Yummy tribute to Pinoy cuisine
Local foodies were delighted to catch the telecast of “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations” last June 3, because it turned out to be a yummy tribute to Pinoy cuisine.
Unlike some other TV programs that have featured local dishes, the telecast didn’t take the “Oh, how yucky!” route, even when focusing on balut.
Quite often, our penchant for eating 14- to 17-day-old duck eggs is sniffily and snittily presented as an indicative of how “primitive” and “unsophisticated” we are—but “Bizarre Foods” interviewed foodies who insisted that it was delicious!
We also liked the fact that the special feature on native dishes bothered to look for local diners who spoke English fairly well. Some other programs appear to cattily dote on interviewees who speak carabao English, sometimes requiring subtitles, to add to the impression that “locals” are rather backward and challenged when it comes to communicating globally.
Well, “Bizarre Foods” rose above that facile and snide tendency to look down on the hoi polloi, with speakers who expressed themselves simply but cogently, and shared why they loved “eating Pinoy” so much.
Even better, some of the people interviewed on the show were visitors from different countries—and they too were enthusiastic appreciators of local dishes and flavors, even the more “exotic” ones.
Aside from balut, exoticism in Pinoy cuisine was represented by a long feature on dinuguan. Blood-based cooking is generally a turnoff for viewers and eaters abroad, but the focus on dinuguan won converts instead of knee-jerk dissers, because it took the “dinuguan can taste like chocolate” approach.
Other dishes highlighted on the “Bizarre Foods” telecast included sisig, sinigang na bangus and veggies in gata. The feature on sisig was particularly informative because it revealed that, in olden days, it was served cold as a special treat for expectant mothers.
It’s good to see that TV shows for foodies have increasingly had good things to say about Pinoy cooking unlike in the old, close-minded days when it was featured more for its “shock and yuck” value.
A change-maker in this regard has been the popular TV chef and food lover, Anthony Bourdain. Some months ago, we wrote about his own special tribute to Filipinos and the food that helps define them. Thus having changed and elevated the discussion, it looks like other food appreciators are chiming in with their own yummy encomiums.
Now, if only their raves can affect and influence some local diners who still look down on Pinoy cuisine, and think that our dishes aren’t “complex” enough to be appreciated by adventurous culinary sophisticates, both here and elsewhere.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.