The Muslim Filipino Pastil/Patil and the Japanese Sushi
By Apolinario Villalobos
The pastil/patil is a one-dish meal wrapped in banana leaf. It is topped with shredded chicken cooked in soy sauce and plenty of vegetable oil. A variation is the use of fresh water fish such as dalag (mud fish) and tilapia as topping. It is a popular meal ni southern Mindanao, particulary, Cotabato provinces, Zamboanga and Jolo. Today, however, the indication of the presence of a Muslim community in any place around the Philippines are the stacks of this banana leaf- wrapped meal in a store. High grade white rice is used in this dish and the shredded chicken is cooked for hours. What is nice about this dish is the cheap price per wrap at Phpq10 which has not been “updated” for more than 10 years, making it the popular poor Mindanaoan’s meal.
Similar in appearance is the Japanese sushi, although, much smaller in size and requires an intricate preparation. The price of each sushi depends on the variety – the kind of food wrapped and put on top of the rolled Japanese rice. Unlike the pastil/patil, only the rich Filipinos can afford the Japanese sushi, for the cost of the cheapest piece is equivalent to the price of one kilo high grade rice.