Sitting in Pret A Manger at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 departures, EMDM’s Norresa Perucho catches up with Malcolm Conlan, who is his way to The Philippines for the 33rd time. He is going to help film a documentary on feeding children on the streets of The Philippines.
What makes Malcolm, a special man is his love for The Philippines, despite being born an Englishman. He also has an extraordinary passion for Filipino food.
But his love for Filipino food came with consequences as his weight plummeted to 16 and a half stone over the years.
Conlan first fell in love with The Philippines when he was 18 years old. His boss at work at the time was a Filipino and introduced him to a Filipino church group, where he met his first Filipina girlfriend.
“It was at this age that I started eating Filipino food and I ate so much of it that I put on a lot of weight,
“I was eating rice three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I loved eating tocilog (sweet pork, fried egg and rice) in the morning,” said Conlan.
However, his health took a turn for the worse in the autumn of last year when he was diagnosed with gout and other health concerns.
“I now have to be careful of what I eat. For example, I only eat pork two to three times a month, when in the past I was eating it maybe two to three times a week.”
Despite these issues, Conlan’s favourite dish to eat is bistek, which is calamansi (similar to a lemon or a lime, which can only be found in the Philippines) onions, garlic and soy sauce cooked together with beef. Conlan says: “There has to be the right balance between the sauce and the flavour.
“I have had it here in London but the flavour was very Westernised. The best I have ever had was in a Kamayan restaurant in the Philippines.”
There isn’t much Filipino food that Malcolm doesn’t like, however one exception is chicharon bulaklak, a Filipino delicacy. It is made up of pig’s intestines, which is deep-fried. It can be eaten with vinegar sauce, or on its own.
“It is really unhealthy, so I tend to avoid it. I have tried it though, and it tastes okay,” continues Conlan.
Michael Lampkin, an American Filipino at Heart
Another man with a love for Filipino food is American Michael Lampkin 44, who has set up a charity in the States, to provide children in The Philippines with school supplies.
Lampkin believes that other culture cuisines have made Filipino food what it is today.
“There is a lot of Spanish named food such as Chicken Adobo, which is completely different style to the Filipino style, because of its seasoning.”
“The flavours of the Filipino food is so tasty,” he continues.
Malcolm Conlan’s love for the Philippines is stronger when he is eating Filipino food as it reminds him of the place he now calls home. He enjoys eating the food that his wife, a full Filipina, cooks for him as it is more authentic in taste.
“Most Filipino restaurants will Westernise their food to suit the palate of people in the U.K, but it doesn’t taste the same.
“On that note, I am so happy to be going back to the Philippines and eating there,” he smiles.