Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: Linamnam: Eating One's Way Around the Philippines by Claude Tayag, Mary Ann Quioc

A foodie couple eats their way around the Philippines in search of the proverbial Holy Grail. In this culinary travel guide book, not only do they lead the reader to the best eats every region has to offer, scouring the length and breadth of the archipelago, but also the why's and how's of what makes each dish unique and outstanding in its own right. As staunch keepers of the flame of traditional Philippine cuisine (albeit leaning to Pampangan), the couple discovers the sheer variety and intricacies of this multilayered cuisine, making it easier for the uninitiated to better understand what makes the Filipino eat what he eats, debunking the pronouncements of armchair pundits that Filipino cuisine is all brown, oily and unappetizing. Indeed, there's more to it beyond the adobo, pancit and lumpia.
I really like watching shows like Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and I thought that the idea of a definitive food guide to most of the food available in the Philippines was an interesting idea.

Linamnam discusses the different specialties for each region in the Philippines. For each dish, there are pictures as well as a location wherein you can try the dish.

I enjoyed how comprehensive this book was. Given how many dishes there are available in the Philippines, of course, the authors may have missed out on a few great dishes, but most of the iconic regional dishes are represented here. The photos are also quite appetizing, despite the fact that there's no actual food styling involved as the pictures were taken during the couple's travels.

There were only two things that I didn't really like about the book. One was the weight of the book. Since it's a little bit heavy, it might not be practical to bring with you while travelling. Second, a number of the entries read more like reviews of the restaurants than entries about the actual dish. Since I prefer reading about the actual dish than the restaurants wherein I can find them, I wasn't too thrilled with that.


  1. The dishes are grouped by region, so you can easily read it and refer to it before travelling.
  2. The entries are pretty descriptive.
  3. There are also entries about the different kinds of pancit, tamales, etc. by region, as well as a glossary of Filipino food terms.


  1. The book might be too heavy for those who like to pack light.

So to claim your adobo is better than others is pretty much a personal thing. It's really a matter of taste.

  1. You want to learn more about Filipino cuisine.
  2. You are travelling to the Philippines (or are already from here and want to explore it) and want to get an idea of the foods to try.
  3. You're a foodie.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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