Informative Essay Why Sinigang

Doreen Gamboa Fernandez was born on 28 October 1934 to Aguinaldo Severino Gamboa of Silay, Negros Occidental and Alicia Lucero Gamboa of Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.

She obtained her A.B., major in English and History in 1954 from St. Scholastica's College, Manila and completed her M.A. in English Literature (1956) and Ph.D. in Literature (1976) from the Ateneo de Manila University. She began teaching at the Ateneo de Manila in 1972 and chaired the departments of Communication, English and Interdisciplinary Studies. She was a member of the editorial boards of Philippine Studies, Filipinas Journal of Philippine Studies, and The Asian Theatre Journal. She would have rendered thirty years service in October 2002.

In 1998 she was recognized with Metrobank Foundation's Outstanding Teacher Award.

She taught literature, composition, creative as well as critical writing, and journalism. Her research included cultural, literary, theater and culinary history, on which she has written for scholarly and popular publications and had regularly been invited to speak at international conferences and symposiums.

She was twice a recipient of the Fulbright Asian Scholar in Residence Award (1983, Ohio University Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute; 1992, Michigan University Seminar on Southeast Asian Literatures in Translation).

A prolific writer, she authored the Iloilo Zarzuela: 1903-1930 (1978); In Performance (1981); Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture (1994); Face to Face: The Craft of Interviewing (1995); Palabas: Essays on Philippine Theater History (1996); Fruits of thePhilippines (1997); Palayok: Philippine Food Through Time, On Site, In the Pot (2000). With Edilberto N. Alegre, she co-authored "The Writer and His Milieu (1984) and Writers and Their Milieu (1987, recipient of National Book Award); the Lasa series on dining in Manila and the provinces (1989, 1990, 1992); Sarap: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture (1988); and Kinilaw: A Philippine Cuisine of Freshness (1991).

She wrote video scripts as well: Tikim, a video documentary on Philippine food (1989, Philippine Information Agency); Panitikan on Philippine literature (1992, CCP), which earned first prize, video documentary category from the Film Academy of the Philippines; and Dulaan on Philippine contemporary theater (1994, CCP).

She was a columnist of The Manila Chronicle, Mr. & Ms. magazine, the Philippine Journal of Education, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Food magazine. She has contributed numerous articles in journals, periodicals and books, including to The Oxford Companion to Food (1999, Oxford University Press).

She was editor and contributor to the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (1994, Cultural Center of the Philippines); contributor to the Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English (1995, Routledge), and with Resil Mojares to Modern Southeast Asian Literature in Translation: A Resource for Teaching (1997, Arizona State University); and editorial consultant as well as contributor to the 10-volume Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People (1998, Asia Publishing Co Ltd).

She was co-founder of the Babaylan Theater Group (1973, with Nicanor G. Tiongson), and the Cultural Research Association of the Philippines (1975). She was a member of the board of trustees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), and the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, among others. She was also a member of the Manila Critics Circleand of the judiciary for the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

She received the Achievement Award from the National Research Council in 1997, and in 1999 she was recognized with the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts (Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Centennial Commission), honoring 100 Filipinos who helped shape the arts in the Philippines in the last century (1898-1998).

She was married to interior designer Wili Fernandez.


Photograph by Stella Kalaw.

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A pot of tamarind sinigang

TypeSoup or stew
CourseMain course
Place of originPhilippines
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat, vegetables, tamarind, fish sauce, onions, siling mahaba, tomatoes
VariationsPork, beef, shrimp, fish, chicken
Other informationCan be served in many different forms
Cookbook: Sinigang  Media: Sinigang

Sinigang is a Filipinosoup or stew characterized by its sour and savoury taste most often associated with tamarind (Filipino: sampalok). It is one of the more popular viands in Philippine cuisine, and is related to the Malaysian dish singgang.

While present nationwide, sinigang is seen to be culturally Tagalog in origin, thus the versions found in the Visayas and Mindanao may differ in taste (mainly ginger is an additional ingredient). Fish sauce is a common condiment for the stew.


Sinigang is traditionally tamarind-based. Variations of the dish derive their sourness from ingredients such as guava, calamansi, kamias, santol or unripe mango.[1] Seasoning powder or bouillon cubes with a tamarind base are commercial alternatives to using natural fruits. [2][3] Meat in sinigang (e.g., fish, pork, beef, shrimp, or chicken) is often stewed with tamarinds, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Other vegetables commonly used in the making of sinigang include okra, tarocorms (gabi), white radish (labanós), water spinach (kangkóng), yardlong beans (sitaw) and eggplant (talóng). Most Filipinos like to cook sinigang with green long peppers in order to enhance the taste and add a little spice to the dish. Another variation includes adding locally made miso.

Sinampalukang manók or sinampalukan (from sampalok) is technically not a variation of sinigang, as the chicken has to be sautéed in ginger first instead of all the ingredients being placed simultaneously into the pot and brought to a boil. Sinampalukan is also distinguished by its use of shredded tamarind leaves, and is usually made together with ginger, onions, tomatoes, eggplant and spinach.

Sinigang variations

  • Sinigáng sa Misô (Sinigang with miso added to the soup as the umami element, usually with a tamarind base)
  • Sinigáng sa Bayabas (Sinigang that uses guava as the sour soup base)
  • Sinigang sa Mangga (Sinigang that uses unripe mango as the sour soup base)
  • Sinigang sa Kalamansi (Sinigang that uses calamansi or lemon as the sour soup base)
  • Sinigáng na Isdâ (Fish Sinigang)
  • Sinigáng na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)
  • Sinigáng na Hipon (Shrimp or Prawn Sinigang)
  • Sinigang na Baka (Beef Sinigang)
  • Sinampalukang Manók (Chicken with tamarind leaves)

See also


Further reading

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