A Special Filipino Dinner

It is time to invite a date over for dinner, and traditional Filipino food is on the menu. Now, what is traditional Filipino food? Well, the Philippines only have just over 7,000 islands, were originally settled by Malaysians, and were occupied by the Chinese, Spanish and Americans. That certainly means there will be a lot of leeway in the types of foods served.

Appetizers are always best when making a formal meal. This course should definitely highlight the Chinese influence in Filipino cuisine. Spring rolls with a dipping sauce are a good bet. Traditional Filipino spring rolls are called Lumpia Shanghai. They are made with ground pork and carrots that are rolled thinly then fried. For variety, shrimp can be used and bamboo shoots for those that dare. Once cooked, they are cut into bite size pieces. This is a dish that can be made 4 hours ahead and fried when the guest arrives. A variety of traditional dipping sauces such as sweet chili-mango or vinegar mixed with either soy or vinegar are an excellent way to enjoy them together.

Land food is best to serve for the entrée because it is easy to cook and serve. Malaysian curries are a favored dish in the Philippines. Made with pork or chicken, they have an exotic feel with their colorful appearance. White rice is the perfect side dish. Since the vegetables are included in the curry, there is no need to worry about making more. A beautiful flan will be a tasty end to the meal and highlight the Spanish influence of the island cuisine.

Serving Filipino food has its own traditions. This food is always served family style. Dishes are shared between partners and across the table. If one person finds a dipping sauce they like, feel free to pass some across to a friend or guest and don't forget the coconut milk.