kapaMEALya: Uber Filipino Food Group…Eating One Adobo At A Time
We at PP&B love anyone or any group out there trying to increase the visibility of Filipino food. When we found out about kapaMEALya (a play on the word, kapamilya, which means “of the family”), there was no second thought that we’d give these Northern California Filipino foodies some shine. They were kind of enough to answer some of my questions, so enjoy and read on. And if you’d like more information on the group, check out their website: www.kapamealya.org.
What is kapaMEALya and how would you describe it to someone who’s unfamiliar w/the group?
Joanne: kapaMEALya is a group of people who have fun and 100% of the time food is involved. We never meet without having something to nosh on or drink. One of our goals is to promote Filipino food and those who create it with potlucks, organized dinners, impromptu meetups, and cooking demos.
Chris: We’re on a mission to spread the goodness that is the Filipino culture through one of the best ways we know how…Filipino Food! (Kumain ka na ba?) (Have you eaten?)
How would you describe Filipino food to those who’ve never had it?
Joanne: Filipino food is a cuisine that isn’t shy when it comes to flavor. There’s pungent from fish sauce, tart and sweet from our tropical fruits, and savory heartiness from all our stews and soups. Because the Philippines have many different regions, there is always something new to eat. The history of the cuisine is also diverse because of the Chinese, Spanish, Chinese, and American influences.
Chris: Another tough question – Asian dishes with Spanish influence? Then I make them eat lumpia. (It’s) THE Filipino gateway food.
What would you consider a Filipino super food?
Joanne: A super food? As far as healthy, I would have to say mungo aka balatong with lots of bok choy, spinach, and tomato in it. I made it vegan once and it was a hit with veggie crowd. As far as being plain good? Lechon. Hands down. Crispy skin makes me weak at the knees.
Chris: Kare kare! Sure, most Filipino dishes have strong flavors, but kare kare is the strongest! The Shaquille O’Neal of pinoy food, it’s not going for a layup, (this) joint is a freaking hit you over the head slam dunk! Yes, it’s fatty, has a lot of peanut butter and paired with a fishy condiment, but if done right with some proper fresh veggies and awesome beef and well cleaned tripe with the nice bagoong - the dish kills!
Which Pinoy dish do you think the mainstream is really missing out on?
Joanne: I think one Pinoy dish that everyone should try at least once is kare-kare. I do understand that there are allergies to deal with when it comes to the peanuts in the sauce and the shrimp in the bagoong, but for those who are able to try it, they should.
Chris: Lumpiang sariwa, just because I think if mainstream got to it, people can get creative with it and just ran away with it, switching up the meat for something else then maybe even make the sauce healthier
Patis or Toyo? (Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce)
Joanne: Can I have both in one bowl? But if only one…toyo.
Chris: This is like that age old question, Rocky or Rambo? Depends, in the ring or the jungle? What am I dipping? If I had to pick one low sodium soy sauce!Regular Ketchup or Banana Ketchup?
Joanne: Banana Ketchup!
Chris: Again, depends on what I’m dipping, but lately I’ve been really craving for the delmonte banana ketchup for some fried chicken dippin’. It’s weird because you can’t get that here in the states, and the banana flavor on that is so different from the Jufran UFC variety.
SPAM or Corned Beef?
Joanne: Corned beef! Canned! It has to be canned!
Chris: Why not both? But for an easy brekfast, spamsilog of course!
Favorite saw-sawan (dip)/condiment/concoction (for example, mine is patis and lemon)
Joanne: I am such a condiment whore. Any mix of toyo, suka, patis, calamansi, sili, etc. Whatever I can find in my pantry, I use, but I always need something tangy.
Chris: Patis mansi of course for filipino dishes.
What is your favorite Filipino comfort food?
Joanne: It would have to be adobo and rice. To me, it is the quintessential Filipino food from the reason why it is made with the vinegar to how it makes us all feel when we eat it. It’s home.
What would your last meal be?
Joanne: A whole fried tilapia, steamed white rice, tomatoes tossed with alamang and green onions, boiled salted duck eggs, sliced mangoes, steamed bok choy and eggplant, soy sauce mixed with calamansi, and vinegar with chilies for dipping…bonus if it is all laid out on a table covered with banana leaves. No utensils. No plates. Just eat with the hands!
Chris: Beef Stew over rice, the original (beef) pares from Jonas, Quezon city (super nostalgic).