Author Andrea Chloe Wong discusses her theory on the lack of popularity in Filipino food, attributing it to an “identity crisis” and a tendency to adapt too much; leading to inconsistency across dishes.
“This supposed “lack of identity” or “identity crisis” is all the more aggravated by deliberate attempts to alter Filipino food to suit foreign preferences. In the Foreign Service, for instance, Filipino diplomats are trained to prepare adobo to accommodate the tastes and sensitivities of the countries where they are posted. For those assigned to the Middle East, there is no pork, only chicken or lamb adobo sometimes served with pita bread that are eaten like a shawarma. For those posted in Europe, chicken or pork adobo can evolve into adobo flakes served as toppings for pasta mixed with its savory brown sauce. Thus, these many adobo variations magnify the identity dilemma of Filipino food that ultimately results in the poor international recall of the nation’s banner dish.
Filipino food is therefore considered “unique” in the sense that it has the tendency to adjust to a foreigner’s palate unlike other international cuisines. Filipino food is also deemed “fascinating” in the sense that it blends regional and colonial influences in its various dishes. Both these elements ultimately characterize Philippine cuisine.” (emphasis added)