In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Presidential Proclamation No. 469 which declares the month of April as Filipino Food Month. This is to encourage the appreciation of Pinoy food, its rich history and culture, and the hard work of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.
In the previous years, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM), Department of Agriculture (DA), and other agencies celebrated the event by holding food fairs and discussions about Filipino food. But with the pandemic, the celebrations will be done differently— just like last year. (Read: The Vibrant History of the Filipino-Style Spaghetti)
Webinars, a filmmaking competition, and an online exhibition will be held this year. But if you can’t join any of these events, you can still celebrate our food history by making our most-timeless dishes!
Filipino Food Month: Caldereta/Kaldereta
Caldereta is a stew with tomato-based soup with a plethora of ingredients. Its name is derived from the Spanish word caldera or cauldron, as it was brought to Philippine shores by the Spanish colonizers some 500 years ago.
As time progressed, more variations and ingredients were made for the caldereta— hotdogs, cheese, liver spread, and the like. Here’s a recipe that you should check out.
Filipino Food Month: Sinigang
According to historians, sinigang is one of those dishes that we didn’t get from any of our colonizers. It is a soup dish that’s famous for its sour, ‘asim kilig’ taste which is obtained by using tamarind (sampalok), kamias, or some other souring agent. (Read: Which is the more Filipino dish, adobo or sinigang?)
While there is no definite place of origin for the sinigang, different provinces around the country have different recipes for this classic Filipino dish. Get the recipe for sinigang here.
Filipino Food Month: Lechon
During large celebrations, you would often see lechon on the table— an adult-sized roast pig with crunchy skin and delicious sauce. It is a dish that wasn’t originally from the Philippines, as it is said to have been an influence of neighboring Asian countries that had roast pork in their cuisines. Its name, on the other hand, is from the Spanish word ‘leche’ meaning milk, as pig used for this back in the day were those who were still drinking milk from their mothers. (Read: Wow, This Plant-Based Lechon Belly Is Worth Trying!)
But even with the mixed cultural influences, this greasy dish has become part of our culture and is considered a Filipino classic. Click here to see a lechon belly recipe.