Can You Imagine Filipino Food without Vinegar?
A typical Filipino meal plan would include Fried or Grilled Fish with Suka, Adobo with Ensalada, and Paksiw. They all have vinegar. Fried fish is served with spiced vinegar. Almost all Filipino restaurants and carinderias, traditional or modern, would have cruets of sawsawan (dipping sauces), with spiced vinegar always present. Adobo becomes perfectly balanced with a side of greens seasoned with an oil-free vinegar dressing. Paksiw is a stew of fresh local fish like tilapia, or bangus, simmered in vinegar and spices. What other local Filipino dishes do you cook with vinegar? Click here for recipes.
We don’t know if any other people use way too much vinegar in food like we, Filipinos, do. Because vinegar has so many different applications, including preserving vegetables or pickling, we consume it more quickly. We actually have an expression for it, if some kid (or grown-up) goes out in pambahay (home clothes) or pajamas, we say, “pinabili ng suka.” Because when a kitchen runs out of vinegar, it’s an emergency. We immediately send someone, anyone, out to the nearby store.
We met some Filipinos living in America a few years ago. We asked them what kind of vinegar they use for their adobo in the States. Most replied with frustration that they can’t cook Adobo the way they cooked it in the Philippines, because the most accessible vinegar there is Apple Cider Vinegar. We never looked at it that way, having access to Philippine vinegar every day. We felt sorry for them, for what is Filipino life like without the adobo we grew up with?
And so we have made it our mission at Mama Sita’s Kitchen to make Philippine Premium Vinegars available to you, wherever you are. Yes, premium because our vinegars are untainted with additives which, sadly, are now commonly used to make it cheaper for customers. Making vinegar, like many things artisanal and genuine, is a true labor of love. Bringing you Philippine vinegars is our way of thanking the farmers who climb up tall coconut trees, or handpick and squeeze the very sensitive fruit of the cashew, only to gather the pure nectar and juice which become the life of many of our beloved Filipino dishes.
There is hope in the kitchen, always!
~From your friends at Mama Sita’s Kusina~