A colleague told me about a U.S.-Philippines Expo and the first thing I thought about was food! Since I decided to cook a Filipino dish each week—in order to get closer to my culture, and to learn how to cook—I’ve made Tinolang Manok and Menudo, but this expo meant I could take a week off and sample others’ cooking! What an adventure!
I was lucky to meet a vendor that knew what was going on (this vendor had great food!) especially since a friend—not of Filipino descent—accompanied me to the expo and she hadn’t had much experience with Filipino food. I didn’t want my friend to have a poor experience, so I liked that the first vendor we met had some exotic food that melted in our mouths.
Let me clarify. Other vendors didn’t have dinuguan, for instance, and I’m kinda glad they didn’t. One vendor had menudo that looked very different from the way I made it, and I was not sure what to think. It’s not a big deal that she used regular hotdogs (though I used chorizo de bilbao), but when I asked if she used peas and carrots (though I used garbanzo beans) she said she didn’t use either!
I was kinda annoyed. I started to think about every festival I had attended since I was a child and the money that was spent on potentially marginal food. I’m not saying that since I’ve cooked two dishes—Tinolang Manok and Menudo—that the way I prepared it is superior to what anyone else does, but how does one skip vegetables altogether?
So I’m glad that my friend and I were full before we got to the other side of the exhibit hall, meaning we were spared the average food that we saw. We were lucky to have gotten full from the food of the first vendor we met. Her food was bomb!
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