Filipino food holds a whole lot of pride for authenticity and decadence in their cuisine. When tourists travel to Asia, people often have a tendency to compare Filipino cuisine to other Asian cuisines. This is often a challenge for some because most Filipino food is just a mix and juxtaposition from other foreign influences. The Philippines, being colonized by several countries in the past, namely Spain, America, Japan, and China among others, have all molded the way modern-day Filipinos live and provide sustenance to their families.
Chinese-Influenced Dishes in Filipino Cuisine
Cooking famous Filipino dishes like menudo, mechado, adobo, pinakbet, and many other savory and saucy dishes boast a certain level of complexity that does quite the job in overlapping flavors. More often than not, these Spanish influenced Filipino dishes to require technique and an array of ingredients that most Western kitchens don’t often have. Thus, the search for the simplest yet scintillating delights in Filipino food starts with Lumpiang Shanghai.
Not a lot of people know that the Chinese were a huge culinary influence in Filipino cuisine. Noodle dishes like pancit, bihon, lomi, miswa, and rice cake dessert called hopia, all hail from Chinese influence as far as the 15th century. The first China Town was established in Manila back in 1595 where a Chinese migrant from the province of Fujian sailed to the Philippines a new life, along with his culinary influences, according to Aljazeera.’
The Filipino Lumpia
Aside from the likes of pancit and bihon, there’s also the most popular Filipino snack and all around staple in every Pinoy’s household; the lumpia. Although lumpia is just a wrapper to coat the ingredients of what makes the fried delicacy, it’s also of Chinese influence. Similar to the traditional dumpling from various other Chinese cultures, Filipino lumpia is made of the following:
- ground pork cooked and crumbled
- water chestnuts chopped
- sliced mushrooms chopped
- large shrimp chopped
- green onions chopped
- sweet yellow onion chopped
- fresh garlic pressed
- soy sauce
- lumpia wrappers or spring roll wrappers
Preparing lumpia doesn’t usually take long, aside from the usual wrapping and frying, it should take around 30 minutes in total with preparation and cook time. The first step is mixing all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands and then letting it sit for an hour in the fridge before wrapping the mixed meat with the wonton wrapper.
Using a spoon to scoop a certain amount of meat mixture into the wonton wrapper, depending on its size is key. Make sure there’s enough space to roll the wonton wrapper without spilling any of the content inside. Before making the final roll, make sure to dip your fingers into a beaten egg wash to properly seal the lumpia roll. Proceed to fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown, let it sit then serve. Note that fried lumpia is served best with sweet and sour sauce.
Lumpia is just one of the many comfort foods that several Filipino households make. It’s like the finger food of the Philippines, one that is easily devoured and enjoyed any time of the day. Filipino cuisine isn’t always rich and flavorful, sometimes the simplicity and just plain fun of the dish is embodied in dishes like the Filipino lumpia, crunchy, flavorful, and simply delicious in every bite.