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The History of Carinderia [Pinoy Karinderya] of the Philippines

PAINTING: AT THE CARINDERIA BY JOSE HONORATO LOZANO (c. 1847)
PAINTING: AT THE CARINDERIA BY JOSE HONORATO LOZANO (c. 1847)


Before 1764 there was no Filipino word to infer a commercial establishment selling cooked food. But by the early 1800s, the carinderia was recognized as the native food shop, a respite for travelers and a direct ancestor of the turo-turo.  


The Carinderia is a local eatery selling and serving and viands with wooden benches. It's also known as a "turo-turo" wherein customers literally point what they want to eat from an array of cauldrons. The carinderia was considered as a respite of travelers having originated as a quick food service in busy crossroads.


Today, carinderias have evolved according to the needs to Filipinos there are now variations including the travelling carinderia and the high-class carinderia.


According to Felice Prudente-Sta. Maria, Karinderia and karihans are products of the British Empire. Sepoys were Indian natives who deserted British General William Draper’s fleet around 1764 (at the end of the British occupation of Manila).


They quickly assimilated into the community by marrying Filipina wives and settling at the lakeside end of the Pasig River about 18 kilometers east of Manila in Taytay and Cainta.


These towns are conveniently located along the Maytime Pilgrimage route to Antipolo Church.


Carinderias were affected by tourist transportation. The first Philippine railway was inaugurated in 1892 and ran 105 kilomenters from Manila to Dagupan. In the 1900s it was extended south to Bicol.


Before train travel, Cainta was where Marian devotees disembarked from bancas and switched to hammocks or horses with which to make the mountainous ascent to the Antipolo town shrine. But once the train service became regular, Taytay became the town where the trekking began. There would have surely been a ready market for a food service wherever the myriad of devotees stopped.


Like all busy crossroads, Taytay and Cainta reaped revenues from tourist facilities, in this case eateries. Many tourists noted that the areas from Taytay and Cainta through the capitol were punctuated by bamboo stalls offering a mixed menu that included curry. The Spaniard Wenceslao E. Retana, an authority in Philippine studies, traced the etymology of carinderia in the 1920s to curry that is kari in Tagalog –the root word of the native dish called Kare-kare.



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