I was a little bothered by Dr. Estanislao’s lecture this week entitled “Philippines: An Exceptional Country.” It was as if he forgot that there are Filipinos in the country, particularly Bangsamoro, who are very Asian in tradition and cuisine. We, Filipinos, are not all Latin-American in orientation (though he emphasized this in terms of the structure of our economy). We must remember that we have connections and similarities with Asia not only in the past but also in the present through our cultural groups such as the Bangsamoro.
One example of how connected we are with Asia is the Maranao cuisine which exhibits gastronomic affinities with Malaysia and Indonesia. You can have a local taste of beef rendang, beef simmered for hours in coconut milk and spices, suited to the Maranao palate with little difference from the Malaysian and Indonesian varieties. My personal favorite is chicken piaparan (photo below, taken from mindanaoboy.wordpress.com), chicken sauteed in desiccated coconut, turmeric and palapa. (to discover more about Maranao cuisine, you can read this blog http://bit.ly/VME3jA)
During a visit to Quiapo, an Indonesian friend of mine said “I feel like I’m home!” after seeing familiar dishes offered by Maranao food shops. Next time you are in Quipao, Baclaran, Greenhills or even Mindanao, why not try Maranao or other Bangsamoro cuisine and savor the heritage and diversity of being both a Filipino and an Asian?