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COMFORT IN A CAN
Versatility makes canned corned beef a fixture in every Filipino’s pantry


CORNED BEEF ---While travelling all over the Philippines for the coverage of the 1969 reelection campaign of then President Ferdinand Marcos, I found myself at the host’s kitchen with Malacañang security and close-in staff, who ate what their bosses ate: Libby’s corned beef, Spam, pork and beans, and canned Del Monte peaches. Outside, my fellow journalists were served local food: fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables. READ MORE...

ALSO: On the radar
9 dishes that will put the Philippines on the culinary map by Sol Vanzi January 25, 2015

The world is rediscovering the Philippines, one facet at a time. After toasting our islands as best choices for diving, fishing, or merely basking around in, travelers’ attention is now on all types of Filipino food.

This new focus was given a big push when CNN showed Emmy award-winning documentary host Anthony Bourdain licking his fingers while eating lechon, sisig, and halo-halo. Other foreign TV shows followed suit. READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Comfort in a can
Versatility makes canned corned beef a fixture in every Filipino’s pantry


CORNED BEEF

MANILA, FEBRUARY 22 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi January 27, 2015 (updated) - While travelling all over the Philippines for the coverage of the 1969 reelection campaign of then President Ferdinand Marcos, I found myself at the host’s kitchen with Malacañang security and close-in staff, who ate what their bosses ate: Libby’s corned beef, Spam, pork and beans, and canned Del Monte peaches. Outside, my fellow journalists were served local food: fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables.

That was my introduction to the curious practice in many provinces: the honored guest is served canned meats while the less exalted members of the guest’s entourage eat the community’s local produce. The rationale: Imported is always more expensive and better than local.

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Biggest proof? Balikbayan boxes shipped by Filipinos from the United States to friends and relatives in the home country almost always contain cans of Libby’s corned beef, intended not for immediate consumption but for prominent display in glass-paneled cabinets to impress everyone.

For millions of families in the Philippines, imported corned beef and processed meat products continue to be luxuries. Possession of these items is solid proof of security and financial comfort. The growing number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) adds to this imported food cult. More than eight million OFWs regularly send packages filled with imported food and clothing to their dependents. Corned beef from many parts of the world reach Philippine shores this way.

Decades ago, the generation that survived starvation and food scarcity during World War II taught the younger generations to hoard canned goods “in case of emergencies.” These lessons proved useful when disasters struck: wars, floods, earthquakes, and typhoons ravaged huge portions of the country, leaving thousands of families without clothing, shelter, or food.

These days, in evacuation camps where canned sardines and instant noodles are the daily rations, refugees often complain because there’s hardly anything one can do with sardines except open the can and eat them.

Many say sardines taste and smell like sardines no matter how the canned fish is prepared or recooked. Not the case with corned beef, which can be used in omelets, soups, pasta sauces, baked casseroles, crisp hash, meatballs, croquettes, and burger patties.

The versatility of corned beef allows a single can to be stretched to serve dozens of hungry individuals with the addition of a few readily-available ingredients. Here are a few of those dishes.

CORNED BEEF BISTEK

Slice ½ kilo of onions, crosswise into rings. Sauté in hot oil until just heated through. Season with kalamansi and soy sauce. Stir in one can of corned beef. Serve with rice or bread.

MACARONI-BEEF SOUP

Stir-fry minced garlic and ¼ kilo of chopped onions until lightly brown. Add corned beef and three liters of water with one or two bouillon cubes. Stir in ½ kilo of macaroni or spaghetti, broken into one-inch pieces. Simmer until pasta is almost tender. Season with salt and ground pepper. Before serving, thicken with evaporated milk to desired richness. Optional: Add diced carrots and celery, and cook them with the onions.

PASTA OR PIZZA SAUCE

Substitute one can of corned beef for the required ½ kilo of meat.

OMELET

Sauté corned beef with sliced onions and julienned potatoes until almost tender. Stir into beaten eggs and cook in batches.


On the radar
9 dishes that will put the Philippines on the culinary map by Sol Vanzi January 25, 2015

The world is rediscovering the Philippines, one facet at a time. After toasting our islands as best choices for diving, fishing, or merely basking around in, travelers’ attention is now on all types of Filipino food.

This new focus was given a big push when CNN showed Emmy award-winning documentary host Anthony Bourdain licking his fingers while eating lechon, sisig, and halo-halo. Other foreign TV shows followed suit.

Filipino dishes have likewise been featured in prestigious newspapers and magazines worldwide. Foreign food critics were fascinated by eateries in California, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., catering to the ever-increasing number of Filipino professionals in the United States. The New York Times featured embutido just this month.

Another factor that enhances the popularity of Pinoy cuisine overseas is the diaspora of overseas Filipino workers (OFW), now estimated at 10 million, or 10 percent of the entire Philippine population. The White House chef, Filipina Cristeta Pacia Comerford, has made lumpia and adobo familiar items on the Obama’s private and state dinner menus.

All of the above encourage us to predict that the following Filipino dishes will make it on the international culinary map very soon.

1. Lechon Roasting a whole pig is a tradition not exclusive to the Philippines; our spit-roasted, handturned version with golden crisp skin and melt-in-the-mouth juicy flesh scented with lemon grass beats all competitors by a mile.

2. Lumpia Spring rolls are served at homes and restaurants all over the globe, but Filipino businessmen were the first to market lumpia wrappers in the international export market, popularizing the word lumpia to describe spring rolls of all kinds.

3. Adobo Although almost everything can be cooked adobo style—stewed in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and bay leaves—the most popular versions use pork, chicken, or a mixture of both.

4. Pancit The elaborate Filipino version of Chinese chow mien (literally fried noodles), pancit bihon using rice noodles was ordered as a midnight snack by President Bill Clinton while he was staying at the Manila Hotel during the 1996 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meeting. Other Pinoy versions are palabok, canton, sotanghon, and miki.

5. Sisig The growing trend of nose-to-tail cuisine engulfing even fine dining restaurants in Asia, Europe, and the United States is just perfect to push sisig up the culinary charts. Boiled pig head parts are broiled, chopped, seasoned with garlic, onions, vinegar, and chili peppers. Sisig, Pinoy-style, is often served on a sizzling metal plate.

6. Halo-Halo Fruits and beans preserved in syrup are mixed with canned corn, Jello cubes, tapioca, shaved ice, and topped with custard and ice cream. Anthony Bourdain swooned over halo-halo served by Jollibee in Los Angeles.

7. Kinilaw After World War II, sashimi conditioned palates for raw fish. Ceviche followed in the 1960s and 1970s. The Philippines’ kinilaw, which uses palm vinegar and calamansi, has started appearing in food shows around the world.

8. BBQ The most popular Pinoy street food in the Philippines, it makes use of various parts of chicken and pork, basted with a red, sweet marinade, thickened with banana catsup.

9. Kwek-Kwek Peeled hardboiled eggs dipped in achuete-colored flour batter, deep-fried, and then eaten with spicy vinegar or sticky sweet-sour sauce as dips.




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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