Manileños are more accepting of modern Filipino dishes than their overseas counterparts

Original post date: February 9, 2023; updated February 19, 2023

Learnings from our recent trip - RoniB's Kitchen Goes Home

Filipino cuisine has come a long way over the years, and the capital city of Manila is at the forefront of this culinary revolution. Modern Filipino cuisine is gaining popularity in Manila, with new restaurants and food establishments showcasing the diverse flavours and ingredients of the Philippines. However, this new interpretation of traditional dishes is not as widely accepted among Filipinos living abroad.

In Manila, locally sourced ingredients, fusion flavours, and modern cooking techniques are all contributing to the growth of modern Filipino cuisine. Many new restaurants are incorporating locally grown fruits, vegetables, and spices into their dishes, and experimenting with combining traditional ingredients with international flavours. This not only highlights the unique flavours of the Philippines but also supports local farmers and the economy.


Top row (L to R): Sugpo sa aligue at kalabaa miso (by Hapag), black squid risotto (creamy black rice, carmelised onions, topped with apahap & crispy baby squid (by Samira in Anya Resort)
Bottom row: Miso brown butter with Davao dark honey, local mixed rerb pesto, kesong puti mousse, 2-month aged Calumpit longganisa (by Hapag)

In contrast, Filipinos living abroad may not be as receptive to these new interpretations of dishes. This is due to a number of factors, such as a lack of exposure to new styles of cooking, a desire to maintain traditional cooking methods, and a sense of nostalgia for the dishes they grew up with.

However, there are also signs that modern Filipino cuisine is starting to gain traction among Filipinos living abroad. Pop-up dining experiences, food festivals, and other events are bringing together local chefs and food enthusiasts to showcase the diversity of Filipino cuisine and highlight the best of what the country has to offer.


Top row (L to R): Pansit 911, Octopus Warek Warek
Bottom row: Bistek Short Ribs (all by Hapag)

In conclusion, while modern Filipino cuisine is gaining popularity in Manila, the same cannot be said for Filipinos living abroad (or is it?). However, as exposure to new styles of cooking and a desire to explore their cultural heritage increases, it is likely that modern Filipino cuisine will become more widely accepted among Filipinos living abroad.

Whether in Manila or abroad, Filipino cuisine continues to evolve and evolve, and it is exciting to see what the future holds for this rich and flavourful cuisine.

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