Extended stay-at-home protocols and complex travel requirements have pushed people itching to go out to get creative and come up with clever ways to explore new places. Some look at photos, while others stage photoshoots as if they were there or edit pictures to make it seem like.
And as Agoda’s Usage and Attitude survey reveals food and dining experiences as the third top motivation to travel for Asians, some Filipinos recreate the dishes their dream destinations are known for.
The destination: Thailand
The dish: Phat Kaphrao
Agoda’s booking data show that Thailand has been the top country of choice for Filipino travelers. To bring the experience here at home, why not give phat kaphrao a go? This classic quickie lunch order is easily available at high-end Thai restaurants, street-side carts, and floating markets throughout Bangkok, and is typically served over rice with a nice, crispy fried egg made in a stir fry wok. The dish embraces the contrast of saltiness, sweetness, and sourness that are the secret to good Thai cuisine.
The destination: Indonesia
The dish: Rendang
Travelers who had looked forward to soaking up the sun and immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of Bali this year can still get a taste of Indonesia’s wonderful culture through their food. Rendang is a spicy slow-cooked meat dish—usually beef—made with lemongrass, coconut milk, and a ton of flavorful spices. This dish is traditionally served on special occasions. While the rendang is cooking, “quaranchefs” can pass the time exploring the many places to stay at and things to do in Bali or Jakarta and beyond.
The destination: South Korea
The dish: Jjajangmyeon
Korea, the third most popular country for Filipino travelers, boasts a number of tasty offerings, from samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) to tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and even dalgona (spongy sugar candy) which inspired the lockdown favorite dalgona coffee. But slurping down a bowl of South Korean delivery food staple jjajangmyeon is sure to instantly transport people to their favorite K-drama locations. Enjoyed by many, jjajangmyeon is not too complicated to make at home, as chunjang or Korean-style black bean paste, which is the main ingredient for this dish, is readily available at most K-marts.
The destination: Japan
The dish: Sushi
Pining for the vibrant flavors of Japan? Aside from scrolling through travel guides and staring longingly at the lovely photos of what could be, home chefs can rise to the challenge and learn how to make one of Japan’s signature dishes and global favorite: sushi. Learning to make sushi is a delightful achievement to take away from this whole quarantine situation and is quite therapeutic as well. Sushi-making is regarded as an art form, with master sushi chefs taking years—or even a lifetime—of training before they can man their own sushi counter. Aside from using only fresh fish, the key to delicious sushi is ensuring to season the rice well with a balance of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
The destination: Iloilo
The dish: Adobong Pula / Adobo sa Atsuete
In the never-ending debate for the title of “Philippine national dish,” the Ilonggo version of adobo is a noteworthy point of consideration. Just like Iloilo, this red-hued dish has a rich and flavorful history. Travelers can try their hand at it while sheltering in place for the meantime, but shouldn’t miss the chance to head south to experience authentic adobo sa atsuete for themselves once they’re able. When planning a trip to Iloilo, check out the Goldberry Lite Hotel with its unique façade and modern interiors