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10 Of The Most Loved Condiments Around The World

 

Whether you’re the kind of person who squirts ketchup all over their fries or dips them (or maybe you prefer mayo or aioli), chances are you’re not omitting the condiment altogether. Spreads and sauces make our meals complete, so take a gander at what everyone else in the world is frantically scooping out of jars.

Harissa

Tunisia/North Africa

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Photo: Delicious

When the Spanish brought chili peppers into 16th century Tunisia, they couldn’t have possibly known they were becoming a part of condiment history. Though the taste evolves as you move through North Africa, this chili paste always has an undeniable kick and consistency. It also serves as the primary flavor within merguez, a North African lamb sausage. With flavor you want to take home to your mother, harissa is a staple at any meal.

 

Wasabi

Japan

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Photo: Mother Nature Network

Dating back to the 10th century, the wasabi plant has spiced up Japanese cuisine. The plant requires cold, freshwater with a balance of minerals in order to thrive, making its production very rare. Wasabi’s growing popularity beyond Japan brought about many alternative condiments which are primarily made of horseradish and green food dye. Authentic wasabi spoils within 15 minutes of preparation which led to the tradition of serving it beneath sushi, in order to preserve its flavor.

 

Mayonnaise

The United States

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Photo: Reference

For many years, ketchup was the head honcho in the U.S. Over the past couple of years, however, Americans declared that mayo was the new sheriff in town. Whether due to a surge in deviled egg popularity or homemade sandwiches, mayonnaise spread throughout the country at an unusually high rate, beginning in 2013. The eggy sauce has its roots in France or Spain, depending on who you ask, but no one can find more uses for it than a Yankee.

 

Banana Sauce

The Philippines

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Photo: The Actor’s Diet

When the United States began influencing the Philippines in the mid-20th century, ketchup caught on quickly throughout the nation. During World War II, a tomato ketchup was a rare sight. Since tomatoes were scarce across the islands, banana sauce aka banana ketchup was invented. Often dyed red to mimic the look of traditional ketchup, banana sauce’s sweetness easily sets it apart from tomato ketchup while still sharing many of its uses.

 

Vegemite

Australia

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Photo: Mashable

The Brits initially had the stranglehold on this substance in a less salty spread called Marmite. In 1923, however, Cyril Callister recreated the recipe from scratch, with more sodium and Vitamin B. The sticky breakfast condiment made from brewer’s yeast cemented itself as uniquely Australian when it became a part of army rations during World War II. In 2015, Aussies started using Vegemite to create alcohol, prompting calls from the government to limit its sale. For some, a law probably isn’t necessary.

 

Ajvar

Serbia

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Photo: Cooking the Globe

This so-called “Serbian Salsa” is served throughout the Balkan nations as a relish or a side dish. Though, like the nations it’s made in, ajvar’s name changes every so often, the red pepper paste is always dependable. Spread on a hot meat dish or as a cold appetizer, ajvar will prove to your tastebuds that it can wear many hats.

 

Chutney

India

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Photo: RecipesHubs

For thousands of years, chutney has been an irreplaceable relish that sweetens or spices, depending on how its made. Ancient holy men, Brahmins, discovered the preservative powers of spices and began to mix them with various fruits and vegetables. The British would eventually carry sweet chutneys to the U.K. as well as its African and Caribbean territories, but Indian chutneys remain complex in taste and texture.

 

Hoisin Sauce

China

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Photo: Soap

Not to be confused with Vietnamese sriracha, hoisin sauce lends a tangy glaze to any dish. Essentially a Chinese (specifically Cantonese) barbeque sauce, this condiment lies at the intersection of a brown sauce and hot sauce. In fact, Peking ducks would feel underdressed without their healthy coat of hoisin sauce.

 

Salsa

Mexico/South America

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Photo: Whats4Eats

As early as 3000 BC, the Aztecs mixed chilis with tomatillos. Over the millennia that followed, the recipes got only slightly more complicated and the Conquistadors eventually named this mixture “salsa.” The precursor to many modern hot sauces in the Americas, salsa’s versatility in heat and consistency has given it a wide appeal.

 

Brown Sauce

The United Kingdom/Ireland

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Photo: The Spectator

The popular brand may be HP, but brown sauce by any other name would be as delicious to serve with some fish and chips. Brown sauces can be sweet or tart, but mostly resemble American steak sauces. With a variety of uses in many savory dishes, it’s no wonder you’ll likely find a bottle in any British home.

Categories
Features

21 Filipino Foods You Should Know About

Filipino-13

Have you ever tried Filipino food? I’m sure your Filipino friends have asked you at some point or another. For the majority, the answer is usually, “Ya… I think so, I’ve tried lumpia before. Does that count?”

It does, but you’re only brushing the surface. Floating over it, if you will. The history of Filipino food is troubled, wonderful and full of heart. It’s been conquered, relinquished and diluted.

The reason? Food, like all things in life, is tied to power. A simple hot dish of rice, eggs and longaniza evokes 300 years of Spanish colonization. While the heavy influences of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine can be found in the savory soups and heavy use of soy sauce. Again, I’m floating over the surface. Barely touching it.

So, let’s casually bypass the centuries of cultural tension that took place on those tiny islands floating in the Pacific Ocean to… now. Filipino food is going through a revival. In modern America, of all places. This is in part thanks to Filipino pride expressed in Instagram photos of tapsilog egg porn, fearless young restaurants like NYC’s Filipino gastropub Jeepney, and the internet’s insatiable desire to find the next “pretty young thing”.

We’d like to be the first to give you a proper introduction to this world’s glorious cuisine. So, sit tight, relax, and enjoy the view. We take no responsibility for any post-crispy pork cravings.

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Sisig

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TASTE: CRISPY, VINEGAR, SOUR

Chopped ear-to-jowl pork braised, fried and served on a sizzling plate. Seasoned with calamansi — a small, green citrus fruit — and chili peppers. Must always be served with a ready-to-pop sunnyside up egg. If not, it’s not proper sisig.

 

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Sinigang

Filipino-45

TASTE: STRONG SOURNESS, FISHY

While a variety of meats can be used for this dish — pork, beef, etc. — milkfish or bangus is a favorite. Just a warning: milkfish is notoriously bony. Luckily, its delicate, tender texture is worth the inconvenience. The broth is flavored with strained tamarind and stocked with okra, taro, eggplant, water spinach, and string beans.

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Crispy Pata

Filipino-22

TASTE: DEEP GARLIC, VINEGAR

Pork leg simmered in star anise, bay leaf and peppercorns, then rubbed down in garlic and salt, before being deep fried until the rind gets crispy and the inside soft and tender. Served with a side of spicy vinegar.

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Pinakbet

Filipino-30

TASTE: ANCHOVIES

As you might have noticed by now, a lot of Filipino cuisines are potent in flavor. Very few dishes can be described as “light” and “airy.” Pinakbet, for instance, is made from bagoong — a paste of fermented ground shrimp and salt. The smell is intoxicating, which garners either a love or hate reaction. Spiced with garlic, ginger and onions, this vegetable dish comes packed with squash, string beans, okra, eggplant, bitter melon and chili peppers. Shrimp or beef is sometimes added.

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Pork Adobo

Filipino-28

TASTE: SOY SAUCE, VINEGAR MEAT CRACK

Not to be mistaken by Spanish adobo. Filipino adobo is an absolute staple in the Philippines. The smell of it alone puts me in the mood, yes that mood. The dish is quick and simple, marinate pork or chicken in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and bay leaf sauce. Simmer until meat is tender and serve over a hot plate of rice.

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Lechon Kawali

Filipino-18

TASTE: SALTY, FATTY

I suggest adding “eating lechon hot from the frying pan” as one of the less ambitious, tastier things on your bucket list. The deep-fried pork belly crackles as you bite into the salty skin, then tender fatty layers of meat. Spanish-influenced, expect to eat these crispy bits of magic by the handfuls.

Oh, and don’t forget to dip in Mang Tomas “brown sauce”.

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Lumpia

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TASTE: FRIED GARLIC, ONION-STUDDED PORK

Derived from the Chinese spring roll, lumpiang shanghai packs ground pork embedded with chopped onions, garlic and veggies into a fried eggroll. They’re usually found next to a side of sweet and sour dipping sauce but I like slathering it in Mang Tomas, because that liquid crack goes great on everything.

 

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Dinuguan

Filipino-12

TASTE: SWEET, SOUR, SPICY, AKA ALL THE THINGS

My grandmama calls this one “chocolate meat”. A savory stew of pork offal — snout, intestine, lungs, etc. — simmered in a rich gravy of pig’s blood spiced with chili and sweetened with sugar. The added garlic and vinegar bring this dish to next-level savory. Oh, stop fussing. It’s delicious. I promise.

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Tapsilog

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TASTE: EGG-SOAKED MEATY GOOD GOOD

Tapsilog is a portmanteau of tapa (beef slices), sinangag (fried garlic rice), and itlog (fried egg). Think of it as the holy trinity on one plate of unadulterated egg porn.

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Kare Kare

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TASTE: PEANUT BUTTER

Oxtail stew flavored with peanut butter. One of the more subtle-in-flavor dishes of Filipino eats. Best when generous amounts of tripe are thrown in.

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Ampalaya Con Carne

Filipino-31

TASTE: BITTER

One of the healthier dishes on this list, Ampalaya Con Carne mixes bitter gourd and beef strips. The gourd is chock full of nutrients — Vitamin C, Folate, and Riboflavin, to name a few.

The extreme bitterness has a wonderful slap-you-in-the-face effect.

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Pancit Malabon

Filipino-33

TASTE: FISHY STIR-FRY

Noodles colored with a orange sauce flavored with patis — fish sauce – and bagoong (which is also used in pinakbet). Usually topped like a seafood Christmas tree and garnished with a sliced hard boiled egg.

 

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Longganisa

Filipino-25

TASTE: SAUSAGE CANDY

Just imagining having this for breakfast with warm rice and egg yolk spilling everywhere makes me sweat. A nod to Spanish chorizo, longganisa is a sweet sausage with an addicting garlic taste.

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Filipino Spaghetti

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TASTE: SWEET TOMATO

Two words: Banana Sauce. My mom makes this for me every time I come home to visit. It’s quick, easy and has a wonderful, distinct taste thanks to the banana sauce added to the tomato paste.

Protip: Use tiny Vienna sausages in a can for the hot dogs. Trust.

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Halo-Halo

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TASTE: THE HOLY GRAIL OF DESSERTS

Halo-Halo means “mix-mix” in Tagalog. There are three layers to this beloved dessert. Bottom: candied fruits and beans. Middle: Shaved Ice. Top: a scoop of ube ice cream (purple yam), evaporated milk, and if you’re lucky, chunks of leche flan (below).

Make sure to mix it really well, so you get a bit of everything in each spoonful.

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Gulaman

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TASTE: MAPLE SYRUPY BOBA

It’s not unusual to find a clear tub of this at Filipino parties. Chewy gulaman cubes and sago pearl jellies floating in dark sugar syrup. Served ice-cold. A heaven-sent refreshment in the summer.

Note: While similar to gelatin, gulaman is a carbohydrate made from seaweed, while gelatin is a protien from collagen in animal skin and bones.

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Sarsi

Filipino-20

TASTE: LICORICE ROOT BEER

You can find this at any convenience store in the Philippines. A sarsaparilla-based soft drink, Sarsi carries a strong licorice flavor with a sweet flavor similar to root beer.

Protip: Pour Sarsi into a glass, then add a few scoops of vanilla bean ice cream for a “Sarsi Float”.

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Chicharon

Filipino-23

TASTE: SALTY

Deep-fried pork rinds. Almost any store in the Philippines will have plastic bags of chicharon on its shelves, next to the Sarsi. Popular throughout Latin America and Spain as well.

One of my personal favorite finger foods, especially when there’s spicy vinegar on deck to dip it in.

 

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Leche Flan

Filipino-06

TASTE: SILKY CARAMEL

Good luck taking “just one bite” out of this one. A rich custard made with egg yolks and condensed milk, topped with a soft caramel surface. If you’re making this at home, I recommend making the syrup yourself, as opposed to buying it at the store. The process is simple enough — slowly melting brown sugar into a syrupy liquid — but takes patience.

 

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Polvoron

Filipino-19

TASTE: SHORTBREAD COOKIE POWDER

A soft, crumbly candy made from powdered milk, butter and toasted flour. Warning: this will make a mess no matter how hard you try to keep it neat. Don’t worry, it’s worth it.

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Ube Halaya

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 TASTE: SWEET, SAVORY

Made from mashing purple yam and stirring in evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut milk and sugar over low heat. Often referred to as “purple yam jam.” Hands down my all-time favorite Filipino dessert for its simplicity in flavor and recipe. If you’re looking for a thicker halo-halo version, swap the ube ice cream with ube halaya.

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Photos taken by Peter Pham