Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bibingka and Puto Bumbong: Special Rice for the Holidays!

There has been a slight change in our weather, don't you think? The daylights getting shorter, the wind gets colder, but more importantly, the aroma of native delicacies fill the air -- aah, holidays are just around the corner (or along the streets among nearby Catholic churches).

Without doubt, Catholic churches across the country are overflowing with the faithfuls as they religiously follow this well-cherished tradition called Simbang Gabi. I think it's a nine-day novena mass in anticipation of the much-coveted December 25 holiday. Although I'm not really sure, I'm not Catholic.

Hence, speak to me of Simbang Gabi, and two things come to my mind: Bibingka and Puto Bumbong.

Both are made from ground rice flour.

Only that, Bibingka, or the local sticky pancakes, is baked on a clay pot, topped with slices of kesong puti and itlog na maalat, then spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar, and later served with niyog.

While Puto Bumbong, on the other hand, is cooked on a special steamer-cooker bamboo tubes, then spread with margarine and later served with muscovado sugar and niyog.

Hmm, random thought: only now have I realized how very Filipino these two local fares are. I mean, I've read from somewhere that in Italy, they never throw out bread -- like bread is some sort of manna from heaven that should never go to waste, hence, they find all kind of ways to use and reuse bread -- and bread flour at that. And so, IDK, it just somehow feels that if bread is to Italy, then rice is to Philippines. Does that even make sense? Haha Whatever, all hail Carbohydrates!

Anyway, even if they are actually available all-year round (in Via Mare/Mangan/Ferino's), I share this sacred tradition with my tummy, that come December holidays, I must get my hands on these yellow and purple treasures.

Hats off to ate-tindera-beside-Claret-parish this morning for a very theatrical chow. Happy holidays :)