I have to tell you that there are more that 5 Filipino foods that I miss eating but for the sake of not making this list too long, I am sticking to 5. This is just on the top of my head and in no particular order.
You have to know, Filipino foods were not my favorite cuisine growing up. Maybe because I took it for granted that it was available all the time.
I would prefer Chinese or Western cuisine any day. Now that I am living abroad, I couldn’t help but crave for foods from my hometown. Along with its yummy flavors, it adds a bit of nostalgia and brings back happy memories while eating it. How ironic now that you can’t have it all the time, you crave for it. Like the saying, you want what you cannot have. It doesnt apply to love alone, same goes with food, haha.
So hear we go.
1. LAPAZ BATCHOY
This have to be on the list. Lapaz Batchoy is a speciality of my hometown, Iloilo. And yes, I hail from Lapaz. When I was young, this was never my favorite. I was never a soup person nor a noodles person. I can never finish one bowl of this one, even the smallest bowl. This is a round noodles in chicken stock soup with pork organs, beef loin, spring onions and crushed pork cracklings. It has a mild salty taste. You can add in a tablespoom of soy sauce and a dash of pepper if you prefer. You can eat this with puto (glutinous rice bread) or hot pandesal (round bread). You can soak the puto or pandesa into the soup. One of the nice thing about batchoy is that you can always ask for more soup. Now, I can finish a big bowl of Lapaz Batchoy in a few minutes. It is best eaten in a rainy day. It remind me a lot of the Singapore’s Bak Chor Mee.
2. GREEN MANGOES WITH BAGOONG
You can find green mangoes anywhere but I am proud of the giant sour green mangoes in the Philippines. I prefer the crunchy green mangoes not the soft soon-to-be yellow mangoes. Some prefer it with soy sauce and salt but I think it is best with bagoong. Bagoong is a fermented fish or krill dip which looks like corned beef but taste like roe. It is very salty and does give off a weird smell. I remember when I was younger we hated bagoong so much. There was one incident my sister mistaken the bagoong as corned beef and took a spoon full of it. She almost gagged. She swore off bagoong eversince and she never liked it until now. Me, I found its magic with the green mangoes. I am just drooling thinking about it.
It looks like chocolate stew, right? Well, sorry to say its not. It is made with pig’s blood. Kinda gross, right? Another food during my childhood I am not too keen to eat. When you expect a sweet taste, it actually taste a bit sour and spicy. This is thick pig’s blood gravy contains meat and offals like kidneys, heart and intestines. I know it does sound gross but once cooked right, it taste so yummy. It is cooked with vinegar and chilis. It is best paired with puto or rice. It tasted so good now that my palate seem to get accustomed to it.
This is definitely a childhood favorite. We love this during summer or during a very hot weather. Though rain or shine, we don’t mind having this. I recall when we were young, we would head to the market for a colorful bowl of this. Now, we can go to the mall and get it at Chowking, Mang Inasal or Krystal Ice for this. Halo-Halo means mixed-mixed. This is shaved ice with a mixture of fun stuff like sago, nata de coco, ice cream, beans, leche flan and corned flakes sweetened with creamy milk. It is very similar to Singapore’s ice kachang or Malaysia’s chendol.
5 . BANANA-Q
If we are looking for an easy afternoon snack, we go for a stick of bananaque drowned with an ice cold glass of Coke. This is brown-sugar coated banana fritters. You can find in several corners of the street sold on bicycle-carts. It is also cooked on the spot so it is fresh and hot. This is mine and my dad’s favorite afternoon snacks when I was home during my maternity leave. Oh how I miss my bananaque bonding with my dad.
There you have it, the 5 Filipino foods I miss. Which one would you like to try? For my fellow kababayans living abroad, which are the foods you miss back home?