HOW TO EAT FILIPINO CUISINE!
This is the exciting part. You’re interested in Filipino Cuisine, maybe you’ve read my brief description of certain different types of Filipino Dishes, and you’re ready to sit down and try some! Well you’ve come to the right place. Filipino cuisine, without exception, is always served with, over, and accompanied by, plain white rice. Any plain white rice will do, and you’re very unlikely to go wrong with any variation of jasmine, basmati, or even simple long grain white rice.
“But Shawn,” you say, “I don’t like plain white rice.”
To this I can’t say I blame you. Very few dishes or places in America, besides the infamous fried rice or various Hispanic or Cajun dishes, serve to make rice palatable to most Americans on the Standard American diet. But if you approach Filipino cuisine without eating it with rice, you’re probably going to tell me it’s too salty or over seasoned. Filipino cuisine, especially dishes prepared by my wife Ate Shai, are not made or seasoned to be eaten alone. These dishes are not balanced around being served by themselves. Regardless of the dish, from Adobo to Pancit (Filipino Noodles), and everything in between, everything is made to be served over or with Rice. The various dishes, regardless of meat or sauce, are all seasoned to taste perfectly when eaten with equal parts rice. For this reason, I suggest you learn how to make plain white rice.
“But Shawn,” you’re probably thinking, “I’ve never made plain white rice!”
Then let me take you on a journey! Firstly, feel free to order family portions of rice when you order from your favorite Filipino restaurants. But, if you absolutely must, just grab a box of instant white rice until you get a rice cooker from Amazon or Walmart. Every Asian and their mother is shaking their head at me, but I’d rather you started eating Filipino cuisine straight away than putting it off for any reason, especially not having a rice cooker.
Now, let’s say you have your rice cooker and want to make white rice. But where do you start? If you want an incredibly comical illustration of how to make rice, check out this skit by Jo Koy, (https://youtu.be/45wHe9KdmrQ) a Filipino-American comedian. But I’ll give you the basics:
If you don’t have a rice cooker, I’m going to recommend you go on Amazon or head to Walmart, it’s barely 20$ to get and takes the guessing or math out of the equation. You’ll find dozens of non-asian chefs and people trying to make perfect rice in pots or pans or steamers or what-have-you, but you’ll never see an Asian doing this; they simply follow the steps above (or from the video) to make perfect rice every time.
Now that you have your rice and your food has arrived, I’m going to recommend grabbing your biggest eating spoon, filling half the spoon with rice, and then scooping the other half into your entrée, and enjoy. A roughly 1 to 1 portion of each is the perfect way to eat nearly every single Filipino dish in existence. If you have more questions please reach out to me or my wife at Ate Shai’s Home Cooking on Facebook, or My Tindahan (My Store) in Louisville.
I’m Shawn Braden, and I’m your American Liason to Filipino Cuisine.