Posted by: East and West | 2009/05/18

Let's talk about food…

My family went to another graduation party yesterday (yup, it’s that time of year). The daughter of my son’s preschool director, a lovely young lady who is a couple of years older than my son, had just graduated from college. The crowd was multicultural and when someone brought out slow-melt popsicles (not sure I want to know what makes them so), the discussion turned to food.

Ice cream in the Philippines offers a palette of sweet and not-so-sweet delights. Sure, you can get chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but you can also find ube (purple yam), buko (young coconut) and cheese. That last flavor made my wife and son’s faces pucker, but if you’ve ever had it and acquired a taste for it you’ll always want it.

Filipinos cannot afford to waste food, so almost every part any animal, vegetable or fruit is cooked and served. The dishes and flavors vary from region to region, but all are a reflection of a frugal people who savor everything – callos (pronounced kal-yos) stew with beef tripe and chick peas, chicken skin chicharrones, pig knuckles in sweet brown sauce with banana flowers.

I’ve often wondered how well a Filipino chef would compete in the Iron Chef kitchen stadium. I’m confident he or she would give Bobby Flay a run for his money.

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