Kwento Kwentuhan

Filipino Food Week

Liza of “A Maui Blog”

Filipino Food Week Hawai‘i was recently celebrated from June 9 through 15. In connection with this, I started thinking about Filipino food and started to wonder what ingredients Filipinos usually use in their dishes that makes it uniquely delicious. Let’s talk story about this. I’ll share a few that I know and you can add to it too.

Filipino Ingredients

1. VINEGAR – There are many kinds of vinegar. The most commonly used variety is that of coconut vinegar. We call it suka. It is usually paired (mixed) with patis as a sauce, and it’s good dipping sauce for fried fish. Vinegar is used in paksiw, adobo, kinilaw.

2. SAMPALOC – Also known as tamarind, this tart and tangy fruit is used primarily in sinigang, a sour-savory stew, and candies. It is also sold as a paste to add to marinades. Ok, now I am craving for Sinigang na Hipon!

3. KETCHUP – Although we also use tomato catsup in some dishes, it is common among Filipinos to use the Banana Ketchup. This banana ketchup is made of bananas, sugar vinegar (oh there’s that vinegar again) and spices. The famous Filipino Spaghetti usually has a lot of banana ketchup mixed in the sauce.

4. BAGOONG – the most common form of bagoong is known as Shrimp Paste here in the United States. However, there is another form of bagoong which is made of fish. Both type of bagoong have that funky smell and both are salty. The unique taste of bagoong enhances some of the favorite dishes such as Pinakbet and Binagoongang Baboy.

5. PATIS – Patis is fish sauce. This too has a funky smell. As mentioned earlier, this is usually paired with vinegar for a sauce. It is common to add patis on many dishes, particularly on soup and stews.

6. TOYO – Here on Maui we call Soy Sauce, shoyu but in the Philippines we call it Toyo. The famous Filipino Dish with toyo is Adobo. Adobo is one of the favorite Filipino dishes of non-Filipinos. Here on Maui, even the other ethnic groups like eating Adobo.


7. GATA – Gata is coconut milk. When I was growing up, we never used canned coconut milk. We only used the freshly squeezed one, …freshly squeezed from freshly grated coconuts. That’s why it is so delicious! These days we have the convenience of using canned coconut milk. It’s used on Ginaataan bilobilo, Kakanin, and there is a version of Pinakbet with gata.

8. CALAMANSI – Pancit is not complete without a sprinkle of freshly squeezed calamansi. Aside from adding flavor like a lime, calamansi also has many uses, like in juices and marinades. The famous beef steak version of Filipinos is called Bistek and when my mom used to marinate the beef for it, it usually was with toyo and calamansi.

Now I really am super hungry! Did I miss any ingredients that is common to the Filipino dishes? Of course there are also the basics like garlic and onion. We like to sauté it and oh the smell is so good!

And the sugar …we should not forget the sugar! See you in our next Kwento-Kwentuhan! A hui hou!

Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui. Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.