These are ten food treats that make the whole christmas experience complete. They definitely add lots and lots of cheer to the holidays.
1. PUTO BUNGBONG
Puto Bungbong is a Filipino delicacy made of sticky rice which is cooked in a chimney like steamers. The sight of them being sold in the streets marks the start of the christmas season. It is ever present during simbang gabi. And of course my favorite part of it is the panutsa (sugar cane sweets) on top, it definitely livens up the Puto Bungbong.
I love how this rice cake is still being traditionally cooked in oven charcoals during christmas. Skip Bibingkinitan, there’s nothing like the smell of an authentic bibingka side by side with Puto Bungbong during simbang gabi.
3. KASTANAS (roasted chestnuts)
The sight of kastanas being cooked in big “talyasi” brings back childhood memories of cracking these roasted chestnuts with gusto using our bare teeth while watching The Little Match Girl on TV. Sad to say, there are only few kastanas vendors around who would indulge people in the streets with their show of muscles, as they try to mix these roasted kastanas with stones (hehe).
4. LECHE FLAN
My lola used to make the creamiest leche flan, the one made from pure egg yolk. I managed to snag a leche flan recipe that is quite like it two years ago. My recipe is still a work in progress though but despite that it still manages to pass up as the perfect dinner dessert during the holidays.
5. UBE HALAYA
My dad used to make one when he was a kid. Only a few who knows how to make the authentic ones remain. We usually buy the Good Shepherd version. They have, so far, the best tasting Ube around plus when you buy from them you get to help send some kids to college.
6. BUKO SALAD
Probably the most popular salad dessert here in the Philippines. Del Monte Fruit Cocktail and Nestle Cream are the first ones that usually ran out of stocks in supermarkets because most households make their own version of this during christmas. It never gets missed in Noche Buenas and Media Noche menus.
7. BRAZO DE MERCEDES
When I was a kid our Papang and Mamang would bring us the most delicious Brazo de Mercedes. It was only recently that I was able to find a Brazo de Mercedes closest to the one from my childhood. Supreme Brazo Bars by Ces Lopez.
This is the only time in the year where I allow myself to feast on all the sweets that I like (I will worry about them later). I found the perfect pastillas from San Miguel, Bulacan. They are being sold under the name, Cristy’s Special Pastillas. They are made from real carabao’s milk and they are the best I tell you. This has been our family giveaway this christmas.
9. HOT CHOCOLATE
There’s nothing like sipping hot cocoa during a cold christmas night. We used to drink Hershey’s cocoa and Nesquick when I was a child. It was only during christmas that we get to buy these as they were really expensive at that time. When my daughter was old enough to sip cocoa, in keeping up with the tradition, we would buy her Swissmiss with Marshmallow. This holiday, it will be Bellagio sipping chocolate from Healthy Options for us.
10. PUREFOODS FIESTA HAM
It is only during the christmas season that this kind of ham makes its presence known. It used to be the authentic Chinese ham leg from Quiapo for us, but when we discovered how yummy Purefoods Fiesta ham can be, the salty Chinese ham leg was dethroned from its rightful place in our Noche Buena and Media Noche table and Purefood Fiesta Ham took over.
I am sure that aside from the ones that I mentioned, there are still a lot of other good food going around this season. Let us all indulge in the yummy feasts that christmas brings for this is the only time where we can guiltlessly do that (hehe). We have the perfect excuse–christmas only happens once a year.:)