Filipino cuisine offers a delightful menu of fermented dishes, each one as different as the region of the country from which it comes.
Fermentation extends the shelf-life of food in this country of nearly 100 million people many of whom live in poverty. But rich they are in probiotic taste treats.
A recent paper—access the PDF here—from researchers at the University of the Phillipines has fastidiously catalogued the fermented dishes served in the three main island-groups – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
It was a voyage of tasty discovery for Charina Gracia B. Banaay and colleagues.
“Because traditional food fermentation industries are commonly home-based and highly reliant on indigenous materials without the benefit of using commercial starter cultures, microbial assemblages are unique and highly variable per product and per region. Hence the possibility of discovering novel organisms, products, and interactions are likely.”
And while fish paste called bagoong is always made from fish, its texture and taste will vary—sometimes with a name change—on the different islands. So too will the microbes.
A sausage of sweet potato and ground pig’s head called Agos-os made in Visayas proved to have <i> E. faecalis</i> while in Luzon, a sausage called Burong kalabi of carabao (water buffalo) meat and rice was fermented thanks to <i>L. plantarum.</i>
While many organisms can be found, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is popular, adding to flavor at the same time limiting spoilage by producing substances toxic to pathogens.
Watch an entertaining video here on on Filipino stew and fish using a fish paste.