I'm not sure how Filipinos are so small - the food there is so unhealthy and heavy, albeit delicious! Meat is definitely a centerpiece of each meal, and it is cooked with liberal amounts of oil and seasoning. They like their strong flavors, that's for sure.
I tried to sample the most famous traditional Filipino dishes on my short trip. What is interesting is that there is such a strong influence of American fast food cuisine. I saw so many American chains, such as KFC, Krispy Kreme, Red Mango. There were also some unique Filipino chains, such as The House that Fried Chicken Built. Fast food and delivery is a big part of the culture, and there are cuisines from all over the world - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Italian, Singaporean, European, Spanish, etc. It was sometimes difficult to find authentic Filipino food!
At the Sunday market we were able to sample many dishes. I saw these huge, juicy cumin prawns that I couldn't pass up, though they were relatively pricey. At a $1 a piece, it was one of the best decisions ever!
I also tried some whole wheat bao (Chinese steamed bun) filled with various veggies. This was probably the healthiest thing I ate all day.
We ate at the Tiendesitas, the place I mentioned in the last post. We got both grilled pork and grilled squid, with a side of rice and green mango salad. The mango was crunchy and sour, and we ate the salad with salty shrimp paste. Again, these people like their intense flavors!
Another signature dish - crisy pata. It is a huge fried pork knuckle. The meat on the bones was really tender.
Here is a dish of chop suey. I guess it is Chinese American? It was one of the only green things I ate during the whole trip.
This dish is sisig, a famous Filipino delicacy! It is fried scraps of meat from the pig's head. Not too bad - the bits of meat were really fatty but succulent! No part of the animal gets wasted, not the knuckle nor the head.
At the farmer's market, we saw this whole cow being roasted on a spit. It was absolutely massive and I can't imagine how long it took to cook all the way through. We asked for a portion and the man used a knife to carve off slices of meat. Also, I just noticed that the box that encloses the pit is colored like a dairy cow!
Overall, I think the food is really tasty, but one weekend was enough. I would not be able to eat like this on a normal basis, but I really admire the Filipinos who do. I'm glad I got to try all these new dishes. It was definitely a broadening of my culinary horizons.