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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's Wrong With Filipino Food?

Filipinos are all over the world. There’s probably no nook in this earth where not one Filipino exists. That’s because we were blessed with natural adaptability to all types of environments. Kahit saan pwede. As it is, most Pinoys have already successfully assimilated in the cultures of the people with whom they live with.

But why is it that the food we eat can’t seem to pass the tastes of other peoples?

In the Roppongi area where I hold office, there are Chinese, Thai, Indian and even Vietnamese restaurants. And these food joints are patronized not just by their respective native eaters, but by the Japanese and other nationalities as well.

There are two Pinoy restaurants here, eat-all-you-can style – but only Filipinos can be seen there.

Why? I don’t know, but the same phenomenon happens in some of the countries I’ve been to. In Taiwan, there are hundreds of Filipino restaurants and food stalls, but only catering to Filipino customers, especially during Sundays. I heard the same thing in Hongkong and Singapore. In the US, the Goldilocks restaurant in Daly City is usually packed, but again, mostly of Filipinos. Same is true for the establishments I’ve seen in San Diego and LA.


The big wonder therefore is, what’s wrong with Filipino food?

Here are just some of the few reasons I could think of and what should be done about them:

1) Pinoy food looks so unhealthy. Prito na nga, kailangan pa bang nakalutang sa oil (read: tocino, longganisa, tapa). Japanese tempura is also fried, but they don’t turn-off foreigners because they not as greasy.


2) We lack creativity in packaging. Indian food here comes with intricately designed presentations. Thai food is likewise pleasing to the eye. Tayo, salpak lang sa pan, solb na!

3) We don’t seem to be sticklers for freshness and cleanliness. In most foreign restaurants here, the kitchen can be seen by the customers, just to show that they food they’re serving comes direct from the fire. For most Pinoy restaurants, it’s usually buffet style. Andyan na kaagad lahat. And while throwing food is abominable, di rin naman dapat i-serve uli. That’s what is known to most of us as “pangat”, or pangatlong ulit ng ininit.

There you go. I hope you could add more and from there, food industry entrepreneurs will hopefully act on our observations and apply whatever they’ve learned. I hope to see one day a restaurant serving Filipino food to patrons composed mainly of other races.

Then I could proudly say, "Tara, kain tayo!"

22 comments:

Coldman said...

100% agree ako sa obsevation mo, pero doon na tayo nasanay kaya di ko pa rin ipagpapalit ang Pinoy foods. Ang mga kano pansin ko gusto nila ng lumpiang shanghai at pancit pero di ba chinese food yun?!

Magugustuhan kaya nila ang sinigang o Kare kare?!

Abaniko said...

This is a good observation ha? Oo nga, ano? Di naman tayo mababaho. Maybe, we need to make our restaurants more appealing to the eye. We went to this popular Pinoy resto in New York (I forgot the name of the place) and the resto looked like a turo-turo place. Basa ang mga utensils, magulo at ang mga waiter parang naghahabol parati. The same thing with the Pinoy resto in Las Vegas. Para ding eatery sa kanto yung napuntahan namin. O baka nagkataon lang na ang napupuntahan namin ay cheap na lugar. Hehe. Ewan. :)

Abad said...

sabi nga ng mga porenger ang pagkain daw natin laging kulay brown, matamis at mamantika. sabi ko naman, yumm.

sa totoo lang, mahirap makipagsabayan sa ibang mas sikat na cuisine kasi mas swerte naman yung mga bansang yun sa dami ng herbs at spices na meron sa bansa nila. hindi kasi sing komplikado ng mga pagkain ng ibang bansa ang mga lutuin natin kasi nanggaling lang ang sa natin sa kung ano ang meron tayo. gayunpaman, i wouldn't be any less proud to say kain tayo. :)

Gina said...

Maybe we should be more ingenious and creative with the presentation nga seguro, kasi , kung sa lasa lang naman, di tayo pahuhuli.

Pero, ang sarap naman talaga niyang nasa pics...yummmmm. =P kahit pa sabihing pampa-high blood. Sinugba nga baboy iton nga second pic di ba? All you need is suka or calamansi with garlic!

pepe M. said...

awesome article!
kaya dont blame me for being so unfilipino if i despise my own food! some even are gross like dinuguan, adidas...and all those lamang loob!

re: indian food, are so much popular in UK...next time try mo tandoori nila...:)

Lawstude said...

great observation panyero. maybe because our food here are fusion of some other cultures na rin. like yung kare-kare natin na galing india. so mas gugustuhin ng foreigners talaga yung indian food kasi orig. then yung sinigang natin di ba tom yum ang version ng thailand pero mas sikat ang thai food.

ang alam ko lang ang sikat na food natin is chicken adobo. the rest kasi is parang may kulang or di original.

pero kung ayaw nila ng food natin, eh di ayos lang basta ako gusto ko pa rin pinoy foods. papaet anyone?

aajao said...

well, we can't please them to like our very own food. they don't know what they're missing! hehehe... favorite ko talaga ang pinoy food, pangalawa ang italian. ayoko rin naman ng ibang pagkain/putahe.. weird nga kase di ako nagsasawa sa pagkain natin tapos pag kumain ako ng ibang putahe (ng ibang bansa) parang di ako satisfied. maliban sa pasta (italian style) yun ang second favorite ko. :)

R-yo said...

coldman: dagdagan mo ng isaw at betamax para lalong ma freak-out ang mga Kano, heheh.

abaniko: i think nasa presentation lang talaga. kung nagawa nating maging malinis ang isang jolibee, bakit naman hindi ang mga restaurants, di ba?

R-yo said...

abad: i guess tama ka dun sa presence ng maraming spices and herbs. yun nag nagpapa distinct sa lasa ng mga pagkain nila. but let me clarify: i love our food. mas magiging kampante lang mag-imbita kumain kung hindi naman mukhang kaning baboy ang buko salad. imagine, sa plangganita isinerve?! Naman! hehehe

acey said...

nice new layout, kuya aryo!

i know a lot of people who have filipino cuisine at the bottom of their lists, too (most of them filipinos like us!). and although there really are just some wonderful pinoy dishes out there, your observations also ring true to me.

and maybe because it's also because of all the pork? =D

Abou said...

ung typical filipino dishes na niluluto ng mga lola natin masasarap talaga. kaya lang medyo mahirap dalhin ang mga ganitong klaseng luto sa restaurant abroad kasi most of the ingredients ay grown locally. gaya ng puso ng saging, ubod, kangkong, talbos ng kamote, dahon ng sili, saba, etc.

Ely said...

I agree with that. Malinis tayo sa katawan pero may pagka-untidy kasi when comes to food. Fatty na nga, hindi pa siya presentable tingnan, so turn off sa mga foreigners.

ifoundme said...

alam mo, i care less if other nationalities think our food looks unhealthy. kaya namamatay kaagad sila sa mga bird flu bird flu na yan kasi masyado silang "malinis" daw. my mother and i frequently discuss this kasi matagal na yang mga bird flu na yan dito satin pero wala pa naman nauulat na namatay.

even my cousin who was born in US said that mas bilib pa sya sa pinoy kasi yung mga karne nga nakasabit lang at nilalangaw pero karamihan naman sa pinoy healthy pa rin.

Sexymoi said...

uu nga, ako ang food natin na di ko matake yung matatamis na ulam, matamis na spaghetti? ... tsaka diko lam, tayo lang ba ang may banana catsup? weird ng lasa... pero kumakain naman ako ng balut hehe

tutubi said...

filipinos need to put our best food forward. most of the time, foreginers really portray food as unhealthy. even coconut-based food is maligned particularly by advocates of soy bean oil.

there are so many food that can be liked by foreigners if only we market our own food well

Rochelle said...

lol!! SO true - but I still love it! And we may have some food that doesn't look as appealing... but there are some that look inviting too!! :)

R-yo said...

Gina: I think so too. Sa presentation nagkakatalo. And I love sinugba liwat. Silver Swan with suka, kalamansi and konting sili lang, ayos na!

Pepe: I guess pareho tayong di kumakain ng balut. Pero from isaw, to dinuguan, to adidas, walang problema sa akin. :-)

R-yo said...

Lawstude: Mukhang konti nga lang ang orig talaga nating food. Pero siguro kahit fusion, pwede na rin bumenta sa ibang lahi, given a distinct taste. Parang Vietnamese nooddles. Alam mong Chinese ang original cuisine pero ang lasa, alam mong vietnamese. Gawan mo nga ng ganun ang papaet, para pasyalan kita pag bakasyon ko. he he

R-yo said...

aajao: ang gusto ko lang naman, maka share tayo sa international market ng pagkain. sayang e. truth is, namimiss ko na rin pinoy food. pero since lomolobo na ko, pahinga muna sa kain. kaya ayos lang. bawi na lang ako sa december. :-)

acey: tayo yata ang pinakamalakas mag-consume ng pork. lahat na ulam, me sahog. :-)

abou: oo nga no? paano kaya magpadala ng talbos ng kamote dito sa Japan. Teka, me kamote din dito a, pero ewan ko lang kng niluluto din nila ang talbos.

ely: siguro dahil unconsciously, talagang Pinoy lang ang tinatarget nating market. Pag alam nating ok na sa pinoy standards, di na tayo nag-eeffort na mas gawing presentable.

ifoundme: he he. malakas na nga ang immune system natin dahil sa kinakain natin. sbagay, advantage din yun. :-)

R-yo said...

sexy moi: iba nga talaga spaghetti natin. pero sabi nga nila, that's what makes it a fusion. bebenta kaya yun sa ibang lahi? hmm, matanong nga sa jolibee. :-)

tutubi: amen to that!

rochelle: so you still get a taste of Pinoy food in your place? here, not much.

travelphilippines said...

i agree with lawstud there medyo may fusion nrin ng other culture ang food ntn like indian and chinese. hay when kya mangyayari na mgccrave ang ibang nationality for pinoy food just like how i crave for japanese and thai food.

Keitaro Hanazawa said...

You've got a strong point here kuya! Filipino food is sumptuous kaso kulang sa presentation at marketing. Isa pa, marurumi yung ibang kusina ng mga restaurants.

Siguro kailangan lang na i-introduce yung food natin sa mga ibang races. Kunwari, if we have friends na foreigner, isama natin sila sa mga Pinoy restaurants. For sure mag-eenjoy naman sila, pero sana nga hindi sila ma-turn off sa dumi ng lugar.