Over the next year or so, we’re going to explore various cuisines from around the World and tell you a little bit more about them. Here are a couple of Oriental cuisines to start the year off.

Filipino Cuisine

Filipino cuisine is a true fusion of East and West with strong Chinese, colonial Spanish and American influences. It uses ingredients similar to much of south east Asia – rice is the major staple, coconut, fish sauce, lemongrass, chilli, etc but it differs because it also features ingredients first introduced by the Spanish – olive oil, vinegar, paprika and saffron. Even Spanish paella became a popular dish with most regions having their own slightly different version. Not surprisingly, seafood plays a big part in the Filipino diet – the country is made up of more than 7,000 islands after all!

Some popular Filipino dishes include:

  • Lumpia – a type of spring roll with many regional variations
  • Chicken Adobo – a traditional Philippine stew made with vinegar and sherry
  • Pansit – noodle based soups
  • Sisig – a traditional Filipino method of preparing meat, whereby the meat is diced and
    sautéed with vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, jalapeños, onions, spices and seasoning.
  • Sawsawan – dipping sauces made with seasoned vinegars used to transform flavours
    of simple roast or steamed meats

There are a growing number of Filipino themed food trucks with interesting menus. Take a look at the following links for menu and recipe ideas.

www.themanilamachine.com
www.whiterabbittruck.com
www.senorsisig.com
www.filipinofoodrecipes.net

Cambodian

Cambodian cuisine shares many attributes of Thai cuisine, although it’s generally not quite as spicy as Thai food can be. The key staple in Cambodian cuisine is rice, although noodles are also popular. Its colonial French past has influenced its culinary style, much like Vietnam, but China and to an extent India, have also played a part in the evolution of Cambodian dishes, as demonstrated by Cambodian karis (curries).

Key dishes include:

Chicken samlaa – a traditional Cambodian chicken curry
Amok Trei – coconut fish curry parcels, traditionally wrapped in banana leaf
Samlaa Ko Phet – tamarind beef curry
Nhuem – like an Asian slaw salad with shredded chicken or pork and peanuts with a sweet and tangy dressing

Further information and recipes can be found at:
www.cambodiancuisinetorsu.com – check out the menu page
www.asiarecipe.com/cambodia.html

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

More from Wendy Bartlett