American actress Debi Mazar said it best when she said, “The kitchen is the heart of the home, for the most part. It evokes memories of your family history.”
We are Alan and Yael. We are a British-Chinese-Filipino couple. He’s British-Chinese and I’m Filipino (if we’re being specific, I’m Filipino-Chinese-Spanish, as most Filipinos are). We love movies and theatre, we love traveling and discovering new places, we like art (more street art than fine art), we’re really into photography at the moment, and we LOVE our food. In the same way that most families almost always converge in the kitchen, both our cultures, Chinese and Filipino, revolve around food. For the Chinese and the Filipinos, any celebration, however small, is an excuse to break out the banquet. The Chinese have the lauriat and the Filipinos have the piging.
We’re almost always talking about food – if we’re not discussing and planning our meals, we’re talking about recipes we want to try or new restaurants we want to visit. We’re constantly on the look out for food events, street food markets and new restaurants. When we talk about food, inevitably our conversations turn to our childhood memories about food shared at the table with our families, how every event was celebrated by food, how each illness was comforted and treated by certain dishes, or how every family gathering started with a congregation around the dinner table laden with food. Chinese and Filipino food, like most Asian food cultures are rice-based. We will usually have a meat or fish dish and a vegetable dish that is eaten with rice. After years of discussing food we’ve grown up with, we’ve discovered near-identical dishes which we grew up eating: Alan has chow mein, I have pancit; he has baozi, I have siopao; he has congee, I have arroz caldo (yes, the name is Spanish but the dishes are twins!); he has ung choi, I have kangkong! The list is endless, mostly because as with most Southeast Asian food traditions, our cuisine is largely influenced by our Chinese neighbours and most Filipinos will usually have a Chinese ancestor somewhere in their lineage.
We’ve always wanted to do something together and what better project could there be, sharing our thoughts and memories and discoveries relating to food?
Welcome to our kitchen, pull up a chair and get your rice bowls ready!