The fight turned out to be lackluster but the feasts did not disappoint. From Manila to Madrid to Manhattan, Filipinos took the highly anticipated boxing match between their unofficial national hero, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather as an excuse to orchestrate over-the-top buffets teeming with Filipino delicacies.
“In moments of sorrow or celebration, Filipinos always like to gather around food,” explains King Phojanakong, the chef and owner of two restaurants in New York City. For the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight last night, they served the Filipino staples of adobo chicken wings and lumpiang shanghai, a variation on the fried egg-roll filled with pork and diced vegetables that Pacquiao once ordered for take-out when he was in town. “They wanted 30 orders of the adobo and the lumpia,” he tells Quartz. “That’s usually what we stock for two days, but we had it here so we prepared it for the champ.”
Big, generous feasts are staple in Filipino culture. For the more than 13 million Filipinos living abroad, the Pacquiao fight was an opportunity to convene grand viewing parties to split the cost of the pay-per-view broadcast and savor rare tastes of home cooking.
Here’s an indulgent survey of sumptuous spreads prepared by Pacquiao fans:
Influenced by Spanish, Chinese, American and Malay flavors, Filipino cuisine has been coming into the mainstream in the US after a long period of neglect. Trendy restaurants are adding Filipino dishes on their cuisine, Filipino chefs are featured regularly on reality TV shows like Top Chef, and writers like Anthony Bourdain praise its flavors. The White House chef, Cristeta Comerford is Filipino, the first woman ever to be chosen for the position.
But in case all this knocks you out with heartburn or indigestion, a feeling familiar to many Filipinos, here’s a foolproof home remedy from the Philippines:
- Withhold food intake for four hours.
- Drink one glass of hot water every hour during the four-hour fasting.
- Eat a slice of ripe papaya 30 minutes after a heavy meal.
- Eat light meals without fatty foods after the four-hour fasting.