The Ethnic Food Aisle

I was at an Asian store in San Jose shopping for what else, Asian food, and noticed this aisle sign.

Ethnic Food Isle in an Ethnic StoreHey…am I not IN an Ethnic store technically?  I thought it was odd that the store would have this particular aisle sign.  I have been to my share of Asian stores and had never seen an aisle sign like this, so I could not wait to check out the shelves…maybe American food?

I laughed when I saw it was food from the Philippines.  OK, maybe because the store was in an area with many Vietnamese stores…but still, Vietnam and the Philippines are neighbors geographically (Vietnam is the closest country to the Philippines across the South China Sea), so I am wondering why Filipino food ended up in the Ethnic aisle, since they do share the term “Asian” right?

NOTE – I received a text from a reader with the following technical points from their point of view:

  1. The Philippines is also near Guam, Palau and Micronesia, so some may argue about the Philippines’ “asian-ness”,  being historically Malay-Polynesian.
  2. Just because a line is drawn including the Philippines as an East Asian country, would have to argue that it may not be 100% true.

Any Comments?

5 thoughts on “The Ethnic Food Aisle

  1. I had a co-worker (she was not fond of Chinese people) who was stunned when I referred to myself as being of Asian descent. I have always thought of the Philippines as part of South-east Asia. But, being born in Canada and not knowing how to speak Tagalog, I guess sometimes even I fall into the trap of thinking that Filipino food belongs in the ethnic aisle of T&T supermarket.

    • Thank you for visiting my blog and your comment. I have always thought of myself as Asian-American too…

      Your comment prompted me to look up the official countries of Southeast Asia, and it turns out that there are two parts to this term: One is mainland Southeast Asia — which is probably what most people think of as Southeast Asia, that is Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia.

      Then there is Maritime Southeast Asia, which are the countries of Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, Philippines, Christmas Island, and Singapore.

      I love having a blog — I learn soooo much! 🙂

      I think I will do a blog post on this topic.

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Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.