Sunday, February 22, 2009

No reservations: Philippines

Anthony Bourdain wrote in this blog that he is nervous about the Philippine episode. He said that he is afraid not to have gotten it right. I don't understand why he was so apologetic. For me, it was not necessary that he liked our food, I am just happy the the Philippines is getting some exposure. Fortunately, he seemed to really like the food (I saw it in his eyes) with sisig having made a pretty good impression. Anyway, if he loves pork as much as he claims then sisig musr have brought him to pork heaven.

Don't worry Anthony, I think you got it right. Even though you visited only 2 of our 7100 islands, you got the essense of our food. Even I will not manage or even want to try everything because for sure I would never eat a goat's head. In this episode though, I think you covered only the basics. A second (and even third) show is necessary to get a more in-depth look into our food culture.

Anthony Bourdain also tried to go deeper, during the episode, he asked several times why Filipino food is not well represented abroad despite there being 12,000,000 Filipinos overseas. Actually, an American friend asked me the same question once after tasting my pata estofado and beef adobo sa gata. In my opinion, it has the same answer as why Augusto and other Filipinos who grew up abroad doesn't speak Filipino (or Cebuano for that matter) and it is a mix of colonial mentality, non-existent national pride and extreme adaptability.

Another question Anthony repeated many times was "Who are the Filipinos?". Well, I guess no one really knows. The answer could be, people who like to eat adobo, the national dish. The problem here is you come to a big dead end as there is no "real" adobo recipe. Maybe we are ultimately like the national dish that we so love to eat, we could be almost anything.

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