Brief, Interesting Cuisine Histories

Joined Sep 22, 2002
Having watched this board for some time, I have seen the love of food which flows here. As a Filipino, I was searching Google for many good ideas for one of the main ingredients of our diet-the mongo bean. We Filipinos believe that mongo beans are good for your diet and include them in soups, stews, and fried rice.

I found an interesting article online, which I thought you all would like to read. The title is "The History of Filipino Cuisine" and here is the article:

More than 300 years ago, long before Spanish conquerors staggered down their ships to kiss the shores of the islands, Filipinos were rowing out to sea in their little bancas, wading knee-deep in rice paddies, planting in their backyards and hunting in the woods. Whatever they gathered and caught they simply roasted, boiled or broiled over an open fire. The forests were abundant and the surrounding waters teeming with life; the Filipinos' idea of food included everything nature had to offer. Preferably seafood. Preferably fresh. Squirming, leaping, crawling-out-of-the-cookpot fresh.

Foreign trade during those times was healthy and a good deal less complicated than today. The Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabians, Indians, and Chinese brought all sorts of spices and food plants to the islands. Some of them stayed and raised families here, and handed down cooking methods which the natives used to improve their own methods.

Filipino cuisine is much like the Filipino himself: a mixture of different cultures, Eastern and Western, that forms one unique culture that is yet unlike those that preceded it. Throughout the centuries, foreigners came, as traders or conquerors, and brought with them their tastes and cooking styles, which the Filipinos adapted to their own essentially Malayan cuisine.

The Chinese Influence
From the Chinese we have the whole noodle business: pancit miki, pancit bihon, pancit Canton, pancit sotanghon. But the Filipinos have completely imbued the dishes with their own flair, and now there is a different kind of pancit for almost every region of the Philippines. Other Chinese-inspired dishes, such as lumpia (my favorite; hence the reason for choosing that food as my nickname), kikiam, siopao, and siomai, have been absorbed into the Filipino way of life. They are part of the Filipino diet, even today.

The Spanish Influence
Three hundred years of preparing dinner for Mother Spain gave us a flair for rich food, the way the Europeans prepare it. Stews such as the cocido and puchero, rice-meat dishes and elaborate desserts such as brazos and tortas imperiales are generally considered fiesta food, and most often found on the dining tables of the upper classes.

The American Influence
Sure, they brought us kitchen conveniences like the refrigerator, the pressure cooker, the oven toaster and the microwave. They also gave us burgers, salads, and pies which we baked with native fruits. But though we absorbed so much of their culture in their 50-year colonization, American cooking is only now becoming part of Filipino cuisine. Through their fast food joints, we indirectly tasted spaghetti and pizza. But somehow we wanted to taste these sweet, and not sour as the Italians intended them to be.

The American contribution to the Filipino kitchen particularly became heavy following WWII when surplus canned foods became widely available because of the shortage of fresh produce. The Filipinos embraced these "new foods" and turned them into dishes that taste nothing like canned food. For example, by sauteeing canned corn beef with onions and garlic, they created a dish uniquely their own.

All in all, Philippine cooking is the familiar blended with the exotic...just as the Filipinos are part Malay, Chinese, and Spanish, so is the cuisine of the seven-thousand-island Philippine nation.

If you want to see the source where I found this article, you can go to the page called The History of Filipino Cuisine . The reason for this post is because I am a person who has always been interested in the history of each cuisine of the world, and have done some research on most of them. I am always interested in finding out how each of the different cuisines of the world got their start. If anyone else has any interesting stories or links similar to the one above, I will be very happy and interested in reading them!
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Wow, Lumpia, this is fascinating stuff. Thank you for posting it.

We've been fortunate to have a good discussion going in the "Repast from the Past" forum. Have you visited there? Be sure to look at the older posts, too.

I'm guessing you'll have some good info to add there, too. We're glad you found Chef Talk.
Joined Sep 22, 2002
I am glad that you enjoyed what I found. And I am happy to be a part of such a wonderful culinary community. No, I haven't seen your "Repast From The Past" thread yet, but I'll go check it out! (By the way, did I post this thread in the wrong forum?:eek: )

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