Lunch in the Philippines

Poor shot of what was a nice lunch yesterday in Taipei – it felt like being in the Philippines as the community was out enjoying their one day off of the week. All the food was quite good though the almost black coloured dish was a bit more of a challenge. It taste good but it’s amazing how colour can really change your perception of a thing. Perhaps if a bright orange food colouring was added there wouldn’t have been the natural hesitation by all at the table to dig in and give it a try.

At 9:00 in the photo – “Dinuguan” – my favorite – a pork stew made from blood (hence its name, whose literal Tagalog translation is “to bleed” or “to make bleed” – but then I’m not the first person you should ask for Tagalog translations). This is a sour dish that goes nicely on rice, which softens the flavor a bit. When done well, it’s a deep black stew (thick or viscous), and you can tell when someone has just had their fill because they wind up with a black mustache around their mouth […]
At 12:00 in the photo – Pork “Asado” – OK, i’m guessing there cause I wasn’t exactly sure what it was when we ordered it. I recall it was pretty close to Cantonese Roast Pork, but the red sauce here is a bit sweet.
At 1:00 in the photo – “Pinakbet” – Vegetables with pork and bago-ong (shrimp paste). Mostly eggplant, potatoes, okra, and bitter melon – the shrimp paste is very very salty.
In fact, you can see the shrimp paste straight out of the jar in the center of the photo. It was used to to counteract the flavor of the next dish…
3:00 in the photo – “Kare-Kare” or “Kari-Karing Pata” – (ideally) a calf’s leg in a thick peanut sauce with vegetables. The peanut sauce is so thick in texture and taste that the sharp and salty bago-ong works to “act against it”. Heck, I don’t know how to explain it otherwise – but I find the contrast to be very appetizing (so I normally end up shoveling more and more with each spoonful or two of white rice)
At the bottom of the photo at 5:00 – “Mechado” – which is beef, strips of pork fat, and potatoes in a tomato-based stew. It’s greasy from the lard, and seasoned with pimientos and laurel.
Finally, in the corner at 8:00 – “Bistek” (Beef Steak) – which is thin slices of beef, marinated in Calamnsi (citrus/limes) sauteed with lots of onions, some soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Gus Adapon at Forumosa. Thanks Gus!

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