Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I Think Filipino Cuisine Is Bland Compared To Its Neighbors

No matter how much I love my adobo, I think the vinegar/soy sauce/garlic mixture is too bland for my tongue. That's why at home, I've been adding a few more stuff to intensify my adobo experience. I add coconut milk, ginger and more garlic. Sometimes, I add fresh red onions in for a stronger kick. And more recently, I've been flaking my adobo to make it more special.

I once spoke with a Singaporean restauranteur and I shared to him my thoughts on why I thought Filipino cuisine paled in comparison with its Southeast Asian neighbors. Of course being the non-Filipino that he is and the fact that I was  inside his Singaporean/Malay restaurant, he whole-heartedly agreed with what I said and even made mention that Filipino food is bland.

Let me explain why we both think Filipino cuisine is bland.

We lack the kick that other Southeast Asian cuisines haveLet's take Malaysian cuisine for example. While sauteeing, they include this paste made from chillies, curries and other stuff. It's not enough that the food being cooked is already great tasting, they include a few stuff more to make the experience even better. They add stuff like galangal leaves, kaffir leaves, more chili, ginger and top it all of with coconut milk. Having said that, I think Filipino cuisine really pales in comparison to its neighbors.

Don't get me wrong - I love my Filipino cuisine. Tapsilog is my ultimate comfort food. Kare-kare, Bulalo, and Tinola are among my favorite dishes. No trip to a Filipino restaurant would be complete for me without tasting their pancit there. But comparing the Pancit Canton to the Char Kway Teow (or the Pad Thai), or the Sinigang na Hipon to the Tom Yum Goong, or the localized Chicken Curry to the Thai Green Curry Chicken, we do pale in comparison to our neighbors. That's why all foodies at home should start thinking of ways on how they can revolutionize the way they cook their Filipino dishes.

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