The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be its staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, it still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.
The predominance of rice makes eating sandwiches in this country a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and it is a birthright of sorts.
I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.
For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.
Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Just let me be.