. . . is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue. Excerpt:
"There are also statements that Filipino food is too salty or too fatty or too whatever. These conveniently ignore the fact that China must have one of the highest diabetes or heart disease rates, the French have cirrhosis, or the Americans have an obesity problem, and that Filipinos are still among the happiest people in the world.
I can’t even understand the giggly adoration some of our countrymen have on foreign cuisine. Soufflé? It’s airy mamon. Pot au feu? It’s beef nilaga. Ratatoulie is pinakbet. A daube is kaldereta and thom yan is sinigang and Hainanese chicken rice is tinola. Obviously there are differences, but food is food and the variations come due to the use of locally available ingredients. It must be noted that Filipino food generally doesn’t resort to heavy spices or sauces for the simple reason that, unlike other countries, our ingredients come fresh and doesn’t need any flavor disguises. After all, the initial value of spices and smoking and sauces was to hide the taste of food that had already gone a bit bad. We had no need for such trickery because we’ve always had relatively an abundant and readily available supply of food."