I grew up on Filipino food… every meal consisted of rice and some form of protein. The mornings normally started with fried eggs, longanisa (Filipino sweet sausage) and rice. And on special occasions, we would have bangus (milkfish) for breakfast… trust me, it’s yum! My mom would always fry the fish in a portable stove in the garage to ensure the deep fried oil aroma stayed outside. It didn’t matter to me where she cooked it. I just wanted to eat it!
Lunch and dinner consisted of more rice, manok and baboy adobo (chicken and pork), pancit (noodle dish), lumpia (egg rolls) and maybe another couple of items. There were at least 3 to 5 dishes with every meal because this is one of many ways Filipinos show their love… and what’s there not to love when it comes to Filipino cuisine. Although we were a small family, my mom, my aunt and I, we knew how to pack it in when it came to meal time! They were often exhausted from their long days at work and I was growing, so we were always hungry at the end of the day and I was grateful that there was always plenty to go around. And leftovers were a given!
The picture below is from my cousin, Jackie… thank you! It’s a great example of what a Filipino buffet looks like… rice, pancit (noodles), barbecue pork skewers, shrimp, some bitter melon and tomatoes for veggies and slices of mangoes for garnish. Looking at all this food, makes me miss home and the feasts that my family often have during gatherings and celebrations. Nobody leaves hungry. A fully belly is always an awesome feeling!
My all-time favorite meal growing up was merienda which is a fancy Filipino word for snack time. Ultimately it means something yummy and sweet… my love language! The spectrum of Filipino merienda includes leche flan (Filipino custard), coconut ice pops, hopia (red bean pastry), halo halo (this one is hard to explain because it literally means “mix mix” so I’ve linked the Wikipedia description for you), fried plantains with a sprinkle of sugar, empanadas… and more! I’m salivating as I write this blog post. From my point of view, it was sinful to skip merienda!
My girls inherited my love for all things sweet! They dug into the halo halo for their afternoon merienda!
Today my kids are celebrating International Potluck at their school. Natalie baked a family favorite, bibingka, to showcase a popular dessert from the Philippines. It’s a coconut and cassava based cake with a glutinous texture and southeast Asian flavors. It’s also one of my go-to gluten-free dessert option when needed.
There are a few ways to make bibingka, this is one of the more simple versions.
- 1 pkg. frozen grated cassava (you can get this at an Asian market in the frozen section, unfortunately Amazon doesn’t have this)
- 1 pkg. frozen shredded young coconut
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 evaporated milk
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1 cup of coconut chips (optional garnish)
The directions are pretty simple and is easy for kids to put together. Bonus!
- Mix all the ingredients together, except for the coconut chips.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish or smaller, ideally a glass pan so that you can see that it is golden brown at the bottom.
- Bake at 300F for 30 minutes. It starts as a slow bake to ensure everything bakes through. And then bake at 350F for the last 30-45 minutes.
- Once it is golden brown at the top and the bottom, take it out of the oven and let it cool and set. Cut into square pieces once it has cooled down, otherwise it will come out runny if you cut it when it is still warm.
- Toast the coconut chips and garnish the bibingka squares.
- Serve and enjoy!
Let me know how it goes if you decide to try this recipe. I hope to share more of my favorite foods from the Philippines. The mix of Chinese, southeast Asian and Spanish influences provide a great variety of flavors in many Filipino dishes! Delish! You don’t want your bellies to miss out!