Filipino Christmas Recipes
Withstanding the passage of time, Filipinos still have the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season. The chilly morning breeze, colorful lanterns and lights, Christmas carols everywhere, the beginning of Simbang Gabi – all signs that the Christmas season in the Philippines has arrived again.
One of the things I love during the Christmas season is the feast of food, especially the Filipino traditional ones. No matter how big or small the budget, Filipino families still do their best just to have something special to eat for this holiday. Noche Buena is one of the most awaited events of the year where lots of Filipino traditional food is prepared everywhere. It is held towards midnight of December 24 where family members dine together on traditional yuletide fare, which includes: queso de bola (Spanish: "ball of cheese", which is edam cheese) sealed with red wax; tsokoláte, pasta, fruit salad, pandesal, relleno and hamón (Christmas ham).
Filipinos have their own specialty recipes during Christmas which can be something unique and prepared only once a year. I came up with a list of top Filipino Christmas Recipes that are rarely absent from a typical Filipino Christmas meal. Remember, Christmas in the Philippines is not complete without these recipes served on the table.
Touted as the centerpiece of the dining table, Lechon is a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal combined with lechon sauce. This pork dish is popular not only in the Philippines but throughout the world. Throughout the year, lechon has never been absent for special occasions. The seasoning and the process of cooking results to the tastiest pork dish with crispy skin and delicious taste.
I grew up eating my father’s own way of cooking pork menudo, and I admit that it is one of the tastiest foods I’ve ever tasted. Menudo is a Mexican food that has been a favorite meal to serve during special occasions. It has the perfect combination of pork/beef, onions, potatoes, carrots, hotdogs, and red chili peppers. There are lots of variations of this dish and almost all provinces have their own version.
Who among us doesn’t love salads? Whatever sort of salad you are after, I am sure that your holiday is not complete without a taste of this healthy food. There are different variations of salad to choose from and some are made up of light and vigorous dressing that is good for the heart. So this coming Christmas season, have the best salad recipes for your family.
Pansit / Spaghetti
Pansit in traditional Filipino food is commonly served at birthday celebrations. Many say that pansit makes your life longer and healthier. It was introduced by the Chinese and later on adopted into local cuisine. Pansit is one of the foods that are conveniently cooked fast, and because of this; it has been a favorite food to serve during holidays. Palabok, pansit bihon, luglog, and canton are some of its variations.
Spaghetti is another variation of pansit that is common to the Filipino meal during holidays. It is sometimes made with banana ketchup instead of tomato sauce, sweetened with sugar and topped with hot dog slices.
Another dish that is never absent from the Filipino dining table is kare-kare. Also known as “peanut stew,” oxtail or ox tripe is the main ingredient and is cooked with vegetables in a peanut-based preparation. It is typically served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste).
In dinuguan, pig's blood, entrails, and meat are cooked with vinegar and seasoned with chili peppers, usually siling mahaba.
Biko / Bibingka / Suman
These delicious puddings are made up of sticky rice best paired with sweet condiments. During the Christmas holidays, these are dishes that are never absent. This meal is commonly prepared not only for its affordable price but for its delicious taste that will surely be loved by everyone.
Leche Flan is one of the top desserts during Christmas season. Also known as crème caramel and caramel custard, leche flan is made up of eggs and milk with soft caramel on top.
Other Popular Christmas Recipes
There are the other Filipino specialties during Christmas season. It includes adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken and/or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables, crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).