Filipino Flavors | Cooking Reviews

A solid introduction to Filipino cuisine for those wanting to try something; for those interested in Filipino cooking, this guide is a useful and practical introduction; a fine collection for adventurous foodies and home cooks

Agbanlog, Liza. Quintessential Filipino Cooking: 75 Authentic and Classic Recipes of the Philippines. Page Street. Aug. 2018. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781624145483. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624145490. COOKING
In blogger Agbanlog’s (Salu-Salo.com) own words, this debut collection of ­Filipino recipes is meant to share her cooking with people in a new way. A few of the dishes, such as Lumpiang Shanghai, are found on her blog, but many are unique to the book, which is organized by meal type: pork, chicken, seafood, vegetable, rice or noodle, etc. Each of the approachable recipes includes a brief introduction with historical context; bright photographs are a bonus. Recipe and section titles are given in both Filipino and English, while the index also lists entries for each dish in both languages.
VERDICT A solid introduction to Filipino cuisine for those wanting to try something new, or possibly be reminded of their roots. Similar to the author’s blog, the straightforward recipes allow for novice cooks to follow along easily.—Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, Oregon Inst. of Technology, Portland

Chio-Lauri, Jacqueline. The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe. Surrey: Agate. Sept. 2018. 248p. photos by Rowena Dumlao-Giardina. index. ISBN 9781572842588. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781572848207. COOKING
Editor and restaurateur Chio-Lauri has compiled short stories and recipes designed for home cooks looking to expand their culinary repertoire and enjoy a taste of Filipino cuisine. The contributors, who range from writers to food workers, describe how Filipino food combines both Eastern and Western influences, and offer different recipes that are meaningful to them, including lumpia (egg rolls), kare-kare (oxtail stew with peanut sauce), and baked chicken adobo infused with coconut milk. The food can also be a fusion of Asian and Latin cuisines with a focus on seafood because of it being an island nation. Tips on where to find many of the ingredients used throughout are included, and many recipes are simplified for the home cook. The photographs by Dumlao-Giardina are exceptionally beautiful.
VERDICT For those interested in Filipino cooking, this guide is a useful and practical introduction and an excellent addition to any cook’s bookshelf.—Holly Skir, Broward Cty. Lib., FL

Ponseca, Nicole & Miguel Trinidad. I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook. Artisan. Oct. 2018. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9781579657673. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781579658823. COOKING
Founder Ponseca and chef Trinidad of the New York–based restaurants Maharlika and Jeepney take readers on a culinary journey to explore the flavors and cuisine of the Philippines. Pondering “why not Filipino Food?,” Ponseca details her desire to bring the cuisine to mainstream America, beginning with a ten-plus-year learning process that took her from restaurants to turo-turo shops, and Manhattan to Manila in search of authentic flavors. Starting with “Filipino Food 101,” the authors detail the cultural history of Filipino food and the influence of colonialism and regionality on flavors and methods. Sections are divided into Adobo and Kinilaw; Soups; Salads and Vegetables; Noodles and Dumplings; Spice and Burnt Coconut; Tomatoes and Tamales; Fatty, Fried, and Salty; Sweets; and Americana.
VERDICT A fine collection for adventurous foodies and home cooks. While some of the recipes may prove challenging, there is something for chefs of all levels. Filled with history and culture, this is a worthy addition to any cookbook collection.—Gricel Dominguez, Florida International Univ. Lib., Miami

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