Hawaii is often described as a melting pot where different cultures meet, often resulting in new and exciting fusions. In a similar vein, Filipino food is a result of many centuries of cultural intermingling, including Spanish, Asian, Chinese, American, and Mexican influences. If you’re hungry for food that blends sour with citrus, salty with sweet, and other unique flavor combinations, Filipino cuisine will not disappoint. How did it come about? Below is a quick overview of the cuisine’s varied history.
The Fusion of Culture & Colonialism
Original Filipino Food
Before colonization, certain cooking approaches were developed in the Philippines. The most well-known include sinigang, a tangy tamarind root-based broth; adobo, a salty and vinegary marinade typically used for seasoning meat; and kinilaw, a vinegar-based approach to seafood. As the Philippines were colonized and inducted into the rest of the world, it would incorporate other foods, but those three cooking approaches formed the basis of many well-known recipes, most of which also incorporate rice.
Many Filipino dishes have Chinese influences. Soy sauce, in particular, was first brought to the Philippines during the 10th century, where it was used in adobo dishes as a salting agent, a source of color, and to balance out vinegary flavors. Lumpia, a spring roll-like dish, is also highly influenced by the Chinese. Around the 16th century, the Spanish arrived, bringing with them a variety of noodles, spices, grains, and vegetables, leading to the development of noodle-based Filipino dishes such as pancit. American colonization left its mark on the country as well, in part because of the introduction of preserved foods, which could hold up in the tropical weather. As a result, perishable ingredients, such as milk, could be used for coconut pies and other sweet desserts.
Hungry for Filipino food? Stop by Plantation Grindz, the premier Filipino restaurant on Maui. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the local Kahului, HI, restaurant features a revolving menu with different specials every week, including Filipino, Portuguese, and Hawaiian cuisine. Call (808) 873-3663 for questions, or go online to browse their menu. You can also find them on Google+ and Twitter, and visit their Yelp page for reviews.