Suman Bulagta Forever!

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Capampangan, Filipino, Rice | 1 comment


The Christmases of my childhood are memorable for the variety of rice cakes that we had, most of which were given by relatives and friends. From the barrios of pangulû were brought different calamé and suman tílî.

At home on Christmas Eve, my grandmother would sit down and make the ‘easier’ suman bulagta (suman sa lihiya in Tagalog). I was the one designated assistant to cut and wipe the banana leaves, measure the lijia (lye water) and arrange the wrapped rice in the clay pot, ready to be cooked on the wood-burning stove. The last time I did that was 27 years ago.

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Heirloom recipes cooking contests

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Filipino, The Pilgrim Ponders | 0 comments


Two days, two cooking contests! One in Quezon City and the other in my quaint and lovely hometown. In both cases, I – together with other members of the respective panels – had the less stressful but no less difficult role of judging entries that were cooked on-the-spot.

The first contest, Lutong Rotarian 2012, was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Quezon City (R.I. District 3780). It had two parts. The first was a showcase of the participants’s heritage recipes, the dishes that have been in their families through generations.

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Indigenising shawarma?!

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in Filipino, The Pilgrim Ponders | 0 comments

Just like how I only watch the news on TV which does not help in updating me with pop culture, I am almost the same with food trends, a bit adventurous but I do not really feel the necessity to always catch up with what’s ‘in’. Perhaps it is ingrained because the way we were brought up, if we wanted to eat something, we would cook it at home, even if it was more convenient to just buy it from the corner store.

In any case, I was a bit intrigued with the sign at one of the local food courts the other day. ‘Shawarma rice’ had me conjuring visions of meat wrapped in a pitta bread with rice pilaf on the side. Or given a Filipino twist, would the rice be integrated into the meat and stuffed into the pitta bread? Then it would resemble a Tex-Mex burrito, albeit with a different flavour palate.

It was none of that.

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A Variation to Pacu Salad

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Filipino, Flora, Veggie Delights | 0 comments

Pretty soon it will be obvious that I have become very fond of our edible ferns. They have been quite easy to grow and we get to pick their tips (what we eat) almost everyday.

There is a standard pacu salad served in restaurants and this is not it. I will post it sometime in the future. This one is a variation that I made up, remembering how my grandmother would add sua (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis, suha in Tagalog, pomelo or pummelo in English) in our vegetable salads, when the fruit was in season.

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Post-flood marketing

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Filipino, Flora, The Pilgrim Ponders | 0 comments


The sun is out, the waters have receded. The streets are almost dry, it is time to pick up the pieces of our soggy lives.

For the first time in a week, I went to the marketplace. Life goes on, but it is gloomy, far from the usual pace of Sunday. I didn’t plan to buy much – the freezer is still well-stocked – just the usual things we run out of.

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Luntiang Lunes: Ensaladang Pacu (Fiddlehead Fern Salad)

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012 in Capampangan, Fruits, Veggie Delights | 8 comments

mango tomato

The main objective of Luntiang Lunes is to adopt healthy dietary habits, which includes eating more vegetables. This shouldn’t be much of a problem in agricultural Philippines but the reality is, our contemporary eating habits have become so skewed towards high meat consumption that we are now considered the country in Asia that has the lowest consumption of vegetables.

What a difference this is from two generations ago when we ate more fish and vegetables! It would be interesting to trace what factors affected this radical shift in consumption patterns. Off the top of my head, I suspect that one reason was how advances in agricultural technology led to meat becoming more affordable and easier to cook (younger pigs & chickens slaughtered = less tough).

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