Filipino Chinese cuisine
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2012)
There are many types of foods in the Philippines because of its residents. Many of the Chinese Filipinos have businesses involving Chinese cuisine. Restaurants are frequently seen where there is a large number of Chinese Filipino residents. The food is usually Cantonese because the chefs are from Hong Kong. Typically the Chinese name of a particular food is given a Filipino name or close equivalent in name to simplify its pronunciation.
Philippine cuisine is influenced principally by China, Spain, and the integrated into the pre-colonial indigenous Filipino cooking practices. When restaurants were established in the 19th century, Chinese food became a staple of the pansiterias, with the food given Spanish names. The "comida China" (Chinese food) includes arroz caldo (rice and chicken gruel), and morisqueta tostada (fried rice). When the Spaniards came, the food influences they brought were from both Spain and Mexico, as it was through the vice-royalty of Mexico that the Philippines were governed.
In the Philippines, trade with China started in the 11th century, as documents show, but it is conjectured that undocumented trade may have started even two centuries earlier. Trade pottery excavated in Laguna province, for example, includes pieces dating to the Tang dynasty (AD 618 - 907). The Chinese trader supplied the silk sent to Mexico and Spain in the Manila galleon trade. In return, they took back products of field, forest (such as beeswax, rattan) and sea (such as, beche de mer).
Evidence of Chinese influence in Philippine food is easy to find, since the names are an obvious clue. Pansit, noodles flavored with seafood and/or meat and/or vegetables, for example, comes from the Hokkien piān-ê-si̍t (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí), meaning something that is conveniently cooked: usually fried. Modern day pansit, however, is not limited only to noodle dishes that are stir fried or sauteed, but also those shaken in hot water and flavored with a sauce (pansit luglog) or served with broth (mami, lomi). Even a its form that is not noodle shaped, but is of the same flour-water recipe, such as pansit molo (pork filled wontons in a soup).
One can conjecture without fear that the early Chinese traders, wishing for the food of their homeland, made noodles in their temporary Philippine homes. Since they had to use the ingredients locally available, a sea change occurred in their dishes.
Further adaptation and indigenization would occur in the different towns and regions. Thus Malabon, a fishing town in Metro Manila, has developed the pansit Malabon, which features oyster, shrimp and squid. While in Lucban, Quezon, which is deeply inland and far from the sea has pansit Lucban or pansit habhab, which is prepared with some meat and vegetables.
With lumpia, the Chinese eggroll which now has been incorporated into Philippine cuisine, even when it was still called lumpiang Shanghai (indicating frying and a pork filling). Serving meat and/or vegetable in an edible wrapper is a Chinese technique now found in all of Southeast Asia in variations peculiar to each culture. The Filipino version has meat, fish, vegetables, heart of palm and combinations thereof, served fresh or fried or even bare.
The Chinese influence goes deep into Philippine cooking, and way beyond food names and restaurant fare. The use of soy sauce and other soybean products (tokwa, tahuri, miso, tausi, taho) is Chinese, as is the use of such vegetables as petsay (Chinese cabbage), toge (mung bean sprout), mustasa (pickled mustard greens). Many cooking implements still bear their original Chinese name, like sian-se or turner. The Filipino carajay (spelled the Spanish way) is actually the Chinese wok.
Cooking process, also derive from Chinese methods. Pesa is Hokkien for "plain boiled" (Chinese: 白煠; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pe̍h-sa̍h) and is used only in reference to the cooking of fish, the complete term being peq+sa+hi, the last morpheme meaning fish. In Tagalog, it can mean both fish (pesang dalag) and chicken (pesang manok). As well, foods such as pa ta tim and pa to tim refer to the braising technique (Chinese: 燉 or 燖; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: tīm) used in Chinese cooking.
Since most of the early Chinese traders and settlers in the country were from the Fujian province, it is Fujian/Hokkien food that is most widespread in influence. However, since restaurant food is often Cantonese, most of the Chinese restaurants in the country would serve both cuisines. Other styles of Chinese cuisine are available though in the minority.
Examples of Filipino dishes derived from Chinese cuisine
- Batchoy (Chinese: 肉脆)
- Hopia (Chinese: 好餅)
- Kiampong (Chinese: 鹹飯) - a variant of fried rice.
- Kikiam (Chinese: 雞捲)
- Kwapau (Chinese: 割包) (cuapao)
- Lomi (Chinese: 撈麵)
- Lumpia (Chinese: 潤餅) - a derivative of popiah
- Machang (Chinese: 肉粽) - a derivative of zongzi
- Maki (Chinese: 肉羹) - pork, beef or fish in a thick cornstarch-based soup
- Mami (Chinese: 馬麵) - a noodle soup invented by Ma Mon Luk
- Pancit (Chinese: 便食)
- Siomai (Chinese: 燒賣)
- Siopao (Chinese: 燒包)
- Taho (Chinese: 豆花)