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Simon Majumdar Interviews Philippine Gourmand:

Claude Tayag

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Claude Tayag Interview Notes:

In this very special episode of Eat My Globe, we are very fortunate to be joined by one of the truly great artists of the Philippines.  Claude Tayag is not only a respected artist and architect, but is also recognized as a one of the country's great gourmands. His famed restaurant, the "Bale Daytung" is a must visit on any trip to the country, and his knowledge of the history of this underrated cuisine is hard to beat. 

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TRANSCRIPT

EAT MY GLOBE: Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Food

SIMON MAJUMDAR INTERVIEWS PHILIPPINE GOURMAND, CLAUDE TAYAG

[DISCLOSURE: Simon and Sybil partook in a complimentary meal at Bale Dutung

as guests of Claude Tayag. No other compensation was made for this interview.

Simon's company, It's Not Much But It's Ours, paid for Simon and Sybil's travel and accommodations to/from Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines.]

 

INTRO MUSIC

 

SIMON:

Hi everybody and welcome to a special bonus episode of Eat My Globe: Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Food.

 

Now, about 11 years ago, I was very fortunate. On my journey, which became my book, Eat My Globe – the same title as this podcast cause I obviously loved that title very much. I was very fortunate to be brought to Angeles for a very, very special meal with my guest today. I said at the time, that this was the best meal of my life and 11 years later, I still think that's the truth. And I'm very fortunate on this visit to the Philippines to be able to come and meet once more, my very dear pal, chef, artist, gourmand, Claude Tayag.

 

BREAK MUSIC

 

SIMON:

So Claude, thank you for inviting me. We’re at your Bale Dutung.

 

CLAUDE:

Dutung. Bale Dutung.

 

SIMON:

Bale Dutung. So. . .

 

CLAUDE:

It's a wooden house.

 

SIMON:

A wooden house.

 

CLAUDE:

It's my pleasure to have you here, back here again in Bale Dutung.

 

SIMON:

I'm excited and everything that the house looks as beautiful as I remember it. And I wanted to come and talk to you because I wanted to ask you about, yeah, Filipino cuisine.

 

Because what I've noticed now for 11 years. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . since I had the best meal of my life here, I've been telling everyone about Filipino cuisine and saying it's going to be the next big thing. And whenever I've been asked to write an article about the new trends and the new big things in cuisine, particularly in the United States, obviously now I live in Los Angeles. I've always added Filipino cuisine into there. And it never quite made it yet. It's always been bubbling under.

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

But suddenly in the last two or three years now, Filipino chefs in the United States and Filipino American chefs have just exploded with their success.

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

And so I wanted to come and talk to you about the history. This is a history food podcast. Um, Eat My Globe. But I also wanted to talk to about why we think that's happening and what we think the future is.

 

So, first of all, why don't you, to everyone who's watching and to everyone who's listening, introduce yourself because you are genuinely what we call in the US, a polymath.

 

CLAUDE:

Polymath.

 

SIMON:

You do so many things. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Everything and everything.

 

SIMON:

Everything. So I'd love you to just tell people who you are and, and your history before we go on to talk about the history of Filipino cuisine.

 

CLAUDE:

Okay. So, um, let me start by saying, well, I'm an artist. And by saying that, that includes, like being an, a painter. I do wood sculpture, furniture design. Uh, I will not say. . .  basically a Jack of all trades.

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

CLAUDE:

But you know, I don't, I cannot do technical mechanical stuff. So everything with the hands, meaning artistic. . . something. So including, that's including, uh, food cooking, right? So the, the thing is, I've gone into writing as well. . . about food again.

 

So I was born and raised here in Angeles City and the ninth of 12 children. So can you imagine the amount of cooking that went on in my mother's kitchen?

 

SIMON:

Must’ve been constant.

 

CLAUDE:

It was constant, really. Literally.

 

Being the artist, I had time to, um, experiment. I see a white big plate, like your piece of canvas and you have this set of ingredients.

 

SIMON:

Just to give people some more background. You've written a number of books on food. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . and recipe books and uh, traditional books you've written. You’re about to star in a brand new TV show.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

And that show is called. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Chasing Flavors,” literally chasing the flavors of the Philippines.

 

SIMON:

When I talk about Filipino cuisine, I struggle a bit to explain it. So who better than you? And so I'm going to ask you, what is Filipino cuisine?

 

CLAUDE:

What is Filipino. . .? I will, I will be struggling as well to define it. We need like the whole day for it, for our, for, for us to discuss about it.

 

Filipino cuisine is like a symphony of subtle flavors. The sweet, sour, salty and a bit bitter and garlicky, a bit spicy. Here's the clincher. In one bite.

 

Each region would have their different sets of tradition, of different culture, different, um, you can say, uh, culinary traditions, and maybe ingredients.

 

But what binds us together? I think number one is the rice. Okay?

 

SIMON:

Okay.

 

CLAUDE:

I would consider that our national dish, the rice.

 

And then secondary, in terms of flavor, will be the sour, the acidity. Now talking about the, the flavor, the, the sour note.

 

Can you see that in the sinigang? Sinigang is the sour broth. Sour soup.

 

SIMON:

Wonderful. One of my favorites.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. Using sour fruits, could be the tamarind. It could be the Bilimbi or the Kamias. Each region would have that. There're different degrees of acidity. I mean their tolerance for acidity. . .

 

Sinigang basically is a boiled soup. I mean, meaning a stew – fish, any kind of meat. So, uh, and there's a prescribed set of vegetables that you can put in it. You cannot put carrots, for example, or cabbage or that.

 

SIMON:

Our audience is very inquisitive, not just about the types of food that you eat, but where it comes from. So what we've done. . .

 

CLAUDE:

So the origins. . .

 

SIMON:

. . . the origins, because they want to know why things taste the way they do. Because often, and particularly in Filipino cuisine, there's a lot of ingredients that you're going, “Oh, that's interesting. I didn't know that came from here. I didn't know how it came.”

 

And when I talk about Filipino cuisine, I'd love to know your view on it. I kind of think about almost like a three-legged stool with kind of traditional. . . the Malay background of the Philippines, the Chinese influence and then the, the Spanish influence. So I'd love to hear from you, who is a real expert, um, whether you think that's a good way of describing it and what the history is with those, those areas that you think have impacted on what Filipino cuisine is today, even though it's changing and evolving all the time.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. Um, yeah, you can very well, um, uh, approach it that way. Um, or even narrowing it down from, I mean narrowing it down to two. Um, the indigenous, meaning what was grown, look, I mean, what, what you can say, what was formed internally. . . in what was influenced. . .

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

. . . by outside forces. . .

 

SIMON:

Okay, so internal and external influences.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah. So the external. . . The indigenous ones will be the Malay and what, the were. . . what, are eating, cooking from the immediate surrounding. It could be a coastal. . . we’re archipelagos surrounded by the seas. Okay.

 

The coastals would have naturally more seafood, and then the inland would have more meat and then the mountain, the Highlands, would have more of like jungle. . .

 

SIMON:

Vegetables.

 

CLAUDE:

. . . vegetables and all that.  So, and of course, the wild boar, the Carabaos and all that. And that they, they use for 'em, of course now the home raised, uh, the backyard raised pigs. Right? So, and chickens, so it's mostly meat, uh, Highland. So whereas inland, in the lowlands, we would have the best of both worlds. But the coastal, mainly seafood. So that's one.

 

And then the Chinese came to trade.

 

Yeah. Going back [inaudible]. Yeah, more than a thousand years ago.

 

SIMON:

What were they coming to trade here? What would the Chinese trade here?

 

CLAUDE:

The jars, the, this and, uh, I mean the, the silk, the jars. Um, remember they were already doing this porcelain, ha, and they will buy here, uh, lumber, the timber, uh, gold for one, and then, um, honey, sugar.

 

SIMON:

So I think it's fair to say that, it was a prosperous kind of by trade. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yes, yes.

 

SIMON:

. . . between the Chinese and the traditional, the native audience here. Would that have been primarily a kind of a common people's cuisine because you're talking about Chinese sailors. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. And, and a lot of these Chinese, some remained here, uh, and intermarried with the locals.

 

SIMON:

I believe the oldest Chinatown in the world is in. . .

 

CLAUDE:

It is in Binondo, in Manila.

 

SIMON:

. . . in Manila.

 

CLAUDE:

The oldest Chinatown in the world. Uh, since they inter-married, they brought with them their cooking. Right? There, they introduced noodles. Um. . .

 

SIMON:

So they brought the noodles?

 

CLAUDE:

The noodle making and among other things like, uh, well, soy sauce. They introduced that and all the soy bean products. So he saw us. . . bean curd and that is like being incorporated into our daily cuisine. And Filipinos think it's Filipino. But we, we would like to call it Chinese Filipino. There's a, uh, a term for that. They call it “Chinoy.”

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

CLAUDE:

“Chinoy.” Chinese. Pinoy.

 

SIMON:

[Inaudible]

 

I’ve not heard that before.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah. And, and we'd like, for example, we have this Pansit Canton. There is no Pansit Canton in Canton in Guangdong. But they just refer to it as Pansit Canton.

 

SIMON:

That's a very Filipino take on a Chinese dish.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah, yeah.

 

SIMON:

So that's that, with the Chinese. So that's obviously. . . a very, so you have on the one hand you have the indigenous cuisines using the local ingredients – whether it's the seafood, the inland or up in the mountains. You have this Chinese element from the trade, which is spread out I guess. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Spread out. [Inaudible] I mean all over the Philippines. Wherever there's a Chinese trader, they would, they would have that. And then, if I may add, they introduced sautéing.  

 

SIMON:

So like the stir frying.

 

CLAUDE:

Stir fying. They introduced steaming. And then they do this, the breads, the steamed buns, what we call puto.

 

SIMON:

So then we have, the one that I think might be contentious to a lot of people and I know you have a view on it. Whenever I describe Filipino food, and I think you, you, you were going to disagree, I always think of the occupation of the Philippines for 333 years by the Spanish. And I've always assumed that that's the biggest influence from outside. But you talked about it, I know in a different way because of a third-party connection as it was. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

. . . through someone. So I'd love to hear more about that.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah, so let's put it this way. So starting in 1565, it was a Spanish contingent from Mexico. In the galleons, the ships were manned by Mexican sailors. Uh, so, and even I guess the friars that are the Spanish, so-called Spanish. Maybe they were Spaniards in citizenship, but the thing is, they're Mexicans. Born and raised in Mexico speaking Spanish, of course. And in the name of the Spanish crown that they occupied, colonized the Philippines.

 

SIMON:

So in a way, you're getting Mexican, you're getting Spanish food through a Mexican lens when they'd come here. So you're getting a real, a real mixture then.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

And what would be some examples of that being. . . so, rather than just kind of Castillian Spanish, there's kind of Mexican Spanish influence on the Filipino cuisine [inaudible].

 

CLAUDE:

The, uh, though, so these, uh, colonizers brought with them literally the, uh, the planted the seeds of what we now know as ordinary Filipino ingredients starting, let's say with the cocoa, like chocolate.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

And then I mean, a good example would be, another good example would be the peanuts. Why do we call peanuts locally, Mani. Mani’s a Caribbean term, and if you call it by the Spanish name, cacahuete. We don't call, we don't know what cacahuete is. It's mani, of course. And then there's, we have the jicama. . .

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

. . . which we call singkamas. And then achuete, that we call achuete.

 

SIMON:

Achuete.

 

CLAUDE:

That’s Annatto. It's purely Mexican, in origin.

 

SIMON:

And let's talk about some of the most well-known dishes. If people are going to talk about Filipino cuisine, probably the first dish they'll mention is Adobo.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

So that's a dish that I know from my visits to Mexico.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

And we have Filipino adobo but it's very different.

 

So let's talk about some of the dishes and that so, perhaps, a good example of how this is a Mexican influence that becomes very Filipino.

 

CLAUDE:

So the Spanish, let's start with the Spanish adobo. In their context, adobo or adobar means to marinate.

 

SIMON:

Ah.

 

CLAUDE:

To marinate, it’s the verb. So you marinade. . .

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

CLAUDE:

. . . marinate a fish, a meat with all this mixture of spices starting with paprika.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Garlic. Some herbs and then soak it in either vinegar or a red wine.

 

SIMON:

Red wine. Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Okay. So marinade. So marinated fish, for example. It's a adobado pescado.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Okay. So in, in the Mexican. . . or even then the, the rest of the Latin American countries where, where Spain has fallen, has been and where most all these countries have been colonized with Spain, we have a common, uh, terminologies for food, uh, but it changes per country. But that mari. . . that mixture of spices. So in, in Mexico it's a completely different, they also have a Mexican adobo. The same way there's a what, uh, Argentinian adobo or, uh. . .

 

SIMON:

So wherever again, it went. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

. . . they used the local ingredients.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. And just that they borrowed the term adobo. So in the Filipino context, it’s braising in vinegar.

 

SIMON:

Braising in vinegar.

 

CLAUDE:

So the garlic, the bay leaf, the black pepper, and the salting ingredient could vary. It could be the soy sauce from the Chinese. It could be the s. . ., just plain salt, or it could be the fish sauce, Patis. So, the thing is, again, there is no codified recipe for adobo. It has, it can be wee. . .

 

I mean the adobo will depend on the person cooking it, and at the same time on the region where are you from.

 

So the common terminology that was basically you can say that has been accepted all over is the. . . adopt the word adobo.

 

Let's say in Batangas, south of Manila, they have adobo sa dilaw, meaning dilaw is the turmeric. [Ed Note: "Dilaw" means yellow, and what makes the adobo yellow is the turmeric.]

 

So you have a yellow adobo and then you have, well the, the most commonly accepted, adobo now. . . the most popular adobo would be the adobo with soy sauce.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Again, that's the, the Chinese influence. And then we have also adobo with achuete with the annatto. And adobo sa gata, with coconut milk.

 

SIMON:

So there are many versions of it.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes, exactly. That's why there could never be. . .  um, I mean Filipinos could never, could never agree to which is the best adobo. The best adobo or the best anything is the one that you grew up with. . . .

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

CLAUDE:

. . . your mother cooked.

 

SIMON:

Yes. That's, uh, I think that's a very familiar thing all over the world.

 

So Claude, you've called, you've called Filipino cuisine the most democratic cuisine in the world. So I'd love to hear what you mean by that.

 

CLAUDE:

Okay. Uh, let's start by. . . I've been going back what I said earlier about our dishes. There are no codified recipes. The dish will depend on the maker. Okay? So having said that, once the dish is presented to the diner, the diner is more or less expected to add the dipping sauces.

 

Uh, he is given the freedom of choice of adding. . . Like if you want more salty, more sour by putting kalamansi or vinegar, or you know, probably to the Americans is a salt and pepper on your table.

 

So. . . and nobody will come out of the kitchen saying, “who asked for the ketchup on your steak?” Something like that.

 

So the, the, the Filipino cook has no ego. Like he will do his best in, in giving you a wonderfully, I would say perfectly done dish.

 

SIMON:

And you don't like using the term “chef” about Filipino . . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah, they’re mostly home cooks and then they, of course, they do with the commercially and over time, I guess if you do a thing over and over again, you become an expert in it. So the home cooks are the experts in Filipino cuisine.

 

SIMON:

So really it's a home driven cuisine.

 

CLAUDE:

A home driven cuisine. Do you know the, the, that “chef driven restaurant” is fairly recent? Uh, what I mean nowadays, of course not. It's, um, becoming more and more common.

 

But uh, that's what I mean about, um, we, we have part of our cuisine repertoire, you can say, the dishes would be a major part, would be the sawsawan or the dipping sauces.

 

And that could be our salad. There are sauces, there are dipping sauces that require what? Uh, let's say if you're in a coastal town, you would have seaweeds. And you put tomatoes and chopped onions and then you soak it in vinegar and maybe the fish sauce.

 

SIMON:

Oh.

 

CLAUDE:

And that is eaten with a grilled fish or a fried fish. Together. So in one bite you have a little rice, you have a little of that salad, you have a little of that meat or whatever protein you're eating – in one spoonful.

 

It’s what I'm saying about Filipino cuisine. The, that, the. . . you can say, counter play of the balancing out of the sweet, sour, salty in one bite.

 

SIMON:

You've obviously been cooking Filipino food now for many years.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

And you've been watching its growth around the world, this slow boil.

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

Where do you think it's going? Where would you like it to go?

 

CLAUDE:

Well, let's put it this way. It's not a matter of where do I want it to go? Where do I like it to go?

 

Uh, Phillip. . . the future of Filipino cuisine is being lived now. Right now. It keeps on evolving. Just like what's been happening the past centuries.

 

Keeps on evolving with the introduction of new ingredients and I guess there's no stopping in, um, you can say the evolution of it. Um, new cooking techniques are introduced as well. Um, especially nowadays with the, uh, mushrooming of culinary schools. They start as the students. The Filipino students would start with the classical French and then applying that with local ingredients and all that. So it keeps on evolving.

 

SIMON:

And are you excited now when you see some of the young chefs? Are they doing interesting things or are they respectful of their, the history of Filipino cuisine?

 

CLAUDE:

Oh yes, I'm very, very, um, uh, you can say, really excited and happy about the development of things with the young chefs, with the young Filipino chefs.

 

A lot of them studied in the Western technique and many would have, even have worked abroad in Western restaurants. But when they come back home, they rediscover their roots in terms of the panlasa, meaning the taste buds. . . in terms of the cooking techniques. So they go back to, we can say to rediscover back and appreciate the regional. . . the regionality of their own personal cooking.

 

SIMON:

So it's a pride. . .

 

CLAUDE:

It's a pride. . .

 

SIMON:

. . . in where they come from.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah, there’s a pride where they come from.

 

SIMON:

Which is, which is all we can ask of any cuisine, I guess.

 

BREAK MUSIC

 

[SIMON ADVERTISING: Hi everybody. If you’re enjoying these podcasts, you may want to check out a fun series of videos I did with my friends at Pureflix dot com. In “Simon Says,” I cooked dishes from around the world and give a little bit of history about how they were made. It's a lot of fun. So do go and check them out. Streaming exclusively on Pureflix dot com.]

 

SIMON:

So I'm going to put you on the spot here. If someone was to come for the first time and have a Filipino meal. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . with you, what, how would it be served? What would it look like in terms of the style of eating during it? You know, is it in courses, is it family style? And then let's go through maybe five or six dishes that people might want to try to look for at home or even find a recipe for. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Um-hm.

 

SIMON:

. . . that you think is an example of a classic Filipino meal.

 

CLAUDE:

So if you have any idea what Philippine cuisine is about and I will be serving you or something or I would recommend for you to. . .

 

So these, the first thing you have to remember about our cuisine. Uh, number one, it is not structured, like, in the Western way. The way we eat it, there is no appetizer, salad, soup.

 

You know, it's not categorized that way. It’s served family style. All the dishes together and you can pick, you can start whatever you fancy.

 

Uh, if I were you, I will go to the main dish. And then along the way you get sample.

 

SIMON:

So a family style setting.

 

CLAUDE:

Family style.

 

SIMON:

All the food arrive. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Yes.

 

SIMON:

. . . and you just dig in.

 

CLAUDE:

We don't take salad. But we have vegetables to be eaten together with the rice or with the rest of the meal. Even sometimes pansit could be part of the dishes that are eaten.

 

SIMON:

Pansit are the noodles.

 

CLAUDE:

It’s the noodle. The noodle dish. There're so many varieties of the noodle dish, but. . . of the pansit.

 

But again, so I would recommend, number one, you have a sinigang soup. It could be meat, with meat or maybe prawns.

 

SIMON:

This is that sour soup.

 

CLAUDE:

Sour soup. Okay?

 

Remember that sour soup would have a protein. At the same time, it would have nuts or vegetables. So the salads already incorporate there. . . after vegetables, right?

 

So, and maybe, uh, and then the second dish I would recommend is the kare-kare to counter the sour acidity of this, of this thing.

 

Kare-kare is a peanut base that use the oxtail kare-kare. Oxtail or, and beef meat together, stood together in a peanut-based sauce. And it's color orange because of the achuete. Again, wait, so we’re. . . achuete’s from Mexico. But where did the ox, the, the, the beef come from? At the same time we, we uh, use, um, as a dipping sauce – as a sawsawan – the shrimp paste, bagoong. So that's the local way.

 

I mean probably kare-kare, I would define it as one of the regional fusion dishes.

 

And then you have to have something fried.

 

SIMON:

You have to have something fried.

 

CLAUDE:

I would you like my fried. . . not more than the fried fish. I would have like a Crispy Pata . . .

 

SIMON:

Oh.

 

CLAUDE:

. . . with the skin and the gelatinous cartilage on all that. . . .

 

SIMON:

So let’s explain to people what a Crispy Pata is.

 

CLAUDE:

Crispy Pata is a coined term of, uh, literally, uh, “crispy” and the “pata” would be the leg that. . .

 

SIMON:

So a pork shank.

 

CLAUDE:

A pork shank. Yeah. Yeah. It's very much like the, uh, German, uh, is that Icewine. . .?

 

SIMON:

Schweinshaxe.

 

CLAUDE:

Schweinshaxe. That one. Yeah. But this one is deep fried, so you have the crispy chicharron-like skin. . .

 

SIMON:

Again, one of my absolute favorites, with vinegar on the side.

 

CLAUDE:

With vinegar on the side. Again the sourness. It has to have that.

 

Additional. . . well, and the rest of this has. It has to be pinakbet.

 

SIMON:

Oh.

 

CLAUDE:

Pinakbet is from the North – it’s Ilokano in origin, but because been. . . you can say adopted nationally, uh, with a little, you can say, change. They use the fish paste or anchovy paste rather than. . . The popular one is with shrimp paste. . .

 

SIMON:

And so they use. . .

 

CLAUDE:

. . . and sautéed with lots of tomatoes, onion, garlic. So, what, call it a ratatouille? Or what?

 

SIMON:

A Filipino ratatouille. That's a great way to describe it.

 

CLAUDE:

Yeah. Yes, yes.

 

And then of course everything goes around the rice. Has to be whites, hot steaming rice.

 

SIMON:

Everywhere. You can’t. . . I don’t think a Filipino could have a meal without rice.

 

CLAUDE:

Without rice.

 

SIMON:

It's so important.

 

If we were going to pick one dish and there were so many amazing dishes, what would you pick for yours? Your ideal desert island sweet dish to finish a Filipino meal.

 

CLAUDE:

We, Filipinos don't, as I mentioned earlier, we don't have a structured meal. So we don't have an ending.

 

Dessert. We’ll say. . . Okay. So all our. . . but we love sweets. So the sweets are actually snacks in between meals.

 

SIMON:

[Laughter]

 

CLAUDE:

But you can have them anytime of the day.

 

SIMON:

As we’re about to have now.

 

CLAUDE:

Ensaymada is not a dessert. It’s not. They serve puto bumbong – the rice cakes.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Uh, in some restaurants, they give it to you as an option for dessert. But it's rice. It's just sweet, no?

 

But halo-halo – is it a dessert?

 

You can have it after dessert, I mean, as a dessert, after a meal. But it's just too heavy, uh, too big.

 

Uh, leche flan, which is the custard thing.

 

SIMON:

Of course, yes.

 

CLAUDE:

It could be eaten as it is, by itself or as a topping for halo-halo. Oh, and which we can have, again, all day.

 

We. . . I know some people having pansit – the noodles – and halo-halo as a pair. Or a mid morning snack, before lunch.

 

SIMON:

What we're really saying is Filipinos don't like to have any period of the day when there's no food available because that sounds wrong. That sounds wrong. So some of these sweet dishes are used to fill in those unwelcome gaps between meals.

 

Basically, you want to have. . .

 

CLAUDE:

I would say, I would say it's like all-day snacking. Sometimes they will even be willing, can skip the main lunch, but they will be eating like, sometimes, earlier, the pansit and halo halo at 10:00 AM.

 

SIMON:

We talked about the fact that desserts aren't necessarily a thing. It's more a sweet dish that you'll have during the day.

 

But I am going to pin you down. I'm going to ask you to at least choose one dish, sweet dish, that someone who’s never exposed to a Filipino meal should go and look for if they go to a Filipino restaurant.

 

CLAUDE:

To make a sweet ending for your. . .

 

[Laughter]

 

SIMON:

Yes, a sweet ending for this podcast.

 

CLAUDE:

I would say it will be a buko pandan gelatin with. . . topped with a carabao milk ice cream flavored with macapuno. Macapuno is that, uh, sticky coconut meat.

 

SIMON:

Okay, so let's talk that through. So buko is. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Buko is coconut.

 

SIMON:

Young coconut.

 

CLAUDE:

Young coconut.

 

And then pandan. . .

 

SIMON:

Pandan?

 

CLAUDE:

Pandan is the Pandanus leaf.

 

SIMON:

The Pandanus leaf.

 

CLAUDE:

Flavored.

 

SIMON:

Yes.

 

CLAUDE:

Buko. . . Then, gelatin. . .So green jellybean colored by the, uh, the green leaf.

 

SIMON:

This has been a fantastic conversation. It's made me very hungry for Filipino food. Now, I'm always hungry for Filipino food.

 

If, if people want to go and find out more about you and about your work here in this beautiful restaurant, Bale Dutung, and if they want to, you know, find out some more of your recipes. Is there a website?

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. Our website is BaleDutung dot com.

 

SIMON:

Okay. So. . .

 

CLAUDE:

The way to pronounce it – B – A – L – E in one word, uh, D – U – T – U – N – G. BaleDutung  dot com.

 

SIMON:

BaleDutung dot com. So I do recommend people to go and look at that. So I really appreciate it. Thank you for letting us come.

 

CLAUDE:

My pleasure.

 

SIMON:

This, this restaurant that I think is just one of the most beautiful I've ever been to. It's, it's, uh, we'll take some photographs, we'll put them on the website as well with this episode, and there'll be some other pictures on there. And thank you for explaining more about Filipino food. It's, it's a cuisine that I love. . .

 

CLAUDE:

Thank you, too, for your, uh. . .

 

SIMON:

. . . so thank you. Now let's have some ensaymada.

 

CLAUDE:

Yes. For the real. . . for the, uh, serious business.

 

OUTRO MUSIC

SIMON:

Do make sure to check out the website associated with this podcast at www dot Eat My Globe dot com where we will be posting the transcripts from each episode, along with all the references and resources we used putting the episodes together, in case you want to delve deeper into each subject. There’s also a contact button, so please do let us know if there are any subjects that you would like us to cover.

And, if you like what you hear, please don’t forget to subscribe, recommend us to your family and friends and give us that all-important good rating on your favorite podcast provider.

Thank you and goodbye from me, Simon Majumdar, we’ll speak to you soon on the next episode of EAT MY GLOBE: Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Food.

CREDITS

The EAT MY GLOBE Podcast is a production of “It’s Not Much But It’s Ours” and “Producer Girl Productions” and is created with the kind co-operation of the UCLA Department of History. We would especially like to thank Professor Carla Pestana, the Department Chair of the Department of History and Nicole Gilhuis for their notes on this episode. Also, a huge thank you to Sybil Villanueva for her help with the research and the preparations of the transcripts for this episode, which can be found on the website.

Published: December 9, 2019