Exploring Philippine Cuisine

A pair of new books covers everything you need to know about Filipino food.

For an independent bookstore, the Kitchen Bookstore (thekitchenbookstore.com) is creating more than its fair share of waves in both the food and publishing industries. They take pride in their “extensive menu of tantalizing titles”, but they do more than just sell books and magazines: RPD Publications — the Kitchen Bookstore’s publishing arm — has just released two hotly anticipated titles on Filipino cuisine.

For The Beginner

Iconic Pinoy dishes like adobo, sinigang and kinilaw are already invading the menus of highly rated, extensively publicized restaurants in the West, but for those who want to learn more about this rich cuisine, there is Kain Na!. Penned by food historian Felice Prudente-Sta Maria and cookbook author Bryan Koh, Kain Na! is a handy 212-page fully illustrated guide through the Philippines’ essential dishes. The book relates the country’s history and diversity through exquisite watercolor paintings by Mariel Ylagan Garcia and need-to-know tidbits about common and not-so-common Filipino delicacies.

For The Dedicated Researcher

Author Angelo Comsti has journeyed through the kitchens of restaurants and homes throughout the country to the intersections of personal histories and recipes. He has compiled the result of years’ worth of exploits in Also Filipino: 75 Regional Recipes I Never Had Growing Up.

The book has been a while in coming, but apart from the logistics of traveling the country, Angelo found it difficult to collect the actual recipes. “[It was hard to] convince people that we should compile, gather and preserve these regional dishes so that they don’t die with us,” he says.

The realization that some of these gastronomic gems might be lost to time spurred him on. “A number of people told me that they rarely do these dishes anymore because it requires a lot of time or because their kids prefer the more familiar fare,” Angelo says.

Also Filipino is Angelo’s tribute to the diversity and depth of Filipino cuisine. Seventy-five recipes may not seem like much, but they’re 75 steps toward preserving an important part of Philippine culture.

Written by

Sasha Lim Uy Mariposa

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