Cover Tinola sa Buko (Photo: Taal Vista Hotel)

He loves pancit, champorado, and other scrumptious Filipino meals. Turns out, Dr Jose Rizal is just like most of us

We have heard stories about Dr Jose Rizal's patriotism, the novels he has written, and even the women he dated; today we are taking a closer look at his dining table. Take your spoons and forks out, Tatler has listed the Filipino hero's favourite dishes. 

See also: Dr Jose Rizal: Who were the Women in the National Hero's Life?

1. Tinola

The Filipino Tinola is a soup usually served as an appetiser. It is made of flavourful broth with ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and chicken meat. Many historians believe that the Tinola is one of Rizal's favourites; during his exile in Dapitan, the doctor would pen his mother Teodora Alonso, and ask her to bring him the dish.

Tinola was even used as a political and social symbol in his novel Noli Me Tangere. In the book, Kapitan Tiago hosted a welcome dinner for Crisostomo Ibarra at Calle Anloague. At dinner over Tinola, Padre Damaso was in a bad mood because he got the bony neck and hard wing.

According to food historian Rheeza Santiago, Padre Damaso's disappointment stemmed from his high regard for social status. The neck was considered an inferior part of the chicken and the friar was surprised he got it.

Tatler Trivia: On December 30, 1896, Rizal took his final meal. According to Narcisa (Rizal's sister), the doctor threw some of his eggs in the corner of the cell for the "poor rats". "Let them have their fiesta too," he said.

2. Pancit

Almost every Filipino occasion is celebrated with Pancit, a dish made of stir-fried noodles infused with a variety of meat, vegetables, onions, carrots, garlic, and cabbage. Rizal was fond of eating Pancit because it was the dish he and his fellow Pinoy students eat in Madrid after school

Tatler Trivia: One of the earliest historical records of Pancit is in Rizal's El Filibusterismo, Chapter 25: Laughter and Tears. In the book, the doctor described the plate as a "soup made with mushrooms, prawns, shrimp, beaten egg, rice noodles, chicken, and God knows what else!" 

Related: Why Is Filipino Cuisine One Of The Richest Food Cultures In The World

3. Monggo Soup

Besides asking his mother to bring him a plate of Tinola, Rizal also asked for a bowl of Monggo or mung bean soup. Francisco Rizal Lopez, one of his descendants, said that the exiled hero once served Monggo with young leaves of ampalaya to his visiting nieces and nephews.

More from Tatler: Manolo Blahnik Shares Family Recipes Perfect For Home Dining

4. Foie Gras

Rizal loved European dishes too, one of his favourites from the region included foie gras. Many historians believe that the dish reminded Rizal of his visit to Juan Luna's studio in Paris.

Tatler Trivia:  Foie gras has been banned in many cities around the world including the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, and Turkey. This is because its production has questionable ethics. Breeders typically force-feed ducks and geese to enlarge their livers until they grow up to 10 times their normal size.

Read more: Mad or Genius? 7 of Juan Luna's Most Intriguing Works and Their Meaning

5. Champorado

Rizal has made a lot of contributions in the field of literature and medicine, but many Filipinos do not know that the hero is also the genius behind the country's favourite breakfast: the Champorado or Filipino chocolate rice porridge. According to a 1950s Department of Education (DepEd) textbook, when Rizal was just a little boy, he accidentally tipped a steaming mug of hot chocolate into his plate of rice and dried fish. When his sisters called him out, he said: “I did that on purpose. When you mix rice and chocolate you have Champorado.”

There is no primary source to support this fact. Some still experts believe that the origin of Champorado is linked to the Galleon trade between Mexico and the Philippines. Traders from Mexico brought with them the knowledge of champurrado, a chocolate-based warm and thick soup served with churros. 

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