Table etiquette in the Philippines
Unless you attend an official ceremony at a hotel or a party, most of the food in the Philippines is informal or casual and does not require special etiquette. No rituals are performed, except that the habit of Filipinos is with someone, rather than sitting at a table alone. When eaten by the company, usually before eating a prayer is pronounced. Typical Western orders, such as not putting too much food on a plate and restraining burp at the table, are also recognized here.
Western-style cutlery is common in formal and business lunches in the Philippines, with a fork, spoon and knife for each person. In a less formal setting, Filipinos are used to eating only with a spoon and fork, using a fork to push food onto the spoon. Since both Japanese and Chinese restaurants are present in large numbers, the use of rods is also very common.
However, in the countryside it is customary to eat with your hands. It is possible that those from whom you have settled will invite you to try traditional Filipino dishes. He or she can invite you to a restaurant where visitors eat with their hands. There before eating you can get a clean hot towel or, most likely, you will be offered to wash your hands in the sink next to the table.
There is a basic strategy in eating with your hands, it is to take food from the plate with your fingertips, and use your thumb and forefinger to send it to your mouth. Never let food touch your palm, it’s untidy. You can get tips from Filipino companions on food or see how they cope with the situation. If you are uncomfortable using your hands, you can ask for a spoon and fork.
Naturally, such food as pastas, soups and salads, it is inconvenient to eat with your hands. He who treats you must foresee this and provide plates, plates and appliances for food that can not be eaten in this way. Traditionally, food that is eaten by hands is served on clean banana leaves. Many local restaurants serve food in such a manner or use banana leaves as napkins to lay under the plates. We can consider banana leaves as disposable plates. Food delivery can be organized as a buffet or in a family style, and can also be delivered by the waiter to everyone personally. At the buffet, do not be surprised that the Filipinos go to the buffet table and pick up snacks, main dishes and desserts at the same time and bring them all at once, sometimes even on one plate. This saves them time on their walk to the pantry. And also it is quite acceptable, first take snacks, then go back for the main dishes, and then for desserts.
Philippine delicacies include lechon, or a whole pig, fried on a spit, the peel usually turns crispy. This is a favorite dish of many Filipinos. Yesterday’s lechon usually goes for cooking paksiw na lechon (lechon, cooked with liver sauce) or in pritchon (roast lechon). In more modern areas of the country, pritchon has turned into a delicious dish, prepared by wrapping pritchon and green vegetables, such as celery, in pita, which is then served with different dipping sauces, such as honey mustard or garlic mayonnaise. This is a favorite dish at parties, which is definitely worth a try a foreigner.
Other local delicacies are balut, a boiled duck egg with a half-formed embryo inside, or penoy, a boiled fermented duck egg. Not everyone will dare to try the duck embryo, do not hesitate to refuse if the food is too exotic to your taste. You can also opt out of frog legs that are served in some restaurants, if this dish you can not tolerate.
The main dishes served in most houses include tinola, chicken with ginger and broth with fish sauce, and sinigang, soup with a tartar tartar flavor. You can try these dishes if you prefer food on soup basis. As in most Asian countries, rice here is the main dish and is served with almost any food. As a dessert, the halo-halo dish, a mixture of ice, milk and seven different sweet ingredients, including leche flan (something like a custard), ube (root crop "yam"), nata de coco (coconut gelatin), chick peas in Russian, is called "chickpea", "nahat" or "Turkish pea"), brown beans (literally, "brown beans"), etc. All these ingredients are very popular with children, and adults are also easy to evaluate. Components can also be eaten separately.
Other dessert options include many mouth-watering local fruits that you might want to try. Popular among foreigners are green and yellow mangoes, bananas, melons, watermelons, strawberries, tangerines (known locally as ponkan), pineapples. More exotic, but equally tasty, are considered langsat, rambutans, mangosteen, jackfruit (known as langka in the Philippines) and others. Remember that durian has a strong (some believe, disgusting) smell and may not appeal to people who are not accustomed to such. Although ardent fans swear that he has a great taste.
If you are worried about special diets, such as following a halal or kosher tradition, need food suitable for diabetics, etc., do not hesitate to notify those who have stopped or the manager of the hotel or restaurant. Be prepared to bring with you some specific products that you might need, such as kosher salt, because it may not be in stores. For example, many Filipinos simply use stone or table salt and may not have a clue what kosher salt is.
Diabetics and people with heart disease should watch what they eat, because some Filipino dishes contain cholesterol. Either way, Filipinos are usually more than willing to cater to the health and food restrictions of their guests by offering and providing healthier meals. In restaurants and hotels in all the Philippines, there are many different cuisines, so making a healthy choice will not be so difficult.