This past weekend, I thought of blogging about breakfast, specifically the Filipino breakfast, because a lot of my penfriends are asking what Filipino food is all about. I'd start by saying that it is very different from the all-American breakfast most of my friends know, and I thought of sharing what Filipinos normally have at the breakfast table.
First, let me tell you what the all-American breakfast is, based from my dining experiences here in California (remember, this is not an official statistics). If you want an all-American breakfast, you'd get the standard eggs, meat (it can be bacon, sausage, ham, steak or combinations), hash browns or country potatoes, and an added option of cheese, perhaps. You'd also get sides of biscuits or toast, even a cup of fruit or veggies if you don't want the bread and jam tandem. These can be served separately as is or as an omelet. Others order pancakes on the side. At least, that's my observation. Maybe, you could contribute if I'm missing something. (Note that I didn't add the Mexican-fusion burrito breakfast and salsa.)
The Filipino breakfast is definitely different from that. We Filipinos always have rice with our meal—morning, noon and night. Sometimes, desserts have rice as well, but that's another topic. Rice can be steamed or fried with other goodies (like scrambled eggs and veggies). Our choice of breakfast meat is diverse. It can be pork, beef, chicken, fish or combinations—spam and hotdogs are also considered. We love various stuff on our plates, and we love dipping sauces or gravy to pour on our rice and/or meat. This is why we normally have pickled relishes or Atchara, and we also have our famous Tapsilog (cured beef, fried rice and fried egg) dipping sauce which is vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper with garlic. At least, that's what my sauce mix is composed of. Others have the standard vinegar only, straight from the bottle (some have spicy chili in them, too).
Yes, we eat fish for breakfast. It can be canned sardines, smoked fish (Tinapa), or dried fish (Tuyo). Philippines is surrounded by water, and a lot of our hard-working folks support themselves through fishing. We hardly have cows on land, except for our friendly Philippine Carabao's helping farmers to plant more rice. So, for those wondering why your co-workers are heating up fish-smelling breakfast containers in your office, well, it's what we eat in the morning. I love spicy sardines and rice!
I grew up with the Filipino breakfast. In fact, I grew up with the Filipino meals, and that means having rice in every meal. When I arrived here more than a decade ago, I've learned not to have rice in my meals. It feels like something is lacking. Once in a while, I enjoy my steamed rice at home, but I've learned how to eat oatmeal, toast, and cereal. I consider Filipino Breakfast as a special kind of morning meal nowadays. Unlike when I was a little girl, eggs-toast-pancakes were the special meal. It's now reversed.
So, what's the best breakfast? Who knows? I eat whatever is available. I choose protein over carbohydrates, though. That means Steak and Eggs than French Toast, or Meaty Omelet than Pancakes. But, if I go to a Filipino restaurant in the morning, Tapsilog please!
How about you, what's your breakfast?