Our topic for this week’s edition of “Andar ng mga Balita”‘s food segment, “Ano’ng Ulam Mo?” is about rainy day food. Rainy day food is a type of comfort food, dishes with nostalgic or sentimental appeal that are eaten under certain circumstances to pique positive emotions. For this, we featured soups and stews that people can enjoy on a rainy day.
Incidentally, Ash Wednesday (the start of the Lenten season) fell on this week, so we skipped one day and urged everyone to fast, abstain, and reflect on our Christian faith. A lot of people here didn’t take it lightly. Must be strange for a food writer to talk about fasting…
Featured dish: Mami
Mami is a favorite Filipino snack made with egg noodles, vegetables, cloves and other vegetables, meat, and light broth (mostly chicken). This is patterned after the noodle soups of China.
Mami is said to have been popularized by the Chinese-Filipino chef Ma Mon Luk (yeah, THAT Ma Mon Luk), from which the noodle soup was named after. It is also paired most of the time with siopao (baozi or meat buns).
|Atty. Karen Jimeno, the spokesperson of the defense panel in the Corona impeachment trial was with us to taste our mami. Glad to have you with us, ma’am!|
Featured dish: Arroz caldo
Arroz caldo is a type of congee or rice porridge. It’s actually Chinese-style congee whose recipe was modified to suit the tastes of the Spanish colonizers. This is cooked with chicken sauteed in ginger, garlic, and onions, and seasoned with pepper and safflower.
Arroz caldo is eaten as breakfast or late dinner, or as convalescent food (stuff you eat when you’re ill).
It’s Ash Wednesday.
Featured dish: Nido soup
Nido soup is the local version of the bird’s nest soup, a Chinese delicacy. (Again with the Chinese, you noticed? Much of our cuisine was influenced by the Chinese.) Ours is made from the nests of the swiftlet (balinsasayaw), which are found mostly at El Nido, Palawan.
Nido soup is believed to cure asthma, enhance libido, and strengthen the voice.
Most of the nido soup served nowadays is made either from fish maw and agar-agar (mock bird’s nest), or from instant nido soup powder.
Featured dish: Milkfish Sinigang
“Sinigang” is soup cooked with tamarind as a souring agent. Other common souring agents used are guava, kamyas (camias ginger lily), miso paste, or calamansi.
Some provinces in the Philippines use local (and less known) fruits as souring agents. Examples are karmay (a berry-like fruit) for the Bicolanos, batwan (similar to the mangosteen) in Visayas, and libas (wild mango) for Zamboanguenos.
This soup bears similarities with some Asian soups such as Thailand’s tom yam soup, Vietnam’s can chua, and the sayur asem of Indonesia. It is also compared to the bouillabaisse, a fish soup popular in France.
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