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Food, Health & Fitness

FILIPINO FAVORITES: CORNED MEAT

Since most of us are just about to enter our work week today, let’s talk about a common Filipino breakfast food: Corned Meat. While the most popular kind is corned beef, we can also see corned tuna, chicken and pork available in grocery stores.

What is “corning”?

Corning is one kind of curing meat using a salt brine or a salt mixture. Some sources say that it’s called corning because the salt primarily used for the mixture was the size of a corn kernel. Using salt gives the meat flavor and preserves the meat for later use. Because of the longer shelf life, the production of corned beef was important to deployed soldiers during World War I and World War II because there was limited supply of fresh meat. Corned meat also makes meat more accessible to provinces that are far away from farmland or other produce.

Corned Beef in the Philippines

In the Philippines, corned beef is almost entirely marketed in cans, using primarily shredded beef or buffalo meat. Our process of corning is that it is cooked first, shredded, then canned. It is then marketed for mass consumption in supermarkets, grocery and sari-sari stores. Once opened the meat is commonly fried with a combination of either onions, garlic and potatoes. There’s no need to add salt because the meat is already full of flavor.

Corned Tuna and Corned Lechon

In 2009, a local company, San Marino, developed Corned Tuna. It is a spin-off of the canned corned beef, promising to offer a distinct flavor and added variety to corned meat, and is frequently advertised as the healthier option. With corned tuna, it can be eaten straight from the can, heated on top of rice, over pasta or on crackers or pieces of bread. 

There are other recipes of corned meat like the corned lechon of Elarz, where they turned their signature lechon into something that resembles adobo flakes. This makes lechon, which is only usually served during celebrations, accessible to anyone who’s craving for it.

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