24 May 2008

Food, glorious (Filipino) Food

Whenever my mother flies in from Manila for a visit, I'm like a kid in a candy store -- she always surprises me with a treat from home. This time she's brought some of my all-time favorite Pinoy snacks. Yup, this is my Holy Trinity of Pinoy Snacks (well, ok, if you added Clover Chips and Orange Swits then I'd call it my Fab Five).

First, there's M.Y. San SkyFlakes, the ultimate buttery cracker for spreading with butter, jam or Cheez Whiz (Ritz Crackers? Sorry, they ain't got nothin' on Skyflakes).

Then there's Goldilocks polvoron. They call these "Manila Shortbread cookies" over here so that non-Filipinos have some idea of what they're eating --- but polvoron is nothing like shortbread. For one thing, the ingredients aren't baked, they are toasted. And shortbread doesn't crumble into powder as soon as you stick it into your mouth.

And for the glorious finale, ChocNut, the sweet, creamy, cheap Filipino version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It really doesn't seem to have much chocolate in it so it tastes more like peanut butter, but once you get used to the taste, it's addictive. This was one of the treats we looked forward to getting in birthday party goody bags, one of the treats we spent our allowance on at sari-sari stores and street vendors. It doesn't get more classic than this.

I know, I know, you can probably get these at any Filipino or Asian grocery store; in fact, there's a Goldilocks bakery less than 5 miles away from our home, so I can get polvoron any time I want. But I can't get it out of my head that the ones straight from Manila taste different. Maybe they make the polvoron with cheapy butter in Manila. Maybe they have to make it with less butter over here, so that when they list the calories and saturated fat it doesn't send people into shock. Maybe the ChocNut taste has deteriorated after all the extra time it takes to be flown in to the US, stored and distributed to stores for hungry Filipino expats to consume. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe it's just because I know these are the real deals, the genuine foods of my Filipino childhood. I guess the memories that come with these snacks just make them taste that much better.

What are your favorite Pinoy snacks? Come on, let's have a virtual pig-out!

Bonggamom is thankful that the San Francisco Bay Area is Choc full of ChocNut, Skyflakes and other Filipino snacks so she doesn't have to wait for a relative to fly in from Manila to get her fix. She blogs about life in Silicon Valley over at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog , Finding Bonggamom and her new review blog, Bonggamom Finds.


SoccerNanay said...

1. polvoron - not the goldilocks kind. I grew up with polvoron made by folks from the neighborhood, not the fancy ones like goldilocks.'
2. i forgot what these things are called by they are a mix of condensed milk and sugar, hardened into a candy shaped like a pencil. They are sooo good and sooo bad for you. Aside from all that sugar, you usually don't know where they are from.
3. Chippy - salty salty corn chips eaten with ice cold coke in a glass bottle, made in Davao, supposedly the best tasting Cokes in the world.
4. green mangoes with bagoong
5. maruya - must be bisaya. brown-sugared bananas deep fried in oil. or its "healthier" counterpart - grilled bananas rolled in Star margarine and sugar.
Darn, i can list sooo many more. I live too far from the Asian markets around here, and they don't carry these things! Can't even get a respectable longganisa around here.

Mom2Amara said...

I am addicted to black bean hopia. Don't care who makes it. Just love it.

And when I need salt, I go for Nagaraya Cracker Nut - plain or garlic. Yum.

Amara and Dad2Amara dig Skyflakes too.

mamazilla said...

i also can get most of my fave snacks at the local sari sari store like mango chips, shrimp chips, banana chips, hopia, polvoron, white rabbit, etc.. but what i really miss is street food like fresh fish balls and fresh pandesal and kutsinta. mmmmm.....

mj tam aka sugarmama said...

Funny that I'm not big on Filipino snacks, and so are my siblings. My parents visited Philippines after like almost 20 years for them and brought back tons of snacks and none of us were touching it. The home-made Yema (sp?) are probably the only ones I'd take. I don't know why ---- BUT main Filipino meal is a whole different story. I guess we are the heavy eaters more than anything. Anything Filipino we'll eat. Ok...not all, but you know...adobo, Kare-Kare, tinola, sinigang, etc...mmmmmm...great comfort foods for me!

Anonymous said...

I am addicted to garlic and adobo Nagaraya Cracker Nuts - the smells of which drive DH crazy! I miss authentic Pinoy sampaloc candies. My local Asian market sells spicy tamarind candies, but I prefer the ones from my childhood with huge chunks of rock salt. DH and kids have learned to eat dried mangoes wiht me, but it has to Philippine brand. Good thing that Costco carries it in bulk... can't imagine having to share a tiny bag of dried mangoes. =)

Aside from these snacks, what I miss are Filipino fruits from my childhood. It's been 26 years since I had lanzones, atis, kamias... and I've never found them in any of our local Asian markets.

Thanks for the memories!
Pam Gavina in Phoenix, AZ

SoccerNanay said...

Speaking of fruits, I found these mangosteen the size of my 2-year old's tiny fist for 3.00 at my local grocery store. I loooove mangosteen (I am wondering if you can find these fruits in Manila but they are everywhere in Davao?) but I am not about to shell out gazillion bucks for a couple of hundreds of them (enough to satisfy me). If this were durian though...

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me ineptum said...

Langka and macapuno boat tarts, but I mainly love the kakanin.

Shine on!


Dana & Debbie said...

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