I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook

Nicole Ponseca

Book cover

I tend to like cookbooks that are more written to be read than to be looked at. This has a lot of glossy photos, but also a lot of good text. Ponseca and Trinidad are the owner and chef, respectively, of two Filipino restaurants in New York (and are a couple). I think the book would be a great introduction to Filipino cuisine for someone not already familiar with it. I appreciated the book’s attention to the internal diversity of Filipino food, highlighting differences in foods from different parts of the archipelago. The main recipe I’m interested to try is burong isda, a ferment of fish and rice from Pampanga.

Miguel Trinidad is an interesting figure to me, as he’s a Dominican-American chef who basically learned how to cook Filipino food so that he could be the chef for his partner’s restaurant. I’m sure his contributions to this book are significant, but I would have loved to hear more of his personal voice in the book. Especially for me as someone who also married into a Filipino family, it would have been really interesting to read about his experience learning about Filipino food, coming from an existing background as a professional chef with expertise in other cuisines–what he could relate to things he already knew, what he felt was unique, etc.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars