top of page

Ode To 2020: The Rise of Filipino Kakanin (Delicacies)

To say that 2020 is a hard year is an understatement. It was a total disaster where we have seen body bags by thousands due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In North America, the oil prices crashed to a devastating record that doubled up the jeopardy to a world that has already dealt a blow. Small companies and local businesses fought hard to keep their heads above water. City streets became ghost towns and for once, the Earth was in a deafening silence. Well, of course that was until the anti-Science buffons and global political sitcom started their shenanigans.

While around the globe, shelves are being emptied by people who fought harder for toilet paper more than they ever fought for democracy and freedom; far from the TP alley of Costco lined up a battalion of resilient Filipino immigrants filling up their carts with flour, eggs, salt, pepper, cornstarch, baking powder, yeast and baking soda on Aisle 19.

This pandemic has once again tested the creativity and resiliency of the Filipino immigrants, the people - who, back home are toiled with economic hardships expected from a Third World country ran by crooked political dynasties.

The increasing number of Filipino kakanin on Facebook Marketplace has taken social media by storm. Like the virus itself, the resourcefulness of Filipinos to make both ends meet has manifested into what seemingly an e-Commerce for food porn.

Seriously, check the Facebook and Instagram profiles of your Filipino friends, you will find hundreds of Pinoy food for sale posts from March to Christmas.

From the traditional pan de sal (bread of salt) fused with taro, cocoa, and queso flavors, to the common Filipino street baked goods, pan de coco, pan de España, and ensaymada, Filipino kakanin is on the rise.

Social Media's hashtag food porn (#foodporn) has been revolutionized and given a more sensible meaning by the increasing number of Instagram food-for-sale photos of native and authentic Filipino delicacies like bibingka, sapin sapin, tikoy, bilo bilo (all are technically rice cakes in different forms), suman and latik (glutinous rice and caramelized grated coconut milk). Some went farther few miles and introduced more than just mouthwatering sweets but as well as Filipino viands like embotido, chicken and pork adobo, kare kare, siomai, spring rolls and mechado (meat-based main course meals).

And like seasoned-marketers, Pinoys' innate playful approach to creativity has slowly pushed aside the common food pictures posted by most teenage girls who frequent Starbucks and tanning salon with their chihuahuas.

The monotonously-themed Instagram food posts of an "Entitled Culture" have since been swept aside by photos of international delicacies of resourceful Filipino migrants who found themselves caught in the middle of being unemployed and being at risk of getting infected with the virus. It's a bittersweet reminder that everyone is not created the same and that only the fittest could make it. But the strong Filipino spirit of perseverance and survival does not dwell on hard times - it is rooted in the belief that Filipinos are naturally tougher than a $2 worth of New York steak, because of the general picture - the distinct value structure based on one's obligation to provide for their families (extended included), who are left behind back home in The 'Pines!

To others, this is an unacceptable culture of dependency; but to the every joyful Filipino heart, this is the lovechild of good kitchen skills and Costco Aisle 19.

bottom of page