Recently in Food Category

Last August Seacology's Philippines field representative Ferdie Marcelo attended the opening ceremony of Barangay Rizal's Seacology-funded multipurpose building. The barangay (the Filipino term for "village") requested this community building in exchange for preserving 247 acres of a mangrove forest park (185 acres of which are now a no-take zone) for a minimum of 20 years. Seacology has seven projects in the Philippines and this post is dedicated to the food of this Southeast Asia country.

Last June I attended a family party to celebrate a couple's 45th wedding anniversary. The food spread was enormous, representing the delicious food of their homeland, the Philippines. There was pork adobo (pork stew) and mechado (beef stew) that went quickly, two full roast pigs (lechon), pancit (a noodle dish with vegetables, chicken, and pork), salads, rice, and a huge batch of lumpia, the traditional Filipino egg roll.

Lumpia Platter.JPGAlthough I, a vegetarian, couldn't eat the lumpia, I was serving the rolls to the masses and many people asked for them to be heaped on top of their already-full plates. Lumpia traditionally contains ground pork, garlic, onion, carrots, and cabbage, and I am lucky enough to have a Filipino auntie who eliminates the pork so that I may partake of the delicious pastries.

Both lechon and lumpia are traditional celebratory foods of the Philippines. An eHow article on "How to Celebrate New Year's Eve the Filipino Way" says the celebration should end by roasting a pig on New Year's Day to serve with pancit, adobo, and lumpia. I hope that the multipurpose building in Barangay Rizal is the site of many such celebrations, allowing the local people a gathering place for their community. Maligayang Bagong Taon! (Happy New Year!)

Breadfruit: A Symbol of Island Life


Breadfruit trees (Artocarpus altilis) can grow to 65 feet and produce round, heavy fruit for 50 years. 'Ulu, as we call it in Hawai'i, is found on many islands around the world, and its large, glossy leaves with small bumps are a common Hawaiian quilt pattern (below). The skin of the large fruit is green and bumpy, the flesh starchy and white or pale yellow.

Breadfruit Quilt Pattern.jpgAs a food, breadfruit (always cooked) is common throughout the Pacific. When I studied in Samoa, breadfruit was served every day in the cafeteria, prepared boiled--and very bland. In contrast, roasted breadfruit (either cooked in a modern oven or the traditional underground oven) is delicious, and in Samoa the fruit is used as a vehicle for palusami, coconut milk and onions in taro leaf. This dish is one of the things I miss most about Samoa.