Eating rice in the Philippines is a serious business. Such is the Filipinos’ love and passion for rice, it is woven deeply into the fabric of their culture and everyday life.
This short list is a compilation resulting from my 10 months being here in the Philippines. I have observed that:
1. Rice is a staple. Filipinos love rice. It’s part of everyday life; ingrained deeply in their culinary culture. A full meal without rice would be impossible and simply does not exist.
2. The smell. In Europe I wake up to the smell of coffee in the mornings. Here it’s the smell of rice steaming out of the rice boiler early mornings that tickles my nose. (Yes, a lot of households have rice boilers. I didn’t even know what it was, the first time I saw one.)
3. Always plain rice. There are so many different and delicious varieties of how to prepare rice: fried rice, java rice, and garlic rice for example. But it’s the plain rice that is everybody’s favourite.
4. Every day rice. Rice is eaten every day, 365 days of the year. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner—no exceptions.
5. It’s cheap. Of course the biggest reason why rice is so popular in the Philippines is because it’s cheap and you can buy it everywhere. Good quality rice is around P50 for 1kg. The common way of buying rice is to have 50kg(!) sacks delivered to your house. For a family of 9 people, with dogs, that should last around 2 weeks.
6. Storage. Rice grains are easy to store and they don’t spoil when kept in a dry place.
7. Pets eat rice too. Even the pets here eat rice every day (since they are being fed leftover food).
8. Rice as a cure. I’ve suffered from quite a few diarrhea since my stay here in the Philippines and the one dish that doctors and nurses suggest me to eat is, guess what: rice.
As for me, I have learned that there are so many different types of plain rice. But now, after 10 months of eating rice every single day, I feel a little variety is in order. Although I love fried rice and garlic rice, I try to buy wheat bread, pancit, or vegetables—whenever it’s possible. It’s not only for taste reasons, but also for health reasons, as eating rice on such an intense basis increases my blood sugar and causes weight gain.
So what about you my readers? Who is a rice fanatic? Please leave your comments in the section below and tell me what you think about eating rice in the Philippines.