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The History Of Filipino BBQ & Street Food | APOY

Filipino street food is a flavourful experience with famous dishes like deep fried pork belly, corned beef hash sando growing in popularity. But, there is more to its history than many everyday enjoyers might expect. Filipino BBQ, also known as "inihaw" in Tagalog, has been around for centuries, so read on to find out more about its history.

What is Inihaw?

Inihaw is a Filipino cooking method that involves grilling over an open flame. It is derived from the Tagalog word "ihaw," which means to grill or roast. This traditional way of cooking has been passed down from generation to generation in the Philippines and has become an integral part of their culture. The use of fire adds a distinct smoky flavour to the food, which is part of what makes it so special and sought after.

The deeper meaning of Inihaw

Inihaw is not just a cooking method; it also holds a significant cultural and social meaning in Filipino society. It is considered as a popular form of communal dining where people gather around the grill to share food, stories, and laughter. Inihaw brings people together.

The history of barbecue - Inihaw in the Philippines

The origins of this popular dish can be traced back to the early settlers of the Philippines - Malay and Indonesian traders who brought their cooking techniques with them.

In the pre-colonial era, Filipinos used to cook their meat over an open fire using bamboo sticks as skewers. This method of grilling was called "Inihaw" which translates to 'grilled' in English.

This traditional way of cooking has been passed down from generation to generation, with each family adding their own unique touch to the dish.

When the Spaniards colonised the Philippines in the 16th century, they brought with them the concept of barbecuing on a spit. This form of cooking was called "Asado" and it involved roasting meat on a stick over an open flame.

The Filipino people quickly adapted this new style of cooking by using their traditional Inihaw method along with the Spanish-style marinades and seasonings. This fusion inspired what we now know as Filipino BBQ.

The rise of street food culture

Filipino BBQ has always been a popular dish among Filipinos, but it wasn't until the 19th century that it became part of the street food culture in the Philippines.

During this time, vendors would set up their carts or stalls on the streets and sell various grilled meats on skewers to passersby. As the demand for street food grew, so did the number of vendors selling Filipino BBQ.

Today, you can find these street food vendors known as "Manang" or "Manong" in almost every corner of the Philippines. They have become a staple in Filipino culture and are loved by locals and tourists alike.

Classic Filipino BBQ dishes

Some of the most well-known Filipino BBQ dishes include skewers, pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, and isaw (grilled chicken or pig intestines). However, there are also many unique variations of Filipino BBQ that have become popular over time.

One example from Bacolod is the "inasal na manok" or grilled chicken marinated in a mixture of local vinegar, calamansi juice, lemongrass, annatto seeds, garlic, and various spices. 

Classic Filipino BBQ ingredients and glazes

One of the key ingredients in Filipino BBQ is 7Up, a carbonated lemon-lime soda. This may seem like an unusual addition, but it actually serves as a tenderising agent for the meat. The acidity in the soda helps to break down tough proteins and make the meat more tender.

Another important ingredient is banana ketchup, a sweet and tangy condiment made from mashed bananas, sugar, vinegar, and spices. This is often used as a glaze for Filipino BBQ, giving it a unique and delicious flavour.

Other common ingredients in Filipino BBQ marinades include soy sauce, calamansi juice (a local citrus fruit), garlic, and black pepper. These are combined to create a flavourful blend that adds depth and complexity to Filipino dishes.

Try authentic Filipino BBQ for yourself at Apoy, London 

Filipino BBQ has continuously evolved over time along with its growing popularity. For the best Filipino food, London is a safe bet.

The London food scene is a great place to enjoy the latest edible trends, and finding the best Filipino restaurant is no different.

To try delicious and unique Filipino cuisine, head to APOY, one of the best Filipino restaurants in London. The finest Filipino restaurants are at your fingertips, so head down to APOY today!

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