While I enjoy adobo and Giniling and Apritada, I steer away from many Filipino food favourites. As a Westerner, I find the overall ‘appearance’ unusually unappetizing. Filipino dishes in food courts for example is often grey, dark, greasy, and worrying to look at. Dishes made from pig blood and the use of every part of every creature make attacking a Filipino buffet somewhat of a nail biting experience. Chinese dishes, and Thai food by comparison, is bright, fresh and crisp looking. Vibrant colors, aromas, fresh peeled cucumber, carrot, spring onion accents to the side of bright delicious looking stir fry arrangements make your mouth water hence the overall popularity worldwide of Thai food. The flavors are always marvelous with the Thai and Chinese dishes because you know what you are eating.
Internationally, Filipino restaurants are generally only ever frequented by Filipinos. The party standards……roast lechon, greasy fried rice, pancit, cold lumpia, chewy BBQ sticks, and spaghetti with chopped up hotdogs (preferably the red ones with red dye #7), cake with purple icing, are standard fare at almost every Filipino party or event, and is usually cheerfully consumed by all Nationalities, but overall the cuisine itself is loved by those who grew up with it.
As a European friend once whispered to me walking in front of a food court display ‘whoever invented these dishes must have been awful hungry’! I had to agree!
ChowKing, Greenwich, MacDonalds, KFC, JollyBee, and Pizza Hut are quickly becoming the preferred food of city folk, or at least those with the wherewithal, except for food courts where Filipinos sit slurping up indescribable dishes leaving the table a huge mess for others to clean up behind them, like in public spaces. Another Filipino curiosity.