Filipino Desserts


Banana and camote cue: banana and sweet potatoes marinated in
brown sugar and then smoked
Photo by: niky_f, Creative Commons

Filipinos love food—and that includes cooking and eating it. Whether it is a buffet at a five star hotel or simple food galore at a small-time eatery, Filipinos can be counted on to eat with enthusiasm. After all, it’s hard not to like Filipino cuisine.

Food in the Philippines is rich in both flavor and history. As a former colony of Spain for more than 300 years and of America for several decades, Filipino cuisine is a mixture of these foreign influences as well as the country’s indigenous Malayan cooking style. While the Philippines’ main dishes are great phenomenal treats, Filipino desserts and sweets are so good that they can break the willpower of even the most disciplined.

As an archipelago, the different regions of the Philippines tend to have their own specialty desserts. Most Filipino desserts are made from rice and fruits that are widespread in the country. Filipinos are fond of buying meriendas (or snacks) from street vendors and travelling food merchants during the mid-afternoon.

There is a diverse selection of Filipino desserts to choose from. Apas are oblong-shaped biscuits with a layer of brown sugar. Banana cue, which are deep friend saba bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar, are common afternoon snacks. A similar dish is camote cue, a similar dish that is deep-fried and caramelized but made from camote or sweet potato. The caramelized Turron is a typical snack of bananas and jackfruit enclosed in spring roll wrapper, caramelized and then deep-fried. The rich-tasting Filipino dessert Leche flan, made from eggs and condensed milk, has a layer of soft caramel on the top layer.

As an agricultural country, rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Rice is also an ingredient in a lot of Filipino desserts. Bibingka, a national pride, is a rice cake made from rice flour, sugar, butter and coconut milk. Meanwhile, biko is a kind of sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice, coconut milk and brown sugar. It is similar to another Filipino dessert called Kalamay, which uses whole grains instead of rice. Suman is sticky rice steamed in banana leaf and eaten with brown sugar or brown sauce. Sapin-sapin, also a rice delicacy, is composed of glutinous rice layers and topped with coconut.

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