Let’s admit it: Restaurant culture is inaccessible for most Filipinos. For most, the experience is cost-prohibitive, shrouded in secrecy, in an if you know, you know way that borders gatekeeping. But thanks to TikTok, everyone can easily find out if a restaurant is worth going to, if it’s worth the money, if it’s just plain hype. But more than just democratizing food criticism that has broadened our palates (through secondhand experience), these minutes-long videos also introduced otherwise previously unfamiliar dishes of foreign origins—that is, if your algorithm allows it.
Here’s a look at some of the food trends TikTok popularized this year and hence, made more accessible to everyone. Inflation forbidding.
Why despite rising spice prices do we sacrifice whole bulbs of garlic for a single—not even dish—condiment? Because garlic confit and black garlic are not usual Filipino food items and you know how we love putting garlic on everything. If anything, these two recipes are a test of patience rewarded by a complex, versatile flavor that makes all the hours poured into it all the more worth it.
Like most things on this list, charcuterie boards are a Western dining feature previously only known by a few moneyed and well-traveled elite—remember grazing tables? Who knew it’s as easy as throwing together cold cuts, fruits, cheeses, and nuts (artfully)? Heck, we even made a Filipino version using local ingredients much to the ire of charcuterie purists. Call it reverse colonialism or something.
@nolisoli.ph Make a charcuterie board with the local ingredients of your choice for your next get together #nolisoliph #tiktokfood #foodtokph #pinoyfood ♬ Ghibli-style nostalgic waltz – MaSssuguMusic
In another seemingly excessive use of a lone ingredient, take a bar of butter, smear it on a wooden board, add whatever herbs, spices, sauces, and toppings that you want, serve with warm bread, and you got yourself a butter board. Not for everyone, especially in this humid country, and those who prefer to smear their own bread with freshly carved out butter but hey, to each their own (aspirational host).
@nolisoli.ph If everyone in the restaurant is speaking Chinese, you’re in good hands #foodietokph #hotpot #tiktokph ♬ Traditional Chinese music that seems to be flowing in the Chinese royal palace(861638) – Yusuke Shimizu
What is hotpot but a communal comfort food experience characteristic of every Filipino family meal, with the same appeal that made samgyupsal a local hit? It also doesn’t hurt that it is extremely customizable. You can mix and match ingredients in your choice of broth and even craft your own signature sauce or you know, take it from TikTok hotspot connoisseurs and stick with tried and tested sauce recipes.
Surprisingly, for a country surrounded by seas, and despite oysters already being consumed in various coastal regions, it took TikTok and some adventurous internet-savvy palates to make shucking and sucking these mollusks cool. Now, every bar and restaurant in the city serves them as fresh as they claim to be (despite being flown in from some island).