Filipino Food, A serious question...
What are people perception of Filipino food? Why hasn't it caught on the way other Asian cuisines has in the US?
Andrew Zimmern has mentioned that he believes Filipino cuisine is the next big thing for the US food scene. Having grown up eating Filipino dishes and believing that it does have a lot to offer I don't see this happening.
As much as I love my culture's food it's not the most sophisticated cuisine. I liken it to soul food of the south. It's comfort food. I noticed many restaurants trying to "elevate" it by trying to make it fancy food. I think this is the wrong approach. It's not meant to be eaten this way. To truly elevate a filipino dish, all that's truly needed would be to use the best ingredients possible.
My experience with Filipino food is limited to lumpia made by a lady I used to work with. They were so good, but I have to say I don't seek Filipino food out. Maybe, because there aren't as many restaurants as other cuisines? What are some dishes that a novice should try? I'm going to put Filipino cuisine on the list of new things to try next .
I agree with both your affection for Filipino food and your evaluation that it's not a "sophisticated" cuisine, but rather a hearty, comfort cuisine. The strong pungent and fishy flavors that make it so delicious also probably turn a lot of people off from it - processed food can make people really used to blandness. Thai food for the masses caught on partly because they could get away with removing the pungent flavors and amping up the sweetness, but that approach would fail really hard with Filipino food.
I love chicken chicharrones (dipped in vinegar), fried chicken, and lumpia from Max's in LA, fried fish or sausage over rice with eggs for breakfast - even the Filipino places that serve food from a steam table still often taste really good to me! Desserts are also really bizarre and fun, like bright purple taro ice cream topped with canned fruit and jelly items (almost like Vietnamese che).
It might be because I've grown sick of it, but I don't enjoy Filipino food much. The flavors don't stand out to me, and it's just not appealing.
The LA Times had an article on Filipino food a while back: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...
From the article:
"Mary Jo Gore, a Filipino chef instructor at the Cordon Bleu school in Pasadena and a friend of the Manzkes from Patina, says part of the problem is aesthetic. Filipino food, she says, is comfort food. "Visually, it's not very appealing. It's stewed and brown and oily and fried." "
I agree, except I don't find it comforting. I do wonder what my opinion would be if I didn't grow up eating it.
ATK has a recipe for chicken adobo made with coconut milk. I've never had adobo that way before, and I do want to try it.
I find Filipino food to be generally too heavy, fatty, greasy. And I rarely want to eat that way. Plus the fish that seem to be often used are tilapia and milk fish - fish I prefer to stay away from. Maybe "elevating" Filipino food could mean making lighter versions and using higher quality fish.