Tuesday, December 28, 2010


tapay (ta-páy; Maranao snack) [n.] fermented rice in leaf wrapper. It is prepared using ordinary rice that is boiled (either in plain water or in coconut milk) in a process similar to cooking kanin (cooked rice). Some yeast is added to the freshly cooked rice, and then it is molded into a big mound and allowed to cool and ferment for one to two days in a deep platter or any covered container. It is kept undisturbed until it starts to ferment. 

The ongoing fermentation process would cause tapay to emit a liquor-like odor and taste. A scoop of tapay is taken out and spread on a freshly cut banana leaf (or the wide leaves of alum tree). It is spread thin and flattened well into a big square or rectangular shape. The leaf is then folded on both ends to serve as wrapper. Fermentation continues in the folded leaf.

A serving of tapay (click photo to enlarge image).
To serve tapay, the leaf is opened and the tapay inside it is transferred into a deep bowl. A milk solution is prepared using chilled coconut cream (if not available, chilled fresh milk or evaporated milk is used) some amount of crushed ice (or pieces of cube ice or tube ice will do) is added with some condensed milk as sweetener. The ice-cold milk solution is poured in the bowl and mixed well with the tapay. Then tiyolo (pounded roasted grated coconut meat) with brown sugar is added in the mixture to give tapay a distinct aroma and flavor.

When done, tapay is all ready to be eaten. If it is your first time to have tapay, you would mistook its smell as that of spoiled rice, especially if tiyolo is not yet added in the mixture. But it is not spoiled at all. It is the natural smell of the fermenting rice. 

When tasted, it is sweetish and has distinct smell and taste of liquor, which is actually the lace of alcohol produced by the tapay’s fermentation process.

Photos show tapay wrapped in alum leaves. These ones are sold in the Pier Area in Cotabato City
A Muslim Maranao selling tapay at the entrance gate of the Golden Mosque in Quiapo Manila during the observance of Eid al Fitr or the end of Ramadan or Maulidin Nabi.

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Monday, December 27, 2010


also spelled as pariya in Maranao

paria - (pa-ri-yá; Maranao vegetable) [n.] green tomatillo-shaped variety of bitter gourd. Because of its shape, it is often mistaken as tomato.

This could be the shortest, smallest kind of ampalaya (bitter gourd) in the world. Yet, it tastes much bitter than the usual long ampalaya we can find in the grocery and public markets or even than that of the Ilocano native small-sized ampalaya.

It is cooked basically the same way as in cooking the long variety of ampalaya we regularly saw in the market in Visayas and Luzon.

Paria is grown and cultivated in the farms in Marawi City and nearby towns in Lanao del sur and Maguindanao provinces.

A Maranao vegetable vendor readies packs of paria in his stall nearby the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila. He got his supply directly from Marawi City in Lanao del sur.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

pancit bato

pancit bato[n.] Bicolano flat dry noodles.

Ordinarily, it is yellowish in color when uncooked, and it requires gentle handling as it easily breaks and crumbles to pressure but pliant and soft in texture when cooked.

Ideally, this noodle is cooked into a soupy dish with the conventional sahog and vegetable just like the way miki noodle is cooked.

It is called bato because this noodle first originated in the municipality of Bato, Camarines Sur and is still manufactured there. It weighs just like the usual miki noodle.

Stacks of pancit bato sold in the Public Market of Naga City.

When storing, keep this noodle away from moisture or getting wet, as it would easily grows molds when moistened or wet. Do not also expose it long to open air and direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure would cause the noodle to become brown or even darker in color.

All photos by Edgie Polistico

For more about Pinoy foods, see also my OPEN & FREE food dictionary.

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seaweed noodles

seaweed noodles (se-wed nó-dol) [n.] a pancit (noodles) made from seaweed. 

This thick rounded noodle is rich in calcium, magnesium and iodine. Uncooked seaweed noodles is dry, stiff and would crumble to pressure. 

It can be cooked into pancit canton, bam-i, guisadong pancit, pancit luglug, spaghetti or carbonara. This noodle has been manufactured and popularized by the Bicolano seaweed pancit makers in Tiwi, Albay in 2008.

Balls of spun seaweed noodles sold in the grocery section of SM Makati.
The varied color is the result of adding some ground vegetables as additional ingredients in the production. Added vegetable means added nutrients and vitamins.


Varieties of seaweed noodles include malunggay (moringa), beets, carrots and kalabasa (squash)

All photos by Edgie Polistico


linga cookies

a.k.a. longa in Davaoeño

linga cookies (li-ngá; Davaoeño pastry) [n.] sesame seeds cookie. 

A flat circular-shaped brown cookie that is sprinkled with lots of sesame seeds all over the top.

Linga cookies in Davao City

Sesame seeds is called linga in Tagalog and Cebuano. Thus, the name linga cookies. It is good if paired with hot coffee or softdrink (soda)

Mini-linga (a.k.a. mini-longa) cookies in Digos City, Davao del Sur

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indong or ubod in Cebuano and Boholano
sili in Hiligaynon (Ilonggo)
kasili in Bicolano & Waray
kamidling in Palaweño
a.k.a. palos in Tagalog and Bulaqueño

igat  - (i-gat; Tagalog, Pampangueño (Capampangan), Pangasinense, Ilocano, Maranao and Maguindanao sea fish) [n.] seawater eel. The species of eel found in the sea. Igat is good if fried or grilled. 

In Pangasinan and Cebu provinces, igat is made into tuyo (sundried).

The name igat and palos are often times confused and used interchangeably in Luzon, particularly in the  southern Tagalog region. In Bulacan, the sea eel is called particularly as the palos while the freshwater eel is called igat.

big-sized igat are laid on the ground by fish traders at the Zamboanga City Public Market.

Igat sold in Seaside Paluto Restaurants and Market along Daang Hari road in Brgy. Almanza Dos, Las Piñas City.

See also igat (dried and fried)

All photos by Edgie Polistico


hito (hí-tò; Tagalog and Cebuano fish) [n.] catfish

This white species of catfish is not from the freshwater, but from the sea. Fish vendors at the Lapu-lapu Public Market in Opon, Lapu-lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu called it hito sa dagat (sea catfish).

The freshwater catfish are black skinned.

Catfish is good if fried or grilled. To have a soupy dish, the fried or grilled ones can be further cooked with tuno (coconut milk) and/or with mishua (Chinese somen) noodles and sauteed garlic, then crack a fresh chicken egg right after removing from the stove the freshly boiled dish. Best if served hot.

All photos by Edgie Polistico

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ginataang bilo-bilo

alpajor in Navotas, Malabon, Laguna and in Metro Manila
ginataang bilo-bilo (gi-na-ta-áng bi-lo-bí-lo;Tagalog sweet) [n.] ground rootcrops and peanut with condensed milk cooked in coconut milk and sweetened with sugar. The root crop (such as kamote [sweet potato], cassava, yam, etc.) is washed, peeled and ground. The ground root crop is mixed with condensed milk and ground peanut (or peanut butter). The mixture is blended well to become like dough, then it is cut into tiny pieces and rolled in the palms to become tiny balls (the size of play marbles). The balls are then cooked in gata (coconut milk) and when boiling starts, brown sugar is added to sweeten the bilo-bilo It can be served hot or cold. It tastes like a mashed potato with yema (a candy made of condensed milk with egg yolk).

Photos show ginataang bilo-bilo using ube (purple wild yam). This one is sold at a food stall in Pateros in Metro Manila.

All photos by Edgie Polistico

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

pasong (rice in banana leaf)

pasong (pá-song; Maguindanaoan rice meal) [n.] rice in conic banana leaf. 

Plain rice is cooked then wrapped in banana leaf, then folded into conic shape. The banana leaf wrapper is made pliant by wilting. It is done by passing the leaf over the flame or hot ember.

Pasong from a food stall in Cotabato City

This is how Muslims in Mindanao sold a scoop of cooked rice or packed them as baon (food brought along to work or travel). 

The packaging is very much environment friendly as it uses banana leaf as wrapper and not the non- biodegradable and health-hazard sheets of plastic cellophane or the styrofoam. Not, unless you use a plastic bag to hold the pasong you are buying.


also spelled as pastel in Maguindanaon
patel or pater in Maranao
paster in Iranun

pastil  (pas-tíl; Maguindanaon packed meal) [n.] rice and viand rolled in banana leaf

It is closely similar to the Tagalog binalot sa dahon except the way on how it is wrapped in banana leaf

A scoop (about a cup) of steamed or boiled plain rice is placed on the center of a spread of banana leaf and topped with shreds or flakes of sautéed meat or fish called kagikit

The cut of banana leaf is wilted first in fire or ember to soften and make it a pliant wrapper. 

The scoop of cooked rice is then molded by folding the banana leaf. Before finally wrapping the rice, it is topped with kagikit (sautéed shredded meat) usually that of shredded meat of braised fish or chicken. Then the leaf is finally rolled around the topped rice. It is sealed by folding both ends similar to that of suman (Tagalog rice stick), only that pastel is wider and flatter in shape than that of suman

Special version of pastel has more meat, plus a hard-boiled chicken egg (shelled and cut into halves) as toppings, and the rice is mixed with little amount of glutinous rice that would bind well the molded meal.  

Pastel is considered as the budget combo meal of our Muslim brothers in Mindanao. 

In Manila, it is sold and readily available in the ubiquitous Halal restaurants and eateries near the Golden Mosque in Quiapo district and in Maharlika Village in Taguig City

A Maguindanaon food stall vendor skillfully packs the ingredients of pastel.

 The molded rice topped with kagikit or sauteed shredded chicken meat (left) from Cotabato City, and flakes of fish adobo (right) from Quiapo, Manila.

Mounds of pastel is a common sight at the many foodstands along Sinsuat Ave ext. cor Quezon Ave. in Cotabato City.

This mound of pastel is sold at a Halal eatery at the Welcome Rotunda in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. Boiled eggs complement with the packed meal.

In Metro Manila, you can have pastel from the ubiquitous food stalls and eateries near the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila. I bought a bag of my first pastel experience from this place. 

In Metro Manila, you can also buy pastel in Maharlika Market and in talipapa and eateries nearby the Blue Mosque in the Maharlika Village in Taguig City. 

You can eat pastel with bare hands, but make sure to wash your hands before eating to conform with the Muslim law on hygiene in dining Halal food. Here, I'm eating pastel with a pair of spoon and fork at home.

For more about Pinoy foods, see also my OPEN & FREE food dictionary.

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With valuable information, etymology, history, nutrition, how to cook it, culinary tips, how it is called in other dialects, and more...

Texts and photos by Edgie Polistico



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