Iyong salitang matsakaw,  parang Intsik ang tunog, ‘di ba?

Dami ko nang ni-research na mga salitang tungkol sa pagkaing Intsik, mga putahe nila, at iba’t-ibang sangkap.  Hindi ko makita ang anumang relasyon sa matsakaw, iyong medyo matamis at malutong na day-old tinapay na bina-bargain sa mga panaderia.

Mali pala ang tinitingnan kong kultura!  Kahapon ay inimbita ako ng isang kaibigan na mananghali sa restorang Mehikano.  Habang binabasa ko ang menu, napansin ko ang isang putahe nila, machaka.

Wow, ika ko sa sarili.  Ito na siguro ang sagot sa matagal ko nang hinhanap na pinagmulan ng matsakaw!


Ang machaca ay hiniwa-hiwang piraso ng karneng baboy o baka, tinimplahan ng iba’t ibang rekado, at iniluto nang matagal sa hurno.  Sa ganoong paraan, pwede itong i-imbak nang matagal.

Kapag kailangan, ang machaca ay sinasariwa sa kaunting tubig, hinihibla-hibla, at isinasahog sa pagluluto ng maraming putahe, tulad ng taco, burrito, enchilada.  Madalas as igini-gisa ito sa sibuyas at inihahain kasama ng pritong itlog.


Hindi ba, kahawig ng matsakaw sa panaderia natin
ang machaca ng Mexico?

Rub the coffee mixture all over your pieces of meat.



Karne Norte

Bakit nga ba tinawag nating karne norte ang corned beef?

Ang corned beef ay karneng baka na inimbak sa pamamagitan ng pag-aasin.  Isang paraan ito sa pagtatago ng pagkain bago naimbento ang refrigeration.

Ang salitang corned ay mula sa kurnam, Aleman para sa “maliliit na buto ng anuman.”  Ilang halimbawa ay ang sumusunod:

buto ng trigo                = wheatcorn
buto ng barley             = barleycorn
buto ng paminta         = peppercorn.

Sapagkat ang uri ng asin na gamit sa pag-iimbak ng karneng baka ay kasinlaki ng mga nasabing butil, ito ay tinawag na corn of salt, at ang resultang produkto ay tinawag na corned beef.

Bakit dalawang hugis ang lata ng corned beef?

Iyong medyo kwadrado ay para sa madaling pagsa-salansan sa knapsack ng mga sundalo.   Mula pa noong World War I, kasama na ito sa mga supplies sa giyera.  May kasama itong susi na pambukas, para hindi kailanganin ang abre-lata.

At kung bubutasan ninyo ang kabilang dulo ng binuksang de-lata, madaling maidudulas palabas ang karne.  Sa ganoon, pwede itong i-slice tulad ng nasa larawan sa kaliwa.

Corned_beef     About the Product:

Iyong bilog na lata ay para sa pambahay na gamit.  Ito ay madaling buksan ng abre-lata, at karaniwang iniluluto bago ihain.


Ngayon, balikan natin ang tanong:  bakit ito tinawag na karne norte?  Alalahanin natin na sa Pilipinas lang gamit ang pangalang ito; hindi sa Espanya, Mexico o iba pang bansa sa Latin America na nagsasalita ng Kastila.

Ang sagot ay natagpuan ko sa isang miyembro ng  Noon daw Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano (Peb. 4, 1899 – Hulyo 2, 1902), kabilang sa supplies ng mga sundalong Amerikano and de-latang corned beef .  Ang bansag ng mga Pilipino sa nasabing pagkain ay karne Norte Amerikano.   Pagkaraan ng ilang panahon, at hanggang sa kasalukyan, pina-igsi ang pangalan at naging karne norte  na lang.


Kung interesado kayo sa istorya ng ating bansa, i-search ninyo ang:
Philippine-American War
Battle of Manila (1899)
Campaigns of the Philippine-American War.







Foods to Fight Diabetes

During a visit to Manila, I pledged to help an elderly aunt with her medical expenses. She had recently been diagnosed with diabetes.

When I arrived home in California, I received a text message indicating that the pills would cost around $150 per month.  I dutifully sent the money for three months, until I received some unpleasant feedback from my brother whom I assigned to deliver the pledged amount.

My brother said, “Hindi naman nag-iingat sa pagkain si Tita, dahil may gamot naman daw,” (Auntie is not being careful with what she eats… said she has medication, anyway).


Reading someone’s travel blog last night, I came across the very same attitude toward healthy eating.  I will let this photo speak for itself.

Hippocrates, father of medicine, (c. 360 –  c.470 B.C), lived to the ripe old age of 90 years. He had wise advice to patients, among which is, “Let your food be your medicine.”

Simply put, this means that we should try to get nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than relying on pills.

Diabetes is a widespread problem nowadays.  Readers’ Digest/Best Health listed today the top 20 foods for beating diabetes.  I have selected five that are easily accessible in the Philippines.  You don’t have to eat these everyday, but occasionally giving your body the benefits of their nutrients will help keep your diabetes in check.

AVOCADO.  Some food writers compare this fruit to butter because of its smooth consistency.  Try to eat it by the spoonful, without adding sugar and milk.  Or, slice it thinly and use as a sandwich filling.

Where I live in northern California, avocado costs at least $1 each;  folks in the Philippines have it really good, because the cost per kilo is so affordable.

The word avocado derived from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs in Mexico.  They called it ahuacatl.

BEANS.  There are many of these you can consume: sitaw, bataw, patani.  I can just picture a serving of bulanglang, pinakbet, adobong sitaw, or Bicol Express.  Yum!

Sitaw is also known as long beans; some really long varieties are called yard-long beans.

Bataw and patani are known as Lima beans, according to my favorite reference for Philippine fruits and vegetables,  Lima beans are so-called because the first commercial shipment to the U.S. came from Lima, Peru.

CARROTS.  I suggest you learn to eat this veggie in stick form; it’s kinda like a crunchy potato chip, and it’s better for you.  You don’t need to peel the carrot; just wash it well, cut into 3- or 4-inch sticks, and store in a zip lock bag in the fridge or bring with you to work or school.

When you see it in pancitchopsuey, or afritada, don’t push it to the side of the plate; eat it with the rest of the food.   It seems we don’t have a Pilipino term for carrot; it’s called zanahoria in Mexican Spanish.  Good thing, the name didn’t travel to the Philippines during the Galleon Trade!

And here’s a bit of trivia for you: the carrot is native to Afghanistan.

NUTS.  Peanuts and cashew are good for keeping diabetes in check.  Peanut butter in a sandwich counts, of course.  It’s also okay to lick a spoon of peanut butter, the way you make papak while watching TV or doing your homework.

Have you heard that the peanut is neither a pea nor a nut?  It’s a legume!

And the cashew (caju to a tribe in South America) is often regarded as a curiosity because the seed is outside the fruit, which is the yellow, fleshy portion.

SWEET POTATO.  Eat some kamote!  Get the yellow or orange variety if you can.  Washed and dried, you can have it ready to eat after five minutes in the microwave oven.   Split it, put some butter or margarine, and you have a quick snack.  You can even bring a raw kamote to work, and cook it in the office microwave. has this advice: Don’t put sugar on the sweet potato; it’s already sweet!  To this I add:  if you have diabetes, try to avoid the street food kamote cue because the crunchy coating is obviously not good for you.

ROTI JALA … Jalajala, Rizal

Note:  In AtoZFoodnames, I am on a quest for the origins of food names, specifically Philippine food names.  Knowing that our beautiful islands were settled by waves of migrations from Indonesia and Malaysia during pre-Spanish times, I have been comparing food terms from those two countries with words in Philippine cuisine.  Sometimes I find surprising similarities, as in the English eggplant (terung in Indonesian, talong in Pilipino; frying pan (kwali–>kawali), and goat (kanding–>kambing).

In today’s blogpost, I digress a little bit from the above pattern of inquiry.  I couldn’t resist the AHA! moment that came with linking the name of a Malaysian pancake with the name of a fishing town in Rizal province.

While surveying a list of Southeast Asian food, I came upon an interesting snack called roti jala.  That’s Malaysian for “net bread.”  These lacy pancakes are popular during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.  After sunset, vendors set up temporary stalls from where they sell roti jala and various curry dishes: favorite food pairings to help the faithful break their fast.

The pictures below show how they’re made and how they’re served.  The roti jala serves as “spoon” and accompaniment to the saucy curry.

Pan Gravy Kadai Curry: Stuffed Lacey Crepes

Roti Jala (Net Pancake)

Let’s move now to Philippine geography.  South of Manila, in the province of Rizal, is a municipality named Jalajala.  It sits at the end of a small peninsula that juts into Laguna de Bay.  Driving around the area years ago, I remember seeing a directional sign on the highway; it showed an image of a fishing net with the inscription “Jalajala—>.”

Image result for map rizal province

Information on the municipality presents two theories on the origin of the name Jalajala One says that Jalajala was derived from the plentiful halaan (clams) on its shores.  The second theory says that the name Jalajala was derived from the swine breed Berkjala, which was native to the area.

Image result for coat of arms jalajala rizal

Jalajala’s coat-of-arms shows a pig on the lower portion of the flag.

Would you listen to my own third theory on the origin of the name Jalajala?  First, you need to re-examine the map shown above.  Notice the name of the northernmost town in the province of Rizal?  Yes, that’s Cainta.

Cainta has a large population of Indian settlers.  In 1762, soldiers called sepoys were brought to the area by the East India Company.  The British were anticipating war with the Spaniards in the Philippines (because in Europe at the time, the Anglo-Spanish War was being waged). When the British decided to withdraw their troops, the sepoys mutinied and decided to stay.  They married local women and started an Indian community in Cainta.

This is why the cuisine of Cainta is different from those of surrounding towns; the distinctive Indian influence is noticeable in their dishes.  They make curry dishes and Indian breads (generic name roti).  The roti jala in their language, as we learned at the beginning of this post, translates into “net bread.”

I am betting that the sepoys gave the word jala (“net”) to the name of the town down the road, the town surrounded on three sides by water, the town where fishing is the logical means of livelihood, the town where there are fishnets a-plenty, the town that was named Jalajala.

Calling All Adventurous Eaters!

Read a random article on Philippine street food, and you will come across some really interesting snacks:  adidas, kwek-kwek, betamax, chicken helmets, and many more.

Squeamish folks — iyong mga delikado kuno — will turn their heads and walk away, but many people find these foods acceptable, if not downright delicious.

In my opinion, it’s just a matter of getting used to the street offerings.  Just think: aren’t shrimps and crabs downright ugly creatures?  Look at those legs!  And what about the aligi that we crave so much?  Someone unfamiliar with these creatures will say that sucking all that yellow goo from the heads of shrimps and crabs is absolutely yucky!  Yet we do it, with gusto.

That being said, it would be really beneficial to the economy and to the nutrition of the general populace if we were to adopt what is common practice in Bangkok : entomophagy.  It’s the human practice of eating insects.

Blogger Fecielo reports that in Thailand, insects are regular features of the diet;  snacks of grasshoppers, silk worms, beetles, and water bugs are as common as French fries and roasted peanuts.

fried bug

Insects similar to the ones above are eaten in certain parts of the Philippines:
—  Fried salagubang:  Ganyan sa Nueva Ecija, sarap niyan!”
—  Salagubang larvae:  ‘Masarap iyan, abal-abal ang tawag sa Nueva Viscaya.”
—  Tamilok, a tree worm that tastes like oyster: “Favorite iyan sa Palawan!”
—  Kamaru (mole crickets):  Kamaru-eating contests, popular sa Pampanga!
—  Uok (beetle larvae) adobo: “Gustuhin iyan sa amin sa Rizal.”

Agreed, there’s a following for certain insects in certain parts of the country.  One way to spread consumption is to introduce them as snacks in other areas.  Sell them in small quantities at affordable prices, just so people will be encouraged to try them.

For a few pesos, an adventurous eater can buy a trial-size packet, then maybe “graduate” to a snack-size bag once the initial squeamishness is overcome.  Who knows, that same buyer might swing by one afternoon to buy a meal-size bag so that folks back home can share the delights of munching on the tasty morsels.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), bugs present a possible solution to the world’s growing food problem.  Many insects provide as much protein – weight for weight – as beef and fish; hence, they are good alternatives to eating meat.

It seems like a win-win for all concerned:

— Farmers will have a source of income from gathering insects which are harmful for their crops.

What insects are eaten depends on the time of year.  For example, June beetles will attack rice and sugar cane crops, and when this happens, farmers will capture them at night and later cook and eat them… Locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets are also caught and eaten when they attack crops.

If markets are created in metro areas, the farmers can catch the critters in greater quantities, for sale to processors and vendors.

— Small-time business people will have a source of livelihood.

From the farmer-insect gatherer to wholesalers, to the vendor who hawks the insect delicacies, there is a line of business people who stand to generate income.  In Thailand, insect-growing has become a “small livestock industry.”   In Bangkok, enterprising vendors attach two bins to the back of motorbikes and cruise the city for possible buyers.

— Consumers will have another source of protein food at affordable prices.

The Philippines has one of the wealthiest arthropod collections on the planet.  Numerous insects have double the protein content of many meat sources.


If you do a Google search on the word tinapay, among the results will be “bread” from  You will also see images of various kinds of bread.

If you do a further Google search on the word bread, Wikipedia will tell you that bread is a staple food prepared — usually by baking —from a dough of flour and water.

My interest in the root of tinapay began when I learned that the word was included in the first Western record of the Cebuano vocabulary, written down by Antonio Pigafetta in 1521.  Pigafetta was a Venetian scholar and explorer who sailed with the Magellan expedition and visited some Visayan islands.

According to Pigafetta’s notes, the Old Cebuano word tinapai meant “rice cake.”
In, Jessie Grace U. Robrico points out that the old Cebuano tinapai has evolved into puto and bibingka in modern Cebuano.  This makes sense: indeed, in the whole country today the generic names puto and bibingka  apply to cakes made with rice, whole or ground.

Our word puto is believed to be derived from puttu of Kerala, India.
Our bibingka comes from Goa, India, where a sweet rice cake was called bebingca. These words probably came to our shores via contacts with Indian and Portuguese traders.

Puto, as we understand it today, generally applies to rice cakes made by steaming fermented rice batter.  Have you noticed that putong puti has a yeasty taste to it, hinting that it is quite panis (fermented)?  This is accomplished by soaking the rice overnight with a sourdough starter which spreads its flavor into the whole batch and also serves as a leavening agent.

Puto in banana leaf.jpg
Putong puti baked in banana keaves. The slightly sour white
often accompanies a stew that has a sauce of pork blood (dinuguan).
Puto kutsinta, another type of rice cake.

In the early history of Maritime Southeast Asia there was a staple food called tapai. These were fermented pastes made with starches such as cassava or rice.  Very likely, Indonesian settlers brought this food to our islands, and those rice cakes were what Pigafetta saw, and he was told that they were called tinapai.

I have yet to find out the linguistic principle behind the formation of some Pilipino words which indicate process, as in the following examples.  The  -in  is inserted in the original term, which could be borrowed from another language:

dendeng               dINengdeng
guiling                  gINiling
ihaw                      INihaw
kilaw                     kINilaw
pangat                   pINangat
singgang               sINigang
tumis                     tINumis
tapai                     tINapai

By Midori in
Vendors in modern-day Indonesia still sell slightly alcoholic (that is, fermented) tapai, which can have either a sweet or sour taste.  They may be eaten as is, or with certain dishes.  

Indonesian tapai are now called puto in the Philippines, where tinapay applies to any kind of bread made from wheat flour.

The Curious History of the EGGPLANT

Curiosity #1:  The name EGGPLANT.  Yes, folks, the first eggplant seen by Europeans in the 18th century really looked like an egg.  The descriptive name has stuck ever since, in spite of…

By Horticulturalist RJ – Own Work, CC, BY-SA 4.0


The first eggplants were purplish in color.  Selective breeding by farmers and plant scientists resulted in the development of different varieties or cultivars.  And so, we see eggplants in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

Eggplant display (source: via Wikimedia Commons, user Phoebe (Own work))
Source: Wikimedia Commons, User Phoebe (own work)


In the marketing of apparel — clothes, shoes, bags, for example — we encounter eggplant as the name of a color.  Every now and then, the color is called aubergine,  French for “eggplant.”  More on this later.


Curiosity $2:  The eggplant is a FRUIT.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fruit as “the usually edible reproductive body of a seeded plant.”

The word fruit is generally associated with sweet produce which are consumed as desserts.  One exception to that generalization is the eggplant.  Because it has seeds, it is classified botanically as a fruit.  But because of its bitter taste, it is usually cooked and eaten as a vegetable.


Curiosity #3:  The eggplant is a WELL-TRAVELLED plant.   Aneela Marchandani of San Francisco, via her website The Odd Pantry, takes us along the route of the eggplant.

The eggplant was cultivated in India long before the place became a country.  The plant and its fruit was called in Sanskrit by the names vrintaka and batingan.  From these words arose other names for it, thus:
Hindi: baingan
Kannada: badne kai
Telugu: vankaya
Bengali: begun
Marathi: vangi
Sindhi: vangan

When it reached Iran, the Hindu word batingan turned into the Persian bandenjan.  It was widely accepted, and many recipes were developed.

When the Arabs conquered the Persian lands, the prefix al was added, thus al-bandinjan.

The Arabs also occupied the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) for hundred of years, bringing many crops and ways of cooking.

  • The Spaniards dropped the prefix al and called the eggplant berenjena.
  • In Portugal, it became berengela.
  • The headstrong people of the Cataluna region (see map: northwestern Spain) kept the al prefix and modified the original word into alberginia.Map of Spain and France and sub-regions

    Next door, the French were willing to adopt the vegetable into their cuisine, but had problems saying the prefix al.   Aubergine suited them just fine.

    More interesting details of the eggplant’s travels across Europe can be told, but the above names should be enough to help you navigate many world markets.

    Now, the big question:  WHY DO WE CALL IT TALONG IN THE PHILIPPINES?

    As discussed in many posts in AtoZFoodnames, Indonesian and Malay settlers helped to populate our islands during pre-Spanish times.  Very likely, they gave us the name for this vegetable.

    The terung of  the Malay language and the terong of Indonesian are the probable parents of our talong.

    And where did the Malays and Indonesians get their words?  Let’s go back to Curiosity #3:  The eggplant is a well-travelled plant.

    Among the variations of the eggplant’s early name in India is the Bengali word begun.  I’m not an expert in linguistics, but I bet begun gave rise to terung and tarong.  You see, ancient India exerted a profound influence over Southeast Asia through, religious missions, wars, and other forms of contact.

    Pre-colonial Malaysia was part of the Indian-ized Kingdoms which included the Shri-Vishaya and Madjapahit empires.  If you recall our Philippine history, those two kingdoms also had contact with the early inhabitants of our archipelago.  In fact, the middle group of islands in our country, the Visayas, is named after the Shri-Vishaya.









Some readers might think that I mis-spelled the title of today’s post, and say that I probably had azucena in mind… You know the frangrant tuberose flower which is generally used to make funeral wreaths in the Philippines.  Said plant is native to Mexico and was probably brought over by the galleons that plied the Manila-Acapulco route from the 1500s to the 1800s.

Tuberose flower.jpg
Azucena, polianthes tuberosa


I really do mean to write ASOCENA.  It is a compound word: aso (Pilipino for “dog”) and cena (Spanish for “dinner” or “evening meal”).  Together, the two words stands for any dish prepared with dog meat.




A Cable News Network (CNN) correspondent in Asia reported last week that Taiwan has banned the consumption of dog and cat meat on the island.  This is said to be a step up from a previous regulation prohibiting the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat.  The amendment specifically forbids people from eating the meat of said animals.  Fines for non-compliance amount in the thousands of dollars.



In the Philippines, Republic Act 8485 (The Animal Welfare Act) was enacted as far back as 1998.  It then became illegal to slaughter dogs and cats for personal of commercial trade and consumption, except when done as part of indigenous religious rituals.  Enforcement of the law has been sporadic; local and foreign animal rights groups have many times publicized the sorry lack of observance of RA 8485 in many parts of the country.

Following the lead of Taiwan (as shown in the above newsflash), might the Philippines begin yet again to enforce the law?   After all, the country is somewhat expert at copying foreign practices.


The consumption of dog meat happens in the Philippines for a number of reasons:

  • Regional practice.  In the Cordillera Mountain area of northern Luzon,  eating dog meat can be as common as eating pork.  It started started with ritual slaughters in Ifugao and Benguet:  tribes used to sacrifice dogs before battle, hoping that warriors would become as fierce as dogs.

    Over time, the practice continued despite the fading of the rituals.  In the cold-weathered uplands, people believed that dog meat imparted a warm feeling in their bodies.A number of adjacent lowland provinces, such as Pangasinan and Pampanga,  have began to adopt dog meat consumption.

    “They cook it adobo-style, sauteed with garlic, onion, and laurel leaf, seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar.  This is the favorite appetizer during drinking sprees,” wrote one blogger.

  •  Peoples’ desire to sample exotic fare.  Adventurous tourists, local and foreign, will sometimes try dishes from unusual meats.  Ever heard of  The Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya?  It boasts of serving ostrich, crocodile, and camel meat dishes among the more common meat offerings.

    In the same spirit, an out-of-the-way eatery might feature limited servings of dog meat for the “shock value” of offering taboo meats.

    File:Dog meat hotpot.JPG
    ( dog_meat)


  •  Lack of protein sources.  Unscrupulous people round up stray dogs for slaughter and sale to any takers.  This is not a common occurrence, but it happens.  For the most part, dogs (and cats) are not widely considered as food animals in the Philippines.

    Still, John M.  wrote in 2010:  “… dog meat is a source of protein.  Not as much as other meats, but it’s there… Dressed dog meat sells for around 65 pesos per kg.  at the palengke in Cagayan.  If you are poor, compare to the price of other meats, and it becomes a cheap source of protein.

    Where does our word ASO come from?  Instead of looking at word translations in many dictionaries, I consulted a website on dog care,  The Dog Breeding Information Center.   I found the word for “dog” in more languages than I ever imagined.  The list gave me a glimpse of relationships between languages.

    Our word aso is expressed in other tongues as:

  • Asu (in Tetum, which is spoken in Timor; in Tola Batak, spoken in northern Sumatra; and in Javanese, spoken in Java)

    Marco Samson of San Francisco State University wrote in a 2010 research paper that Indonesians were the first to introduce dogs into the Philippies.  It goes without saying that their word for the animal would carry into the local language.

  • Cho (Vietnamese).  This is intriguing.  There is very little similarity between the Philippines and Vietnamese languages, but it is interesting to listen to aso and cho.
  • Achu (in Kuna, spoken in Panama and Colombia)South America is across the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines, so this presents yet another curiosity.  Aso, achu… two similar sounding words from regions separated by a wide expanse of water.


How do you say “dog” in your dialect or language?

Greek and Roman “Restaurants”

In an earlier post, I wrote:

So, where did the word restaurant come from?
This eating establishment, as we know it today,
originated in Paris, France in the 18th century.


This is not to say that there were no restaurants before the establishment of bouillon houses in Paris.  If you will re-read the above words, I qualified my statement about restaurants with the words as we know it today.


Long before the French Revolution, there were already food establishments that could pass as fore-runners of fast-food shops.

In ancient Greece and Rome and in other areas where their cultures spread, there were thermopolia (places where something hot is sold) in the centers of town.  The typical thermopilium had counters with sunken areas for large vessels that held food for sale. These food-selling establishments were the fore-runners of modern “to-go” restaurants.

Citizens — often the poor who didn’t have facilities for cooking in their small dwellings — bought what we may now consider as take-outs, or fast food.

By Aldo Ardetti at Italian Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0


A year ago, I had the good fortune to visit HERCULANEUM, a Unesco World Heritage site under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.  Our Mediterranean cruise took us from Rome to Athens, Greece and then to Istanbul, Turkey, with the last stop being the Campania Region of Italy, where Naples, Herculaneum, and Pompeii are located.

Herculaeum was named after the Greek divine hero Hercules.  The seafaring Greeks used it as trading post due to its proximity to the Bay of Naples.



At around 1 pm on August 24, 79 A.D., Mt Vesuvius erupted after a dormancy of 800 years.  The map below shows the extent of the damage wrought by the eruption.

The first pyroclastic surge, formed by a mixture of ash and hot gases, went over the town of Herculaneum at the speed of about 100 miles per hour, burying some buildings, causing limited damage in some and preserving certain structures.

Excavations from 1927 to 1942 exposed about four hectares of the ancient city in the archaeological park that is visible today.  Many public and private buildings are yet to be excavated.  However, because Herculaneum is situated right below the volcano, it is in constant danger of being buried again in ashes.  Vesuvius, after all, is a very active volcano.

Our tour guide said that property owners have been offered compensation by the government if they would move out of the area, but there are few takers.


Herculaneum is located on the coast of the Bay of Naples, an area known for fertile land, bountiful fishing grounds, and mild winters.  Garum, a fermented fish sauce (PATIS!), was one of the primary exports of the area.  It was used as a dressing for many types of Roman food, including pasta.

The homes of ancient Herculaneans had small kitchens (culinae) with portable stoves.  They didn’t do much cooking; fresh produce was brought in from the agricultural areas, and prepared hot food was purchased from thermopolia in many intersections of town.

Rumah Makan, Etc.

When you first saw the title of this blog post, were you able to figure out the topic to be discussed?

RUMAH MAKAN is Indonesian for restaurant; strictly translated, rumah means “house”
and makan means “food,”  therefore, “house of food.”

I was so excited to read — and understand — signs of  various establishments when I visited Yogyakarta in Java and Ubud in Bali many years ago.  Sekolah is “school,” buka means “open,” rumah sakit is “hospital,”  etc.  The discovery of similarities in Philippine and Indonesian speech made me realize how intertwined our cultures are.  We have similarities in physical features, vocabulary words, cuisines, and other aspects of culture.

When I looked up for this article the Malaysian word for restaurant, this is the answer I got: restoran.  In Tagalog, it was restawran.


So, where did the word restaurant come from?  This eating establishment, as we know it today, originated in Paris, France in the 18th century.

The French Revolution of 1779 to 1789 triggered the decline of absolute monarchies and replaced them with republics and liberal democracies.  Feudalism was abolished:  nobles and the clergy lost their powers.   Aristocratic society was dismantled, throwing in disarray the system of privileges and dependencies.

Chefs de cuisine (literal translation: heads of the kitchen), who used to run big kitchens in palaces, lost their jobs.  One of these expert cooks opened an eating establishment where he served bouillons restaurants (meat-based soups  intended to restore a person’s strength).

Bouillon, in French cookery,  is a soup prepared from broth.   The noun is derived from the verb bouillir, meaning “to boil.”  What is boiled?   Diced vegetables, herbs, and the bones of beef, poultry, shrimps, and vegetables, alone or in combination.

(Nowadays, we can make short-cut bouillon soup by putting into boiling water a small cube of concentrated seasonings that impart the taste of chicken, beef, or vegetables — the wonder of the modern food technology!  Just add some vegetables and pieces of meat.  Voila, you have soup!)

The first restaurant had several tables and a menu, or a list of dishes.  The tables were covered with cloth, and food was served in nice bowls with accompanying tableware, signifying the common person’s new-found ability to dine  as only the rich and powerful used to do.


To be continued.
The restaurant has a looong, interesting history.