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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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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Guigutan: Nibbles

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Capampangan, Filipino, Flora, Know Thy Food | 11 comments

guigutan gigutan mais corn peanuts banana sagin snacks nibbles morsels
We Filpinos are known to be constantly eating. Aside from the three full meals, we snack in between. There are different kinds of snacks, from the light to the heavy ones, which seem to be meals in themselves.

Today we look at one type of snack, which I had always found curious because it is not really to assuage hunger or to nourish oneself. The term we use in Capampangan is ‘guigut’ (pronounced ‘ghee-goot’) and the Tagalog equivalent is ‘kutkot’ but not to be confused with the Capampanan ‘cutcut’ which means ‘bury’ or ‘to bury’. This kind of eating is something you do to while away time. The way I have come to understand it, it is social eating on one end, similar to eating finger food while mingling at cocktails. At the other extreme, it can lead to compulsive eating, when one cannot watch a movie or read a book without nibbling on something.

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The sisig of yore

Posted by on Jul 3, 2012 in Capampangan, Pork | 10 comments

Capampangan Kapampangan sisig

Mention Capampangan food nowadays and the first thing that comes to people’s minds is sisig but probably, what they know is what I call the modern sizzling sisig. To add insult to injury, the sisig served in restaurants isn’t even sour. Many times have I tasted something that more closely resembles our palaman torta or the pork filling for omelettes.

Just to refresh our memories, sisig is the generic Capampangan term for something sour and eaten by itself. These could be naturally acidic unripe fruits – mangoes, guavas, tamarind – or those that are dipped in vinegar like manibalang papaya or even sicamas.

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East Meets West: Bistig Damulag

Posted by on Aug 28, 2010 in Beef, Capampangan, Stir-Fry | 10 comments

The other night, my Mom and I were in San Fernando and had a buffet dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Balé Capampangan. As always, their spread was something not for the faint-hearted but since we are regulars, I searched for those that I seldom saw and found a few that I liked (more about them in the coming posts).

This morning, my Mom was back at the restaurant for a meeting and before she left the place, she SMS’d if I wanted her to bring home a dish or two to take pictures of (yes, she knows I blog about food). I told her nothing of the usual and she did not disappoint. One of the dishes she came home with was bistig damulag. I seldom have this since the meat isn’t sold in marketplaces everyday.

What then is this bistig damulag? Like many of our Filipino dishes, this is another example of the inherent fusion that results when an archipelago such as ours is situated in a very strategic place, the islands having seen many waves of migration both from indigenous cultures and from more alien adventurers, both from the East and the West.

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Extended meal planning

Posted by on Jan 18, 2009 in Capampangan, The Pilgrim Ponders | 4 comments

Mom and aunties scanning the restaurant's four menu offerings.

Mom and aunties scanning the restaurant's four menu offerings.

January is a month of birthdays for family and friends. I have at least five friends celebrating it this month. There’s one auntie and a cousin. Of course there’s yours truly too. It is like extending the Christmas feast for a month, the way things are going.

On the 15th was Auntie Dinah’s birthday. It has been sixteen (16) years she was home from Madrid and since she flew in on 19 December, was eagerly sampling native fare. Where would it be the place to take her than in a restaurant with native cuisine? Off we went to San Fernando and had a sumptuous lunch. Like any Saplala dine-out, we had the waiters scurrying to and from our table with requests for extra knives, saucers, condiments and whatever else made a meal more enjoyable.

True to form, as soon as we started on the dessert, they started planning for the next meal, the next day’s breakfast and eating out when my Auntie Vicky and Uncle Bert would fly in this month. Why true to form? That’s because planning the next meal and the next day’s meals is something we seem to do as a family when we get together. Not that it takes a reunion to accomplish that. My late grandmother used to start dinner cooking as soon as lunch was done.

Of course that was meant to be economical – not to waste the heat from the firewood while it was going. But in this age of automatic gas ranges and microwave ovens? Well, it is probably our way of keeping Lola’s traditions alive and of course, to better enjoy our time together.

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