Filipino native delicacies, known as kakanin, are popular snack foods that are usually served as merienda or desserts. Kakanin are native delicacies made ofmalagkit (glutinous rice), which comes in two varieties: the first-class variety that is sweet, rounded and white and the regular variety that is longish and translucent. The word kakanin is derived from kanin, Tagalog for rice. The three basic ingredients are malagkit or glutinous rice, coconut milk or gata, and sugar.
Filipinos love of kakanin can be traced way back pre-colonial times when our ancestors used suman as offering to gods and visitors. I remember when I was a child and used to help my Inang, a native of Bulacan, grind soaked glutinous rice in a huge grindstone (gilingang bato) to make galapong to be used in making sapin-sapin or kalamay or bibingka. We used to spend hours in this process and usually need to take turns with my cousins to finish grinding several kilos of malagkit to be used in making sapind-sapin or kalamay or other kakanin depending on the occasion. My Inang wanted to do it the traditional way even if milling services are available, just as her mother and grandmother used to do it.
Kakanin are usually present on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and fiesta. No celebration is complete without these kakanin being served in the table. They are especially popular during the Holiday Season and since Christmas and New Year is just around the bend, let’s take a delicious look at 10 of the Most Delectable Filipino Native Delicacies.
1 – Sapin-Sapin
Sapin-Sapin is a native dessert made from glutinous rice flour, purple yam or ube, coconut cream and sugar. It is a multilayer rice cake with different colors usually white, yellow and purple. The texture is very fine and should melt in your mouth without spending much time chewing it. It is topped with latik.
2 – Biko
Biko is a Filipino rice cake made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Traditionally, this delicious rice cake is placed over banana leaves in a bilao and garnished with latik on top. Other variations of biko will have a custard like topping or matamis na bao (caramel like topping) instead of latik.
3 – Kalamay-Hati
Kalamy-hati is a native kakanin or rice cake made from ground sticky rice, sugar, mascuvado, coconut milk and sesame seeds. It is brownish in color and is very sticky that you will almost spend your whole time chewing it. It’s not easy to prepare as you have to spend around 2 hours cooking it with continuous stirring to achieve the tough-leathery texture (makunat). It is usually stored inside empty coconut husk or bao.
4 – Suman
Suman is a famous kakanin made from glutinous rice and usually wrapped tightly in leaves. The leaf wrapper—banana, palm, buri or pandan—varies according to locality. Filipinos have been making suman since pre-colonial times. Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian scholar and explorer who travelled with Ferdinand Magellan, provides the first description of suman in historical records which he observed “were wrapped in leaves and were made in somewhat longish pieces.”
5 – Kutsinta
Kutsinta is another native delicacy that is sweet, sticky, and golden brown rice pudding that is made from ground malagkit. Achuete is used for coloring and lye is added to improve its texture. The kutsinta ingredients are put into molds and steamed for 15 minutes. It is usually served with freshly grated coconut.
6 – Palitaw
Palitaw is made from ground glutinous rice and sugar and got its name from the manner it is cooked. It is quite easy and fun to make as all you have to do is form into small balls the ground malagkit and flatten with fingers to form tongues. Drop in boiling water, when they float (lumitaw or lumutang), skim and drop in cold water. Drain and roll in mixed grated coconut, sugar and sesame seed mixture and you’re done!
7 – Puto
Puto is a steamed rice muffin made from galapong or rice flour. It is traditi onally in plain white color but adding ube (purple yam) or pandan can create variations in flavor and color. It is usually being sold with kutsinta but Filipinos love to eat puto together with Dinuguan. A more recent variation of puto is the Puto Pao that has a meat filling just like the Siopao.
8 – Espasol
Espasol is a type of rice cake that is made of rice flour cooked in coconut milk. This cylindrically shaped treat originated from the Province of Laguna. Cooking the glutinous rice flour, sugar and toasted grated coconut mixture usually takes an hour as the mixture needs to become really thick to achieve the right consistency. Once cooled, it is then cut into desired size and rolled over dusted sweet rice flour until a cylindrical shape is formed.
9 – Puto Bumbong
Puto Bumbong is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky or glutinous rice called Pirurutong which has a distinctly purple color, soaked in salted water and dried overnight and then poured into bumbong or bamboo tubes and then steamed until done or steam rises out of the bamboo tubes. It is served topped with butter or margarine and shredded coconut mixed with sugar. It is a favorite among church goers, along with Bibingka, during Simbang Gabi or Christmas Eve Mass.
10 – Bibingka
Bibingka is a most sought after kakanin during Christmas Season traditionally served w ith salabat and sold alongside Puto Bumbong. It is a round rice cake made with galapong, sugar and coconut milk. It is cooked in a banana leaf-lined clay pan , with coals underneath and on top. It is topped with salted duck eggs or itlog na maalat and kesong puti. Once cooked it is brushed with butter, and is garnished with sugar and grated coconut and is served while hot.
Embutido is a Filipino style of meatloaf. This filipino food dish is one of the favorite filipino dish that my hubby loves to eat. He even consumes the whole wrap of embutido in a single setting. My kids love also the embutido especially with the portion of hard-cooked eggs and sausages.
They said that “embutido” means that it is wrapped with the skin of the pig’s intestines. But this embutido is just wrapped with an aluminum foil because my family especially my hubby doesn’t like to eat food that contains internal organs of the animals.
Embutido can be served as cold cuts; lightly pan a sliced pieces or fried the whole then sliced. It is also best that you dip a slice of embutido with your favorite food sauce. As for me, my favorite is the sweet chili sauce while my kids love to dip it with ketchup.
Longganisa (or longanisa, or longaniza) are Filipino chorizos. These cured sausages are famous in almost every Philippine region. The famous varieties of longganisa are : Vigan , Lucban, and Guagua which were named according to the town that they came from. Pork is the most common meat used in making this sausage; Chicken, beef, and even tuna are sometimes used as alternatives.
Tocino or tosino is a sweetened cured pork dish that is traditionally served for breakfast by the Filipinos. A native delicacy that is similar to the cured hams, commonly reddish in color and tastes sweet. There were some versions of tocino that used chicken meat. It’s name came from the Spanish word, tocino, which is used to describe cured meat.
Filipino’s love to eat a dish with rice. I went on a search (it actually went like a survey) and asked what are the top 10 Filipino dishes. The winners are:
Adobo is Spanish for sauce, seasoning, or marinade. The Philippines was colonized by Spaniards for over 300 years, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of our dishes have Spanish or some international feel to it.
Adobo is considered the national dish of the Philippines. This dish consists of chunks of chicken or pork or both cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, lots of garlic and whole peppercorns.
Lechón is a pork dish in several regions of the world, most specifically Spain and its former colonial possessions throughout the world. The word lechón originated from the Spanish term leche (milk); thus lechón refers to a suckling pig that is roasted. Lechón is a popular cuisine in the Philippines, usually served during fiestas.
3) Kare Kare
Kare-kare is a Philippine stew. It is made from peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe. Meat variants may include goat meat or (rarely) chicken. It is often eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste), sometimes spiced with chili, and sprinkled with calamansi juice. It is a comfort food for Filipinos, and is a perennial family favorite in both local and overseas Filipino households. This is an authentic Filipino dish. Guaranteed!
4) Pancit Palabok
Pancit or pansit is the term for noodles in Filipino cuisine. Pancit Palabok is made from rice flour noodles topped with crab sauce, eggs, shrimps, squid, garlic, chicharon, veggies seasoned with lemon juice, and much more. Okay, you don’t usually eat it with rice, but it so good it has to be on the list.
Sinigang is a Filipino soup or stew characterized by its sour flavor most often associated with tamarind. Meat varies from fish, pork, shrimp and beef.
Lumpia are pastries of Chinese origin similar to spring rolls popular in Indonesia and the Philippines. Filipinos love this so much that they made different versions of it: Lumpiang Shanghai (fried spring rolls), Lumpiang Sariwa (fresh spring rolls), Lumpiang Ubod (spring rolls made with coconut julienne or heart of palm) and a lot more.
7) Crispy Pata
Crispy pata is a Filipino dish consisting of deep fried pig trotter or knuckles served with sawsawan, a soy-vinegar sauce. It can be served as party fare or an everyday dish. Many restaurants serve boneless pata as a specialty.
A soup-based dish served as a viand or main entrée in the Philippines. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and chili pepper leaves, in broth flavored with ginger, onions, and fish sauce (patis).
Sisig refers to Sizzling sisig, a Filipino dish made from parts of pig’s head and liver, usually seasoned with kalamansi and chili peppers. This is an authentic Filipino dish. Guaranteed!
Kaldereta is a dish popular in the Philippines, especially in Luzon. Its common ingredients are cuts of pork, beef or goat with tomato paste or tomato sauce with liver spread added to it. This is an authentic Filipino dish. Guaranteed!
Various cultures inhabited the Philippines throughout its history, including Malays, who resided in the Philippines more than 20,000 years ago; Chinese, who created colonies on the islands between the 13th and 14th centuries; and Spain, who’s occupation lasted from 1521 until nearly 400 years later. Each influenced the Philippines’ cuisine and culture with their native herbs and spices.
Atsuete, or annatto, comes from the seeds of an otherwise inedible, heart-shaped fruit. The seeds lend their dark red hue as a food coloring for many Filipino fish, vegetable, and meat recipes. The seeds do not add much flavor. However, according to the Philippine Insider, Filipino cuisine categorizes the seeds as a spice, which is often used in conjunction with other spices.
Bauang, or garlic, is grown in the Philippines. Filipino garlic is smaller in size and more expensive due to its pungency and quality. According to Mt. Banahaw Tropical Herbs, bauang is considered one of the Philippines “power herbs,” and it is also used for medicinal purposes. Bauang is used as a diuretic, stimulant, expectorant, and a topical wound treatment. It is also hailed for its antioxidant powers.
Onions are commonly used in combination with bauang to add flavor and aroma to various dishes. Native Filipino onions are pungent and strongly flavored. They are well-suited for pickling or sautéing. White onions are used in sandwiches and salads, and green onions are used as a topper for dishes such as rice porridge.
Dumero, or rosemary, is cultivated in the Philippines and used as a spice in many recipes.
Sili, the Philippine’s native chili, is a popular addition to Filipino cuisine. Many recipes call for this spicy addition including main courses, hot sauces, and dips. According to the Philippine Insider, popular Filipino dishes chicken tinola and pork sinigang are among just a few that feature native chili in their ingredients.
The Asian influence on Filipino cuisine is clearly demonstrated in their use of ginger, a popular spice used in Asian cuisine. Ginger is often used in Filipino stews and soups. It provides flavor and aroma to meat dishes such as tinola, a chicken stew.
Cristeta Pasia Comerford (born 1962) is a Filipino American chef who has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005. She is the first woman to be selected for the post, and also the first of Asian American descent
Cristeta Comerford was born as Cristeta Pasia in the Philippines and grew up at Sampaloc, Manila. She completed her secondary education at the Manila Science High School. She attended the University of the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City, majoring in food technology. However, she left school before completing the degree when she immigrated to the United States at the age of 23.
Comerford’s first job was at the Sheraton Hotel near O’Hare International Airport. She also worked at the Hyatt Regency hotel. After Chicago, she moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as a chef at two restaurants. She additionally spent six months in Vienna as a rotating chef. Comerford was recruited by White House executive chef Walter Scheib III in 1995 to work in the Clinton White House.
After Scheib resigned in February 2005, Comerford was appointed White House executive chef by First Lady Laura Bush on August 14, 2005. Comerford is the first female White House executive chef and the first person of ethnic minority origin to hold this position.
She reportedly was appointed to this position due to her handling of a large dinner that was held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
She was referred to when George Bush mentioned his “Philippine-American chef” to visiting Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in June 2008.
On January 9, 2009, the Obama transition team announced that Comerford would be retained as the administration’s head chef. Michelle Obama stated, “Also the mom of a young daughter, I appreciate our shared perspective on the importance of healthy eating and healthy families.” 
Comerford appeared on a special two hour episode of Iron Chef America, originally broadcast on January 2, 2010. She was teamed up with Bobby Flay and competed against a team ofEmeril Lagasse and Mario Batali. Comerford and Flay were triumphant.
Daza was born into a privileged family as a daughter of Alejandro Jose Villanueva, a high-profile engineer, and Encarnacion Guanzon, daughter of then provincial governor of Pampanga. Daza experienced a sheltered childhood filled with culinary adventures.
Daza obtained a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from the University of the Philippines in 1952. She attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, from 1955 to 1956, earning a Master of Science major in Restaurant and Institution Management. At Cornell, she was admitted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Daza became a judge of cooking contests held by Manila Gas Corporation from 1957 to 1960. She hosted television cooking shows At Home with Nora and Cooking It Up with Nora to wide popular acclaim and viewership for several years. She was appointed Director of Manila Gas Cooking School where she selected, modified, checked, and kitchen-tested over five-hundred recipes for around three-thousand students who enrolled over a period of four years. Daza authored several cookbooks and became a columnist for several national dailies and lifestyle magazines. She has put up fine dining restaurants, including Au Bon Vivant, reputedly the first restaurant in Manila to offer authentic French cuisine.
Daza was elected Vice President of the Philippine Association of Nutrition, Secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, Adviser-Admiral of the Homemakers Club, Director of Hotel and Tourist Industries of the Philippines, and President of Philippine Home Economists in Business. Once, she ran for a seat in the Philippine Senate but lost.
Eugenio R. Gonzalez, popularly known as Chef Gene, is a Filipino chef, restaurateur, educator, management consultant, and author. He is the founder and president of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.
Gonzalez honed his culinary skills through a series of apprenticeships in France and Italy. He also completed various specialized courses in food arts at the Culinary Institute of Americaand the California Culinary Academy. He also completed an extensive chocolate training at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate College in Singapore.
Gonzalez is the chef-owner of Cafe Ysabel, an upscale fine dining restaurant in San Juan, Metro Manila. He is also the a professior, the founder and president of Center for Asian Culinary Studies, a culinary school specializing in Asian, European and fusion cuisine. He also chairs Supreme Food and Beverage Consultancy, a management consulting firm catering to businesses in the hotel and restaurant field.
heny Sison, popularly known as Chef Heny, is a pastry chef, cake decorator, and television host in the Philippines.
In 1985, Sison opened the Heny Sison School of Cake Decorating and Baking. Later, she renamed it to Heny Sison Culinary School after adding cooking classes to her regular baking repertoire to provide a more comprehensive culinary education. Today, her school holds recreational short courses and months-long culinary programs for serious culinary professionals. She has a pool of full-time and part-time chef-instructors specializing in Philippine, Asian, and European cuisine, among others.
Sison trained in various elements of cake decorating and baking at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery in Woodridge, Illinois; L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda,Maryland; Maid of Scandinavia in Minneapolis under Roland Winbeckler, Marsha Winbeckler and Marie Grainger; the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa Valley and Draeger’s Culinary Center in California.
An excerpt of “His Inspiring Cinderalla Story” by: Rica Roldan
Chef Boy is the second child in the brood of eight of fisherman Justaniano Logro and wife Consorcia , Chef Boy had very humble beginnings. The family lived in a small house by the sea, where the young boy could hear – and even feel – splashing of waves.
Chef Boy did get to study, but he never got to high school because his parents could no longer afford to send him to school. Nurturing the dream of going back to school and somehow improving the quality of his family’s life, he at the age of 13, went with his uncle to Manila to work and earn living.
His first job was a houseboy in a Chinese Restaurant in downtown Quiapo. He did not know how to speak Tagalog. His salary was P50 a month for cleaning all three floors of his master’s house and for going to Quinta Market Daily.
Chef Boy is industrious and creative, he did not waste the opportunity to learn. After cleaning the house, he would go down to the restaurant and help out in the kitchen, kneading dough’s for siopao and assisting the chef cook lechon kawali. Since he was only learning to speak in Tagalog, he would at night, get a notebook and draw the vegetables that he saw in the kitchen, give them his own names to them, and make illustrations on how to cut and cook them.
His Culinary Life
Eventually, Chef Boy moved to Astral Villa Restaurant (later to become Josephine’s Restaurant ) in Makati. I was there where he met Spanish Executive Chef Antonio Cuadrado Perez, who generously shared his talent with eager protégé’.
By the time Chef Boy started working as a restaurant in Matabungkay and then Bayview Plaza Hotel, he was very adept in the Kitchen, his Tagalog was perfect and he was learning to converse in English. His life made a complete turnaround in 1982 when he left the country to work as sous chef at Sultan Qabass Bin Said’s Palace in Oman. The opportunity to do so has presented itself was back in 1978, but Chef Boy decided against it. But with a wife and kids to provide for now he took challenge, not knowing exactly what awaited him in the foreign land.
Oman didn’t turn out to be the bed of roses for him, but he persevered. He tried to get along well with the Egyptian Chefs, learned to speak Arabic, and took his job seriously. He made an impression on the Sultan, who grew very fond of him and thus appointed him as head chef. He accompanied His Majesty on International trips, where he was exposed to Spanish, French, English and Turkish gastronomy. Eventually his family joined him in Oman, and his Majesty provided them with a palatial house. They lived among ambassadors and enjoyed the best that life has to offer.
But Chef Boy’s heart longed for home and so, after eight years he and his family finally came home. He joined Manila Diamond Hotel in 1992 as one of the sous chefs. Promotion came in his way and in 1995, he earned the distinction of becoming the first and only Filipino Executive Chef in a five-star deluxe hotel in the Philippines.
After years of distinguished service as the Chef of the Sultan of Oman, and later on as the Executive Chef of Manila Diamond Hotel, Chef Pablo “Boy” Logro chose to settle down in a small town closest to his heart. It was in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite that he realized his full potential, this time as a Chef Instructor and mentor to students of his unique culinary school. He established the Chef Logro’s Institute of Culinary And Kitchen Services, has attracted a local, regional, national and international following. The School is located in Gen. Mariano Alvarez, Cavite Philippines.
The Secret of his Success
Apart from having high standards in International food preparation and an insatiable passion to learn, Chef Boy attributes his good fortune to an unwavering faith in his good fortune to an unwavering faith in God. As Chef Boy always says “Nothing is impossible with God, since I was small I’ve always had a strong faith in God. It was God who gave me everything and I try to give back a part of it by helping others. I also make it a point to pray before serving each dish I make, it never fails.”