The food is no good in the Philippines ?

I often hear comparisons of food from the West to the Philippines and statements of it not being any good here or lower quality. Truth of the matter is you don’t see many cows wandering around here, but like when I visit Greece the whole point is not to bring the UK or U.S. menu to the table but the local ingredients. The seafood here is cheap and there is export quality available if you know where to shop. Cebu has around 1000 restaurants and that is another subject than what I want to discuss because the truth of the matter is changing your diet could also be beneficial health wise. I have started getting a taste for coconut water which I am going to swap out the fizzy cokes etc and replace with. There are a lot of health benefits from drinking coconut water and being in the Philippines there is no shortage of coconuts so its a cheap item to have daily. I buy a large piece of water melon every few days for around P15.00 and if its dry tomorrow I will take a trip into the market with my camera and do a bit more rooting around so people can get an idea of what they are missing if they go local..

mangoes, sineguelasAnother thing about doing things yourself or with friends is it inspires people to be more creative as well as the opportunity to try new things. We recently went to a “pot luck” party at our friends and for it I had prepared a very fruity but tasty curry (as most people don’t appreciate my hotter flavours) and April made some dips as well as flat bread that was used for scooping the curry as well as for the various dips. As you can see from the table there is a lot of variety as different people brought different things and its something I would like to do more often. The other reason I like these type of get togethers besides the food is there is always good company.

April and friends - My wife and friends sat in front of me and Kento matt wilkie, kento not being a spoil sport just couldn't all fit in the same photo!

















I have started to appreciate the regular gatherings we have more I think its partly the fact I am starting to pick up more of the local language and also its more like a big family than just friends. I know this doesn’t fit into what a lot of Expat’s want to do as they prefer hanging out with just Expat’s and I can understand that side of things as well as I have started to do that more lately as well. One major difference though is I find our local friends are more into the chat and the food than anything else. Where as the Expat groups we seem to drink too much as its mainly external meet ups involving drinking bars or in a resort or beach with beer/spirits. But at the same time its an opportunity to have a bit of flair for cooking and its something me and April enjoy doing a lot so I am tempted to look at starting doing more dishes on the blog with things you can do on a budget with local ingredients but its also good for me and my wife as we just love doing it. Anyway I will just post a few photos from my wife April’s blog so you can get an idea of what is easy to do here even on a budget and I will look to start putting things together on priced budgets and with a variety of food types etc.

Curry at myhottropics.comShrimp Salad with vinaigrette dressingprawn thermidor at myhottropics.comChicken Salad at

So is the food no good in the Philippines? If you still think so your not living. There is a huge variety of food out there a lot of the local dishes may seem a bit bland to Western taste buds but the Philippines is still a bit of a garden of eden if you know where to look. Also its a good idea to grow a few things yourself if you have space. We have Chillies growing in a large bucket which are giving us enough for our table regularly and now our bell peppers are starting to develop. Doesn’t take much to make that table have an inviting meal sat on it..

17 comments for “The food is no good in the Philippines ?

  1. TropicalPenpals
    June 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    New Blog post The food is no good in the Philippines ? . …

    • MistaSEEforce
      June 4, 2010 at 5:02 am

      #shoutout to @TropicalPenpals #TEAMFOLLOWBACK

  2. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    same here weight has gone April my wife is well known here for being a great cook mind.. Problem I have is making dishes to local taste buds as I love things hot and full of spice..

  3. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Patrick the climate makes a big difference on eating habits although having your wife cooking as well no doubt there is a lot of fresh produce as well I think a lot of people get used to the “prepack” foods in the West and are like a fish out of water a lot of the time when they come to somewhere like the Philippines where I haven't even seen Microwave meals.

  4. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Jim, I think the other important thing people forget is there is so much fresh fruit here that also makes things easy to prepare on a daily basis same reason most people haven't got refrigeration they dont need it..

  5. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Lol.. I know what you mean on that Allan as we often have last minute BBQ Chicken from the nearest store. But I am talking more on the lines of what can be done with fresh fish and fruit as well doesn't have to be localised dishes but the ability for example :-

  6. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    im on a budget at the moment for at least 2-3months so the “extras” are out the window.. but the thing is being able to turn something out of nothing.. Miss the Lornes square sausages and the black pudding.. but can't have although this week we will be making sausages 🙂 just not square.

  7. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    lol.. yes but can get the spices etc. that you can't find in most locations and do a lot without spending a lot as the main ingredients you can find locally.

  8. Tropicalpenpals
    June 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I missed your comment btw Andrew just read it this morning.. your right about the price hikes in % and yesterday they were talking about sugar going up in price about P4 per kg? obviously that will have a knock on affect with a lot of products. Also I think things seem more expensive here depending on what you eat. The localised fish and vegetables I find pretty cheap but when you start looking at Thailand tomatoes and other imported goods its obviously going to add to the bill. One of the reasons I would like a large lot at some point to do a vegetable and fish garden.

  9. John Turner
    June 4, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    John Turner I disagree with those who feel the food is not up to scratch, I live on it here as well as when we go back home if they are stuck my wife can give them traditional kampampangan recipes and they are renowned as cooks.
    Hence my inability to lose weight easily

  10. Andrew Swarbrick
    June 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I think a lot of this is really dependant on taste if like me you are a fussy eater the Philippines can b a nightmare at first as it does take time to find places to get the things I like to eat. After hunting for months i gave up getting all the fully cooked stuff I wanted so i then started to hunt down the ingredients and there I did get a bit more luck as if you can find a good cook then you can eat ok! I do find that food is more expensive in real terms here if you consider in the uk most people spend about 20% of there income on food for the week were as in the Philippines it is usually in excess of 50%. Clearly for must of us expats we can afford it although saying that i have defiantly noticed a very large rise in the cost of living here over the last year in particular not sure what is causing it but i am guessing part of it is raw material costs spiked last year before falling back and given the retailers put prices up but never seem to bring them back down I’m putting a lot of it down to that. I think also there is an argument that’s says eat what the locals eat but for me i just cant i hate garlic and they seem to add it to everything.
    As to the mixing with locals i think again this is a taste thing a lot of us move here because we like the weather and the cost of living not many of us moved here to be close to family. A lot of expats have also found really issues living near relatives of their wife’s and girlfriends as it is common for the whole family to think they have all now hit the jackpot as they have an expat in the family and they can all feed of them.
    The culture here is very different than most the expats (although not all I admit) at most of us would find it terrible to live off someone else almost a belittle of our manliness to do it but here they have no issue they all seem to do it readily. Clearly a cultural thing and personally I don’t think a good one so that is why most of us expats steer well clear of living amongst the outlaws ha ha. I also find I have a lot more in common with exports we worry about the same things and are interested in similar things i have very little in common with locals i try but i just don’t seem to be able to find good friends with any of the locals i think there is always that money divide and even if I don’t care they do!
    So I summary for me I think a lot is choice on food as well as company but personally given all the issues I still never regret moving here and on balance I plan to stay as I am!

  11. Patrick Livingston
    June 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I'm looking forward to losing weight there.I always lose weight there without any trying altho my wife insists on me eating every dish she put in front of me.I know it's weird about the weight loss but for some reason I am no longer “hungry” when I with her so this time for several months I hope to lose alot.She has promised to help me in this.Cya all there soon:-)

  12. Jim Cunningham
    June 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I think the food here is excellent for those who disagree maybe they should reassess their cook lol.

  13. Jim Cunningham
    June 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I think the food here is excellent for those who disagree maybe they should reassess their cook lol.

  14. Allan Raymond
    June 4, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    For my first 3 1/2 years here I ate the local food most of the time and enjoyed it. But then something flipped, I sat eating a meal and just lost it throwing my plate accros the table and screaming I am sick of everything tasting of soy sauce.
    Thankfully my wife with the help of Mylene has started to take a real interest and enjoys learning to cook English food.

  15. Jim Cunningham
    June 4, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I agree Matt we have fresh fruit after most meals.Having been married for almost 27 years and lived in the UK for 20 of them my wife can cook both British and Pinoy food.We chop and change between the different menus so that I don't get to Alan's stage and flip …….lol. Even now we are full time here in the Phil's I still can enjoy proper fish and chips as well as Yorkshire puddings and have a fry up on a Sunday morning.

  16. Jim Cunningham
    June 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Jim Cunningham Matt don't get me wrong we don't eat imported food we eat improvised mostly lol. But miss the Lorne and the BP also but we dream on.