Monday, February 16, 2009

To watch tonight: No Reservations



I know a lot of you guys are fans of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.  Tonight’s episode at 10pm marks the first time in 5 seasons that Bourdain makes the trek to the Philippines.

The fact of the matter is, Filipino food is just not as hip as other Asian cuisine.  I think there was a point in time when Americans used to find sushi pretty gross.  Now, if you don’t enjoy raw fish on a block of rice, you are uncultured and definitely out of the loop on what good eatin’ is.

Anywhere in Southern California, you can find sushi restaurants, pho restaurants, Sam Woo, dim sum, Korean and Thai BBQ.  Filipino cuisine is harder to find.  Ever since I moved to Irvine, I haven’t had any Filipino food to eat except whatever I managed to make at home.   As far as I know, I have to drive at least 20 minutes to get some fried bangus or some KARE-KARE.  I can’t even imagine what it’s like for Nazer in Boston, that’s probably why he bothered learning how to make so many Filipino dishes at home.

The flavors and ingredients of Filipino cuisine are probably harder to agree with for the average American palette.  The flavors are dominated by sour (calamansi, vinegar and tamarind all over the place) and saltiness (throw bagaong and patis on everything you eat), and we consume some of the weirdest parts of the animal (tripe, fish heads, blood, etc).  Also, “healthy” isn’t the first notion that comes to mind when I think of Filipino food, but there are still some pretty good choices out there.  This isn’t too different from any other kinds of Asian food, every Asian culture has some pretty weird shit.  But I’m still disappointed to learn that most Americans don’t enjoy Filipino food beyond lumpia and tocino.

Here’s an excerpt about the episode in a recent interview with Bourdain:

How'd you find Filipino food culture?

I had some really good food there. I thought it was really interesting but hard to describe. A lot of the show was me floundering around and asking people why Americans have such a fuzzy image of the Philippines and Filipino food when there are so many Filipinos in this country. The show kind of becomes about Filipino identity: Who do Filipinos most identify with from their past? Americans? Chinese? Spanish? Is it Polynesian or Malay? It was something we kept hammering at as I ate my away across Cebu and Manila.

Hopefully, tonight’s episode of No Reservations will highlight the less-famous, but still delicious dishes of Filipino cuisine as well as capture the charming qualities of Filipino culture.  And hopefully Anthony Bourdain enjoys all of it with his signature wit and style.

[Travel Channel]

1 comment:

  1. Haven't seen it yet, but after reading I have this insane craving for a giant piece of lechon, one with crunchy skin on it, and some rice