Whilst on my 55-day long North American trip (which I will write about in future posts) with my family, I was immersed in different American and Canadian cuisines which comprised a lot of steaks, seafood with sides of veggies, On certain days towards the middle and especially toward the end of the trip, I found myself craving for Filipino dishes especially breakfast fare. My siblings easily managed as most flew home after a month while me and Mom extended for another month.
Fortunately, on several occasions, I was able to satisfy the cravings as there were a sprinkling of Filipino restaurants in the places we visited – from the Pike Market in cosmopolitan Seattle, Washington to the cold little towns of Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska where I had nice helpings of beef steak (hi Tito Rodolfo Manabat of Diaz Cafe!), longganisa (Filipino sausage), tocino (sweet cured pork) etc. In Toronto, where we spent a couple of weeks prior to flying to Calgary for the Canadian Rockies drive and train and boarding an Alaksan cruise in Vancouver, my doting relatives saw to it that we had our fill of Filipino fare.
Filipinos, wherever in the world they may be usually enjoy pretty much the same breakfast fare if they’re able to prepare it. Though Filipino migrants usually adapt their breakfast habits with the country they are in–enjoying breakfast cereal, milk and store bought bacon, ham and sausages, if they is a Filipino or Asian store in the neighborhood, most likely they will not be able to resist the temptation to purchase and prepare their favorite breakfast items.
Garlic longganisa (sausage) is sweet, mildly spicy, garlicky–all the flavor components Filipinos love! It is made it even more appetizing by serving it with a simple sidings of chopped salted eggs and tomatoes and a dip of vinegar. Truly one of the best comforting foods you can enjoy. If you have foreign guests over, open up the casing, crumble and sauté the ground savory meat inside and top on stir-fried vegetables, noodles or rice. Though guests will probably enjoy the sausages on their own.
Pork and chicken tocino is definitely one of the best-selling breakfast meats available in Filipino stores because it is one of the most well-loved morning food choices among Filipinos. Want to make tocino fried rice reminiscent of Thai fried rice? Cut cooked tocino into strips and arrange on top of fried rice with scrambled egg and your favorite vegetables. Try making it into a sandwich by layering it with lettuce and tomatoes.
Sisig (which I had in Toronto with friends Rob Rementilla and Doug Palmer), also popular for lunch, dinner and a match for beer drinking sessions, is yet another Filipino favorite made from pork made distinctly Pinoy with chopped pig ears and liver. Manufacturers make canned versions of this treat eliminating the need to make it from scratch. Simply heat it up and serve with rice or on a sizzling plate with calamansi (Philippine lime) and liquid seasoning. Even foreigners will love it!
Chicken relleno (meatloaf) can be made with pork and any other meat. It is usually combined with flavorful raisins, cheese, spices and seasonings. Though it can be made from scratch, store bought relleno is an easy ready-to- eat food made convenient for emergency entertainment. Slice and serve chilled on top of crackers or toast or heat up to a crisp with rice.
Go gourmet with any of these delicious and affordable treats by playing around with the presentation. Wrap up sautéed sisig with minced vegetables or fried vermicelli in lettuce cups. Or crumble heated or even chilled chicken relleno on top of mixed green salad.