Chop suey is known the world over. The Filipino recipe for it calls for either pork, chicken or beef, with liberal helpings of shrimp, bits of friend chicken and chicken giblets.

Other Philippine dishes are as native to the Spanish plains as they are to this country.

Boiled rice is a staple here. When peas, olive, tomatoes and chopped sausage are added, it becomes 'arroz a la Valenciana' (after Valencia in Spain).

Come fiesta time in any filipino town, tables are loaded with 'fritada' fish, beef, pork or chicken friend and served with a sauce made of tomatoes, potatoes and pepper plus bread crumbs to thicken it. Another dish of Spanish origin.

Mix egg yolk, milk and sugar, steam or bake the mixture and you get a custard. Top it with caramel sauce and you get what the Spanish call 'Ieche flan'.

The moral: A foreigner can come to the Philippines and feel as though he never left home - or at least his dining room.

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