With 7,107 islands scattered like jewels across the Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is home to a vast number of cultures. The Philippine way of life and sensibility have been enriched too by foreign cultures. This diversity in culture is most obvious in the way Filipinos cook and eat. Happily, the great number of influences that have shaped the culinary culture of the Philippines has produced a cuisine with so much flavor, color, and textures.
From the Spanish conquistadores who gave Filipinos a great craving for food laced in rich sauces like adobo, caldereta, menudo and afritada to centuries of trading with China whose influence on Filipinos is most evident in the omnipresence of pansit (noodles): pancit bihon, pancit canton, sotanghon guisado and even the famous mami present in almost all street-corners of Manila.
However, Philippine dining is only complete when there are numerous sawsawan (dips) on the table. It is often said that one knows when a Filipino is dining if the diner requires an assortment of dips. Indeed, Filipinos love sauces of all kinds and finds reason to plunge just about any food stuff on a favorite dip.
But Philippine cuisine is most characterized by the Filipino way of eating—salo-salo or through food sharing or communal eating which begins with the wonderful pronouncement of “Kainan na!” (Let’s eat!)