Philippine Cuisine

Crossroads of Asia
Lingering Vinegar and Garlic

“There’s a trick if you want to know that it’s a Filipino an apartment belongs to; the garlic and vinegar can linger around a good long while.” — N.V.M. Golnzalez, The Bamboo Dancers [1]

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines. And its people speak some 87 languages.[2, 3]

Lumpia Shanghai
Fusion Food and the Greatest Appetizer

Can there be any common factors in the cuisine of such a far-flung and diverse people? There may be some common elements, but we have to look for them in the past.

The ancestors of today’s Filipinos spoke languages of the Malayo-Polynesian language family.  This far-flung language group stretches from Madagascar in the west to Easter Island in the east, with Hawaii in the middle.

These people were sea-farers, expert seamen and navigators.  Fish were an essential part of their diet, and seafood remains a key element of Philippine cuisine today. Continue reading

Hawaiian Cuisine

Multi-Layered Cuisine
Luau’s, Poi, Poke, Tikis and Spam

“Mangoes of golden flesh, with turpentine

Coconut Palms

“Peel and odor. Plums of inky stain
“And the pucker of persimmons….” — Genevieve Taggard, “The Luau” [1]

“Shrimps, sea-urchins, lobsters, crabs and various kinds of shell-fish, as well as sea weed….” — Henry M. Whitney, Hawaiian Guide Book, 1875 [2]

The Paradise of the Pacific is truly Continue reading


Legacy of the American Military
More Novel than Anything Else

“Some of these throwback dishes were best left in the past.” —Kate Bernot


Cooking with Spam


Spam is not perhaps an immediate association with materials used by Pacific Rim cooks. But it does have a minor niche. Wherever the American military went in the Second World War, Spam went with them. Continue reading

Spam Sushi

Barack Obama Likes This
Hawaiian Comfort Food

“Some of these throwback dishes were best left in the past.” — Kate Bernot

“In  Hawaii, Spam Nigiri is ubiquitous.  You can get it at any 7-11.” — Ivan Lee



t’s a bit like Loco Moco or a couple of other Hawaiian favorites. If you grew up eating them, you probably still crave them. Hawaiian comfort food. At least, that’s what Barack Obama did — on a trip to Hawaii after his election in 2008, he was seen enjoying Spam Sushi. [1]

Spam Sushi is not exactly sushi in the usual sense of the word. It’s basically a piece of Spam integrated with rice in a way that looks sushi-like. Continue reading