Bandi Town: The Peanut Brittle Capital of the Philippines
Native peanut is a staple product in San Joaquin and bandi or peanut brittle is the town’s native delicacy. You’ll find stores in almost every corner selling bandi in San Joaquin, Iloilo. It is a popular treat not only for kids but as well as those with sweet tooth made with peanuts (or cashew!) and caramelized sugar.
San Joaquin has been making bandi for decades. Most women in the bandi-making industry of Brgy. Qui-anan in San Joaquin, Iloilo have been making the town’s native delicacy since they were in grade 3. Just like one of the store owners in Brgy. Qui-anan, he said their recipe was passed on by their mother. They only started making bandi with only about 5 large cups of peanuts. Now, they use 4 sacks of peanuts daily to provide the large number of orders by its customers.
The store owner also revealed that you’ll know that the bandi is made with quality sugar because it’s shiny and translucent.
There are different sizes of bandi:
- Balls – size of one scoop of sarumpo (spatula made of bamboo)
- King Size
The women of Brgy. Qui-anan has been used of making bandi that they can pack more than 300 pieces in one day. Bandi-making has helped them and their families for years.
Did you know that in 2005, San Joaquin made their biggest bandi? They held the event during San Joaquin’s annual Bayluhay Festival which was dubbed as “Adlaw kang Bandi.” 70 Bandi-makers worked together for about 5 hours in making the country’s biggest bandi. It measured 14.5 meters x 9.7 meters covering more than half of a basketball court. They used 7 sacks of peanuts and 7 sacks of raw sugar.
Here’s how to make your very own bandi:
- native peanuts
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (optional)
- In a frying pan, mix a cup of peanuts, a cup of sugar and about ¼ cup of water.
- Stir the ingredients in medium heat for about 15 minutes until the peanuts are cooked and the sugar starts to caramelize.
- If you don’t have a large banana leaf available, you can use a wide plastic (like the ones used in wrapping books) wiped with cooking oil. Pour the contents of the frying.
- While the ingredients are still soft and wet on the plastic cover, shape and flatten it according to your desired size.
- Let it dry and leave for a few minutes to harden.
So when you pass by the town, buy bags of bandi as pasalubong, in this way, you're also helping the community’s livelihood.