Let your tastebuds travel! Must-try regional dishes

We Filipinos simply love food. We try everything and fall in love with the various international cuisines that we have tried. But, in the end, we always come back to our comfort food. Filipino food. Dishes that we grew up with. Local flavors that meld beautifully together and delight the palate… Adobo, Sinigang, Tinola, Lechon, Menudo…

But there’s more to Filipino cuisine than just these classic favorites. The regions hold the key to the Philippines’ rich culinary heritage, with certain dishes reflecting centuries of cultural influences and diverse regional ingredients and flavors.

When we travel around the country, we discover these distinct tastes of the regions, but with countless Filipino restaurants serving specific regional cuisines these days, our taste buds can sometimes do the traveling and discover awesome local specialties that are to die for. There are lots of culinary treasures from different parts of the Philippines that are just waiting to be discovered and, with readily available recipes, Solane suggests, can be replicated in our own kitchens for the rest of the family to try.

Some of these must-try regional dishes are:

Bulanglang Kapampangan from Pampanga

Popular in Luzon, Bulanglang is a boiled vegetable dish with fermented fish in it. Bulanglang Kapampangan, which is also called Sinigang sa Bayabas by some, is distinct, as it uses guava as flavoring ingredient, thus giving the soup its predominantly sour flavor but with a hint of sweetness that balances the flavor.

Bulanglang Kapampangan may use either pork liempo or ribs, boiled with kangkong, sitaw and gabi, and flavored with guava and fish sauce. Manyaman!

Kansi from Iloilo

Aside from the famous La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo, another soup dish that Western Visayas is known for is Kansi. The Ilonggo version of Bulalo, Kansi combines the rich stew of Bulalo and the tangy flavor of Sinigang, making Kansi a filling merienda for rainy days on its own or as a full meal with freshly cooked rice.

Cooking Kansi involves boiling beef shanks and marrow with batuan, a local souring agent used in Iloilo and the rest of Western Visayas. Lemongrass and jackfruit add refreshing flavors to the soup base. Namit!

Humba from Cebu

Adobo lovers would love Humba, which is a braised pork dish popular in the Visayas and Mindanao. It is like adobo, although it has a distinct flavor that comes from tausi (black beans) and banana blossom, so that the dish is an interplay of sweet, sour and salty flavors all at once, compared to adobo’s basically sour and salty flavor profile.

In cooking this almost gelatinous braised pork dish, pork belly, ham and hocks are used. These parts are braised then simmered in brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt, whole peppercorns, star anise, bay leaves, banana blossoms, pineapple juice or clear soda, and tausi. Lami!

Pancit Puso from Cavite

Early Chinese traders are believed to be the ones who brought pancit, or noodles, to the Philippines. Since then, noodles have become a staple in every Filipino celebration, with the regions developing their own types of noodles and taking pride in their own versions of noodle dishes.

From Cavite comes Pancit Puso, which is bihon or miki noodles cooked in atsuete with pork and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots and green beans. What makes this dish unique is that, instead of serving the noodles simply with calamansi, it is topped with kinilaw na puso, or banana blossoms cooked in vinegar and salt. Masarap!

Beef Kulma from Zamboanga

Beef Kulma, or Beef Kurma, is a creamy curry dish originating from the Tausugs of Zamboanga. It closely resembles the Korma of Northern India and Pakistan, but is more like a cross between Beef Curry and Kare-Kare.

The dish uses tender beef cooked in coconut milk, peanuts or peanut butter, with lemongrass, tomato sauce, curry spices, and chili. Sabroso!

Learning more about the unique and interesting regional specialties of different parts of the country will give you a never-ending educational and gastronomic experience and make you knowledgeable on the country’s diverse and regional cuisines. Hopefully, you get to cook them for the family, too, assisted by a safe and trusted kitchen fuel like Solane.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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