Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Dining Filipino Style

Food is a way of life in the Philippines, and with it comes Filipino hospitality. The Filipino people are quick to invite visitors to join them for a meal, however if invited, it is considered polite to refuse the first invitation by saying you've already eaten, and wait for a second invitation before accepting.

A Filipino meal is typically served all at once rather than in courses, and is accompanied by a variety of condiments and dipping sauces. A little food left on the plate serves as a signal that one's appetite has been sated. Many Filipino dishes are eaten with the hands, but when silverware is used, it is customary to hold a spoon in one hand and a fork in the other, and knives are usually unnecessary.

A typical day includes three meals, which are often supplemented in between with a second breakfast called 'segundo almuerzo', and an afternoon snack called 'merienda'. In the rural areas, lunch is the main meal, whereas in the cities, the evening meal is the most substantial. Seafood, rice and vegetables are the main staples, and where there is a lack of refrigeration, the primary ingredients are purchased fresh daily, or preserved with salt.