RT Cunningham

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My Favorite American and Filipino Food Dishes

Tagged with american, breakfast, chicken, filipino, food, philippines, spanish, united states on January 10, 2024

American and Filipino dishes I don’t like to talk about specific American and Filipino food dishes I enjoy because it would require me to be verbose on a subject I’m just not that thrilled about. Instead of doing all that, I’ll just write about all of them once, right now. If I should happen upon another dish I would consider a favorite later on, I may or may not write about it in the future.

I’ll keep everything in alphabetical order. You should be able to figure out which ones are Filipino food dishes and which ones are American food dishes (not necessarily originating in the United States). My wife, Josie, makes a lot of them, but not all of them.


Adobo is typically made with some kind of meat (but not always). Pork and chicken are the most popular meats, called pork adobo and chicken adobo, naturally. Although I never ask for either one, Josie tends to cook a lot of it. I prefer chicken to pork, but I don’t like bones and the pork frequently has fewer bones.

Regardless of the meat or plant, adobo is that ingredient stewed in vinegar and soy sauce. I have no idea what the proportions of vinegar and soy sauce should be, and I have no idea about any herbs or spices.

Burritos and Chimichangas

Burritos originated in Mexico, as rolled tacos. A chimichanga is actually a deep-fried burrito. While you can find packages with either name on them at the grocery store, the ingredients are usually the same, a burrito that hasn’t been deep-fried. Homemade burritos are easy enough to make that buying prepared burritos at the grocery store is usually a matter of convenience.

I won’t put Josie through that ordeal, since she probably wouldn’t be able to find all the right ingredients, especially in the Philippines. Even so, I can’t always find the brands or types of burritos I like at the grocery stores I visit in either the United States or the Philippines. I prefer those without beans.

I have a hard time finding the brand of breakfast burritos I like in either country. Although I dislike having her do it very often, I’ll ask Josie to make her version of a breakfast burrito at times, using ingredients we can both enjoy.

Chicken Dishes

When it comes to chicken, I like to keep things simple. Fried chicken, barbecued chicken, and chicken sandwiches are about the only types of chicken I often enjoy. Although I like chicken nuggets, I don’t like paying so much for so little.

I don’t like greasy chicken at all. The excess grease makes my stomach turn. That’s the reason I don’t like a lot of the Filipino dishes I’m not mentioning.

Egg Dishes

Josie knows how to make most of the breakfast dishes with eggs as the primary or only ingredient. I like fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and omelets, and she makes them exactly the way I like them.

I don’t like all egg dishes, of course, even if it seems like I do. I don’t like any type of quiche, eggs benedict, deviled eggs, or poached eggs. Those are dishes I’ll eat if nothing else is available. There’s always something else available.


Josie learned how to make chicken enchiladas from the Mexican-American employees she worked with many years ago. When she makes them, even other Mexican-Americans prefer hers over their own. There are no secret ingredients. She just doesn’t skimp on them like a lot of other people.

Despite appearances, not all tortillas taste the same. She’ll use the same tortillas she uses when she makes breakfast burritos. Other ingredients include shredded chicken, cheddar cheese and enchilada sauce.

She rarely makes them and when she does, her siblings and their family members come out of the woodwork, following the smell. I would rather avoid all that nonsense.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a dish influenced by multiple cultures. Even in the Philippines, you can find variations that depend a lot on ancestry, favoring Chinese, Japanese and Spanish cultures. Josie makes a type that’s based on Spanish versions. She doesn’t include mung bean sprouts, like the Chinese varieties have in them.

The only thing that’s almost guaranteed to be the same in all varieties of fried rice is the rice itself. I say almost because, believe it or not, not everyone uses white rice.


And not just any lumpia. The only version I like is called Shanghai Lumpia. Despite the name, it doesn’t originate from China, and it’s the most common version served in the Philippines.

It’s usually made with ground pork, but I will only eat it when it’s made with ground beef, and only if Josie is the one preparing it or supervising its preparation. My reasoning is a topic for another day.


Pizzas originated in Italy. There are more pizza franchises in the United States than I can possibly remember. There are some that are easy to remember, like Pizza Hut and Dominoes, but that’s because they advertise a lot. You can also buy frozen pizzas at grocery stores. Digiorno is a brand that advertises a lot.

There are a couple of places I visit in the Philippines when I want pizza, one being Xtremely Xpresso and the other being S&R Pizza. I’ve even had it delivered from S&R Pizza. The delivery fees are a lot lower here than probably anywhere else in the world, usually well under a dollar (when you mentally convert the exchange rate).


Spaghetti originated in Italy. It’s traditionally served as spaghetti pasta noodles with some type of pasta sauce. Meatballs are served separately. The difference in the Filipino version is that the sauce includes ground pork and the sauce is sweet.

Josie uses Ragu spaghetti sauce and adds even more things to it, including ground beef. It’s not sweet, and most of the Filipinos we know prefer her version to the Filipino version. An Italian friend of mine, from back in the eighties, preferred her version to any Italian version he ever had.

Tacos and Tostadas

Tacos originated in Mexico. A taco is simply a tortilla with meat and other ingredients inside of it, folded over. The stiff, toasted tortilla called a tostada is an American invention (or a Mexican-American invention). So are the stiff “taco shells” and “tortilla bowls”.

Josie and I usually eat flour tacos with refried beans, ground beef, lettuce, cheese and salsa. The salsa precludes the need for tomatoes and onions. It’s difficult to find the salsa (or picante sauce) at any of the grocery stores because it sells out quickly. The grocers never seem to order enough.

Everything Else

Over the years, my tastes have definitely changed. When I was in my early twenties, I thought a burger, fries, and a soft drink was a complete meal. These days, I don’t even think about eating burgers and fries. I’ll rarely consume a soft drink and when I do, it’s only because there isn’t any cold water nearby.

I’m sure I left things out, expecially various components of certain meals because they aren’t dishes in themselves. Since I avoid white bread products, I’ll rarely eat a hot dog. Instead, I’ll just eat the frankfurter by itself or mixed in with chili.

Image by Ramon FVelasquez, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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