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Philippine Micronesia Alliance – The Divers Choice

Food and Drink

Given the history of the country it is not surprising that Philippines food is a blend of Eastern and Western influences. Like its Asian neighbours rice is the staple food and is served with most meals, however the use of chillies and hot spices is not widespread and the food is a little gentler in flavour.

Philippines food tends to be quite simple with the emphasis on delicious fresh grilled or fried fish and shellfish, grilled and stewed chicken or pork. Seasonings and flavours usually come from vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onions, black peppercorns pepper, fish sauce and coconut.

You are likely to see the following at some stage on local menus:

Adobo: a stew made from chicken, pork or squid
Kare-kare: oxtail or chicken in gravy sauce
Lumpia: vegetable spring rolls
Sinigang: a slightly sour soup, flavoured with tamarind, served with rice
Siopao: steamed savoury filled buns
Pancit: noodles
Kilawin: raw fish marinaded in coconut, calamnsi juice and vinegar (and our favourite!)

Lechon is probably the national dish and is served at fiestas and special occasions. Lechon (or Litson) is a suckling pig slowly roasted over coals and tastes exceptionally good.

Step into any supermarket or market and you will see a huge range of tropical fruits and vegetables. Needless to say, the mangoes are superb but you will find bananas, pineapples, melons, apples and citrus. Different seasons bring avocados, rambutans, lychees, guava and papaya. Strawberries and raspberries can even be found and are grown in the cooler hill side areas around Baguio. Popular vegetables include spinach, celery, okra and potatoes.

All around the country you will see bake shops filled with locally made breads, cakes and pastries. Street food is very popular for locals and tourists alike and head of the list is probably small bbq sticks of chicken, pork or kidneys. Cooked on the spot and costing very little these are a great on the move snack.

Finally halo halo is an ice based drink / dessert which comes complete with jelly, beans, sweet corn, sugar, colouring and just about anything else!

With all the fresh fruits available juices and shakes are a common feature on all menus, are good value and very refreshing particular favourites include mango shakes, water melon juice and buko (fresh coconut milk) juice.

The major brewery here is San Miguel and it is practically a national institution. San Miguel produce several types of beer and it is cheap and available everywhere. Needless to say, it finds a fair degree of support within the tourism sector.

The large amount of sugar cane production throughout the islands means that like the Caribbean, the spirit of choice is rum. For many people the perfect way to end the day is to sip on a rum based cocktail and watch the sun go down over the sea.


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