To say that Chef Rolando Laudico is crazy for Philippine cuisine is an understatement. He can talk for hours on why Pinoy cuisine is just awesome, and he speaks with such infectious passion that would instantly make you crave for lechon or crispy pata. FN was able to chat Chef Lau, who gamely explained why Filipino food is just so good:

"How many Asian cusisines do you know that have 400 years of European influence? We have the best of both worlds! We have European, we have Malay, we have Chinese, we have all these influences in our cuisine. Actually, what makes Filipino food awesome is because it's eclectic! In fact, if you're going to ask me, the most accessible Asian cuisine should be Filipino food because it's the best of both worlds," he says.

However, Chef Lau is quick to add that Filipino cuisine is not yet recognized in the international scene. That's why he has taken it upon himself to make everyone see the light by promoting Pinoy food.

"I will not stop until Filipino cuisine gets respected. The problem is, we lack pride in our own cuisine. We should not apologize when we serve Filipino food--we should be proud!" the world-class chef laments.

But are there ingredients that make our dishes truly unique? "We have very simple ingredients, but we have the best," Chef Lau explains. He adds that every Pinoy kitchen should have at least four things to complete every sumptuous meal. Check out the four must-have ingredients that every budding cook or seasoned Pinoy gourmand should have in stock:

(Photo by Majoy Siason)

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