Winnipeg is the melting pot of diverse cultures from around the world and houses a range of culinary options to explore. If I talk about its largest immigrant community—from the tropical land of the Philippines—its growing culinary influence has been seen through Filipino grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants thriving across the city. Although this multi-culti cuisine is known for its unique blend of flavours inspired by its Chinese, Spanish and American counterparts, letâ€™s peek into a simplified version of this Southeast Asian cuisine through its household kitchen.
Check out this one-on-one chat with my Filipino friend, Che Panget, about the must-haves found in almost every Filipino pantry. Panget migrated to Winnipeg with her family in 2008. Besides working full-time at Walmart Winnipeg North Supercentre, she is pursuing her passion for cooking through a culinary program at R. B. Russel Vocational School. This super mom of three loves experimenting with the ingredients and aspires to establish her very own restaurant someday!
Read along for a sneak peek into the "kitchen" of culinary fusion.
Q1. What are the key ingredients/spices that a Filipino kitchen cannot do without?
CP: Since Filipino food is all about sautÃ©ing or stewing, we make sure our pantry is always stocked up with garlic and onions, especially for sautÃ©ing our all-time favourite Adobo! Not to mention the seasoning ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper and fish sauce, which are the backbone of every Filipino dish.
Q2. Are there any specific utensils that are found in every Filipino kitchen cabinet?
CP: Apart from the "wok" that is found in every Southeast Asian kitchen, serving spoons or ladles are an indispensable part of our dining essentials because of the soupy consistency of our dishes. More traditional households may also have bamboo strainers and a mortar & pestle that have been replaced by modern-day strainers and electric grinders in the majority of households.
Q3. What is that one go-to dish that Filipinos can eat at any time of the day?
A: Adobo is the most common Filipino dish served with rice. It is easy to prepare and comes in different variants such as chicken or pork, so it makes it an ideal go-to meal. Due to its stir-fried base, this dish doesnâ€™t spoil quickly and can be made in huge quantities and served throughout the day.
Q4. A traditional dish of your family and what is its cultural significance?
A: Pancit Bihon or rice noodles have a traditional significance in Filipino culture. The long noodles represent long life, which is why we serve this delicacy during every birthday celebration in our family.
Q5. Which is the most common Filipino dessert that is made at home?
A: Filipino fruit salad is a colourful, frozen dessert that is quick and easy to make. (PSSTTT!.. scroll down to find out its 3-ingredient recipe!). Buko salad, on the other hand, is another version of traditional fruit salad upgraded with shredded young coconut.
Impress your guests with this easy-peasy Filipino dessert with 3 simple ingredients!
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