The Philippines is as rich in cuisine as its geography. While many would be drawn to soft white sand beaches and big surf waves, culinary food tour operator Clang Garcia believes that the best way to promote the Philippines is through food. “It would be interesting to understand who we were before we were colonized by foreigners.” With these, Garcia shares the culinary destinations that she thinks Filipinos should know more about.
- Mindanao: Being the only region “untouched” by foreign colonizers, Mindanao has the most unique dishes we can find from tribal and indigenous groups in the Philippines. “Once you go there, it’s like a different world. They have unique flavors, not the usual ones that we know,” says Garcia.
- Calabarzon: Most of the dishes are familiar to the city-dwellers, since Calabarzon is a fairly short drive from Manila. Furthermore, the region is a mix of flatlands, highlands, and coastal areas, which make for a diverse selection of dishes.
- Bicol: The Manila-Acapulco Trade during the Spanish colonization period played a big part in influencing the region’s cuisine. The best galleons containing all the trade goods to and from Mexico were once based in the docks of the region. “People went straight to Sorsogon to have their ships furbished.They saw the potential of abaca and spices, so they opened it to the black market.” It’s impossible to consider a dish as Bicolano if it isn’t spicy or it doesn’t have a hint of spice in it.