The coronavirus has truly crippled the cultural diplomacy sector for 2020, a year that would otherwise have marked yet another lively round of festivities for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Month of August.
But the Asean Ladies Foundation Inc. (ALF) has remained unfazed.
“This year, despite the crisis, we still wanted to share our values, Asean cultures, with everyone. So we came up with a way to give people a taste of Asean through our favorite dishes from our native countries,” said Louie Barcelon-Locsin, ALF chair.
Going online, ALF launched the video cooking series “Flavorful Journeys: Exploring Asean Cuisine,” on Sept. 1 in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and PXP Energy Corp. It is organized in lieu of the Asean Food Festival and brings a delectable selection of food from the 10 different Asean countries straight to housebound foodies.
“Flavorful Journeys” shows how learning about other cultures is not the province of travel alone. Southeast Asian cuisine is a rich and flavorful tradition of cooking as vibrant and storied as the cultures of its peoples. What better way to learn more than to try the recipes yourself?
From Brunei is ambuyat, a glutinous sago-derived dish which plays a central role during meals, much as rice does for Filipinos in a sea of various dips and side dishes.
Cambodia’s beloved trey amok, or steamed fish curry, is a treat for the senses with its spicy flavor paired with a generous helping of coconut milk. Worth a try for fans of Bicol Express.
Indonesia’s ayam bakar bumbu rujak is a spicy grilled chicken dish chosen specifically with the Filipino’s love for grilled chicken in mind. The jamu kunyit asam is a tamarind and turmeric herbal infusion close to the heart of the Javanese, sure to please the salabat drinker.
The Laotian larp/larb kai, or chicken salad, has many ingredients that are staples in Filipino cooking, such as puso ng saging and tanglad, with a few new elements like mint and cilantro in a nice blend of savory, spicy and fresh flavors.
Malaysia’s ayam masak merah, or spicy tomato chicken, is a traditional and homey dish of chicken cooked in tomato sauce, and chock-full of heady spices.
Catfish and rice noodle
Considered the Myanmar national dish, mohinga is a catfish and rice noodle soup affair. Once a staple of Burmese breakfasts, it is now commonly eaten all throughout the day.
You might think you know everything there is to know about the Philippine adobo, but with the country’s thousands of islands and multiplicity of cultures, there really is no set way it’s cooked.
Craving genuine Singaporean hawker food? Hokkien mee is just the ticket. A quintessential Singaporean noodle dish, it is sure to delight pancit lovers.
Thailand’s famed tom yum goong is the gateway to Thai cuisine with its accessible ingredients and quick and easy cooking procedure. The whole flavor spectrum is represented and the creamy spicy version is a hit with young people.
The Filipino is no stranger to the Vietnamese fresh spring roll, or goi cuon. With a prep technique reminiscent of making lumpia, the goi cuon is simple but delicious.
“Flavorful Journeys” seeks to foster deeper ties between the Philippines and its sister countries through food. It showcases real home cooking, with some members of ALF themselves showing the ropes for recipes that have been fixtures in their families for generations.
“Food brings people together,” said Locsin. And in times such as these, there is perhaps nothing quite as important as togetherness, even when we’re at a distance.
For the recipes: facebook.com/aseanladiesfoundation.ph/