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My connection with Filipino food is tumultuous. The food is complex in and of itself. It includes centuries of outside influences from pre-colonial Chinese trading, 333 years of Spanish colonial control, 50 years under the American flag, and then a few years of Japanese occupation via force of circumstance and survival.

The ingredients and foods I had grown up eating took a backseat when I immigrated to the United States in my 30s to the universe of international cuisines that were suddenly available to me. Within a few miles of my home in Dallas, where I currently reside, great chefs produce Arabic, Lao, American BBQ, among other cuisines.

But after living here for almost ten years, I find that I miss the tastes of home. The snacks and beverages offered at Filipino grocery stores are a practical and material means to satisfy the ravenous beast of longing and nostalgia.

Calamansi, pineapple, or mango juice combined with sweet tea can be found in chilly pitchers at summer gatherings in the sweltering Texas heat. When I visit Filipino friends, I bring zipped bags of pasalubong home that are full with tablea, polvoron, or chocnut tsokolate that can be heated up and enjoyed with ensaimada.

Filipino Americans are not as numerous per square mile in the Dallas area as they are in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Therefore, it is not as easy to access the variety of our cuisine, but it is still possible. Every time I’m in Houston, southern California, Chicago, or Seattle, I visit a Filipino supermarket. Alternately, I travel to Woodside in New York City to put together a care package of Filipino food for myself and to give with other longing Filipinos.

The crinkle of a snack bag, an open mouth exchanging chismis, the chew of merienda, and the slurp of juice from the bottom of a can are, to me, the sounds that mark the beginning of bonds, both then and now. Because, in reality, nothing tastes quite like home.

Our preferred snacks and beverages

Saltine biscuits

The Philippines does not have wheat farms. So how did a wheat cracker become so ingrained in society? U.S. colonisation brought this incredibly transportable blank canvas of a snack to the Philippine beaches between the late 19th and the 1940s. Even the SkyFlakes brand’s unique red, white, and blue packaging alludes to its American history. Sunflower Crackers and Magic Flakes from Croley Foods are two further well-known brands.

Often referred to as “biskwet,” as in biscuit, you can purchase the basic variety to be spread with anything you like or choose the sandwich version, which is filled with cream fillings. I particularly like spreading guava jam or butter on top of saltines with Spanish sardines.

Pandesal

The staple food of the Filipino people is pandesal. The bread in the Philippines is known as “pot-pot” because it is frequently sold by neighbourhood bakeries and bicycle vendors who honk their horns in unmistakable fashion.

Their light crust crackles at the slightest pressure and includes a pillowy interior that can have both sweet and savoury flavours. They are powdered with yesterday’s pandesal crumbs. The spreads and fillings for pandesal are frequently coconut jam, Cheez Whiz, Star margarine, or butter dusted with sugar. Alternatively, you could just eat it plain or dunk it in coffee or tsokolate.

Its viral progeny, the ube cheese pandesal, which has a royal purple tint and a savoury cheese filling, is currently sold in some places.

Canton of Lucky Me Pancit

An iconic Filipino cuisine with Chinese origins, Lucky Me Pancit Canton is a packed, ready-to-eat version of this dish. This was the flavour of my teen years in the 1990s—a milder, more savoury variation of Asian instant stir-fry noodles. A quick and satisfying merienda, or midnight snack, can be made by tossing in a chop suey of vegetables or topping it with a protein-rich crispy fried egg.

My favourite Lucky Me Pancit Canton flavour is the original, but it also comes in calamansi, chili-mansi, and hot chile variants.

Polvoron

There are variations of this buttery shortbread cookie prepared with nut flour, butter, sugar, and spices that may be found throughout all of Spain’s former colonies. The sweet treat is a Filipino speciality prepared with toasted wheat flour, powdered milk, sugar, and butter. Since it is never baked, it lacks the crunchy exterior shell of many of its colonial relatives. It is toasted in a pan as opposed to being compressed into an aluminium mould and then customarily wrapped in cellophane.

There are ube, cookies and cream, and coffee flavours available, but I like the original or pinipig Goldilocks varieties.

Palagi or samalamig

The sweet drinks known as samalamig or palamig fall under this category. They are the Filipino equivalent to aguas frescas and are frequently marketed in vitrolero or 3- or 5-gallon jars. They are created from the juices of tropical fruits, sweetened liquids, and milk-based mixtures. Samalamig or palamig are mostly used to relieve heat.

You can purchase individual pieces in cans or Tetra Paks in your neighbourhood Filipino grocery shop, however you might not find them in the same enormous sizes. The most popular brands are Gina and Philippine Brand, which have flavours like mango, calamansi, guava, guyabano or soursop, and four seasons, a combination of four juices.

Cornicks

Corn is used to make cornicks, a crunchy, salty, and addictive delicacy that is not native to the Philippines. Another New World gift that was adapted to the Philippines’ terrain and dining settings is the cornick. A particular type of corn is cut off the cob, cooked, dried, fried into puffy globules, and salted before consumption. As pulutan or bar snacks, Cornicks go well with soda for merienda or a chilled bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen.

Boy Bawang, or “garlic boy,” is the most widely used cornicks brand. It is proof of how much we adore garlic, even in our snacks.

Hopia

Hopia, a sweet pastry that is available in two varieties—flaky hockey pucks or chewy cubes stuffed with a variety of mashed beans and vegetables—shows off the Chinese influence on Filipino food. Monggo, also known as mung beans, pulang monggo, also known as red beans, ube, kondol, or winter melon, and baboy, or pork combined with winter melon, are traditional fillings. Ube-cheese hopias are also available, similar to pandesal. The sweet hopia baboy and diced hopia pulang monggo, however, are my favourites. Older Chinese-Filipino bakery companies like Eng Bee Tin and Cebu La Fortuna Bakery can still be found in stores and online.

Cacao Nut

Choc Nut is a combination of peanut butter and chocolate that has been given its unique flavour. It is neither a peanut butter bar nor a chocolate bar. For many of us who grew up in the Philippines in the 1980s and 1990s, the crumbly, gritty peanut texture and sweet chocolate flavour bring back fond memories. The iconic white-and-red striped packaging serves as a recall of the times when friends and I would share Choc Nuts we bought for a few pesos at the sari-sari store in Tinelas. Hany, a more recent brand of candy that is strikingly similar to Choc Nut, was created in the early 2010s, allegedly as a result of a change in ownership. Those with discriminating palates say they can tell the difference between the two.

Tsokolate Tablea

It’s time to break out the Filipino hot beverage of choice when the weather gets chilly: a mug of steaming, creamy tsokolate. These chocolate tablets are available in Filipino grocery stores. To use, simply mix them with hot milk or water after the chocolate has dissolved.

This hot beverage is another holdover from the nation’s earlier alliance with Mexico; however, the Filipino version lacks chile and cinnamon. Cocoa, sugar, perhaps a dash of powdered milk, plus a tonne of love make up tsokolate.

Ensaimada

Another delectable legacy of Spanish colonisation is ensaimada. Its butter, margarine, or lard-based dough is coiled into the shape of a snail and has a rich, sweet, brioche-like texture. In comparison to its Mallorcan cousin, which has a more melt-in-your-mouth quality, the Filipino counterpart is breadier and chewier.

Ensaimada is frequently covered in butter or margarine, sugar, and processed cheese that Americans have imported to the Philippines. Toasted, pressed, and served with a cup of strong tsokolate are how I like mine best. The most well-known Philippine bakery brands that sell ensaimadas in the United States are Red Ribbon Bakery or Goldilocks.

Where to find Filipino food and beverages

Most notably Los Angeles and San Francisco, big Californian cities are home to 29% of the 4.2 million Filipinos who live in the United States. These markets are the location of specialty Filipino markets that sell all of these snacks and beverages—and even more—such as Island Pacific or Seafood City.

You can go to Woodside, Queens in New York City, which is home to the street that has been dubbed Little Manila Avenue in honour of the significant Filipino population there.

Look for Asian navigate to the closest grocery store like 99 Ranch or H-Mart, which carry these items on a special Filipino aisle, in other parts of the country. If you’re unable to accomplish that, Say Weee is a fantastic alternative for getting Filipino goods delivered right to your door.

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Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan CEO at blogili.com. Have 4 years of experience in the websites field. Uneeb Khan is the premier and most trustworthy informer for technology, telecom, business, auto news, games review in World.

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