Filipino Creativity, Spanish Inspiration

paella
When I first arrived in the Philippines, I was excited to enjoy Filipino Cuisine. For one year, I enjoyed Filipino food almost exclusively. I wanted to try it all. I had pizza a time or two during that year, at Shakey’s, had a few burgers here and there and I had Southern fried chicken several times. I lived with a Filipino family for one year and communicated daily with the cook, concerning what I wanted to eat. Her dishes mostly highlighted Spanish inspiration instead of dishes that were Chinese inspired. She also had Indonesian and Malaysian inspired dishes that she made very well. Bakmi Goreng, Indonesia style fried noodles, became an all time favorite, even until this day. With lots of lime juice.

It was during this time that I first discovered toyomansi, soy sauce with calamansi (lime) juice. It is a great condiment on a variety of dishes. One of my favorite condiments is Sambal. It is a spicy bottled chili sauce, which also has a little bagoong, patis, ginger and lime juice. It is of Indonesian origin and has influenced Filipino Cuisine in some islands.

I may have strange tastes but I enjoy bagoong (shrimp paste) and patis (fish sauce) as condiments. Most of the expats I know do not often eat Filipino food. One told me bluntly, “I don’t eat that crap,” referring to Filipino food. He has a very bad attitude and I do not like guys like that! For me, it is part of the adventure. Nowadays, I don’t eat Filipino food everyday but I eat it often and I have a number of favorite Filipino dishes. My mother in law makes short pork ribs with jackfruit for me from time to time and it is excellent.

Spanish Inspired

Adobo is considered by many as the National Philippines Dish. I enjoy making pork and chicken adobo as a one wok dish. I tend to use more soy sauce and vinegar than the local Negrense style adobo.

Paksiw is my wife’s favorite dish and she makes it often. She seems to favor Paksiw with fish but she makes Paksiw with pork for me. It is a vinegar based stew with fresh chili peppers.

Many local dishes in our area have Spanish names. Mechado, Kaldereta and Menudo are only 3 examples among many.

Eggs Sarciado

Eggs Sarciado is a Filipino dish that is a play on Huevos Rancheros.

Eggs Sarciado is served with fried potatoes, onions, garlic and Filipino style sweet tomato sauce.

I prefer Huevos Rancheros and there are many variations. I use scrambled eggs, served on a corn or flour tortilla, with salsa, sliced avocado and Mexican or Spanish style rice. It’s awesome!

Especial Paella Valencia

Paella Valencia originated in Valencia, Spain. You will see this one pot yellow rice dish served during Christmas, other holidays, special occasions and during barrio fiestas, in the Philippines. I love Paella Valencia!

There are many variations and recipes of Paella Valencia. I have one special version that I will share with you.

My Paella Valencia includes the following ingredients. White fish stock, dry white wine, chopped celery, chopped onion, garlic cloves, peeled tomatoes, chopped red bell pepper, chopped green bell pepper, chopped yellow bell pepper, smoked Andouille sausage, whole chicken thighs, whole chicken wings and 1 dozen each of clams, mussels and prawns. Wow! I think you will like my version of Paella Valencia.

The cover photo of this article is of Especial Paella Valencia.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

One thought on “Filipino Creativity, Spanish Inspiration

  1. Gary, I once read an article or post of yours about the Aristocrat. So of course, on one of my trips we went to the original Aristocrat in Manila. I always try and eat usual things while on vacation in PI. So I decided to get a 100% Filipino dish, well there was shrimp paste on it. That was the worst smelling and worst tasting stuff I can remember eating. For me it was like eating rotting shrimp. The smell was unbelievable and the taste was worst than that.

    After a couple of bites, the taste got no better. So I had to exchange my shrimp paste dish with the person I was with. I just could not eat it. I have ate pig lungs, raw sea urchins, fried baby chicks, wood worms in Palawan and bulot to name just a few. But the shrimp paste is the worst……

    I mostly try to only eat Filipino dishes while in PI. For me it is part of the experience.

    Everything in PI is eaten with the combination of 3 ingredients, soy, lime and little chili peppers as the condiment.

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