when your “race’s” reputation precedes you, it’s pretty difficult to stand up to some standards already present. they expect you to shine, excel, or surpass every person they’ve previously met.
i’m kapampangan. i was born and raised in pampanga. and the reputation for being great cooks is the first thing that non-kapampangans assume. “shame on the kapampangan who does not know how to cook!”
but i think there are just certain things we do that makes us ‘excellent cooks’. one does not necessarily come with the cooking gene in his or her DNA. you get the creativity gene or the OC gene instead and just apply it to cooking. i believe you are one of these: you are strict with the ingredients (completeness, quality, amounts, etc.) or you experiment (e.g. mixing ingredients, spices and cuisine) on purpose or by pure circumstance.
and this lumpia recipe carries with it this story:
during our fiesta, we underestimated the number of guests to arrive. by late afternoon, almost all the food was gone. we had to serve something to our relatives arriving early evening. all the meat — pork and chicken — were already cooked and served. we couldn’t serve hotdogs or canned corned beef could we?
the help had this brilliant idea that she somehow learned of in their town in Sta. Rita. she asked for cheese to be sliced into sticks, as well as bell peppers and carrots be julienned, and she opened a can of MaLing, “Asian Spam” is what i like to call it when asked by non-asian friends. she wrapped them in lumpia wrapper and fried them.
when our visitors came, it was an instant hit. it was the bomb.
when i came to finally settle in manila, i had to impress the non-kapampangans with my skillz, you know what i’m sayin’? instead of the regular lumpia, i mixed in strips of cheese and bell pepper. sure enough, the earthy bell pepper and creamy cheese added a little something to the usual lumpiang shanghai. i share this now so you can do it as well in your own homes:
do as you would with regular spring rolls but just add one pepper slice and one stick of cheese. fry in cooking oil for about 2 minutes each side or until wrapper is brown and crisp. serve while warm to enjoy the melted cheese.
you could upgrade this with other cheeses (mozarella might be nice?) but we’re not as rich as you think so maybe when i’m earning millions a month. 😛
so, do you have any similar recipes or modifications to traditional recipes like lumpiang shanghai? have you tried this yet? tell me how did you do and what your ‘customers’ thought of it in the comments! 🙂