Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Adrian Briones' What the Heck is Filipino Food?

Have you ever asked yourself, what the freaking heck is Filipino food?

Well, to be honest, I've never asked myself that.  Until I came across a whole array of Filipino food blogs and facebook pages, and then the world started spiralling down and it suddenly hit me.

I have Filipino friends, who bring Filipino food to school, my mum's friends at work are Filipino, she brings their Filipino food home, but I've never been to any Filipino restaurant, and I have not made any at home, and neither has any member of my family...

So what the heck IS Filipino food??
I've been stalking following Adriano Briones' foodblog Food Rehab for quite a long while now.  I have a small and special place in my "respect" box for Melbourne foodbloggers, it is definitely a wish of mine to travel down there during my time in uni.  And reading his posts have made me dig into my love for Asian cuisine, in going down an unexplored path of Filipino cuisine.

What I find very interesting about Asian cuisine, and food in general, is that we do have an innate yearning to seek for the true flavours of a certain culture, and we really appreciate all the little detail, such as all those lovely spices that actually merely make up the stock of the pho, and not to mention all the other ingredients that make up the bulk of it.   Culture and the desire to seek its true flavours is why food is one of the best multicultural and universal languages in the world.  As much as I like to see and appreciate a Westernised/Easternised version of some foods, there is always a desire in me to search out the most authentic and true of flavours.  

In saying that, every household has their own way of cooking and hence, the sense of authenticity becomes quite arbitrary, and through the melding of distinct cultural tastes, the cultural boundaries are blurred that way.  Both having its pros and cons, I guess the best compromise is that we can simultaneously search for and appreciate authentic cultural flavours, as well as appreciate the result of melding those flavours.

Without any further ado, his recently released cookbook What the Heck is Filipino Food? gives you a great overview into the rich culture of the Phillipines, through staple dishes, a journey into his background story, and fantastic pictures and lovely tips as well!
The cover is so cute!
This picture makes my mouth water... and this lovely Filipino dessert gives such a creative use to spring roll pastry!
I had to tweet about this recipe, and I had to let him know about it, because this recipe and picture caught my eye and stomach immediately.
Ever since watching Masterchef '09 - yes, Poh was one of my favourites :) - I remember Poh cooked the dish "chicken adobo", and I had no idea what cuisine or culture it was from, and this has always stayed at the back of my head ever since.  And three years down the track, here comes a lovely cookbook my way to tell me all about it.
And even better, the writer himself does not mind you contacting him for extra tips on the dishes to achieve that pure authentic taste.  So don't hesitate to contact Adrian, I've emailed him a few times, and he's the Filipino food expert :) I definitely have a lot to learn.  Sorry Adrian, I still have not thought about what dish I am going to make yet.  I think I will start with that awesome banana + jackfruit crunchy fritter though!  I'll get back to you after the HSC and update you on my journey through this cookbook :)
And one always has a soft spot for reading about background roots.  I guess I'm blessed to be Vietnamese, and being exposed to a great culture first-hand, and seeing how there are similar dishes in many Asian cuisines is always a nice thing.  Like how for the Thai PadThai, there's the CharKeoyTow for Malaysia/Singapore and there's the Hu Tieu for Vietnam, and the Filipino ginaatang halo halo is like the che ba mau of Vietnam.

And it's never too late to learn about this great cuisine! 

PS: This is going to be my last post before I take another break from blogger and resume HSC studies.  I've only got a few weeks to go, and I'll definitely return to blogging straight after that last exam of mine, and I have so many more blogpost drafts already in the box and waiting for me to finish them after HSC finishes. For all my fellow HSC-studying readers, good luck for your HSC too, and thanks for joining me on my food journey thus far.  Whether you have recently joined, or have known about it since its inception - sorry, any attempt for me to use this word is a small achievement for me :) - in January this year, I thank you so much for reading what I put on my blog.  I know I'm not the best with layouts and photos, and I might be switching blog engines after, but I'll hopefully renovate this site soon.  This break will be quite long, but I promise to make up for it with many more posts!


  1. Great review of Adrian's book! I'd love to get my hands on a copy. My Mum is Filipino as well and I grew up eating awesome Fillo food but never really learned how to make it :( Hence the need for more Filipino cookbooks in my life! There really aren't that many of them around...

  2. Enjoy your break. Well, not that it's a break if you're studying.

  3. Good luck in your exams! And looking forward to when you HSC is all over and you're back!

  4. All the best with your HSC exams!! Glad to know that you have found Filipino cuisine interesting! The beauty of Filipino food is that it has been influenced by many other cultures throughout the years. I have much love for pork adobo! I normally use pork belly for it. Will have to check out Adrian's book.

  5. Thanks so much for reviewing my cookbook Tina. Amazing pictures and a slammin' write up.

    Yes, let me know if you need any help deciding on what to make first.

    You wok!

  6. First I have to say, thank you so much for the lovely comment you left on my blog -- you made my day! :)

    I loved reading your review of this beautiful book (the crunchy banana fritter looks delicious!). You make such a good point, that even in authentic cooking, each family does it differently! That is something I experienced firsthand through my experiences in the Middle East. The funny thing is, each family claims their version to be the best. :)

    Good luck on your exams!

  7. Wonderful review of Adrian's amazing book :) I am guilty because I still haven't got my own copy OOPS! But I have read it at all the stores I can find it and love it because like you, I knew Filipino people and were friends with some of them but never have I made or really had authentic Filipino food :)

    Good luck with your exams and look forward to your new posts! Remember to eat and sleep well! xox

  8. INCREDIBLE PHOTOGRAPHY! love it , good luck

  9. Good luck with your HSC!! I never realised you were still in high school your writing and eating is really mature. I also love Adrian's blog and book and now I will have to get it out of the cupboard and make that Chicken dish... It is only 6.30am and I am craving something tasty!

  10. All I could say is I like this blog so much same as the blog of filipino food online, nice post!

  11. Haha this is so cool my friend, I will definitely check it out - you have me intrigued asking this question :D
    Great review!



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