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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

14 November 2018

Philippine dining

Climbing up above El Nido

Climbing up above El Nido

11 November 2018

Today was a bit of a quiet one. We emerged late, did only one activity – a short clamber up to a viewpoint on a bluff overlooking the town, and then took in a massage before dinner in town. It was a really stinking hot day which made it even harder to summon up enthusiasm for more.

So I thought I’d reflect a bit on the food we’ve eaten in the Philippines. The staple plate of food here is: meat + rice. You get a cup of rice and then some kind of meat (pork, chicken, beef) cooked with some fairly mild spices. “Adobo” is the classic; soy, garlic and bay leaf. It’s certainly cheap (like, under £3 a plate). But then so is an amazing laksa in Malaysia or a splendid khao soi in Thailand.

Based on what we’ve seen travelling around, Filipinos are also very keen on deep-fried chicken, burgers and pizza. After 2 weeks we’ve now had plenty of meat + rice, so we’ve been having the odd pizza ourselves. As you might expect, the olives are sad affairs. The places we’ve tried have done well at a thin and crispy base though.

Pizza Altrove, El Nido

Pizza Altrove, El Nido

There’s supposed to be a ton of fresh fruit in the Philippines: our Rough Guide dedicates an entire page to helping you identify all the cool tropical fruits. So why is it that the places we’ve stayed have all offered vile fake “fruit juice” that tastes like kid’s sweets? Most of the restaurants have a menu of 6 or 7 different fresh fruit juices/shakes, but when you ask for guaybano… “sorry, we don’t have” …or papaya… “sorry, we don’t have.” Okay, let’s do it the other way: what do you have? “Banana or watermelon.” How very amazing.

I’m probably being unfairly mean. I’ll bet we just happen to be here at the wrong season.

Another thing that has surprised me is the little seafood I’ve seen, for an island nation. As noted, the staples seem to be pork, chicken and beef. I think that’s just me being daft. The UK is an island nation too!

It’s generally reasonably easy to find a good coffee, unless you’re in a backwater like Bohol. The entire beer industry seems to have been wrapped up by one company: San Miguel. Their dark beer is pretty good. Otherwise Tanduay rum is excellent, a very vanilla-y smooth dark rum.

What’s the best thing we’ve eaten? Hmm. Probably bibingka. This is a dessert of sweet sticky rice, at it’s best with a sort of sticky toffee sauce on top and maybe some toasted coconut sprinkled on. Mmmmmm.

Looking over El Nido

Looking over El Nido


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