Yesterday, at the Daly City Toyota Smog Test dealership, waiting for my Previa van certification, and twiddling my thumbs, I took out my pad notes and began to write down all the comfort food that my mother used to make. The hungrier I felt, the longer the list became. Then, something startling happened. I discovered a unique pattern of naming our native traditional dishes. I said to myself:
"Look at this. Filipino food names are verbs or a description of the process of cooking."
Dinuguan: stewing meat in vinegar blood (dugo).
Ginataan: cooking in coconut milk (gata).
Kinilaw. or kilawin, marinating fresh raw fish (hilaw).
Nilaga: boiling meat (laga).
Halo-halo: mixing (halo) a variety of several sweets in shaved ice.
Sapin-sapin: layering (sapin) rice pudding.
Sawsawan: dipping sauce (saw-saw)
One can discern foreign influence when the food process verbs became nominalized nouns.
Arrozcaldo: chicken rice soup. (Spanish)
Ensalada: salad (Spanish)
Lumpia: spring roll (Chinese)
Pancit: rice sticks/noodles (Chinese)
Kare-kare: beef tail curry (Indian)
Bistek: beef steak (American)