Philippine cuisine (or Filipino cuisine) refers to the food, preparation methods and eating customs of the Philippines, an island archipelago nation in south east Asia. Filipino cuisine has evolved from its origins at the time of the Austronesian migration in 5000 to 2500 BCE. Over the centuries, it has been influenced by many cultures. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and "cocidos" (stews) created for fiestas.
The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War which then led to the Philippine-American War with the result that the Philippines then became a US colony.On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence.These were not the only foreign influences on Philippine cuisine, prior to the Spanish invasion and colonization, Arab traders had paid visits to the islands bringing both trade and Islam as well as their food culture.
All in all, the Philippines has evolved a mish-mash of cooking which does not have a single distinctive feature. The foreign influences are added to by the fact that the country is an archipeligo with even separate cuisine in different parts of the two main islands of Luzon and Mindanao.
As with most Asian countries, the staple food in the Philippines is rice. It is most often steamed and served during meals. Leftover rice is often fried with garlic to make sinangag, which is usually served at breakfast together with a fried egg and cured meat or sausages. Rice is often enjoyed with the sauce or broth from the main dishes. In some regions, rice is mixed with salt, condensed milk, cocoa, or coffee. Rice flour is used in making sweets, cakes and other pastries. While rice is the main staple food, bread is also a common staple. Fish sauce, fish paste (bagoong), shrimp paste (alamang) and crushed ginger root (luya) are condiments that are often added to dishes during the cooking process or when served.
Filipino cuisine is distinguished by its bold combination of sweet (tamis), sour (asim), and salty (alat) flavors. Filipino palates prefer a sudden influx of flavor, although most dishes are not heavily spiced. While other Asian cuisines may be known for a more subtle delivery and presentation, Filipino cuisine is often delivered all at once in a single presentation.Vinegar is a common ingredient. Adobo is popular not solely for its simplicity and ease of preparation, but also for its ability to be stored for days without spoiling, and even improve in flavor with a day or two of storage. Tinapa is a smoke-cured fish while tuyo, daing, and dangit are corned, sun-dried fish popular because they can last for weeks without spoiling, even without refrigeration.
Cooking and eating in the Philippines is traditionally an informal, communal affair which is centered around the family kitchen. Food is served all at once rather than in courses. The traditional way of eating is to take a bite of the main meal (especially if it is a dry food such as "inihaw" or "prito") and then a mouthful of rice pressed together with the fingers. This practice, known as "kamayan", is rarely seen in urban areas. However, Filipinos tend to feel the spirit of "kamayan" when eating in a natural setting during out of town trips, beach vacations, town fiestas and so on. In urban areas, food is eaten with flatware. Knives, forks and spoons may be set with a fork and spoon most commonly selected.
Meals of the day
Filipinos will eat three main meals: "agahan" or "almusal" (breakfast), "tanghalan" (lunch), and "hapunan" (dinner) plus an afternoon snack called "merinda" (also called "minandl" or "minindl"). Snacking is normal. Dinner, while still the main meal, is smaller. Breakfast or lunch is the larger meal.