Reading John’s excellent post earlier today about his first experiences in visiting the Philippines made me feel a little nostalgic. It’s been 17 years since my first visit (almost 17 years to the day), but I still have fond memories. I wrote up the adventure of my first trip to the Philippines on a series of stores on my Mindanao Blog, if you want to read it, read all the posts that this brings you to.
The memory that came back to me today, though, after reading what John had to say was on my second (or was it my third) trip here. One of the things we did on that visit was that we bought an oven/stovetop for my Mother-in-law, “Ma” as I always call her. Ma had never owned an oven before to my knowledge. She always cooked over a wood flame, as far as I know. That was the only way I ever saw her cook, anyway. As I recall, the same day that we arrived for a visit in General Santos, we went to the appliance center and choose the oven. We didn’t tall Ma that we had bought her anything, we just scheduled the appliance store to deliver it to the house. Of course in addition to the appliance itself, we purchased all the needed accessories – a tank of LPG, hoses, etc. Well, when the delivery van pulled up, Ma was very surprised. As I recall, I think that she said they had the wrong house! But, we convinced her that it was for her, and the delivery people got it all set up for her.
The next surprise was that I had brought a bunch of ingredients and other supplies with us from the USA, and I planned to cook for the family, to sort of inaugurate the new oven. Soon I found out that it was fiesta time in the Barangay, and they have a tradition that everybody goes from house to house to sample the food that is supplied in each place. Oops! I better cook an extra large order. The next surprise was that it was my plan to cook a Filipino dish – Lumpia! By the way, speaking of Lumpia, have you ever heard of anybody who doesn’t like Lumpia? I know that it’s a favorite of mine, and has been since the first time I tried it.
Well, it didn’t take long, the word got around the Barangay that the “Kano” was cooking! Everybody was making plans to go try the food at the Bayoy house and see how that Kano food tasted! Oh boy, I was really on the spot! I got busy and got cooking! I cooked a ton of Lumpia, and I cooked another dish too, but it escapes me what the other dish was! What I do remember, though, is that my cooking was a smashing hit! There were so many people coming from around the Barangay to eat that we had to actually hide some of the food, or else Feyma’s family would not have been able to try my cooking! It was a great time, though, I enjoyed it a lot.
What are your favorite Filipino dishes? I have a number of favorites, and I know how to cook a number of Filipino foods myself too. When we lived in the USA, my biggest feat when it comes to cooking was that I cooked a Relleno Manok. Who knows what that is? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a chicken that is stuffed. The challenge is that you have to debone the chicken, and you have to leave the bird intact too! I removed every bone in the bird, except the drumstick bones and the wings, which you are supposed to leave. The next step is that you stuff the boneless carcass with things like ham, longanisa, eggs and other ingredients. You bake it, and when it is fully cooked, it looks like a whole roasted chicken, but it is boneless! You can cut it up similar to what you would do with a meatloaf, but it looks like a regular chicken! I will say this, that Relleno Manok was delicious too. As I recall, I either cooked it for our Anniversary or for Feyma’s birthday one year. I know it was for a special occasion.
This trip down memory lane is making me hungry!