Vinegar, or Suka (as it is known in the Philippines), is one of the most used ingredients in the Filipino kitchen. The prevalent use of Suka is due in large part to the extended shelf life bestowed upon goodies cooked in vinegar--a necessary culinary "voodoo" needed for tropical climes during the days of pre-refrigeration. But aside from its preservative powers, we Filipinos also just happen to like the elevated flavor punch that vinegar provides--that certain Asim (sourness) that we love oh so much in our food.
For instance, vinegar is the key player in many Filipino dishes like Paksiw, Kinilaw (raw fish "cooked" in vinegar, kinda like a ceviche), various dipping sauces, and a variety of different marinades. And of course, Adobo is perhaps the prime example of a vinegar-based Filipino dish. Heck, as I've shown here in the past, with a good bottle of vinegar you can Adobo most anything: Chicken, squid, water spinach, pork belly, and even ribs.
Mmmm. Ribs. I sho' am hungry...
Ah, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. It's a classic.
Anyways, while I've demonstrated a few different uses of vinegar before, I've never really explained that there are also quite a few different types of vinegar that may be found in the Filipino pantry. Seeing as how vinegar is such an integral part of Filipino cuisine, and because there's such a wide spectrum of Suka in use in the Philippines, I thought I'd take the time to compare and contrast some of these potent potions (at least the ones that are readily available in my neck of the woods). Keep in mind though, that the vinegars I tasted are commercially made and probably can't compare to the artisanal and local vinegars made in the different regions of the Philippines.