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White Rice on Plate with Spoon and Fork

The main staple of Filipino cuisine is rice.

Almost every Filipino meal has rice as a background for ulam. Salty and sour dishes are not meant to be eaten without the accompaniment of rice. For example, a dish like kare-kare or sinigang would not work if not paired with rice.

Rice is also the basis of many native delicacies. In fact, there is a whole genre of Philippine delicacies called kakanin, whose premise is sweet rice.

Old dictionaries prepared by friars during the Spanish colonial period reveal a vast array of words pertaining to rice. Even today, words such as palay, bigas and kanin are used for differentiating its stages and forms.

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Rice is so essential. I wince when I see photos being posted of ulam without rice.