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Filipino Foods to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: Kakanin and Native Delicacies

Filipino Foods to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: Kakanin and Native Delicacies

Filipinos do not only have a love affair with food, we seem to love everything sweet too. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines, but how can you avoid getting it if you are presented with the sweet and tasty native delicacies andkakanin in practically every occasion you encounter? These Filipino food recipes are passed down from generation from generation. I have acquired at least mastery in four or five of these sweet treats from both my mom and dad – especially my dad, whose dad was a restaurant chef.

There are two types of sweet treats you can enjoy in the Philippines. They can be served as dessert or as a snack.


Get Me Some Rice: Kakanin

Kakanin probably got its name from the root word “kanin” (English: rice). It might sound stereotypical, but the Philippines is one of the Asian countries who have extreme love for rice. In fact, we have so many terms for rice that we cannot translate in English. Kakanin is usually a sticky and sweet food you can serve at parties or even for everyday eating. Here are a few of the popular kakanin:

  • Puto. Puto uses rice flour. It is formed into small balls and steamed. Some top it with salted egg or cheese. Others eat it plain.
  • Kutsinta. Kutsinta is usually paired with puto. It is a flat, round and sticky brown rice cake. It is usually eaten with freshly dried shredded coconut.
  • Bibingka. Bibingka is one of the most popular Filipino food recipes during the Christmas season. They are popularly eaten after the Misa de Gallo, a traditional Catholic mass that lasts for nine days (December 16-24). It is baked in clay ovens with salted egg or cheese. While it is popular during the Misa de Gallo, it has now commonly sold in malls all throughout the year.
  • Espasol. Espasol is a popular kakanin from Laguna, one of the provinces of the Philippines. It is rice cooked in coconut milk, rolled into a cylinder and coated with powdered sugar or flour.
  • Palitaw. Palitaw is one of the easiest Filipino food recipes you could create. It is so much fun to cook too. Sticky rice dough is bought and you make small round balls. You flatten them and drop them in boiling water. The dough would suddenly resurface in your pot when it is cooked. You then serve it with a combination of sugar, shredded coconut and roasted sesame seeds.
  • Suman. Suman is sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. There are many types of suman and each region has a different way of cooking and serving them.

For Your Sweet Tooth: Native Delicacies

Eating kakanin can make you feel full very fast because of the sticky rice. If you want to try Philippine sweets without getting too full at the end of the meal, you should opt for native delicacies instead. Here are a few you can try.

  • Ube. Ube is purple yam cooked with condensed milk and sugar. It is one of the few Filipino food recipes I have acquired from my dad. It takes a very patient cook to get this done, as the preparation of the yam takes about 3-4 hours, depending on how much you are cooking.
  • Maja Blanca. Maja Blanca is another of the easiest Filipino food recipes. It is made by combining coconut milk, condensed milk, whole corn kernels and corn starch.
  • Ginatan. Ginatan has many varieties. Ginatang halo-halo is a mixture of Saba (local bananas), yam, sweet potatoes, sticky rice balls, and tapioca cooked in coconut milk and sugar. Ginatang mais uses sticky rice and whole corn kernels and is likewise cooked in coconut milk and sugar.

Many of these Filipino food recipes take hours to make so it is truly a labor of love to make them and serve them out to people. These treats are easily accessible to people who do not like to spend time in cooking them though. Like popular street foods, they are usually sold in the streets, at school, beside the church, etc. Some are more popularly served during fiestas(festivals). Most of these Filipino food recipes require simple ingredients that can be easily bought in the market. If you want to try your hand at making them, there should be plenty of Filipinos to ask. A true Filipino knows how to cook at least one of these delicacies.



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