Was in the Philippines for a week earlier this month. Wasn’t able to stay as long as I like, but still had a great time. When I go its several days of eating, shopping and chilling, and more eating, and even more eating. Filipino’s are a food loving people, no wonder where I get it from! Here is an account of my food exploits in the islands of the Philippines. Amid the humidity, congestion, and smog, I was able to find food enlightenment and appreciation.
This trip wasn’t long, but I was able to hit up some spots. McDonald’s. Yup, went to a McDonald’s in the Philippines. You know what? I had fun. One thing that you always gotta do is hit up a McDo in a foreign country. Just to check out the menu. In the PI they have fried chicken (although every place has fried chicken…) and McSpaghetti. Different yes, weird no. When you encounter with culture nothing is weird. Wouldn’t you think it’s weird for a lifelong pizza place to dabble in sandwiches? Go to a Domino’s and you know what I mean.
But back to the Philippines. Fish is a big part of the menu. Tons of tilapia. Because its an island nation seafood is abundant. Had it often – lunch, dinner, fried, good stuff. Probably one of the world’s most available fishes, it’s definitely prevalent in the Philippines. Here they fry it whole, possibly because refrigeration is a luxury; tilapia, like other dishes, would hang out at room temp. Tilapia is tasty but there are a lot of bones. For a culture like the Philippines, getting used to milkfish (called bangus), bones are no problem.
And mangoes! So good! Because they are available locally, it’s so fresh and full of flavor. I always look forward to this when I go. In fact, my uncle’s house in the provinces has a mango tree in the yard. Awesome.
One thing that was interesting was the discovery that shopping centers are anchored by places to eat. My architect uncle mentioned this, and I can believe it. For how much Pinoy’s like to eat this is perfect. Unlike the States where a mall is identified by it Nordy’s or Macy’s, people in the Philippines are swayed by their stomachs. And they love the food court! Stateside, a food court holds a cafeteria where blandness occurs. In the Philippines you see all sorts of places that locals partake in. You get your chains, neighborhood spots, bakeries, what have you, a fair bit of places to eat up. I love Filipino cuisine.
Other eateries in the shopping centers that bumps up the visiting possibilities are Jollibee and Chowking. Two mega Filipino chains. These chains are beloved. Chowking is known for their Pinoy take on Chinese fast food. We’ll talk about their Halo Halo soon. Yum. Jollibee is very cool. Basically, it’s the Philippines McDonalds. But awesome in its own right. Word off the street is they are in California. Have to see if they have the hot dogs.
Another thing that I enjoyed eating was crab! Just like anywhere else it’s a treat, but the crab in Philippines was a bit different. Smaller, but with a beautiful shell. It looked tie-dyed; orange and white or purple and white, it depends. A brilliant color that was fun to look at. And the claws had spikes on them! Proceed with caution. The flavor was nice, but I think I’m spoiled by Dungeness.
When traveling, eating is always on my to do list. See what the locals bring to the table: get an idea of the culture, a feel for the local palate. The Philippines is no different and I look forward to other visits.