When you think of American food, you think of a greasy cheeseburger with fries. British food evokes images of fish and chips in newspaper wrappings, and Chinese food makes most people think of egg friend rice with sweet and sour pork.
But what do you think when you hear about Filipino food?
Filipino food, a cuisine which originates from The Philippines, is slowly getting more popular with nearly 200,000 Filipinos in the U.K, and a growing number of Filipino businesses in Earl’s Court.
Popular dishes include chicken adobo, (chicken garlic, vinegar and soya sauce), pancit canton (noodles, chicken, carrots, fine beans), afritada (pork/chicken in tomato sauce and dinuguan (pig’s blood, pork, vinegar and chilli)
Born and raised in The Philippines, Nadia Estaris, 36, works part-time in the Manila Supermarket at Earls Court. Her favourite Filipino dishes include puto (steamed rice cake) and tuyo (dried fish)
“Filipino food is actually unique in taste, very flavourful and spices are very moderate,” says Estaris.
The store sells a lot of imported products from The Philippines, from crisps to canned food and certain fishes and meat.
“Most of the customers are Filipino, but that doesn’t mean that other Asians like Thai or English people don’t come to the store,” said Estaris.
There are a number of Filipino foods known as Filipino delicacies, such as Balut (boiled duck embryo) and Chicharon Bulaklak (deep fried pigs intestines and guts). Chicharon Bulaklak can be bought cooked from Filipino restaurants or from Asian supermarkets.
Balut, on the other hand, is difficult to find in the U.K. due to claims it was animal cruelty. However in the last two months, Filipino restaurant Lutong Pinoy was given permission to sell the eggs to its customers.
Lutong Pinoy, which translates as ‘Filipino Cooking’ offers both a buffet and an a la carte menu.
Son of the owner, Marc Malata, 24 said: “We have everything ranging from sizzling dishes to all day breakfasts or just simple noodles.
“We literally have a majority of the Filipino food people want. We offer traditional home cooked food for customers who can’t cook certain dishes at home,” he continued.
Filipino food is different to other Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Thai or Korean.
But Marc believes that Filipino food is based on the influence from these Asian cuisines as well as Spanish.
Certain elements of Spanish food can also be found in Filipino food because of The Philippines’ history when the Spanish conquered the country.
“Then there are Asian influences such as sweet and sour sauce, fish sauce, tamarind and coconut milk,” he continued.
Kamyan dining, is also popular in the Philippines and is slowly making its way to the U.K. It involves eating food with your fingers off a banana leaf, with food portions spread across it.
It is a way of eating food faster, as well as bringing Filipino traditions to the U.K. and giving the local Filipinos a taste of what it is like back home.
Three months ago, Lutong Pinoy started hosting ‘Kamayan Wednesdays’, a day specifically for those who want to eat their food in a different manner.
If you would like to try Filipino food, and eat it with your hands (or not) then contact Lutong Pinoy on 0207 244 0007.