You’re reading my blog right now probably because we share a common interest—we both love Filipino food. But our passion for the local cuisine should not start in the kitchen; it begins at the market. Knowing how to check the freshness of the foods and ingredients that you buy is just as important as cooking and food preparation.
Whether you shop at your neighborhood palengke or a posh supermarket, picking the freshest produce is a skill that one learns from experience. The freshness of the food that you buy will definitely affect the outcome of the food or dish that you prepare.
I personally love grocery shopping and going to the market. There’s something about it that I find therapeutic. But I also understand that not everyone likes doing this chore, so I’ll make it easier for you with some of my tips on how to pick the best and the freshest produce. But first, here are my rules of thumb:
- Support your local public or farmers’ market.
- Use your senses of touch, smell, sight, and hearing. Taste if possible.
- Preferably, shop in the morning. The early bird catches the worm!
- Buy produce in season for the best price and taste.
If you live in a big household like me, chances are, you have a very disorganized pantry and fridge. If not, kudos to you and your family. Every now and then, people at home would pass by the supermarket or palengke to grab a bottle of ketchup or a hand of bananas only to be left in the refrigerator’s time-space warp corner, bound to be buried in oblivion.
Sounds familiar? You’re not alone.
Improper food storage can lead to a wastage of good food and hard-earned money. Approximately 1.3 billion tons of food gets lost or wasted globally. Not only that, it can also jeopardize your family’s health and well-being. Did you know that more that 350,000 people die of food poisoning worldwide? These are the statistics that I’m sure you don’t want to be a part of.
So, how can we be part of the solution and not of the problem? We can start by teaching ourselves where to store food items to prolong their shelf life. Some foods like the cold, moist environment while some last longer in a dry, open space. Which common Filipino food items should be kept inside or outside the fridge? Let’s find out:
I ate a lot of food in Taiwan. I had so much food that I had to split my blog post into two; the first part is all about street foods and night markets and the second part is a list of dishes that you can order in restaurants. Of course, there are some foods that can be found in both night markets and restaurants, such as noodles and pearl milk teas. I just grouped them based on where I had them.
Many restaurants in Taiwan have their kitchens openly displayed to the public, perhaps to attract potential customers by showing them how their dishes are prepared. I don’t see a lot of restaurants in the Philippines with this kind of setup. I think it’s quite clever, especially for those people who want to see how their food is prepared before being served to them.