Daly City, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – Filipino restaurants in the U.S. and Canada are experiencing a rare phenomenon never before seen since the introduction of Philippine cuisine to the Western world.
From 5-star restaurants in New York, Chicago and California to fast food stalls in American malls across the country, Filipino restaurant owners have reported an unusually high demand in just the last week of two items on their menu: lumpia and adobo. Many of them have run out of the food items despite conscious efforts to double their daily preparation and cooking.
This sudden surge in the demand for lumpia and adobo came soon after U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his speech at a state dinner in the Philippines last week . Obama was in Manila on the last leg of his tour of Asian nations. During that speech, Obama lauded Cris Comerford, a Filipino who has been working at the White House since 1995.
“There’s our shared pride in the millions of Filipino Americans who contribute to our nation every single day,” said Obama. “There’s one in particular I’m grateful for — Cris Comerford, our executive chef at the White House,” he added. Obama then proceeded to say that he and his family in the White House “enjoy the occasional lumpia and adobo.”
Comerford is the first woman and first person from an ethnic minority to become a White House executive chef.
It looks like the prediction of Andrew Zimmern, host of “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel is finally coming to fruition. Sometime last year, Zimmern said that Filipino food “is going to be the next big thing.”
When asked by reporters if The Adobo Chronicles is on the list of what he reads on a regular basis, Obama simply winked his eye and said, “No comment.”
Manila, Philippines – Tenderloin inasal (grilled beef tenderloin marinated in lemongrass and turmeric) and pili-crusted lapu-lapu (grouper) were on the menu at the state dinner for US President Barack Obama who is visiting the Philippines as part of his Asia tour. Completing the menu were salad of pako (edible fern), pochero-style seafood soup, and dessert of refreshing coconut sorbet.
Asked by The Adobo Chronicles what he thought of the dinner menu, Obama said he was extremely disappointed. He said he was expecting to be served balut, the famous boiled duck egg (embryo) and halo-halo, a more elaborate version of his favorite Hawaiian shaved ice.
Obama said he might sneak out of the Malacañang (Philippine Peesidential Palace) guest house later tonight to get some balut and halo-halo from street vendors stationed nearby.
Manila, Philippines – Rice is the main staple food of the Filipinos. It is estimated that each household eats an average of almost 500 kilograms of rice per year. While Philippine farms produce rice quite extensively, the country often resorts to rice importation to supplement local demand.
It is therefore not surprising that Filipinos are alarmed at recent reports and studies showing the presence of arsenic (poison chemical) in rice and rice products. (See latest article from The New York Times).
To appease the growing anxiety among the population over arsenic-tainted rice, Philippine lawmakers have moved quickly to make pan de sal the new national staple in place of rice. The wheat-based delicacy is the Filipinos’ choice of breakfast bread or dinner roll.
While lawmakers realize that their action will cost the country millions of pesos in wheat importation, they said that the health and safety of the citizens are of greater concern. Wheat is not produced locally and the Philippines imports 100% of its wheat and flour requirements. The Philippines is one of the top destinations for U.S. wheat exports.
The lawmakers are confident that the Filipino people will adjust easily to the change in staple from rice to pan de sal because the latter goes well with many Filipino dishes like adobo, pancit,dinuguan, menudo and queso de bola.