Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sandok and Pampanga's yummy -silog menu

Biya and Longsilog at
Pampanga Restaurant
I had breakfast this morning at Pampanga Restaurant.

It isn't everyday I get to enjoy a Filipino breakfast out, but this visit was spurned by a need to tie up some loose ends with our upcoming publication, Sandok.

This oral history/food culture/recipe book is (as I've mentioned) written by Manila to Manitoba researchers, Kezia Malabanan and Ma. Monica De Castro. In 2011, the authors set out to interview local restauranteurs and record their narratives on regionalism, immigration, and (of course) food culture. Tita Lourdes of Pampanga Restaurant is one of the five informants featured.

Nestled away on Henry Avenue in Winnipeg's downtown, Pampanga is best known for its Filipino breakfasts. This much is evident by the number of customers seated in the restaurant (beside its large banquet hall). The aroma of dried fish (tuyo), hearty Filipino meats (longanisa, tocino and tapa), garlic fried rice, and eggs resemble the Philippines in its own morning hours. The Filipino Channel streams the news in Tagalog on its numerous TVs and the murmur of Filipino dialects are punctuated with the slight clanging of utensils. Ordering breakfast is an adventure - especially if you like deciphering word combinations. So, what is a silog anyways?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sandok: An oral history about Winnipeg's Filipino-Canadian food culture

For the next few weeks, I want to introduce you to ANAK Publishing's upcoming works Sandok and The Kapre in Kildonan Park. If you've frequented this blog before, you will know that Sandok in particular has taken some time to put together. Written by Monica De Castro and Kezia Malabanan (two researchers from the original Manila to Manitoba exhibit ), Sandok is an off-shoot of our growing oral history experience.
In 2011, they embarked on interviewing Filipino-Canadian restauranteurs in Winnipeg. After a random selection process, 5 eateries were selected: Jimel's, Myrna's, Juvian's, Gelyn's Wedding Salon, and Pampanga. Each interview revealed not only the process of acculturation in Canada, but the evolution of Filipino food from regionalism to Canadian (-ism?). Available ingredients, family recipes, differing tastes, and personal cooking methods are all shared in this book. It also includes a strong listing of recipes from the restauranteurs themselves.
Despite the delay (logistics are always a bummer when you're starting a business), I hope you can join me this month to talk a little more about this amazing testament to our very own soul food.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Manyfest: Where's the Patis?

Filipino food truck "Pimp My Rice" at Manyfest
Over the weekend, Winnipeg was spoiled with a culinary offering of "truck food." Memorial Boulevard became a generator-powered food court of moving kitchens. It was a beautiful sunny day to stand in the music and the sun waiting for an order. There were plenty of people about with their cameras ready to show the e-world their lunch. Although some meals appeared faster and better prepared that others, it was evident that the longer the line the more popular the food truck. Filipino "street food" was clearly one of the sought out kitchen.

Outside the 'Pimp My Rice' food truck, there was a good mix of hungry Filipinos and non-Filipinos standing in line. I'm not sure if any expected the traditional ihaw (barbecue) of bituka (intestine), ulong manok (chicken heads), dugo (blood cubes) that litter many street corners at night in the Philippines. I didn't see anyone leave with a plastic bag (yes a bag) filled with soda and a straw  (my favorite kind of island packaging).  I imagine the Filipino food truck offered a platter of the safer Filipino-Canadian fare like pansit, pork barbecue and rice. It was a menu of things I'm sure we (as Filipinos) could cook at home. So, why the long line?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Inspiring Filipino-Canadian Oral History: Rap me a story

Hip hop is said to be an amalgamation of many artistic forms. Its roots lie within a subculture of celebrated marginalism in New York's South Bronx and Harlem in the 1970s. It has since grown to an amazing network of barrios, barangays, and bantustans the world over. Hip hop is universal with or without a colour to whatever beat.

In Canada, it is no surprise then that Hip Hop would take root among today's Filipino-Canadian communities to create a narrative and a sound all its own. The uniqueness of immigration, separation, regionalism, cultural confusion and economic struggle from the Filipino perspective is an honest and edgy offering of oral history neither a museum nor academic can portray.

In this blog post, I will introduce two Filipino-Canadian artists who employ hip hop as their medium: Han Han of Toronto and Nereo II of Winnipeg. Both offer much inspiration to our emerging generation.