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oh the irony. i'm pretty sure one of the reasons that the 'oakwood mutiny' occurred where it did was because of the abundance of restaurants in the area. i heard that everyone involved ate well. or at least, better than staging an insurgence in an area with less culinary resources where the cookbook could have come in handy.


There is some truth to the drinkers' tale though, not that men cook better than women, but the things they do know how to cook well are often "drinking food" type dishes.


I have seen this book in bookstores here...thanks for giving it a review :)

Pulutan is definitely cultural and I love it! Gotta have these bits to pick on when drinking ;) After offices let out, at the hour we refer to as "five-thristy" you will see many Filipinos at bars near their offices, enjoying some beer and pulutan. This is in the urban setting, but wherever you go in the country, there is some form of this happening :) We know how to kick back and what to eat while doing it!

On another note, I love ginataang kuhol! This is my favorite way to have snails. I have tried escargot in France and I still stand firm by my kuhol :)


Santos - Astute observation. It certainly is true that Filipinos do not like to be far from good grub.

Renato - yes, I've heard that as well. I've also heard that in the PHI sweets are strictly women's territory. True?

joey - 'five-thirsty' -- I love it!!! Right up there with 'beer o'clock' and 'martini time'. Thanks for the chuckle. ;-)


Maybe you could illuminate us on the Philippines' lanzones? I love those. Your photographs are absolutely beautiful.


i think this pulutan culture is an off-shoot from the Spanish tapas culture.... small finger foods enjoyed during happy-hours... it can be as simple as garlic-fried peanuts or as complex as sisig and gambas al ajillo....

cheers! (pun intended)


I really don't think that pulutan has much to do with tapas, which emerged from a very specific type of bar culture (or bar-hopping culture if you wish) in Andalucia, an expression of sociality that never really "took" in the Philippines. Pulutan should be seen in the context of drinking food that could be found throughout Southeast Asia: in Cambodia, in Vietnam, in Laos, in Southern China. Several years ago, there was a Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago that specialized in grilled game meat-venison, wild boar, rattlesnake etc (in rural areas of Vietnam or China, wild-caught animals such as pangolin, civet etc might be enjoyed instead). At that restaurant, braziers were set amongst carousing men, along with slices of meat and mounds of onion and fresh herbs (mint, basil etc) for grilling. As in the Philippines, strong-flavored victuals (goat, snail, offal) are preferred in this type of gastronomy. (Incidentally, wasn't there an article on northern Vietnamese drinking food in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago?) The Thais in turn have what they call aahaarn waang, i.e. "empty" food or "drinking" food, although this phrase is now often used to headline the "appetizer" portions of western Thai menus. For an example of aahaarn waang, you might want to check out this old translation of a so-called "secret" Thai menu in Chicago by foodfirst AKA Robyn in 2002. It was one of a series of translations of "secret" Chicago-Thai menus that completely revolutionized the city's connoisseurship of Thai food back in 2002/3.




The finest account of pulutan is still Edilberto Alegre's "Pulutan: the pleasure of the changing" collected in "Sarap: Essays on Filipino Food" (by Edilberto Alegre and Doreen Fernandez) published in 1988 and out-of-print for many many years. This volume is the best single book ever written on Filipino cuisine.


Marie - thanks. I don't think I have any photos of lanzones (aka langsat, I think, in Malaysia). We did have some in the PHI in December and they were wonderful ... but a bit labor-intensive to peel a very small fruit.

RST - I have to agree with you. I think pulutan are in this class of SE Asian drinking food. And yes, that pulutan essay is wonderful.

Ellen Tordesillas

I'm so happy I discovered this site.

I appreciate good food but I've never developed the confidence to cook. That's why I was so thrilled to be part of the "Pulutan" book project.

Emerson Rosales

hi guys! am one of the authors of the pulutan cook book. thanks for the review. writing the book is a great experience, aside from the daily taste test!
more power to this site! thanks!


Ellen, Emerson, welcome! An honor to have you comment here. I enjoyed the book immensely.


nice book.have it and deeply recomend it to all.buy it if you see it,its worthy book.
havent yet tried out any ,got the book today straight from the philippnes to my mailbox in finland.

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