Few weeks in the community quarantine and everyone we knew seemed to have unleashed the Julia Child and Ramsay Gordon in them. All of a sudden, our Facebook timelines and Instagram feeds were filled with people flexing their homemade pizza doughs and sinfully delightful ube-cheese pan de sals. Some proudly boast their pacham (short for “pa-tsamba” meaning hit-or-miss, invented) dishes, or have shared their family’s pork adobo recipe passed down from generation to generation by their great, great, great grandmothers.
While we brace ourselves to traveling again soon, we at RedDoorz suggest that you kick start the virtual journey at home by cooking some of the best Filipino local dishes known in some of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines. Now fire up your stoves, heat your pans, and free up some space in your mobile phones because we’ll make Cardi B’s mouth water with your awesome Filipino food posts after this.
Sisig Kapampangan from Pampanga
Sisig, which originated in Pampanga, has become one of the most popular dishes in Filipino cuisine, (probably next to adobo and sinigang) with new versions of it being served all over the world to rave reviews.
The most commonly relished version of sisig, however, was popularized by “Aling Lucing’s” that features pig’s ears, face, and liver, and are boiled, grilled, finely chopped and stir-fried until crunchy, then served with chili, onions, sunny side up egg, and calamansi on a sizzling cast iron plate.
Before it was even largely enjoyed with rice, sisig first became a pulutan (beer chow). Pro-drinkers (if there’s even such a thing) claim that the fat from sisig once in your tummy delays the immediate absorption of the alcohol in the beer drinker’s system, making it a good beer chow especially if you plan to last long in the drinking session!
Try this recipe: https://www.atbp.ph/2016/05/31/pork-sisig-ni-aling-lucing/
Photo Courtesy of WK Adventures
RedDoorz #foodphotography tip: Take a selfie of your finished product sisig on a sizzling plate in one hand and a tall glass of beer on the other. Or maybe with your friends via Zoom. Or during one of your e-numan sessions.
Laing from Bicol Region
Mention Bicolano cuisine and two main ingredients come to mind—gata (coconut cream) and spicy labuyo (bird chilis). The Bicolanos have been so proficient in this sweet and spicy delicacy that at least four of their most popular dishes have this combo. But for this feature, we put the spotlight on its equally masiram (delicious) sister, Laing.
Laing, one of the more iconic dishes in the Southern Luzon region of Bicol, is stewed taro leaves slowly cooked in coconut cream, pork, shrimp, and chilies.
The taro leaves are dried first before being cooked and are made even delectable with the addition of the slightly pan-roasted fatty pork. The powerful heat of the spicy labuyo chilies is then calmed down by the coconut milk. Eat it alone with hot white rice or as a side dish to any of your preferred grilled or fried protein, and get ready to feel the strong flavor explosion in your mouth—like an erupting Mt. Mayon.
Photo Courtesy of Kawaling Pinoy
RedDoorz #foodphotography tip: Dress up like that Bicolana barrio lass played by Claudine Barretto in the film “Kailangan Kita” and do a selfie with your spicy Laing. Use your grandmother’s palayok (clay pot) for Level 9,999,999 food presentation.
Batangas Lomi from Batangas
If there’s anyone from the Southern Tagalog that can rival the cooking of the Kapampangans in the North, perhaps these are the Batanguenos.
Bulalo, Goto, Kaldereta, Paksiw, Sinaing na Tulingan are some of their best dishes to name a few, but it’s their Loming Batangas that caught our attention.
Batangas Lomi is a type of Filipino noodle dish prepared with thick yellow noodles (pancit miki), served in a gooey soup thickened by cassava starch. Usual Batangas Lomi toppings were pork meat, liver, hard-boiled chicken or quail egg, and chicharon (crispy pork rind). However, modern versions now feature some of the most exciting toppings imaginable—chicharong bulaklak (crispy pork intestine), siomai, crispy chicken skin, grilled pork, chicken nuggets, isaw, slide sausages, and lumpiang shanghai among others.
To enjoy this dish, according to the Batangauenos, first, you need to create a sawsawan (dip)—soy sauce, minced onions, roasted garlic, calamansi. NEVER eat Lomi straight from the bowl, transfer some of the Lomi on the plate, sprinkle some dip, and eat it hot before the thick consistency of the soup becomes eventually watery at room temperature.
Try this recipe: https://www.mamasguiderecipes.com/2018/05/12/batangas-lomi/
Photo Courtesy of yummy.ph
RedDoorz #foodphotography tip: Plating your legit Batangas Lomi, you need to prepare lots of toppings—loads of it. Extra legit points if your toppings are carefully arranged, overflowing, and covering the entire bowl that you cannot see the Lomi soup underneath.
La Paz Batchoy from Iloilo
Batchoy is also one of the Philippines’ known noodle soup dishes that feature round egg noodles, beef and pork meat, intestines, liver, and marrows, in a beef or chicken stock, with crushed pork cracklings. Some versions also have a hint of guinamos (shrimp paste) to taste. Crispy roasted garlic and onion springs are also added as a topping, making the dish more fragrant and irresistible.
The dish’s origins can be traced back to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City in the Philippines, hence it is often referred to as La Paz Batchoy. Once you get to Iloilo, this is a must-try in the said area.
Batchoy is so flavorful, one may actually enjoy it with rice. However, the more popular pair for this merienda dish is the puto (steamed rice flour bread) or pan de sal.
Photo Courtesy of Kawaling Pinoy
RedDoorz #foodphotography tip: No, don’t take a photo this time. Batchoy is so good, it merits a video post in your social media feed. Prepare a hot bowl of Batchoy, video record yourself take a sip, and exclaim, “Naaaamit gid!”
Sinuglaw from Davao
When you marry Sinugba (grilled pork) and Kinilaw (fish ceviche) and then they have a baby, you get the awesome tasting, popular Davao dish called Sinuglaw. The smoky flavors of the grilled pork belly mix well with the sour vinegar marinade of the fish, seeping into the pork’s tender richness.
When cooking Sinuglaw, the grilled pork and fish kinilaw are cooked separately. In the Southernmost part of the Philippines, a citrus fruit called Biasong is commonly used in the ceviche giving it a distinct sour flavor when compared from the kinilaw versions of the Luzon region which mainly uses lemon, lime or calamansi. Coconut milk may also be added.
Sinuglaw can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a beer chow, or with plain white rice as a main dish. The addition of sea salt makes the flavors pop up even more and it adds more texture.
Try this recipe: https://recipenijuan.com/sinuglaw-recipe-sinugba-kinilaw/
Photo Courtesy of Hobbyatoz
RedDoorz #foodphotography tip: Sinuglaw looks extra delicious when plated on a banana leaf and wooden dish or platter that you can usually score in the kitchen sections of the department store and Pinoy souvenir shops. Add a nice bowl of hot white rice on the side, and snap that flat lay before enjoying your legit Mindanaoan meal.