Monday, December 22, 2014

Eat 'bibingka', have a merry Christmas

Cold mornings, simbang gabi, bibingka and puto bumbong. To us Filipinos, these are some of the clear indications that Christmas is here indeed. As I write this piece, it’s only three days before the most joyous day of the year. And yes, I’ve had my first bibingka. Haha! I’m not about to let the Yuletide pass me by without eating this festive Filipino rice cake. This afternoon, I went out of the office to have a merienda of bibingka and a cup of coffee at Ferino’s, which is arguably the best and most famous bibingka store in the country. Fortunately, I didn’t need to travel far to find a Ferino’s store because there’s one near our office in Quezon City. Spending a hundred pesos for one bibingka and P20 for a steaming cup of coffee, 
I’m ready for Christmas! Haha!
A native cake made from rice flour and water or coconut milk and eggs, bibingka (along with puto bumbong, another native snack or kakanin) is traditionally eaten by Filipinos after attending Simbang Gabi (dawn masses) from December 16-24. It’s interesting to watch this delicious snack being cooked. The mixture of rice flour and water/coconut milk is poured over a terra cotta pan lined with a piece of banana leaf and cooked over live coals. Coals are also placed on top of this pan. Once done, margarine with some sugar is spread over the bibingka, after which it is topped with shredded coconut meat or niyog. Sliced salted eggs may also be put on top for added flavor. For ultimate bliss, pair your bibingka with either a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or salabat (ginger ale).

Ferino's bibingka

Earlier this December when we had lunch at Aristocrat on Roxas Blvd., I saw that they had an in-house bibingka station and I took some photos:

Live coals where bibingka would be cooked.
Cooked bibingka still without margarine and coconut meat
 If you're a part of the younger generation and haven’t eaten bibingka, I suggest you ditch pizza   or cake for merienda this Yuletide Season, and feel the Pinoy spirit of Christmas. Of course,  you may enjoy it all-year-round but it's best to warm tummies during the cold days of  December. And yes, it's so much a part of our holiday traditions. Merry Christmas!   

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