Show Me Your Puso: Rice is Close to the Hearts of All Filipinos

Puso is the Visayan word for rice. Puso is also the Tagalog word for heart. Jenny Bee speaks Visayan, an off-branch of the Filipino language. I guess it’s basically the English equivalent of Jive or just mumbling everything you say. She has done a good job at trying to describe to me how the Philippines have different dialects. I’m more amazed at how much rice they eat over there.

Rice is a necessity to Filipinos. They even get allowances from the government for free rice. The American government doesn’t give you anything for free. They even make us pay the postage for our income tax.

Jenny has mentioned multiple times how much Filipinos love rice. It’s kind of racist if I do it because the Asian stereotype is that they love those little white flakes. It’s one of those true stereotypes, though. I don’t think stereotypes about a certain ethnicities enjoying a particular food is really all that bad. It’s much better than having a stereotype of your country being all out of food, right North Korea?

When I was with Jenny recently I ate more rice than I usually do. Typically I’ll get it in the occasional burrito or at other meals I eat out which is rare enough. With Jenny, rice is available at every meal. Filipinos even eat rice for breakfast. I grew up on Pop-Tarts and cereal. Filipinos eat rice and hot dogs for their most important meal of the day. I can’t argue against it because rice and hot dogs are probably a little healthier than eating a lot of sugar in the morning, but just a bit.

One meal Jenny and I shared was at Mang Inasal, a popular Filipino restaurant. Jenny Bee told me the translation is basically “Old Man Barbecue.” The Wikipedia page for the restaurant says it means “Mr. Barbecue” in Hiligaynon. I like Old Man Barbecue better because I like to know the age of the person making my food. If I find a grey hair somewhere, I want to know I can blame the cook.

After our meal at Mang Inasal finished. The only thing we left were chicken bones.
After our meal at Mang Inasal finished. The only thing we left were chicken bones.

This is a particularly special place to eat because they have unlimited rice. You just have to raise your hand and wave someone over. They’ll come to you with the typical Filipino service worker emptiness and scoop more rice onto your plate for you. When Jenny Bee and I went there I got two additional scoops. She got three.

I couldn't find a picture of us at Mang Inasal so here's me surrounded by a bunch of food.
I couldn’t find a picture of us at Mang Inasal with rice so here’s me surrounded by a bunch of food including some puso. Apparently I ate so much at Mang Inasal I couldn’t get my shirt off.

Our trip to Mang Inasal was far from the end of our rice eating. When we went to her house there was plenty of rice. In fact, I’m pretty sure her home was just a giant rice patty.

Growing up in the US I’m used to eating my meat on bread, not with rice. It was pretty noticeable that I am not a big rice eater as I was far more interested in devouring the meats solo than the rice. I had to tell more than one person how Americans prefer a dinner roll to rice. They all looked at me funny then gave me more rice. The stuff practically falls from the skies.

When Jenny and I are together, the three weeks we have been, eating has been a big part of it. She has seen me eat a ton yet getting me to eat rice at a normal Filipino rate is a challenge. I’ll eat it no problem, but it is the one food I’ll sometimes have to offer her. Meanwhile, while at the buffet, I’m the one finishing her cakes and Halo-Halo. Maybe if they had more rice in them she would have muscled it down her stomach.

The buffet was one of those "All you can eat until you poop" ones. I finished shortly after this picture was taken and you should have smelled it.
The buffet was one of those “All you can eat until you poop” ones. I finished shortly after this picture was taken and you should have smelled it.

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