Filipino cuisine is a blend of the exotic and familiar with a lot of cultures having influenced the Filipino palate. From Chinese to Spanish to American to Japanese, all who colonized this country has left their mark on its cuisine.
It can be argued however, that Spanish influence to the Filipino cuisine predominates. It has been said that about 80% of so-called Philippine dishes are actually of Hispanic origin.
Some foods are actually the same with the difference lying in how it is prepared and what particular ingredients were added to make it “different”.
One such food is the chorizo, or the longganisa, as it is called in Tagalog. The longganisa is any particular type of meat sausage prepared in countless ways. How and where it was prepared describes the longganisa (i.e. hamonado, Vigan, kwong bee, etc.). There are perhaps as many different varieties as there are provinces in the Philippines.
During a recent visit to Cebu, I was on the lookout for their ‘Hispanicized’ version of the longganisa, known as the Spanish Chorizo. It is prepared either grilled or fried. Unlike the myriad varieties available, this chorizo is not sweet and is evidently infused with Spanish spice (or spices). It is a favorite breakfast dish in Cebu.
Chorizo is made heedfully by finely chopping or coarsely grinding the pork and “marinating” it in spices after. In the preparation of the chorizo, Spanish paprika is key in giving the chorizo its characteristic flavor.
The chorizo is highly popular. Many restaurants in Cebu have it in their menu. It is also sold in street stalls and in the Larsian barbeque place.
A good friend of mine recommended to try-out the Spanish chorizo of Bistro Ecila. It is one of their best-sellers! Even before it was served on our table, the aroma of the fried chorizo was irresistible. It was so good that finishing off the five pieces was no problem!
Another version that I really like is the chorizong hubad as prepared by the late Teresa Ugarte. I understand that the preparation starts from what the pigs are fed, thereby influencing the flavor of their meat and fat. The oil rendered is so flavorful that I keep it for future use.
To each his own, yes. But for me, the chorizo is best eaten with garlic rice, fried eggs and tomato.
Oh, and with chocolate-eh too!