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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Filipino Food Into Escargot

Food is the main attraction in the Philippines. Whenever I come back, I always ask for what's new, and besides malls, people point me to restaurants that have opened up.

It takes different eyes sometimes to appreciate the huge variety of food here. My foreign friend jokes that in her stay here, she's now eaten food of every color. Red for rambutan, brown for adobo, white for lanzones, yellow for mango, and purple for ube and the Pili nut that Sorsogon is famous for. Okay, maybe except for blue.

One wonders why then, despite the richness of our food, international recognition of it has been lacking. My friend agrees that adobo would be an instant hit, so would halu-halo. But ask a random person in the US and most likely, he would hardly have a clue what Filipino food is. He would know Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, and Chinese, but not Filipino. It is disappointing, considering Filipinos make up a large portion of immigrants in the country.

The french cook snails, call it escargot, and suddenly it's a $100. It's snails for crying out loud. Present a product well, make an experience out of it, and it will sell.

Is there any way we can market adobo better? Is there a way to market our sisig, mangoes, pinakbet, bicol express, and bangus that will capture the imagination of the western world?

We bring our food overseas but cater it to the OFW market, like that Jollibee in New York. (Not that Jollibee is any good anyway.) But observe filipino stores, in general. Little effort is done to entice foreigners to take part in our food. We do not adopt them to a different palate. This is the problem.

The Bicol Express I had the other day was wonderful.


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