Filipino food is probably the touchstone of the culture and tradition that I grew up with. Though essentially influenced by Western culture (fries, burgers, steak and the like), there’s this part of Filipino cuisine that I wanted to share with my American husband. As a child, I heard of horror stories where families of Filipino immigrants received complaints of neighbors because of the strong smell of some Filipino dishes- most specially bagoong or anchovies which is a condiment partially or completely made of either fermented fish or krill with salt! So, here’s some interesting stuff I found out about my husband regarding Filipino cuisine.
Pork Binagoongan/ Ensalada with bagoong, kamatis, manga and itlog na maalat (Pork Flavored with Anchovies/ Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Mango, and Salted Eggs)
It was only recently after over a year that I bought bagoong or anchovies. I had no intention of asking my husband to taste it when I prepared them. I was too worried regarding his reaction about the smell that I was constantly checking on him while I was cooking. He survived the dinner even though the smell was so strong! As for the ensalada or grilled eggplant with anchovies and mangoes, he tried to have a sniff of it in closer proximity but of course he didn’t try it.
Pork Barbecue and Isaw
I still feel guilty about this. Isaw or chicken liver skewer is not something that I would want my husband to try since I knew what he feels about exotic food. We were having a dinner at a Filipino restaurant while he was visiting me at Jakarta when he had a bite of this on ‘accident’. We ordered pork barbecue and he liked it so much so we asked for another serving. Unknowingly, ‘isaw’ which was ordered by one of our friends was included on the platter and my husband took a bite of it. My friends and I looked at each other and nobody said anything. I knew my husband noticed the difference so he immediately put it down. I was so guilty that I decided to tell him the truth. In fairness to him, he didn’t over react and simply said he knew it tasted different. He did not have another bite of barbecue that night.
Lumpia Shanghai (Similar to egg rolls but fillings are ground pork and other Filipino flavors.)
Lumpia is probably one of my husband’s favorite. He could easily wolf down several pieces without batting an eyelash! He loves that it's crunchy.
Pancit (Egg noodles flavored with veggies, pork and shrimp)
I put too much veggies on it that my husband would simply grimace whenever I ask him to take a bite so obviously it’s a big no for him. He had a bite (After removing all the veggies) of the last one I cooked though!
What makes Filipino spaghetti different is its sweetness and the addition of hotdogs on it! I only cooked it once since I’m starting to prefer the recipe here and my husband obviously didn’t like it.
Probably the most famous Filipino dish. This is becoming a regular here at home and he likes this with his own version of rice (white rice with cinnamon and sugar).
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I have never tried cooking this but my husband and I were watching a TV show when they showed the whole pig roast on the table. He almost threw up! I guess no lechon for him when we visit Philippines in the future.
Not all Filipino cuisines are exotic or crazy however you want to label it. Thankfully, my husband and I have a lot of common grounds. We both like pork chops, fried chicken, meatloaf, steak, and of course bacon!