After leaving the West many years ago, I spent a few years living in the Philippines. It has good points and bad points. The beauty of the islands and their beaches is breathtaking at times. It is a great place to explore if your idea of paradise is white sand beaches.
There are other places in the world with great beaches and scenery too. Therefore there is just one thing I miss specific to the Philippines; the food. Filipino cuisine is not world renowned. It actually has a pretty bad reputation. I must admit that the general level of street food in the country doesn’t compare to street food in Thailand or India. But if you visit a good restaurant there are superb dishes.
One of the biggest ways for money to enter the Philippines is from it’s masses of overseas workers. Filipinos naturally speak decent English and there are many schools set up for careers where there is demand in the West, for example nursing.
The Philippines Embassy estimated that there were 200,000 Filipinos in the UK in 2013. They say that the greatest number is in the capital:
Filipino workers can be found in almost all parts of the UK. However, about 70% of them are concentrated in Greater London area and England.
This means there are approximately 140,000 Filipinos living in London, perhaps more now that it is midway through 2015. Filipinos love their food and they adore rice. I have heard a few funny stories from Filipinos who moved to Europe and couldn’t get used to eating bread instead of rice. They said they had withdrawals as it plain rice is something they were hooked on. I am kind of joking here, but it is no coincidence that the most popular fast food chain rose super fast because they offered unlimited rice.
Anyway I live outside London but when I do visit I like to check out Filipino restaurants, and a certain Indian restaurant I love in Bethnal Green (The Globe- awesome Chicken Madras). So far I haven’t found a favorite Filipino place but there is a new Filipino restaurant in London coming in 2 weeks. It is called LUZON, named after the biggest and main island in the Philippines.
This new restaurant is cooking slightly different Filipino food, actually it looks very different from the traditional dishes. Some may say this is a bad thing, but I think the dishes look awesome. Good quality fusion and contemporary fine dining is delicious, so I am not one of those people that says recipes need to be stuck with. Take a look at some photos of their food that I found on the Luzon restaurant website: