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Is Filipino cuisine the next BIG trend

The past few years have seen great diversification in regional and international cuisines on offer not only in London, but across the UK. Asia has been responsible for many of the heavy food trends, an unrelenting succession of Japanese ramen, Chinese dumplings, Taiwanese bao, Vietnamese pho, and more recently Filipino food.
Both sides of the pond seem to be seeing a rise in the number of Filipino restaurants garnering affection from millenials and their habit of queuing for a dinner they can Instagram photos of until it’s cool enough to eat. Perpetual traveller and unofficial food prophet Anthony Bourdain has even come forth to declare that the food of the Philippines is going to be the next big food tsunami to hit both sides of the Atlantic and by all accounts it has begun.
Ube is used extensively in desserts and puddings in the Philippines and delivers it’s striking purple colour through dishes of all kinds. The purple yam is used as a base for everything from doughnut fillings to frosting on a cake. The traditional (kind of) Philippine dish of halo-halo is where ube feels most at home though, a dish made of shaved ice and evaporated milk topped with things like tapioca and various tropical fruits.
Romulo Café is a landmark institution in the Philippines capital of Manila and the establishment recently opened its first non-Philippine branch in London, which has been met with rave reviews from Time Out and a slew of hungry food bloggers.
Up in Birmingham, a street food operation under the name Manila Munchies have been plying a stonking trade knocking out a powerful chicken adobo and barbecued pork belly lunches. In fact, the Philippines are renowned for their barbecued pig, known as lechon. Lemongrass grows abundantly, almost like a weed in the islands and is stuffed with wild abandon into the carcass of a whole pig, which will be cooked over an open fire. Lechon kawali is a similar dish, which involves boiling pork belly in a brine of peppercorns, garlic and soy sauce, before frying to a golden crispy exterior and tender soft flesh within.
There’s a flamboyant dance between sweet and sour in Filipino cuisine and this is none more prevalent than in sisig. This is a dish made from various parts of the pig including jowl, ear and liver. These are all boiled, fried and chopped before being seasoned with chilli and the sour juice of calamansi or lime. Sisig is traditionally served with an egg (which is sometimes raw) and rice – the two classic staples of this great nation. It’s actually the dish that Anthony Bourdain has chalked up to be the next big street food sensation and one that is hotly followed on social media channels by the food obsessed.
The sour, sweet and spicy flavours from these islands are already beginning to gain traction and provide a creative playing field for everything from the themed night or pop-up, to the specials board, street food operation and outside catering menus. Watch this space, because Filipino food is coming…


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