Wow, I didn’t really expect a lot of people to respond to a newsletter about breakfast.
I’m not super passionate about food. For me, food is fuel. I eat to keep myself healthy. My wife says I don’t have a “relationship with food”. It’s just something necessary for me.
But some have really strong feelings about it.
Thank you for your responses. I showed my OFS, Julia some of them, and I liked her reply so I’m sharing it here.
The typical breakfast I presented here was the typical breakfast for a working-class Filipino. Someone who needs a heavy meal because they need to get to work right away or commute 2 hours to work.
The Philippines, for the longest time, was an agricultural country. People would work from dawn until noon. In order to work for 6-7 hours straight, you’d want something that’s really heavy and filling.
Now that a lot of us commute at least an hour to work, picking up breakfast along the way isn’t really an option. You don’t want to stop anywhere because you might get caught in traffic. There might not be any good food places along the way. So you’d want to eat a heavy breakfast at home.
The typical Filipino breakfast I presented isn’t something we eat all the time. It’s just the kind of breakfast that we find comforting. I don’t eat like that every day. Most mornings, I would have coffee and toast.
Someone pointed out that I didn’t talk about the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables that they have in the Philippines and encouraged eating them for breakfast.
We do have vegetables for breakfast sometimes! The preparation varies from place to place. When I think of breakfast veggies, I think of tortang talong (eggplant omelet). My husband prefers poqui-poqui (sauted eggplant with egg). Another popular choice is ginisang ampalaya (sauted bitter gourd). The easiest way for me to have veggies for breakfast is to add malunggay (drumstick tree) leaves to my eggs.
Fried fish is also a healthier breakfast option.
I have these options because I’m lucky. I have access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish everyday because we have traveling vendors that go to our subdivision. We live close to a wet market. I also have the time to make breakfast. Not everybody has that access. What most Filipinos have access to is a bakery for pandesal or a tapsilogan (food place that serves silog meals all day).
There was also a comment that I should have encouraged fruits for breakfast. I agree that fruits for breakfast are healthy.
Here’s what Julia said:
Fruits are great, but it’s not typical for us if we need something filling. We sometimes have fruits WITH our breakfast but fruits really aren’t enough to fill you up. We do eat a lot of fruits throughout the day and with our meals. We even have a term for it, “panghimagas“. It roughly translates to palate cleanser and digestive aid. One fruit that you’d see as part of breakfast is the banana, but more often, you’d find that Filipinos will just bring the fruit with them so they can eat it on their break between the start of their work and lunch.
I know “silog” isn’t healthy but I love it because it’s really comforting. Also, silog as a breakfast meal started as a way to make use of leftovers. The fried rice is made from day-old rice. The fried protein sometimes consists of what was leftover from yesterday. The egg is just added to make it “breakfast-y”. It helps reduce food waste, which is always a good thing in my book.
A “healthy” breakfast option that many Filipinos do enjoy that I forgot to mention in the last newsletter is taho. It’s silken tofu with tapioca pearls and caramel syrup. It’s protein-rich and often served hot, which makes it really comforting.
If you want to cut back on sugar, you can ask the taho vendor to hold the syrup. In other places, they add milk or jackfruit. Some personalize their taho at home by adding fruits. Or in the case of my daughter, choco-malt powder. If you want an extra shot of protein without the meat, most taho vendors also sell fresh soy milk which is way better than the ones you can get in stores.
Why didn’t I include this last time? Because I usually have taho as a snack. Most taho vendors walk so you can only get taho if the vendor gets to you in time. It’s not something everybody can have for breakfast.
Different culture, different food.