Planning diet for Filipino

Filipinos love to eat, and since they're naturally hospitable and gregarious, food is the basis of their social life. Because the feeling of fulfillment after eating rice, their staple ingredient, is relatively short-lived, they eat three meals a day and two snacks in between. Filipinos, especially country folk, rise early. Some will eat a segundo almuerzo (second breakfast) around 10:30, plus a merienda, or mid-afternoon snack. Rural folk eat their main meal at midday, while city dwellers emphasize the evening meal. The diet of poor families is usually rice, fish, vegetables, interspersed with starchy snacks. At fiesta time, all families try to eat meat.

Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and cocidos created for fiestas, of Spanish origin. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig),longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew),mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).

Since few provincial households own a refrigerator, ingredients are customarily either fresh or salted. Housewives go to the market daily to buy their immediate requirements. Leftovers rarely remain after a meal. Extra food is eaten by servants, helpers, and hangers-on, and scraps go to the dog or pig. Food isn't served in courses; people like the complete meal laid out before them so that they can eat simultaneously from all dishes—soup, meat, and vegetables—at random. Cooks provide condiments, flavorings, and dipping sauces to be used at the diner's discretion. Food is eaten with a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other, knives are seldom used. Rural Filipinos prefer to use their hands.

Common food choices associated within cultural group.

Grain group: noodles, rice, rice flour (mochiko), stuffed noodles (won ton), white bread (pan de sal).

Vegetable group: amaranth, bamboo shoots, beets, burdock root, cassava, Chinese celery, dark green leafy vegetables (malunggay and salvyot), eggplant, garlic, green peppers, hearts of palm, hyacinth bean, kamis, leek, mushrooms, okra, onion, sweet potatoes (camotes), turnips, root crop (gabi).

Fruit group: apples, avocadoes, banana, bitter melon (ampalaya), breadfruit, coconut, guavas, jackfruit, limes, mangoes, papaya, pod fruit (tamarind), pomelos, rambutan, rhubarb, star fruit, tamarind, tangelo (naranghita), watermelon.

Milk, yogurt and cheese group: white cheese, evaporated cow and goat milk, soy milk.

Meat, fish, eggs and nuts group: beef, carabao, goat, pork, monkey, organ meats, rabbit; fish, dried fish (dilis), egg roll (lumpia), fish sauce (alamang and bagoong); legumes such as mung beans, bean sprouts, chickpeas, soybean curd (tofu).

Fats and sweets group: coconut oil, lard and vegetable oil, brown and white sugar, coconut and honey.

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