If you are fortunate enough to spend Christmastime in the Philippines, you will realize that this season is a huge deal. The streets are flaunting twinkling lights and flashy ornaments. Not to mention, the children are singing Christmas carols as early as November.
During the Eve (Noche Buena), families gather around the dinner table. They will indulge on special dishes as soon ass the clock strikes midnight. Some of these dishes are only prepared once a year. And, said dishes are probably inside this top list.
1. Ham or Hamonado
When I imagine a table full of Christmas hams, one brand strikes my chord. That is none other than Purefoods Fiesta Ham. Who can forget their catchy slogan – “the star of Noche Buena feast”?
Purefoods Fiesta Ham along with its counterparts have been gracing our tables due to our love of all things that are sweet. The Philippine Christmas hams are drizzled with brown sugar, coated with syrup glaze, or blanketed with pineapple sauce. This sweetened flavor may be new to an Aussie palette, but it has been present in the country for years. It is usually enjoyed on its own or with a side of goat’s cheese (i.e., kesong puti).
No Philippine feast will be complete without serving roasted pig or lechon. Cooking lechon entails smothering the skin with different herbs and spices. Afterwards, people will leave it over the fire for several hours. Amp up the nationalistic pride by consuming this dish with an ample amount of Mang Tomas All-Around Sarsa!
Related Post: 10 Dishes You Have to Try in Your First Philippine VisitAnd oh by the way, you can win a lechon from us this Chirstmas 2016.
3. Sweet Spaghetti
The mixture of sweetened red sauce, sliced processed meat, and cheese cubes may seem weird to your Aussie partner. However, this fusion satisfies the Philippine appetite!
Children will rejoice as long as the Filipino-style spaghetti is present at the Christmas feast. It is uniquely ours due to the heavy portion of sugar inside it compared to the tangy Italian red sauce.
4. Pancit Malabon
Pancit Malabon boasts with a bountiful appearance as it is loaded with several ingredients of varying colors and textures. This is one of my favorite Filipino dishes due to its flavorful taste. Savor the eggs, shrimps, chicharon, and other veggies. Pancit Malabon never fails to satisfy a hungry belly!
Whether you want to cook chicken or fish, relleno is always a part of the Christmas dinner table. My uncle is an expert when it comes to whipping stuffed food. But because it takes too much time and effort to prepare, this dish is only cooked during special occasions.
6. Macaroni Salad
As I move on to the tempting category of desserts, I am going to start with the delectable Macaroni Salad. Many people volunteer to prepare this easy dish due to its no-cook and no-bake nature. You simply have to mix elbow macaroni with mayonnaise, cheese, chicken, and carrots. Others add cheese pimiento or other ingredients that suit their preferences.
Your version of Macaroni Salad may be different from mine, but one thing is for sure! Most Filipinos love to devour this dish during the Noche Buena feast.
7. Fruit Salad
Aside from lechon, the Fruit Salad is a staple at Filipino celebrations. I began to notice how popular this dish was when my boyfriend invited me to his father’s grand birthday celebration. They prepared 6 bowls of Fruit Salad, but it disappeared within an hour! It is a good thing that this dish is a no-brainer.
It involves the tiniest mental effort as you only need to combine a can of fruit cocktail with all-purpose cream. To add a twist into this dish, some people add coconut or tapioca pearls.
8. Buko Pandan
In honor of my late grandmother, I bring you the delicious Buko Pandan. She used to serve this dish every year during the Yuletide season. Do not get me wrong! I am not complaining. In fact, I wish that she could still prepare this dessert for us.
The mere appearance of Buko Pandan is festive due to the perfect combination of green and white shades. It uses a pandan-flavored gelatin that is blended with cream and coconut. This irresistible dish is surely quick to prepare!
Besides opening bountiful gifts, you can look forward to the Philippine Christmas celebration. It is the time when relatives gather to celebrate the joyous birth of Christ. To ensure that your Noche Buena feast is memorable, do not forget to serve the dishes that were mentioned above.