06 Sep2006


I nearly missed the First Anniversary Edition of Lasang Pinoy! I happened to visit Stef’s blog, Noodles and Rice, the host of the anniversary issue, and realized I had missed the original deadline a few days ago. I also read in the What’s Up pinoy2Expat Newspaper (delivered free of charge in our village) an article by Mike Mina on the one year anniversary of Lasang Pinoy. At any rate, I decided to rush an entry as I have participated in perhaps 10 or 11 out of the year’s topics. For the anniversary issue, the topic is “a dish or dishes that DEFINES what being Pinoy is all about.” Whoa! Is that a major brain teaser or what? Market Manila being a blog not only about Filipino recipes and dishes, but also markets, produce, ingredients, etc., I thought I would broaden the topic and look backwards in the food chain…to the quintessential ingredients that underpin the vast majority of Pinoy dishes. In many cases, these are ingredients we have adopted from other cuisines, but I figure if we’ve had it for a couple of hundred years it qualifies as a basic component of our native larder. I didn’t do anything special for these photos, I just reached into our pantry, fridge or spice cabinet to pull out many of the ingredients that are essential for cooking something totally Pinoy…

Rich or poor, foodie or not, there are several key flavorings or ingredients behind many a Pinoy dish. Oddly, the more I look at my photos, I realize the more you can have 80-90% of these ingredients in your pantry in almost any corner of the world. Certainly some of the items are more difficult to stock but with some planning and a little bit of foresight, your “Pinoy pantry” can be pretty complete wherever you are, and from my blog statistics, I realize more than 60% of my readers are based in over 80 different countries around the world.

First let me write about what I had in stock. Every Pinoy kitchen typically stocks some patis or fermented fish sauce. Made through a process that 80-90% of my readers (or city dwellers) pinoy3haven’t the foggiest idea how to do themselves, it involves fermenting little fish in open cement vats/tubs with tons of sea salt. As the fish ferments, and turns a putrid grey-brown sludge, it is smushed up and the sauce clarified and bottled. There are dozens of types of patis which have their special nuances, but at the very least, a Pinoy kitchen has one bottle of patis in their pantry. Along those lines, some fermented shrimp paste, bagoong alamang, is also a major component of the local taste experience. Various forms of fermenting fish are also used in many parts of the country. A critical ingredient that I think almost 98% of Pinoys globally will recognize instantly even if blindfolded is dried fish or squid or other sea dweller. With the vast majority of our population living on the coast, dried fish is a staple that sustains many families for most of the year.

If the French have their mirepoix, Pinoys have their gisa, so garlic, onions, tomatoes, and ginger are a staple in the Filipino kitchen. Typically you would also find soy sauce, sea salt, peppercorns or ground pepper, laurel or bay leaves and possibly achuete seeds. A terrific vinegar made pinoy4 from sugar cane or coconut would also be a major component of our ingredient arsenal. In our home, chillies are essential, though I realize many a Filipino household does not like spice and would prefer the more often used white sugar, brown sugar or panocha (palm sugar) instead. A critical souring ingredient would have to be our uniquely pinoy kalamansi, though reaching out into the provincial backyard for unripe sampalok (tamarind), kamias or iba, batwan, bayabas, etc. broadens the ingredients list. Finally, the one things I didn’t have handy was some fresh grated coconut, which for many folks around the country, doesn’t require a trip to the market to obtain. If there was one meat that would make it onto the essentials list, it is glorious Filipino pork. It’s fattiness, flavor and presence in so many of our dishes makes this a critical ingredient indeed.

I am certain you can think of many other ingredients that make it to this “essentials” list. pinoy5If I were to define what being or eating Pinoy was really about and distill it to it’s most basic elements, it would be about our basic ingredients…that’s what defines me as being Pinoy from a food perspective. The unique flavor and sharpness of kalamansi juice, the salty tang of patis and pungency of bagoong, the sizzle of fatty pork, this is what takes me home from wherever I happen to be on the planet. Please feel free to leave a comment with an ingredient(s) that you think should make it to this basics list. From that I will build the Marketmanila Pinoy Pantry List. Maraming Salamat. And Happy Anniversary Lasang Pinoy!!!



  1. RoseLyn says:

    Hmmn… I’m curious of the result.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 9:01 am


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  3. joey says:

    This is great! I love the way you compared our gisa to the French mirepoix :) True, true…

    You seem to have all the basics covered…can’t wait to see the final List! Wait…hmmm…Tanduay rum? Definitely in my kitchen (and elsewhere) :)

    Sep 6, 2006 | 10:15 am

  4. Maria Clara says:

    Primal seasonings and condiments — patis and bagoong are part of our rich culture. Patis and bagoong give me the strong feeling of sentiment and nostalgia. They take me back to Motherland. Tinola without patis is dull whether on the side or in the dish itself. Kare kare and bagoong are synonymous. Patis and bagoong are great food enhancers. I find them very challenging and still could not find a way to tame the offensive aroma they emanate when you cook them. Patis, bagoong and vinegar are the heart and soul of our authentic cuisine.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 10:44 am

  5. Lani says:

    I have it all in my kitchen :) My grandfather came from Pangasinan so I always have bagoong isda in my kitchen cabinet. I want to add soy sauce for my adobo, afritada, menudo, kaldereta, kinamatisan, etc.

    Happy Anniversary to LP!!!

    Sep 6, 2006 | 10:49 am

  6. Mila says:

    how about tomatoes? I always find tomato sauce, tomato paste, or a basic ketchup (tomato or banana) in any filipino pantry. Makes a non-filipino spaghetti, but also used in so many of the spanish influenced sauces for our stews.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 11:34 am

  7. Nila says:

    Optional–Fermented black beans, Knorr cubes seasoning.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 12:55 pm

  8. Bubut says:

    we see to it that we will never run out of Toyo (soy sauce) and Catsup in the kitchen.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 3:37 pm

  9. lurker says:

    not really something you put in your pantry, but i love saging na saba.. for both savory and sweet dishes!

    Sep 6, 2006 | 3:46 pm

  10. lee says:

    “Swine were intended to be eaten, therefore we eat pork all the year round: and they,who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best.” from Candide by Voltaire

    Sep 6, 2006 | 5:02 pm

  11. Apicio says:

    You’ve got it pretty well covered MM so outside of that is just elective territory. A lot of them are bought or harvested as needed, it is only when you live abroad that they of necessity suffer the fate of Tabasco, sit in the fridge for years on end between balikbayan trips just like my secure supply of bespoke bagoong alamang in deep freeze.

    Sep 6, 2006 | 6:43 pm

  12. oggi says:

    Except for dried fish, I have everything on your list MM, although my calamansi and labuyo are both frozen not fresh. These are the regular items in my fridge, freezer and pantry: Jufran, Mang Tomas lechon salsa, gulaman bars in red, white and green, uncooked sago, dried mung beans, macapuno preserves, frozen banana leaves, saba and malunggay, El Rey chorizos, and glutinous rice.

    Sep 7, 2006 | 1:41 am

  13. renelmac says:

    Great lineup on the pantry list although I do have of those missing in my home. For me the most basic components of pinoy pantry would be toyo, suka, asin, bawang,sibuyas, paminta, and if ever patis. And of course- BIGAS! Mixed with anything else you have leftover they can become adobo (pork, chicken, kangkong, sitaw, any almost any vegetable) or paksiw (for fish) or guisado. If worse comes to worse, toyo with rice, toyo-suka-pamnita with rice, or asin with rice would could bring back memories. heck I miss the whole childhood thing of milo or hotchocolate on rice.

    Sep 7, 2006 | 7:54 am

  14. erleen says:

    ours are basically the same, then some more:

    Mang Tomas Sarsa ng lechon
    UFC Banana and Del Monte Ketchup (though I prefer UFC, hehe) malagkit rice
    chocolate balls from batangas(for champorado)
    sotanghon and bihon noodles
    elbow macaron
    knorr cubes
    Tamarind Mix
    Limon/Banana extract(para sa gulaman)
    Lihiya(don’t know why but we always have this)
    Atsuete (we have a tree)
    2 types of patis: puro(made by our bantay sa beach) and the not-so-puro(store-bought)

    Sep 7, 2006 | 8:23 am

  15. iska says:

    can’t think of anything more to add, MM. i have everything except those that i can’t find here… like bagoong alamang & kalamansi.

    happy anniversary to LP!

    Sep 7, 2006 | 2:48 pm

  16. choy says:

    would tanglad qualify? we always have that for the rice or some soup. having said that, i’ll have you know i’m not much of a cook, but i am what to driving would be a backseat driver. my wife doesn’t seem to mind though. she says it’s ok when i hang around her kitchen, speaking my mind and all.

    Sep 7, 2006 | 3:53 pm

  17. mita says:

    local oregano for adobo and dinuguan…

    Sep 7, 2006 | 10:52 pm

  18. patanj says:

    How about lucky me pancit canton? I don’t like it but I know it’s in every pinoy’s pantry.

    Sep 8, 2006 | 8:03 am

  19. millet says:

    ang kanin, dali!

    Sep 9, 2006 | 11:04 am

  20. Peter Javier says:

    Paano naman yun’ buro? gaya ng buro’ng isda at kanin ng central luzon, pero dito sa abroad burong labanos lang ang laging nasa kusina ko, d kasi pwede yung masang-sang na amoy ng ibang buro’ng pinoy eh. magagalit and mga kapit-bahay, he he he.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 4:18 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Peter, I agree burong isda or hipon is a trulyt Filipino delicacy… but the process to make the fermenting shrimp or fish in rice does result in an incredible smell. I think some parts of the Philippines have buro in their pantries while it is less prevalent in other parts… good choice, however…

    Sep 10, 2006 | 6:00 am

  22. Mike says:

    Hmmm . . .

    What with the Pinoys’ love for things sweet, how about some panutsa, matamis na bao, raw sugar, vanilla extract? Then some more ‘pampaalat’ or ‘sawsawan’ – the bagoong na isda. What about peanuts [for kare-kare], curry powder [for the pinoy chicken or pork curry], tinned liver spread, corn flour/starch [as thickening agent for sauces and dips] . . .

    Thanks for your participation in all Lasang Pinoy events!

    Sep 10, 2006 | 9:34 pm

  23. christmasp says:

    Hi people
    I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ….

    Dec 3, 2006 | 8:01 pm


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