Filipino food

2 Filipino cookbooks make it to 150 Most Iconic Cookbooks list of Taste Atlas

Steph Arnaldo

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2 Filipino cookbooks make it to 150 Most Iconic Cookbooks list of Taste Atlas
'I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook' and 'Memories of Philippine Kitchens' are both recognized for their contribution to keeping Filipino cuisine alive!

MANILA, Philippines – Let’s get cooking! Two Filipino cookbooks landed on Taste Atlas’ 150 Most Iconic Cookbooks of 2023 list – Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad’s I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook, and Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s Memories of Philippine Kitchens.

The annual global list released on Thursday, December 14 ranked I Am a Filipino in 39th place. First published in 2018, the Filipino cuisine cookbook is described to “present a vivid exploration of Filipino cuisine, highlighting its complex flavors and cultural influences.” The book offers both close-to-home classics and modern interpretations of dishes.

“To eat – and cook – like a Filipino involves puckeringly sour adobos with meat so tender you can cut it with a fork, national favorites like kare kare (oxtail stew) and kinilaw (fresh seafood cured in vinegar), Chinese-influenced pansit (noodles), tamales by way of early Mexican immigrants, and Arab-inflected fare, with its layered spicy stews and flavors of burnt coconut,” the description read.

“But it also entails beloved street snacks like ukoy (fritters) and empanadas and the array of sweets and treats called meryenda. Dishes reflect the influence and ingredients of the Spaniards and Americans, among others, who came to the islands, but Filipinos turned the food into their own unique and captivating cuisine. Filled with riotously bold and bright photographs, I Am a Filipino is like a classic kamayan dinner – one long festive table piled high with food.”

I am a Filipino was awarded Best Cookbook of the Year by The New Yorker, Boston GlobeChicago TribuneLos Angeles TimesNew York Times Book ReviewHouston Chronicles, and more. It also garnered Filipino restaurateur Nicole a nomination for the prestigious 2019 James Beard Awards, under the International Books category.

Nicole and Miguel also founded two New York-based Filipino restaurants, such as Maharlika in the East Village in 2011, which closed in 2019. Jeepney, her more casual restaurant, served up kamayan-style dining. 

The second Philippine representative in 90th place is Memories of Philippine Kitchens, first published in 2006 and written by renowned food historians and restaurateurs Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, owners of Brooklyn’s famous Filipino restaurant Purple Yam. Amy and Romy were also the former owners of Soho’s Cendrillon.

Memories of Philippine Kitchens takes readers on a journey through Filipino culinary traditions, blending recipes with personal stories and historical insights. It celebrates the unique flavors and dishes of the Philippines and vividly documents the role of food in Filipino society, both old and new.

“They present a fascinating look at Filipino cuisine and culture. They have spent years tracing the traditions of the food of the Philippines, and here they share the results of that research. From Lumpia, Pancit, and Kinilaw to Adobo and Lehcon (the art of the well-roasted pig), the authors document dishes and culinary techniques that are rapidly disappearing and in some cases unknown to Filipinos whether in the Philippines or abroad,” the book description read.

There are over 100 unique recipes sourced from private Filipino kitchens and their own menus, as well as food photographs by esteemed Filipino photographer Neal Oshima.

Taste Atlas is an online gastronomic database that promotes the local culinary culture of countries all over the world. The website contains over 10,000 specialty dishes, drinks, recommended restaurants, and local ingredients for anyone to check out before an international trip. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.