It’s no question that Filipino cuisine has undergone quite a number of transformations over the years. How has it evolved? We explore its origins further.
First and foremost, it’s essential to go back to the roots of our cuisine. Pre-colonial gastronomic fare is a product of convenience. “It all depended on the abundance of their produce. Our forefathers made use of what they had,” shares Chef Chris de Jesus, who firmly advocates heritage cuisine through his restaurant, Provenciano.
Back then, our ancestors relied on the blessings of our resource-rich country. Recent studies based solely on archaeology show that the kinilaw – a raw seafood native dish doused in vinegar – is one of the most ancient aspects of Philippine cuisine. It’s also clear that the first Filipinos were dependent on nature. Perhaps an instance of this was when they first discovered fire and cooked meat over it. They did so, however, without the slightest idea of using seasoning to enhance its flavour.
Our approach to food changed drastically with influences from trade and conquest. Chef Chris gives a quick historical rundown. “Basically for the Chinese, it was the noodles. The Japanese brought the soy sauce. The Malays introduced their spices through trade. And with the length of their stay, it was the Spaniards who influenced our food the most in their way of cooking and their ingredients”. The aftermath then is a melting pot of cuisines that constitute our gastronomy today.
Knowing our gastronomic origins by heart is key to understanding the ever-changing food trends consumers embrace.
Since then, Filipinos have learned to innovate according to need, availability, and preference. This is reflected by the food we allow on our tables today. For example, there is no one interpretation of adobo, sisig, sinigang or any dish each region cooks up.
Knowing our gastronomic origins by heart is key to understanding the ever-changing food trends consumers embrace. Effectively catering to the modern Filipino diner means being open to various interpretations and updates on time-tested favourites. Don’t be afraid to keep up with the times. Innovations are very much welcome.
Provenciano is located at 110 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, Diliman, Quezon City. For inquiries, contact (02) 922-2736.
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