There is no country with more holidays than the Philippines. And neither is there a country with a longer Christmas season. Celebrations are central to the Filipino lifestyle and food is the key to all Filipino festivities. When no holiday is in sight, Filipinos will invent one just to have a reason to get together. The fiesta mentality, it is called. But when Filipinos are not partying or celebrating, daily meals tend to be simpler. Just as in the other Southeast Asian countries, Filipino meals... often consist of a soup, a meat dish, and a vegetable dish. The interesting thing is that, in many cases, all three components are served in one dish alone.
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Arguably the most beloved of Filipino soups, sinigang is a clear broth soup flavored with a souring agent which can be sampalok (tamarind), bayabas (guava) or kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi). Seafood (shrimps, prawns or fish) or meat (pork, mostly) and an array of vegetables that may include kangkong (swamp spinach), eggplants, gabi (taro) wedges, sitaw (yard-long beans) are added to the broth to make a filling soup that most Filipinos consider a main dish.
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Although salad as a starter course is not traditional in the Philippines, half a century of American colonization and the pervasive American mass media have modified the eating habits of many Filipino urbanites many of whom consider a starter salad as an integral part of the meal.
Elsewhere in the country especially in rural areas, salads are considered special occasion dishes. Ensalada (the local name for salads), on the other hand, is primarily a side dish served to complement a meat or seafood... main dish.
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Although Filipinos love including lots of vegetables in their meals, Filipinos are not vegetarian by nature. Hence, the concept of the main dish revolves around meat and seafood which, if not cooked with vegetables, are often accompanied by a vegetable dish.
An archipelago that consists of over 7,000 islands, Philippine seas are teeming with numerous varieties of fish and shellfish.
Meat in the Filipino diet is not limited to pork, chicken, and beef. Goat meat is popular in the country is well.... And "meat" includes offal.
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Sweets and desserts
The concept of dessert is foreign to traditional Asian dining customs but sweets are an important part of Filipino cuisine just as it is in all of Southeast Asia. Consumed mostly as snacks in the olden days, modern Southeast Asians have adopted the Western practice of serving these sweet morsels at the end of a meal.