Chicken-Adobo
Chicken Adobo

In the Asian continent especially in the Southeast Asia, Filipino food is favoured internationally however it’s overshadowed by the most popular Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Like most Asian food, Filipino food consist of an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and vegetables, and creative dishes.

Filipino restaurants and bakeries are in abundance in Qatar as the country is home to approximately 150,000 to 200,000 Filipinos, who make one of the largest populations in Qatar. There’s even a Filipino Souq in the country just behind Fanar, Qatar Islamic Cultural Center where the Filipino expat community converge for their spices, fresh meat and fish, rices and pancit (noodles). There are a wide range of the delicious glutinous desserts made with rice and coconut. It is apparently as much a social as it is a shopping experience.

In this ‘Food File’, Marhaba tells you what are the Filipino dishes you need to try and where:

Pinakbet1Pinakbet

Up north in Ilocos, the vegetable dish of okra, eggplant, bitter gourd, squash, tomatoes and bagoong (shrimp or fish paste) called pinakbet is a favorite. And now, this healthy and an easy to cook dish, which has made its way around the archipelago. It is cooked in most households and local restaurants.

Lumpia

In Asia, every country has a version of a lumpia, which is a spring roll. In the Philipines, lumpia is considered to be a popular traditional Filipino appetizer, which can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer. There are various types of lumpia, which consists of a thin rice or wheat flour wrapper filled with a mixture of meat (most often ground pork or ground beef), cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic. An egg wash is used to seal the lumpia wrapper to ensure none of the filling escapes when it is deep fried. A sweet and sour sauce or vinegar-based fina’denne‘ may be used as a dipping sauce.

Adobo

A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it’s Mexican in origin, but Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices, was a practical way to preserve meat without refrigeration. This cooking style can be applied to different meats or even seafood.

pancitPancit Palabok

Served mostly in celebrations especially birthdays, the pancit palabok is a noodle dish layered with rice noodles, a rich orange sauce made from shrimp broth, pork, hard boiled eggs, shrimps, chicharon (pork rinds) and sometimes oysters and squid.

Pancit habhab

In Lucban, Quezon, pancit habhab is served on a banana leaf and slurped with carrots, chayote, and a few pieces of meat, this noodle dish is mostly eaten on the go.

pandesalPan de sal

Brown sugar syrup is stirred into warm soybean custard and topped with sago pearls. Usually, Taho and other forms of sweet Filipino bread are available from supermarkets and restaurants including Woqod Petrol Station, Family Food Center and Carrefour.

Halayang ube

Purple in colour, the ube or ‘purple yam’ is a popular dessert, which is quite common during holidays, town feasts and special occasions or celebartions. The texture is a little chewy and creamy, and the flavour of the sweet halayang ube (ube jam) should stand out. Ube is a tuber that grows above ground, commonly found in Asian countries. On the outside, the ube or purple yam looks like a long, large potato with a rough, brown outer skin. Once peeled or sliced, the inside reveals a light pink, smooth flesh similar to that of a potato.


Marhaba Picks: Independent restaurants, offering Filipino food in Qatar (in no particular order):

  • Amwaj (Filippino, Chinese and Arabic, V/NV) Najma | 4432 4439, 4417 3939
  • Batangas Best Restaurant, Souq Area | 4441 4913 (V/NV)
  • Boracay Restaurant, Multiple locations | 4412 4111, 7479 9522 (V/NV)
  • Central Cafe, The Centre, Salwa Road | 4443 5702 (V/NV)
  • Chowking, Multiple locations (Chinese and Filipino cuisines) | 4411 5225 (V/NV)
  • Dampa Seafood Village, Multiple locations | 7742 2383, foodbooking.com
  • FlaminGo (Filipino and other Asian cuisine, V/NVAl Muthanna Complex, Salwa Rd | 4423 9222, 5560 8817
  • Gerry’s Grill, Al Nasr Street | 4443 8323 (V/NV)
  • Inihaw Republik, Al Hilal | 4415 3810 (V/NV)
  • Jollibee, Multiple locations | 4444 9492 (Al Mansoura) (V/NV)
  • Kamayan Sa Doha, Al Muntaza/New Salata | 3000 4696 (V/NV)
  • La Paz Batchoy, Multiple location | 4441 1423/5011 3366, 4412 1310/5011 3388 (V/NV)
  • Little Mania Restaurant, Bin Omran | 4443 3930 (V/NV)
  • Max’s Restaurant, Multiple locations | 4412 6299/97 (V/NV)
  • Nayong Filipino, Al Sadd Main Road, Al Sadd | 4413 1373 (V/NV)
  • Pinoy Fiesta, Al Nasr Street | 4475 9322 (V/NV)
  • Rotana (Indian, Filippino, Arabic, Nepalese and Pakistani, V/NV), Various locations | 4487 6767, rotanaqatar.com
  • Shore Time, Multiple locations | 4412 4521, shoretimepinoy.com (V/NV)

Sources: Zomato and CNN

Author: Ola Diab

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