Gray Matter


Filipino Food for Americans

RT Cunningham | January 1, 2021 (UTC) | Food and Drink

Filipino foodWhen some Americans think of Filipino food, they think of oriental food. In fact, some people think Filipinos are oriental, and they’re not. They are Asian, but their ancestries include a bit of everything, including American.

Nevertheless, Filipino cuisine is mostly composed of Chinese-influenced and Spanish-influenced ingredient. Because of this, there are enough variations of just about every dish you can call Filipino food.

To me, it’s obvious that Filipino food isn’t Chinese or Japanese, and it isn’t Spanish or Mexican, but some people will stay stubbornly confused no matter who tells them about it.

Lumpia, Fried Rice and Other Filipino Food Items

People who have Filipino friends in the United States, as well as people who’ve actually eaten food in the Philippines, will know what I’m talking about. There are so many variations of lumpia and fried rice alone to satisfy people who dislike one ingredient or another.

Lumpia is a good example. It can be made with or without cabbage. It can be made with beef, pork, chicken or without any meat at all. Some lumpia can look like a fat Chinese egg roll and some can be much thinner. I can’t even begin to tell you which variation of fried rice I like the best. I’ve eaten so many kinds with many ingredients. I can tell you one thing, though, and that is I don’t like fried rice with peas and bean sprouts in it.

If you’re a Filipino and you bring Filipino dishes to parties or gatherings where the guests aren’t all Filipinos, the lumpia is the first food item to disappear. I am an eyewitness to that fact on many occasions. I’ve never seen a tray of Lumpia last untouched for more than five minutes. At one of my son’s military family day picnics, the lumpia my wife brought disappeared faster than the burgers and hot dogs.

Not all Filipino food is good to eat, and I’m not talking just about the dishes. Some of my Filipino-relatives have a habit of not draining the grease when cooking beef or goat. The grease can turn your stomach. The grease is actually okay when used with Chicken Adobo, which is composed of chicken (naturally), soy sauce and vinegar as the main ingredients. Adobo can be made with other meats and pork is a popular variation.

Other Than the Main Dish

Filipino cuisine includes the desserts, beverages and other items that are uniquely Filipino. Halo-Halo (which means mix-mix in English) has many things in it that are healthy for you along with things in it that aren’t so healthy, like ice cream. Again, there are many variations to it and I can’t tell you what’s required other than shaved ice.

The key thing about all of this Filipino food is that’s absolutely safe to eat, even if it’s not the most healthy food to eat. Like any other kind of food, you need to pick out what you like and what you don’t like, what you consider healthy enough and what you don’t.

I tend to shy away from most pork-related foods, regardless of what ethnicity they originate from. I stick with mostly chicken and beef. It’s pretty hard to make either one taste bad (you almost have to do it intentionally).

Well, I could go on and on about Filipino food, but you have to experience eating it to appreciate it.

Photo Attribution: 9972129 from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in June 2014.

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