The Development of a Foodie: An Tribute to the Greatest Filipino Cuisine

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Ajay informed me that he was not particularly fond of eating. In fact, I consider meals to be a waste of time when I travel. I tried not to take it personally.

I pushed myself at the time to show my new friendee the wrong of his ways. Ajay is an award-winning photographer who was just rated one of the finest in India. I was perplexed as to how someone from such a food-centric culture could not be a gourmet. I made the decision to convert him. Someone with such refined taste in all things photography had to be a gourmet.

Lucky for me, I would have been able to influence Ajay. During my latest TBEX experience, Ajay was a part of my FAM trip to the Philippines. As you remember, the event organizers did an outstanding job of entertaining and eating with us.

Still, I knew it would be difficult. Ajay mentioned in his one and only article regarding food that it is a necessary evil that we must spend time on when traveling. During my nomadic periods, I make do with whatever takes the least amount of time and gives enough energy to keep me going.

We were scheduled to have lunch at the world-famous Zubuchon, which rose to prominence when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain said that they cooked the greatest pig he’d ever tasted.

This meal would include the finest of Filipino cuisine, and I deliberately positioned myself across the table from Ajay as the items started to emerge on the table before us.

First, a quick primer on Filipino cuisine. Often, a pineapple mint shake is provided as a welcome drink. This one was universally adored, and no one could deny how fantastic it was.

The following course was grilled scallops served on the shell. They were breaded with a panko-like coating and had a buttery flavor. This is another meal that almost everyone can agree on.

The following meal was fish skin tacos, which were delivered by servers. I was intrigued since I had never heard of them before. Deep-fried fish skins served like taco shells, which you topped with freshly produced ceviche before eating. Personally, I preferred the ceviche, but everyone agreed that the fried fish skins were adequate.

Plates of sotanghon guisado were served next. This meal consists of spicy noodles and is served with lime wedges to squeeze over the top before combining and eating.

Following each of these well-liked meals, the restaurant eventually threw us a dinuguan curveball. Diniguan is a flavorful pork stew cooked in a dark sauce of garlic, chile, vinegar, and pigs blood: pigs blood soup. I was curious how Ajay would react to the food.

Ajay startled me by diving straight in, clearly eager to sample the new food. I asked him to describe the flavor after his first bite: warm, salty than sour, smooth in consistency, with a somewhat bitter aftertaste, he stated.

The meal that made Zubuchon famous was served next. I could dedicate a whole article to Lechon alone. I think I could write a whole book about Lechon.

The dish is roasted suckling pig with skin on and fat. Lechon is the national cuisine of the Philippines, and the area we were in is well-known for producing the greatest. Moreover, Zubuchon is well-known for having the greatest in the area, if not the globe.

We were offered two different varieties of lechon. The boneless spicy version was my favorite. Everyone at the table agreed that the Lechon was a Filipino cuisine winner.

Because of the salted eggs, I was a little wary about this salad. I’m not a big fan of salted eggs since, as the name indicates, they’re generally (too) salty. This meal is called as ensaladang kamatis, and it is made with log na maalat and tinapang bangus. This is smoked Bangus with salted egg and tomato salad. Bangus, commonly known as milkfish, is the Philippines’ national fish. In the end, I liked the meal and felt the tomatoes balanced out the saltiness of the eggs.

Finally, there’s dessert. Biko, a typical Filipino delicacy comprised of sticky rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar, was presented to us. I’ve remarked previously that I’m not much of a dessert person, and this meal didn’t do anything to change my mind. It was really sweet, as desserts should be, but it did not appeal to me.

Ajay had claimed that he enjoyed practically every item towards the conclusion of the dinner. But would he describe himself as a gourmet now? Maybe not yet. Nonetheless, I saw he stopped into Newtons, a renowned local food center, during his recent visit to Singapore, so maybe he’s on his way.

Which meal did you think looked the best? Tell me about your favorite meal in the comments area below!

Useful Information:

Check out Ajay’s webpage by clicking here.

All pictures are by Ajay Sood.

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