SEWN in the very fabric of the Chinese-Filipino culture is the distinct “Chinoy” cuisine. Indigenized around the different parts of the country, there are various interpretations of originally Chinese dishes such as the shanghai or the pancit—whose Hokkien etymology of pian + e + sit actually translates to “something that is conveniently cooked: usually fried”—since the style of cooking arrived in the Philippines around the 11th century, or even earlier, according to textbooks.
However, the original recipes for these dishes and others are veiled in secrecy, kept in the confines of Chinese families, treated as hereditary as a family’s last name.
In the new book recently launched at the Robinsons Magnolia Activity Area, titled My Angkong’s Noodles, more than 100 heirloom culinary secrets of 15 Chinese families, passed from generation to generation, are finally revealed.
Written by Clinton Huang Palanca and published by Elizabeth Yu Gokongwei, My Angkong’s Noodles (angkong means grandfather), is more than a cookbook but a pot of simmering stories and side-stories of Chinese culinary history and its evolution in the Philippines from its Fujian heritage.
“One of my goal in creating the cookbook is to continue and preserve the traditional way of cooking Fujian food by our great grandmothers,” Gokongwei said, who added the book also serves as a tribute to the unparalleled love and loyalty of Chinese women of yore to their families.
According to food expert Palanca, the cookbook was written not just to remember but to forget. “We did not make this book just to remember the recipes, but also to let go—to let go of the patriarchal society and the atmosphere of secrecy. We do it so we can move on from the time when Filipino food was here and Chinese food was over there. We’re doing this as a way of remembering [part of our] food culture so everyone would have access to these recipes.”
The book has a rich list of contributors, including Rafeal Ongpin, Mara Coson, Jeffrey Yap and the late food author Doreen Fernandez. Chef Ginny Roces de Guzman handled the recipe development, while Neal Oshima brought the food to life with his signature brand of food photography.
My Angkong’s Noodles is now available in hard bound (P1,500) and soft bound (P900) at National Book Store, Fully Booked, Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, Power Books, Shopwise, Buffini and Book Sale. There’s also an e-book version available on the Buqo mobile app for Android and iOS at P500.