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Lesson Transcript

Betsey: Mabuhay! Hi everyone! I’m Betsey.
Becky: Welcome back to FilipinoPod101.com! I’m Becky.
This is All-About, Lesson 7 - Filipino Cuisine. So Betsey, what can you tell us about Filipino cuisine?

Lesson focus

Betsey: Filipino culture itself is a great mix, which naturally shows in its cuisine.
Becky: Yeah, all the Filipino food I’ve tried has been so good!
Betsey: Well, as you know there are a lot of different types of Filipino food. Noodles, Rice, Meat, Fish. We eat them all!
Becky: Something else I noticed was that rice is included in almost every meal of the day.
Betsey: That’s right. We’re almost not satisfied with a meal unless it has rice! Cooking rice is a custom that the Chinese taught Filipinos many many years ago, along with many other dishes.
Becky: For example, noodles.
Betsey: Definitely noodles, as well as spring rolls and tofu.
Becky: So let's get into the basic foundation of Filipino dishes. The very basic flavors are “Sweet”, “Sour”, and “Salty”.
Betsey: And they are usually enjoyed together. So, Mangoes for example can be enjoyed with salt or ‘bagoong’, which is fish and salt mixed together until it becomes close to a paste-like texture. Mangos provide the sweet, and the salt or ‘bagoong’ provides the salty.
Becky: It’s definitely a unique taste, and you get to enjoy different flavors all at once.
Betsey: This is the best way to enjoy Filipino food!
Becky: Alright. Next up, let’s talk about some popular dishes.
Betsey: If you really want to experience the local Filipino way, then you have to go out and enjoy the “street food”.
Becky: Street food can include light snacks sold by vendors or merchants, who walk around in the early morning or at night.
Betsey: ‘Taho’ is my favorite. It’s tofu with sugar sauce and tapioca pearls. They usually sell it early in the morning, and they’re freshly made and warm. It’s the best morning snack before going to work!
Becky: Those were one of my favorite foods when I visited the Philippines!
Betsey: Other street foods include deep fried fishballs, and squidballs on a stick.
Becky: Fishballs are the best. I love them with sweet chili sauce.
Betsey: Since many Filipino dishes come from Chinese cuisine, a more traditional style of Chinese food is also a favorite amongst Filipinos.
Becky: There are also a lot of Japanese restaurants around. But the Japanese food there has a distinct Filipino flavor, that makes it enjoyable in a different way.
Betsey: Ok, now let’s talk about seasonal dishes. The best season to enjoy food is definitely the holidays.
You’ll never really see as much food on a table as when you’re in the Philippines during the holidays. Firstly, there’s Noche Buena, which is the Christmas dinner that starts at midnight.
Becky: This is when all the relatives gather and enjoy an amazing feast.
Betsey: I think people actually look forward to this more than the presents. Just think Thanksgiving with Christmas carols!
Becky: (laughs) Are there specific dishes that you eat during Noche Buena?
Betsey: Well, not really. The idea is that all the favorite dishes like Adobo, Lumpia and Pancit are served.
Becky: Are there desserts too?
Betsey: There’s ‘Bibingka’ and ‘Puto Bumbong’, which are types of rice cake that are usually eaten during the Christmas holidays.
Becky: Okay! Let’s get to our "Top 5 Foods to Try in the Philippines."
Betsey: These are Filipinos’ favorite dishes - you will see these at least once a week in Filipino homes, so make sure you know them!
Becky: Number five…
Betsey: ‘Lumpia’. We mentioned these earlier - they are spring rolls. Either fresh spring rolls or fried spring rolls. There are usually bean sprouts, carrots, string beans and other vegetables in them, and sometimes meat as well. They usually come with dips like sweet and sour sauce, or vinegar.
Becky: Number four…
Betsey: ‘Adobo’. This is marinated meat, usually Chicken or Pork, with vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper. It’s probably one of the most famous dishes from the Philippines. ‘Adobo’ in Spanish means “marinate”, and it comes from the similar ways that the Spanish marinate meat to preserve it.
Becky: It’s delicious! And number three…
Betsey: ‘Sinigang’. This is a soup of fish, pork, or beef plus vegetables and tamarind, which gives it a sour flavor. Other ingredients are added depending on family tradition, and it can also differ depending on the region you’re from in the Philippines.
Becky: Ok, and number two…
Betsey: ‘Pansit’, dried noodles sautéed with meat and vegetables. This is always served during birthdays to wish the birthday person “long life and good health”. The Chinese introduced noodles to Filipinos and ‘Pansit’ itself comes from the term ‘Pian I Sit’ meaning “something conveniently cooked fast”. Other than birthdays, it's almost always present at any occasion.
Becky: And Number one…
Betsey: ‘Lechon’ or roast pork. This is eaten during celebratory occasions like birthdays, holidays, and festivals. On very special occasions, it’s common to roast a whole suckling pig and share it with everyone.
Becky: The party doesn't start until the Lechon comes in?
Betsey: Once I spot a Lechon at a party, I’m a happy camper!
Becky: (laughs) Now, for the top five foods for the brave.
Becky: Number five…
Betsey: ‘Isaw’ is intestines of either pork or chicken. It's prepared by cleaning the intestine, then boiling and grilling it. You can enjoy it by dipping it into vinegar with sliced onions. This is one of many street foods or ‘Pulutan’ which are snacks or food enjoyed with alcohol. The texture is similar to liver.
Becky: Number four…
Betsey: ‘Betamax’ is another type of street food. It’s chicken blood set to cool, which eventually turns solid and is then cut into cubes. In that form, it resembles a betamax tape. I’ll truly call you brave if you eat this one!.
Becky: Number three…
Betsey: ‘Chicharon Bulaklak.’ ‘Chicharon’ refers to deep fried crispy chicken or pork. ‘Bulaklak’ is the chicken mesentery, or crow, a part of the tissue from its abdomen. When it’s deep-fried, it resembles a flower or a ‘bulaklak’.
Becky: Number two…
Betsey: ‘Soup Number 5.’ It sounds mysterious. It’s in fact cow testicles and phallus, mixed with vegetables and made into a soup. For all the brave listeners out there, this a definite must-try. It's also said to have aphrodisiac properties.
Becky: And Number one…
Betsey: Balut. Now this may be one of the most famous foods for the brave from anywhere in the world. It’s definitely a national favorite. It’s usually sold by vendors at night, and is fertilized duck eggs. When they’re sold, they’re still warm and you can enjoy the soup in the egg that has a taste similar to boiled chicken soup.
Becky: Ok listeners. That was the top five Filipino dishes to try, and the top five foods for the brave.
Betsey: You might feel hesitant at first, but many of these dishes are definite must-tries!
Becky: I can't wait to go back now!
Betsey: Well, that’s why we’re sharing our knowledge with the listeners!
Becky: So they can also enjoy these amazing things!


Becky: Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll see you next time!
Betsey: Paalam! Bye bye!