a cup of fried rice, a portion of tocino and scrambled egg

Filipino Breakfast Part 2: Fried Rice Meals

I mentioned on my last post that I’ve seen in the province that people in the rural areas eat breakfast twice. This makes sense because:

  1. Filipinos regard breakfast as the most important meal of the day
  2. In an agricultural country like the Philippines, farmers and people in the provinces wake up hours before sunrise

After having a wake-up treat of pan de sal and coffee at around 5:00 am, taking a breakfast rice meal at around 7:30 am is another treat.

Filipinos don’t like wasting food. That’s why rice from last night’s dinner becomes the next day’s sinangag (fried rice). Sinangag is simple as compared to the Chinese chow fan, or the Java rice preparations. Just brown minced garlic on hot oil and put some salt and pepper on the rice while frying, that’s it. Usually, I heat the wok first before putting in the oil. If the wok and oil are not hot enough, the rice will stick at the bottom.

Filipinos also made portmanteau words to describe certain breakfast meals. I remember it gained popularity during the 80’s. It all began with the term tapsilog which means tapa (fried marinated beef) with sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). The first term pertains to the main viand, usually meat, and the last two silog remains and pertains to the rice and egg portion of the meal. So aside from tapsilog, we also have longsilog (longanisa, a local version of the sausage), tocilog (tocino, cured meat), etc. In fact, local eateries may serve a wide range of silogs for breakfast and even lunch.

I mentioned in another post about counterpoint, the pairing of two tastes resulting to something surprisingly pleasant. In these fried rice meals, there is another element that provides the counterpoint: the atsara. Atsara or acharra, is a pickled condiment made of shredded green papaya with carrots, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, and ginger. The bell pepper is used to tone down the sweetness in the mixture. This goes well with the meat portion of the fried meal.

Beverage that can go with these breakfast meals range from coffee, hot chocolate, tea, fruit juice, or water. But since I’ve mentioned about coffee on my previous post, I would like to mention here our local version of the hot chocolate. Tsokolate (the Filipino spelling of chocolate and it is pronounced as spelled since the earlier Filipino alphabet hadn’t adopted yet the ch into the language) is made from cocoa powder in tablet form called tablea. It is dissolved in boiling water and mixed with milk and sugar until reaching the desired consistency: tsokolate e means espeso (Spanish for thick) and tsokolate a means aguada (Spanish for watery).

Filipino breakfast meals are usually hearty. And if you see Filipinos eating breakfast twice, don’t be surprised. Come to think of it, digestion in humans takes 2 hours. And after breakfast, Filipinos will crave for a snack at around 9:30 am.

NEXT: Filipino Merienda 



2 thoughts on “Filipino Breakfast Part 2: Fried Rice Meals

  1. Pingback: Filipino Breakfast Part 1: Pan de Sal and Kape | Full Filling

  2. Pingback: Filipino Merienda #1: Breads and Pastries | Full Filling

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