Freshly Wrapped Chicken Lumpia

Lumpia(Eggrolls) is done in different ways with different ingredients. My family likes it made with a combination of chopped carrots, celery and bean sprouts, then sautéed with shredded boiled chicken and chopped fresh shrimps, prior to wrapping and frying. We promise, you will love it!

Deep-Fried Lumpia

Things to Know & “How to” About Lumpia Wrappers

  1. Know where to find the right lumpia wrapper. To date, the only place you can find several choices of the right Lumpia wrappers is at the Asian markets.
  2. Know the right brand to satisfy the quality of the wrappers. You can find many brands of eggroll wrappers at the Asian markets, but I suggest a brand called “Menlo”.
  3. Some lumpia wrappers dry up too fast, even when they’re not yet exposed. Some easily tear off during the lumpia wrapping process.
  4. Some wrappers are too thick, only because they’re not for lumpia or eggroll wrapping, rather for recipes like wontons or dumplings(although some use it for Chinese style eggrolls).
  5. Use a brand has the right thickness, softness and moisture, which makes it easy to separate them in singles. They should stick well when sealed. There are many other good brands, but Menlo is still my first choice, so far.
  6. Keep lumpia wrappers frozen when not in use, so that they remain fresh every time you use them. Use eggs to seal eggroll wrappers. They stick better than using water.
  7. Keep unused, leftover wrappers tightly closed, prior to freezing them again. When they’re open even to the slightest, they easily dry up and harden, which will therefore tear apart and no longer useful.
  8. Cover wrappers while in line for use. Once a pack of wrappers is opened, it becomes exposed to open air, and that’s what dries them up. Wrappers drying only takes a few minutes and will no longer be good for use.
  9. Use a clean, moist towel to secure separated wrapper sheets from exposure. This will help keep wrappers moist, while in line for use.
  10. Double-bag leftover Lumpia wrappers and seal them tight, prior to re-freezing. This will prevent the Lumpia wrapper from ice exposure, and will therefore keep them moist until the next use.

7 Steps to Follow Prior to Cooking Ampalaya (Bitter Melon/Bitter Gourd)

While it’s a fruit that has a substance of a vegetable, Ampalaya or Bitter Melon is also known for it’s healthy nutritional values, such as Vitamin C, A and Iron. Although it has not yet been medically approved by authorized health officials, many use this bitter gourd as a treatment for Diabetes and other medical conditions.

Some of us are also aware that Bitter melon contains bitter tasting juice, which is how it got its name from. Although many cultures use it for consumption, it will be difficult to eat without reducing that strange bitter taste.

Because we do have different recipes that we could use Bitter Melon for, people have learned ways to get rid of that bitter substance, and able to produce fairly delicious meals for consumption. Below are a few steps to do before we cook this bitter gourd.

  1. Wash and slice Ampalaya in halves. Remove the seeds, then slice them in pieces.
  2. Pour a large amount of water on a bowl, depending how much bitter gourd you’re using to cook.
  3. Add 1/2 tsp of salt on the water. Whisk until salt melts.
  4. Immerge the sliced Ampalaya or bitter melon pieces into the salted water. Leave them soaking for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Come back and squeeze the juice off the bitter gourd pieces while they are still in the salted water.
  6. Remove the squeezed bitter melon slices from the salted water, then transfer them to a strainer.
  7. Rinse Ampalaya slices with a running water. They are ready for cooking after that.

Freshly Picked Ampalaya(Bitter Melon)

Sauteed Bitter Gourd(Ampalaya)

Filipino Kalesa

A traditional means of transportation since the colonial eras, which in the modern days, has become a tourist attraction. Painting by Jun Roco.

Filipino Jeepneys

Jeepneys continue to be a traditional Filipino public transportation since it’s been introduced in 1932. Picture in courtesy of Doug Jones.

Rice Farms

As one of the Filipino Staple foods, rice farming is one of the many traditional practices we continue to do, mostly in the provincial areas. Over time, rice farms have expanded from 3.8 to 4.4 million hectares, nationwide. Painting by Jun Roco.

Pros & Cons in Filipino Culture & Traditions

  1. Filipinos are known to have close knit family relationships. Our culture is many things. One strong character we possess is our resilience in managing to rise above our struggles in life, like the will to overcome poverty, natural disasters and many more. Despite all the challenges we face, we are able to pick up the pieces, smile and make jokes out of every burden we go through, then move on. Such frame of mind is usually demontstrated through our folk dances, songs and other forms of Philippine arts.
  2. Filipinos are every respectful people. We were taught this culture of showing respect to our elders by kissing the persons hand, as a sign. We are also taught that when older people talk, a younger person should sought to listen. Though things may have changed over time. Most of us still practice such tradition along with other practices.
  3. We are also very religious. Roughly 80% of us are Christians, mostly practicing Catholics. We practice the longest Christmas celebrations than any other Christian countries. The Lenten season is also recognized and practiced every year, from the time Jesus Christ was born to the time of His death and resurrection.
  4. We do love to party, and when we do, a lavish presentation of all our traditional Filipino cuisines are easily served. Occasions like these are usually practiced during family and public gatherings. After days of public religious rituals, some festivities are held in local pavilions. A public dance is organized where single men and women, couples, even children can join in to dance and socialize. Sometimes, local bands play their music while everyone gets to dance.
  5. We love music! Families and friends love to get together to sing all kinds of songs, traditional or popular, old or new. In the old days, guitars are used to back up with the singing, but over time, since karaoke was introduced, karaoke gatherings became a widespread activity in every party gatherings.
  6. Filipinos are also known to practice hospitality. We value the tradition of personalism and family centeredness. We we invite a guest to our home, or even in a situation where someone seeks for a shelter, we do not hesitate to accommodate, making every effort to ensure that person is at ease and comfortable in the place offered to them to stay. A meal is served even at a time of struggle. We have so much pride, that any failure to serve a guest is not an option. The only disadvantage of such tradition, is if a guest will take advantage of such generosity being demonstrated.
  7. Although we possess many good traits, one of the things we perhaps need to improve more on, is punctuality. We fail in every rule of when it comes to it. When a Filipino says he or she will be there at a certain time, be ready to adjust your time for at least an hour late, as an act of low expectations.
  8. Crab mentality! Another bad trait some Filipinos have is the tendency to always try to pull down another who is succeeding and getting ahead of them. It’s a bad habit that over time, slowly being recognized and changed among us.