Differences between Filipino dishes and Spanish dishes

Click this if you want to read first the History of Filipino Food, Spanish Influence

To the Spanish guy who will talk to us about Spanish dishes, I am still looking for you. I have a relative in Dos Hermanas, Spain but the English language is of no use to him. Filipinos, impressive as we are when it comes to speaking in Spanish, are not all born from Zamboanga. Yes, there is still a part of the Philippines where bastardized Spanish is lingua franca and those are the Chavacanos de Zamboanga, meaning, they make a fascinating conversation if they speak to you in their native language even though you don’t understand a word they’re saying.

I tell you, everyone in the Philippines can utter a lot of Spanish words. Although it is just plain blabber (with a little interpretative dance). To give you an example – Escabeche, Lengua, Mirienda, Paella, Empanada, Ensaymada, Polvoron, Chorizo, Longaniza, Paprika (my australian officemate can say that too), Torta, Queso de Bola, Jamon de Bola, Turron, Cerveza Negra, San Miguel, and i’ll stop before everyone gets drunk. By the way, everything I have uttered except for San Miguel (where Filipinos decided it would be a good name for an alcoholic drink) are all food. So yes we can speak and eat Spanish.

The question though is, how Spanish are these supposed to be Spanish but Filipino dishes? I just confused you and myself there. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between Spanish dishes and Filipino dishes:

Chorizo, Longaniza, Embutido – Spain, Mexico and Southern America or any country who had the pleasure of having a Spanish flagpole stuck on it have different kinds of Chorizos within their regions. There is only one distinct quality of a Filipino Chorizo wherever you are in the 7,000 islands Philippines has and that is Filipino Chorizos are always sweet and are packed with a lot of fat solubles. And while the Spanish Chorizo can be eaten without cooking it, doing that with a Philippine Chorizo will kill you, if not your alpha male status.

The one common thing about the Spanish Longaniza and the Philippine Longaniza is that these sausages don’t have a lot of fat. The traditional Spanish Longaniza avoids Paprika while the Filipino Longaniza takes in everything. It can turn into a bat or the early morning mist.

Embutido in Spain is just another type of sausage in pork casings while Embutido in the Philippines is a meatloaf that is either steamed or baked.

Now if you are still in that stubborn thought of what the difference is between Chorizos and Longanizas in the Philippines, I will indulge you. Chorizos are more popular in the Visayas and Mindano islands because there’s the Vigan Longaniza Navy on patrol, confiscating Chorizos if you cross the  Luzon line. Chorizos are always fatty, Longaniza’s are not really but can be. Chorizo’s are smaller compared to a Longaniza. I’ll stop now. You are getting spoiled. We are talking about the difference between Spanish and Filipino dishes and not about your dirty thoughts.

Escabeche – Escabeche is either poached or fried fish in an acidic marinade or sauce. The difference between a Filipino Escabeche and a Spanish Escabeche is before plating the dish. The last step in making Escabeche is the crucial part. The Spanish Escabeche ends with adding vinegar to the cooked fish and letting it marinate for 12 to 24 hours. The Filipino Escabeche on the other hand is adding the vinegar minutes before you take the fish out of the pan just so to let the vinegar meld in the sauce. Filipinos decided to add a lot of ginger as well. Sometimes we jump inside the pan and shout parteh.

Paella and Arroz Valenciana – Paella is a rice dish originating from Valencia, Spain. There is not much difference between the Filipino Paella and the Spanish one. The only difference is that Filipinos would tend to cook their Paella in a Wok (because of a quick Chinese dragon appearance after you finish cooking) and the Spanish would cook their Paella strictly in a piece of metal called the Paellera.

Arroz Valenciana is a Filipino concoction. In English, the dish translates to The Valencian Rice which is obviously Paella. So what is Arroz Valenciana? It is a sticky rice paella. Instead of using regular rice, Filipinos decided to use sticky rice (blame the dragon) and add in a few innards (of course, why not) and a lot of raisins. This is more likely to be served as a dessert. Try eating this with your hands, hold on to a live dynamite, and throw. See? It’s stuck!

Cocido – A ha! This is the part where I say, I’ll see you in the next post because we will just tire each other if I go on. To give you a glimpse, we will be talking about Spanish stews and Filipino one’s namely Afritada, Caldereta, Mechado and Menudo.

Feel free to add more under this post. This will be in the internet quite a while and adding more insights about the difference between Spanish dishes and Filipino dishes is such a nationalistic thing to waste your time in whether you are Spanish, Filipino or Chavacano de Zamboanga.

Adios a mis amigos!

Click this if you are wondering what is the difference between Afritada, Menudo, Mechado and Kaldereta



Author: Ziggy

Ziggy grew up in the "dirty kitchen" of his grandmother. Literally. He would spend his pre-school days watching her cook crazy Filipino food. His love for food set him up in a journey through the kitchens of the Philippines to chef-swearing laden restaurants of Melbourne where he has worked mainly as a dishwasher, stockist, searcher of missing ingredients, deep frier of everything, arranger of antipasti on a supposed to be chopping board, kitchen cart surfer, emergency pastry chef, take-the-pans-we're-on-a-ciggy-break, chefs' cook of take home food, salad scientist and quite a number of mundane everyday things in the kitchen. Are you still reading this? He has quit that 1pm to 3am job now that he has learned to write. thus this site came to existence.

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  1. Hola pare~
    Very interesting article… I’m guessing it has to do with the September theme for the Kulinarya Cooking Club? :) My plan is to make champorado for now, but I’ve run out of tuyo!


  2. Hey Sefie! Did you know that champorado is not a Spanish dish but a Mexican one? :)

  3. is Spanish bread from spain?

  4. Hahahaha that is a fodder to another article. Why don’t we google that up?

  5. Oooh, I didn’t know. Good thing I hadn’t started making it yet!

  6. hi there – is it just me !! can any one explain why when i type in the yahoo browser “www.myfilipinokitchen.com” i get a different site yet whe i type it in google its ok? could this be a bug in my system or is any one else having same probs ?

  7. thanks for the enlightening article on the recipes mentioned…

  8. thanks for raising this up Alfie. I tried looking it up, it’s fine. Can’t explain mate. Care to elaborate further?

  9. @ferzam you are welcome your graciousness. so posh ha.

  10. I think San Miguel (the beer) was originally from Spain. I remember reading something about that in a Supreme Court decision.

  11. I just made arroz valenciana, with just the mixed sea food, so minus the chorizo and other meat, it still came out alright. I guess bec the ones who had them doesn’t have a clue how the true one taste. Good on me!


  1. myfilipinokitchen » Blog Archive » What is the difference between Afritada, Mechado, Menudo and Kaldereta? - [...] What is the difference between Afritada, Mechado, Menudo and Kaldereta? 6 September 2010 15 Comments Before…

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