food moment: PAKUMBO

Pakumbo

When we had a family outing in Laiya, Batangas, Philippines… I’ve noticed something sweet being sold by the locals on the shores of the beach. Out of curiosity, I came to know by the vendor that it’s called “Pakumbo” or “Pacombo”

pakumbo on the beach

“Pakumbo” is a sweet delicacy with the use of young coconut meat strands as its main ingredient and boiled in coconut juice with brown sugar until done with its translucent form. It is usually recognized for its packaging in a dried banana bark. Locally known and sold in the beaches and nearby towns in the provinces of Batangas and Aurora, Philippines. 

pakumbo vendor

It is sometimes mistaken as “Bukayo”, only that it is served in a dried banana bark and not on the leaf. Nowadays, this yummy treat have evolved with different twist and flavors like being added with ripe langka (jackfruit) strips, peanut, and cashew nuts.

Photos taken by: Sukito San

food moments: DUHAT

duhat

Duhat is a local Philippine fruit which is oval in shape and has a dark purple and almost black in color. It is also referred as Java Plum.

Whenever I am having a taste of this sweet-like fruit, I used to remember how we climbed up to the Duhat tree in the backyard with it spreading branches just to pick and collect more of its one-seeded fruit in a basket when my friends and I were young back in the days. After that, we’re going to put the collected duhat inside a closed container, sprinkle it with rock salt… then slightly shaking it for a while. Grabbing some and enjoying the taste of it with my folks. Others just dip it in rock salt if they don’t want to do the “shaking thing”.

Food isn’t really all about satisfying your tummy but leaving you a lasting memory to laugh about with your friends.

Photo by: Sukito San

food moment: NEW YEAR TABLE

New Year Table

New Year Fruits

Celebrating New Year with just delicious food isn’t enough if you’re not sharing and eating it with your loved ones. It’s really your family and friends that you’re dining with… on your New Year’s table that counts.

New Year Cake

Welcoming 2014 with a bang! Happy Bountiful New Year!

Photos by: Sukito San

food moment: CAKE AND DONUTS… A Halloween Treat!

halloween cake

donuts

Thank you for the cake and donuts that set the mood for our little Halloween treat!

Filipinos doesn’t usually celebrate Halloween in a party way. Instead, we spend it in a day of prayer for the loved ones who passed away and visiting the cemetery. But, as the time went by, pinoys tend to adopt the Western culture of celebrating the said holiday in a colorful and festive way wherein colorful and different costumes were worn by the party goers while spending it in a happy mood and not in a too much serious manner. Other subdivisions in town have organized a “Trick or Treat” event within their whole neighborhood.

halloween party

Anyway, in our part… our family used to do it the traditional way with prayers and the like. Yet, at the end the day… we chose to celebrate it in a festive mood. So, we’ve organized a Halloween party unexpectedly for the kids in our mini-family reunion. Since, we have no time in cooking extravagant dishes… we just bought a Halloween cake and lots of colorful donuts that will surely make the kids crave for it. It was such an instant and quickie party but it turned out to be a very enjoyable and memorable celebration that tightened our quality family bonding time with some fun games on the side.

Happy Halloween!

Photos by: Sukito San

food feature: SUGARCANE or “TUBO”

sugarcane

“Sugarcane” commonly known in the Philippines as “Tubo” is native to tropical regions of South Asia and the primary source of sugar around the world aside from sugar beets. Sugar which is extracted from its fibrous and jointed stalks and when fermented can produce ethanol which is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Its scientific name is “Saccharum” and was among  in the species and family of tall grasses which is perennial or sturdy enough to survive while being the largest crop that grows 6 up to 19 feet tall. The global demand for sugar reinforces the sugarcane agriculture to be primarily driven into priority. The main product from sugarcane is sucrose which is an organic compound and popularly known as table sugar. Brazil was the biggest producer of sugarcane in the world followed by India, China, Thailand, Pakistan and Mexico. The Philippines is also a sugar-producing country… and sugarcane is widely grown in the islands of Luzon, Mindanao, Negros and Panay. Sugarcane crop is sensitive to the type of soil, irrigation, climate and its harvest period depending on its varieties as well as the fertilizers used in its growing stage.

SUGARCANE  JUICE

tubo

When I was a kid, we were taught to have a taste of sugarcane juice by means of chewing. The stalks were chopped for about 12 inches as the rind was then removed. Next, its internal tissues were bitten then sucked while being chewed and spitting out the pulp afterwards.  Presently, you don’t have to do it the hard way as that. it is now commercially available in malls particularly in “CARICA” stalls, wherein the juice from the sugarcane were naturally extracted with the use of sugarcane machine for cane processing and pressing then placed in a bottle for a more comfortable consumption as a plain beverage without the chewing part. Plus the fact that the said juice is free from any chemicals, artificial food color and flavoring.

sugarcane in mall

Drinking sugarcane juice have many health benefits such as an alternative remedy for sore throat and flu. It’s good for our digestive system which can prevent constipation due to its rich potassium content. It also decreases our body’s bad cholesterol which in return can refresh and energize us. To add up, it can strengthen our stomach, kidney and heart. Best of all, it can help us prevent and fight cancer because of it’s being alkaline in nature. Moreover, it hydrates our body quickly. Regular intake of its juice can naturally boost our immune system, improve our intestinal health, breaks kidney stones and prevents hypertension to name a few. Drinking  a delicious and natural sugarcane juice can give you a healthy and sweet life ahead!

Photos by: Sukito San

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarcane

http://www.netafim.com/article/sugarcane–philippines

http://beautyhealthtips.in/best-health-benefits-of-drinking-sugarcane-juice/

food moment: UBE MACAPUNO ROLL

ube macapuno roll

I am not really into celebrating my birthday in an extravagant way. For me, It’s an enough gift that I’ll always see my family in good health and that we are all living harmoniously. I didn’t expect that my nephew named, Jai Jai, would surprise me by presenting his birthday present to me on my special day. He got near to me as I came home and showed me what’s on the table. It’s an “Ube Macapuno Roll” from Red Ribbon with a written birthday greeting on it and with six little lit candles on top of it plus six faces of smileys made of white icing which adds cuteness to the cake. Of course, he’s just the one who presented it to me. But, it’s actually his parent’s idea to give it to me.

cake blow

Another funny moment that goes along with that cake roll whenever I see one was that as my nephew presented the cake to me, he asked me that he wanted to be the one to blow it for me. By the way, my 5-year old nephew has this habit of blowing candles on any cake he sees. And yup, he did succeed of blowing the six candles on the cake! 

Photos by: Sukito San

food review: CHOWKING’s ORANGE CHICKEN

Chowking's Orange Chicken

One meal included in Chowking restaurant’s menu caught my attention if it really taste good as a food combination.  So, as a certified foodie… I have to try it out!

In one of their restaurant branches, I ordered their “Orange Chicken rice Meal with drink” for one person. They gave me a number in the counter and ask me to wait for it for some few minutes. Well, while waiting for my order… I just observe how their crews move and accommodate their customers. I can say that they were courteous yet fully occupied with some task. Finally, my order was served after 16 minutes of waiting. It’s quite a long wait but excusable because the food was served hot enough to be eaten and with a little apology plus a smile from the service crew who brought me my order. Aside from the fact, that I can see that the lines on their counter were longer and that there’s still many arriving customers.

Here’s my verdict for the food, I didn’t expect that a combination of the light sweetness and slight sourness of the orange taste well with the chicken. The chicken is rightly cooked and tender enough to be chewed. Although, the meal was served with few slices of the chicken meat. But, the sauce in the “Orange Chicken” compliments the chicken meat and the orange carpels and it really tastes good. I have to admit that my taste buds loved it. Moreover, it fits to be a viand on plain rice or even on fried rice… knowing that Filipinos cannot have a complete meal without rice. I’m happy that I’ve tried tasting it. Yup, why would “Chowking” include it on their menu if it’s not yummy. I should say that they’ve added an asset meal on their menu.

All I can say is that, if pineapple goes well with chicken in “Pininyahang Manok“, why not an orange with chicken!

Photo by: Sukito San

food trivia: “SAWSAW”… BREAD DIPPED IN COFFEE

bread dipping by sukito

If Americans dip their cookies in milk before they consume it like in an “oreo television commercial”… Filipinos have also their version of doing it, and that is “sawsaw ng tinapay sa mainit na kape” or bread dipped in hot coffee before eating it and drinking the coffee afterwards. Guilty as charged… I am doing it too!

When we were young, we usually see our elderly, our parents and grandparents dip their bread particularly “pandesal” in their hot coffee (with cream or black) every breakfast. They commonly call it as “sawsaw“, a Filipino term which means “to dip“. Traditionally, this manner of eating was passed on from many generations of our families and turned out to be a part of our culture by how Filipinos, wayback since the Spanish times until now consumes their bread and coffee every morning. Research also stated that it is the “aristocratic” way of how Spanish have their breakfast wherein they dip their “churros” which is a Spanish fried doughnut in hot chocolate or “café con leche“, which means “coffee with milk”… and that is why Filipinos tend to adopt it and apply it in the food they eat. With this way of eating for many years usually of common “pinoys“, dipping bread in coffee became one of the identity trademark of Filipinos when it comes to food consumption and also earned its spot to be a part of our “pinoy” culture and tradition as it was being adopted along the Philippines’ rich history up to the present day.

Another reason that can also be associated with “sawsaw” is that it adds flavor to the bread when dipped in coffee… especially when there’s no available  spread on the table. But nowadays, pinoy folks still dip their bread even with butter or margarine on it which makes it more tasteful. In fact, the bitterness of the coffee compliments the sweetness of the bread. In addition, the old ones, our grandparents, loves dipping their bread in hot coffee because it softens the bread and it does enable them to consume it easily because of the fact that elders have this difficulty in swallowing their food as they age or should I say… as we all are. Others say that its hard to drink their coffee while it’s still hot, so they dip in their bread to lessen the hotness of coffee as they consume it with a taste of their bread at the same time. Well, a good way of time management for busy people. In rural areas, the dipping of bread in hot coffee were usually done with some body formation or eating it accompanied with a habit which is bending your one leg up on the chair while your heel lays flat on the seater.

Anyway, it’s ironic how a simple habit that was imitated turned out to be a viral custom and became a part of one country’s culture even if it really wasn’t originated from that particular place. Actually, we have the freedom to eat anyway we want as long as it satisfy our hunger while sharing our food or eating it with someone whom we love or having a good company with while munching.

Enjoy eating and happy dipping!

Photo taken by: Sukito San

food moment: MALANDI and MAYABANG Bread

     Whenever I am having these two breads, ‘Malandi” and  “Mayabang”, as merienda every afternoon or for breakfast with coffee or juice on the side, I can’t help myself but laugh a little and smile. It does not only take away my hunger but also removes my stress in down moments just by remembering the names of these pastries. It’s like you’re eating the most flirtatious and the most arrogant food in town. Although their aliases doesn’t necessarily speak for their tastes and characteristics. In fact, it presents itself  humbly which were being sold in small bakeries and not in extravagant stores.

     “Malandi” is a Filipino term for “Flirt” and “Mayabang” is a Filipino term for “Arrogant”. Actually, I have no idea if why these two local Pinoy breads where named that way. I see no connection aside from their distinctive colors. The “malandi” bread has this red color of spread in the middle while the “mayabang” bread has this bluish violet spread within it. These oval pastries which is as the size of any ordinary bread specifically the “pandesal” tastes sweet and yummy at the same time. They were sold in small bakeries in town and it can’t be seen in any branded or commercial bakeshop. You can buy them for the price of two pesos each (Php 2.00). Presently, their names have evolved and were seldom called this way anymore. Filipinos has really this weird, funny, and humorous ways of naming anything under the sun most especially with the native food found in our country. For me, this behavior of giving funny names only shows the happy side of being a Filipino despite its economic problems which is now in the process of recovery.

     The “Malandi” and “Mayabang” bread is definitely not only good tasting but fun tasting at the same time. It’s a classic pastry which will make you smile every bite. Happy eating 🙂

(Photos taken by: Sukito)

food moment: SPUTNIK BREAD

Sputnik bread is a classic Filipino bread that can be usually bought in a small type bakery. This bread is quite hard to be found right now especially in famous or branded bakeries or in those famous bread and pastries store in the mall. But, you can still afford to buy this for two pesos (Php 2.00) in some local bakeries in the streets… if you’re lucky enough to find it. Presently, this pingpong ball-shaped bread has evolved into different and updated name like “mushroom”, wherein they share the same appearance and size. I also think that the name of this bread, “Sputnik”, as well as its form was derived or originated from the “Sputnik satellite”, which is also round in shape and the first artificial satellite that was placed into Earth’s orbit. If you’ll asked me about the taste, it’s milky and luscious at the same time… that is why I like eating this bread when I was young.

   

Well, since I’ve had it featured in my food moments entry.. it means that I have an unforgettable experience with this pastry. I was eight years old then when my mom asked me to buy some of these bread in the bakery nearby our place. So I did! When I’ve had it with me and I was about to get back home, I did not notice that there’s one dog following me at the back. When I am about to run, the dog started to chase me down… and so I fell. When I woke up, as far as I can remember… I was in a tricycle on my mom’s lap heading our way to the hospital. They panicked because they told me that I am unconscious for more than five minutes. When I got into the hospital, they’ve had me checked. The doctor said that a hard object hit my head which made me unconscious and gave me a head wound and injury. Of course, it’s not the sputnik! We later found out that it was the exposed head of a big nail in the wooden pathway where I fell that hit me and left a scar on my head (notice the scar in the upper back part of my head). At the end, I turned out to be fine and recovered. While the “sputnik” bread were left scattered all over the pathway as that dog ate all of it. Maybe, it’s the fault of the bread! That is why the dog followed and chased me because it was tempted of the bread’s luscious smell. Aside from the fact that I’ve bought it fresh from the oven. After that event, I still love eating “sputnik”!

By the way, I just noticed that my head looks like “sputnik” in the picture. haha 😀

(Photos taken by: Sukito)  

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