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My Favorite Philippine Dishes: What Are Yours?

Are you Familiar with Filipino Dishes?

My wife and I have resided in the US since 1960. We have adapted to all typical American foods. Once in a while we will have cravings for Filipino dishes. However, our four chilfren who grew up here in the US, really do not care. They have a favorite dessert though, rice cake and leche flan. The picture in this page is a roasted pig ( lechon) with my wife and two grand daughters, Elaine Katague King and Carenna Katague Thompson. The venue is my Chateau Du Mer Conference Hall in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

One of My Favorite Pinoy Dish

Chicken Adobo Sa Gata ( Coconut Milk )

Chicken Adobo Sa Gata ( Coconut Milk )

My Favorite Philippine Dishes. What are yours?

My wife and I have resided here in the US since 1960. We have adapted to hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, cottage cheese, yogurt and other typical American fast foods. Once in a while we have cravings for Filipino dishes.

Cooking Filipino food here in Northern California is no longer a problem, since we can purchase the ingredients in a Filipino-American store or an Oriental store (Chinese, Korean or Japanese) within 10 to 20 miles driving distance from our residence.

In the 1960s there was only one Filipino store near our residence in Chicago, Illinois. We oftentimes have to shop in China Town downtown. Today, there are Filipino grocery stores in almost all the medium-sized and big cities in the US to cater to the expanding population of Filipino Americans who immigrated to the US in the 1980s.

We have resided in several cities here in US (Sacramento, Pinole, Modesto (California), Chicago, Illinois, Kansas City, Missouri and Colesville, Maryland). Every time we moved, my first job was to look at the telephone directory for the nearest oriental or Filipino store to our house.

The Philippines have a lot of dishes that I love. But my favorite dishes are fresh lumpia (eggrolls), pancit (rice noodles), lechon (roasted pig), shrimps in mixed vegetables in coconut milk, chicken and/or pork afritada (cooked in tomato sauce with potatoes and green peppers), dinuguan (blood pudding) and de-boned and stuffed chicken called relleno. The above dishes are also the favorites of our four children who grew up here in US and do not really know the cuisine of the Philippines.

Our children are brown-skinned and looked very Filipino, but they are as American as apple pie, since they all grew up here in the US. During their college years, some of their friends called them "coconuts". Their friends would comment, "You guys are brown outside but very white inside". That indeed is the truth! Sometimes my children think this is a racial slur. I told them to accept the comment and not worry about it.

My wife is an excellent cook. The saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" applies to our life! When we were students at the University of the Philippines in the early 1950s, our courtship was on and off. I was not really ready to get married at that time, since I was still planning to do graduate studies in the US.

One day before my 21st birthday (we had not talked or seen each other for almost a year), I was surprised to receive a birthday gift from her. Her gift was a chiffon orange cake that she baked from scratch. It was the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. It reignited our romance and we started dating again. The next year we got married. I was only 23 years old at that time. The next year, we had our oldest son and I was already in US doing graduate work at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Do you have a favorite dish, perhaps a native dish of your country of origin? I will appreciate if you share it, including the recipe if possible.

Lunch Time in Amoingon, Boac

Some of the Pinoy Dishes that I love

Some of the Pinoy Dishes that I love

Marinduque dishes, the best in the island

My online friend who is a Caucasian Canadian, called MJ, is married to a Filipina, and posted on his Facebook wall that his wife’s relatives from the Ilocos region sent them fresh Lapu Lapu (Grouper fish), Prawns and kankong (a native vegetable), just recently. MJ commented that his wife is a good cook and served him chili prawns, fish sticks and kankong sautéed in oyster sauce that night for dinner. The menu made me hungry and reminded me of my wife’s recipe of prawns in garlic sauce, sweet and sour bingao and chicken cooked in coconut milk with saffron and green peppers. Bingao is an ocean fish in the red snapper family. It is more fatty than Lapu-Lapu and tastes like pork, with no fishy smell. The texture is similar to fresh water eels. It is very expensive and rare. I am sorry I cannot give you an English name, but Bingao is better tasting than Lapu Lapu.

There are four dishes that the Marinduquenos are proud to call their very own. First, they have the Adobo Sa Gata. This is usually a native chicken cooked in coconut milk with green papaya and pepper leaves, spices and dilaw (a yellow spice) also known as tumeric (a cheap imitation of saffron). The native chicken is sometimes tough but has a more sweet-tasty feel compared to the regular chicken. The native recipe does not call for green, yellow or red peppers, but my wife always instructs our cook to add these three kinds of peppers for color and texture. This is my #1 favorite dish. I could eat this every week with gusto.

The second dish is the Dinugu-an or Kari-kari. The Marinduque kari-kari has ox blood but a dryer sauce (compared to other regional blood pudding dish) and is very spicy. This is a different dish from Kare, made of tripe and ox tail in peanut butter sauce with green beans. I do not know the details of how it is cooked, but when Macrine’s aunt give us her kari-kari, it taste like heaven with rice cake (puto) or just steamed rice (I am salivating now, just thinking about it). If you hate spicy dishes, this is not the dish for you!

The third and most delicious of the native dishes is ulang-ulang. It is made from the coconut lobster and young coconut (shredded buko), coconut milk and a sprinkling of garlic pepper, unions and kalamansi juice (similar to lemon juice). It tastes heavenly with steamed rice and noodles.

The fourth dish native to the island is “laing”. It is made from taro (gabi) roots and leaves with garlic, ginger and coconut milk. Sometimes, dried fish (dilis) or tulingan is added to the dish or a tint of shrimp paste (bagoong).

Other islands and provinces in the Philippines may not agree with me that Marinduque cuisine is the best in the Philippines. However, most everybody will probably agree with me that, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”!

Bon Apetit to all!

What Did I do to deserve this Treat- Dungeness Crab Omelet?

Last week my wife prepared my favorite dish, normally served only on special occasion. It is the Dungeness Crab Omelet with shredded cabbage and sweet Vidalia Onions from Hawaii. Today is not my birthday or some other special occasion. But I was surprise when my wife serve me a Dungeness Crab Omelet The dish was delicious. This reminded me of my childhood years in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, Philippines during our town fiesta celebrated every June 29, The Feast of St Peter and Paul. This is the day when the Katague clan will have crab omelet for lunch.

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The last time I tasted this dish was last year, but the crab was from the Maryland crabs known also as the blue crabs. I asked my wife what did I do to deserve this treat. She said nothing, it was just there was a sale of Dungeness crabs claw and legs and I just feel like cooking your favorite dish.

Preparing the dish is simple. The hardest part is to remove the crab meat from the claws and legs. The cabbage is shredded (1 bowl) and sauteed with the onions in olive oil until partially cooked. An equivalent amount of crab meat is added to the shredded cabbage and onions and cooked in olive oil until the cabbage is fully cooked . The crab and cabbage patty mix is added to beaten eggs with a small amount of corn starch. The patty is then fried in olive oil ( any cooking oil can be use) until the egg is cooked. The omelet is served with Picante Sauce (Hot or Mild) with steam rice.

My wife's other recipe is the use of cube potatoes or bean sprouts instead of the shredded cabbage. Try it and let me know if it is good. Be prepare to pay a high price for either shelled or unshelled Dungeness or Maryland Crabs meat. Crab meat here in US is not cheap, compared to the Philippines. During the Dungeness Crab season here in the West Coast, a pound of Dungeness crab will cost from $6.99 to $17.99 per pound. The average weight of one Dungeness crab is about 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

Do you know the difference between the Dungeness and Maryland Crabs. The Maryland crabs, also known as blue crabs are much smaller in size and very similar to the Philippine crabs in appearance and taste. The Dungeness crabs are big and are caught here in the San Francisco Bay area and northward up to Alaska. The Maryland crabs are from the Chesapeake Bay of Northern Maryland and Virginia.

The Dungeness crab, Metacarcinus magister (formerly Cancer magister), is a species of crab that inhabits eelgrass beds and water bottoms on the west coast of North America. It typically grows to 20 cm (7.9 in) across the carapace and is a popular seafood. Its common name comes from the port of Dungeness, Washington. The crabs is a special attraction to tourists in the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf during the Crab Season. The season for the San Francisco Bay starts in the second Tuesday of November.

Dishes of the Philippines

Pepper Steak in Oyster Sauce

Yesterday, I wrote that my wife cooked one of my favorite dish- the Dungeness Crab Omelet. In that article, I forgot to mention that when I was growing up in the Philippines that dish was one of the Katague's clan special dish. My mother used to instruct our maids to prepare the dish during our town fiesta and on special family occasion. Along with that dish, we will have lechon ( roasted baby pig), lumpia( egg rolls) and pancit( rice and egg noodles). My mother named the crab omelet, Torta de Cangreo . The crab meat is either from the big fresh-water hard-shell Philippine crabs( alimango) or from the medium sized crabs (alimasag) harvested from the sea near our residence.

I received numerous positive response on my posting on the Dungeness Crab Omelet. Tonight we had pepper steak since my granddaughter and her Mom are visiting us. Again this recipe is normally cooked by my wife only on special occasion.

Below is my wife's recipe of the pepper steak..

One pound boneless rib eye or sirloin steak, 1 green peppers, 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, ¼ lb baby carrots, 1 white sweet Onion (Vidalia),1/4 cup oyster sauce, and dash of garlic salt and corn starch for thickening the sauce

Slice the steak ( paper thin) to about 1 to 1.5 inches long. Marinate the sliced steak in a ¼ cup of oyster sauce for at least one hour. During this period, slice the peppers to finger size about 2 inches long, and also the sweet onion. Cut baby carrots into half.

Sauteed the steak in 1/4 cup of oyster sauce using a WOK, until the meat is brown or cooked. Add the peppers, onions and carrots and mix. Cover the WOK and simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes shut of the heat and add a dash of garlic salt and a teaspoon of corn starch and mixed. Let the dish set in the hot wok until the peppers are half cooked or at least is still crunchy. ( Do not overcooked the green peppers). Served the dish with steam rice. This recipe is good for 4 adults. Bon Appetit !

Pancit Palabok- Pinoy Noodles with Shrimps

One of my favorite dish from Marinduque. This dish is the specialty of our cook from Boac

One of my favorite dish from Marinduque. This dish is the specialty of our cook from Boac

Best of Philippine Cuisine

New Guestbook Comments

David b katague on June 28, 2019:

Hi Agnes: Thanks a lot for your comment. I just learned how to cook in 2013 when Macrine was diagnosed with PD, Now I am really enjoying it.

Agnes Apeles on June 28, 2019:

Love reading this. I don’t cook but enjoy these dishes! Learned to make Lethe flan and meringue from my Mom though. Regards.

David B Katague (author) from Northern California and the Philippines on September 04, 2015:

I cooked beef liver the same way as your Mom does. Beef liver has lots of iron and vitamens and very nutritious

Mae-an on September 04, 2015:

Yes chicken liver in tiny pieces... I don't know how other Ilonggos do it but my mom and my dad's aunts always do it this way. How do you cook the liver po? Another favourite my mom makes is beef liver, sliced thinly and marinated with soy sauce and lots of garlic, then fried... Then topped with sauteed onions... I hardly cook it myself because ang baho and I'm the only that eats

David B Katague (author) from Northern California and the Philippines on September 04, 2015:

Liver? I eat liver only with Vidalia sweet onions!

Mae-an on September 03, 2015:

My all-time favourite is Valenciana with lots of liver.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 21, 2015:

Very much but I've been away from the Philippines since 1992...and missing it. :(

David B Katague (author) from Northern California and the Philippines on August 06, 2015:

I am glad to hear you like a few of Pinoy popular dishes. Do you have Filipino ancestry?

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on August 05, 2015:

Oh my, there will be too many to mention but on my top 3 list in no particular order: Fresh lumpia (ubod), relyenong bangus and pancit malabon (lublob or palabok). Okay, let's make it 5...Ukoy and of course, kare-kare. Yum! Now, craving for them all!

Good, enjoyable hub!

David B Katague (author) from Northern California and the Philippines on November 29, 2012:

@Vortrek Grafix: Hi Vortrek, thanks for your comment. Have you tasted other Filipino dishes?

Vortrek Grafix on November 29, 2012:

We enjoy Filipino vegetable stew with shrimp paste and pork, chicken or shrimp.

David B Katague (author) from Northern California and the Philippines on January 16, 2012:

@victoriuh: Hi Victoriuh, thanks for your comment. Lumpia indeed is yum, yum. Have a good day

victoriuh on January 15, 2012:

Ahhh....lumpia!! I grew up in Northern California and had many Filipino classmates. Someone always brought lumpia to school potlucks. Yum :)

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