Treating Your Family to Merienda
Filipinos love food. In fact, we love food so much that we have mini meals in between meals, called the merienda. Filipinos from different parts of the country have many different merienda favorites. Some serve them in between lunch and dinner, while others enjoy merienda in between breakfast and lunch. You can certainly enjoy merienda time with these unique Filipino snacks:
Merienda time is usually void of rice. However, if there's one rice food item that you can have for snacking, it's the Sticky Rice Roll called Suman. Suman is primarily made of glutinous rice and coconut milk. It is mixed with sugar in order to give it a sweet sensation. It is also encased in banana leaves to make it easier to consume.
Puto and Kutsinta
Just like Suman, Puto and Kutsinta also use rice as the main ingredient. They are popularly served together due to their close resemblance with each other. Puto is a steamed mini rice cake made of rice dough or Galapong. It is mixed with sugar, baking powder, butter, milk and cheese. It is then steamed to take a soft cupcake-like form. Kutsinta, on the other hand is another type of rice cake, which uses almost the same ingredients like that of Puto. The difference is that Kutsinta uses brown sugar and lye water or lihiya to help preserve it.
One of the most popular Filipino snack at home and on the streets is the skewered fried banana. The banana is caramelized with brown sugar or muscovado. It is then deep fried in oil. Saba Banana is used rather than the ordinary ripe banana. The same method of cooking is also done for the Kamote Cue, which uses Sweet Potatoes instead.
Lumpia may have originated in China, but it still remains as one of the many Filipino favorites. A lumpia is a fried spring roll, which contains both meat and vegetable ingredients. When it is filled with ground pork or meat, it is called the Lumpiang Shanghai. This is not only consumed during meriendas but also during celebrations, like birthday parties. The act of wrapping and deep frying food varies. Some choose to wrap cheese instead, creating cheese sticks in the process. Others can wrap Saba Banana and in turn create Turon.
We've all heard the familiar holler on the streets, coming from men balancing big tin cans on a stick. This can only mean one thing – Taho. Taho is a popular street food in the Philippines. It is usually eaten as a merienda during late afternoons when Taho vendors frequent the street. It is made of tofu doused in sugary syrup. Some like to serve it alongside sago gulaman.
Filipinos who are craving for a sweet chocolaty treat for merienda would turn to champorado as an option. Champorado is a rice porridge mixed with cocoa blocks called tableya or cocoa powder. It can both be served hot or cold. Some Filipinos enjoy eating this with Tuyo Fish. The sweet and salty blend of the taste allow for a unique yet delicious experience.
We all love eating bread. Thus, there are many different types of bread for various appetites, such as the Spanish Bread or Pan de Coco. However, none of these bread choices come close to the iconic pandesal. The pandesal literally translated as "pan de sal" or "bread of salt". Despite it being more popular for breakfast, served alongside coffee, it is also a good snack you can serve for your kids. Unlike other bread options, the pandesal allows you the choice to put your favorite palaman or spread in it. Serving it with ham as the palaman can help make it taste even better. You can also serve it with Lady's Choice mayonnaise in order to give it a flavorful kick.
So why not serve one of these classic merienda favorites? It will not only keep your family happy and well fed, but it will also provide you with bonding moments with them. These are the moments wherein you can catch up before another busy day or night ahead. Enjoy!
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