Today, I am writing about the different kinds of merienda, kakanin (snacks) here in the Philippines. I think that we can make a lot of different kinds of snacks here in the Philippines that are unheard of elsewhere. The names of our marienda alone are not common. Oh well, the thing is that it tastes good. Maybe some of you who are married to a Filipina already are familiar with these snacks that I am going to mention. For those of you Filipinos that grew up abroad you may have never heard of them or you hear them only when there is a Filipino party.
I remember when we used to have parties in the States. A lot of my Pinay friends brought a Filipino dish for our potluck party. We would be thrilled over it. The dish would be gone in an instant. I remember one of our friend made a good cassava cake. Every party she really made sure to bring the cassava cake! As if she’s already expected to bring it. Like I remember when one party that she attended and she didn’t bring the cassava cake because she can’t find the main ingredient (the cassava), my gosh we really were so disappointed that she didn’t bring it. We didn’t blame her, its just that we already felt that cassava cake was her thing to bring. I guess we just were hungry for the Filipino snacks.
To be honest with you I am not good in making our native snacks. My siblings are good at it. When they come to the house for a visit we always make some and I help them. Especially the tasting. You know they need to have somebody to taste if its good or not.
My siblings and nieces know how to make most of this kakanin. I think the only things we haven’t made ourselves are sapin-sapin and kutsinta.
We have Ginataan – it is compose of coconut milk, brown sugar, sweet potatoes (kamote), sliced banana, jackfruit, rice and ground rice (formed into little balls), sagu (round thing looks like tiny colorful Christmas ornaments it makes the ginataan so colorful), some people put small slices of ube. Some people put some slices of young coconut. Personally I don’t like it, but others like it.
The suman – One of the famous kakanin here in the Philippines. Its made of coconut milk, cooked sweet rice (the sticky kind), a little bit of salt, brown sugar or muscovado sugar. Wrapped all up in a banana leaf. Put in the pot and cook, boil it for about an hour. Yummy.
Biko – is another famous kakanin here. Prepared similarly to the suman. Mix the coconut milk and the sugar and simmer for a long time until the mixture gets sticky, then scoop the cooked sticky rice in the batter until not much liquid left, then cover it with a banana leaf. Biko is really good with hot tabliya.
Bibingka - it has coconut milk, sugar and of course the ground sticky rice (in Mindanao we call it Pilit). Mix all the ingredients and put the batter into like a muffin pan with a banana leaf to pour the batter with. Cook in a oven similar with the pizza oven that the fire its top and bottom, cook until its brown or some the top will crack. The only person in my family that can make a good and delicious bibingka is my aunt. I like to eat bibingka its really yummy.
Sapin-sapin - Here’s another snacks that is made of ground sticky rice. I think here in the Philippines a lot of the snacks are made out of sticky rice (pilit). The batter can be a color of purple, yellow, white. Really any color that you feel like making. Be careful with it though because of the stickiness it can choke you.
Kutsinta – I think this is made out of flour and brown sugar. Steamed to cook in a muffin mold. Served with mixture of sugar and grated coconut on top. Or just grated coconut. Really good too.
Bananacue or Banana-Q - To cook the banana-q it can be fried or grilled. To fry deep it, put it in the hot oil then when in a few minutes of frying put some brown sugar on the banana in the oil and stir for awhile until the sugar will stick to the banana. Put it in the skewers just like BBQ and it is ready to eat. To grill, heat the grill to not so hot so that the banana will not burn right away. Put the banana in the skewer then put in the heated grill when it gets brown in all sides. Brush with margarine or butter and dip in white sugar. Its yummy.
Kamote-cue – The way to cook it, is just same as the fried banana. You can also boil the kamote and dip it with sugar or some bagoong. Kamote french fries are really good too.
Turon – Slice the banana into half and wrapped it with the lumpia wrapper then fry it. Some people will put some jackfruit inside with the banana before wrapping it in the lumpia wrapper.
Palitaw - Sugar and pilit mixture form like a cookie then dropped into the boiling water. When its floating in the boiling water then its cooked already. To serve dip it in the sugar and coconut mixture.
Nilupak or Niluyang – Boil the not ripe banana in the pan. When it is cooked peel the banana and put it in the mortar and pestle with the sugar and grated coconut, and grind it. I am not sure what it is called up the in Luzon area.
Cassava cake – A grated cassava ( kamoteng kahoy or balanghoy), sugar, coconut milk and some other ingredients. Here in Davao we usually purchase this cassava cake at one of the places here in the mall. Its really good.
Puto – Some puto are made of sticky rice and some are made of cassava. I like both of them. With the cassava you have to have liquid when eating the cassava puto. It can choke you to death.
I hope I didn’t make my kababayan hungry by reading this column. Sorry guys I just like to share with all of you what we have here so that you guys will not forget. I’m sure some of you readers here tasted some of this kakanin here in the Philippines. If you didn’t taste it yet try them, you might like it.
Have fun eating!