Monday, August 13, 2012

Native Treats

I have to confess my new guilty pleasures. They are sweet, sticky and oh so good to the last bite. I'm talking about the native treats being sold in the local market here in Miagao. I see them all the time being sold on the side of the streets in my local grocery store back in Bacolod and this weekend, I found them in the market here in Miagao where I live during the week. I was actually looking for avocados but I guess they are past their season now so I came up empty handed. That was until I found a couple of ladies selling these delicacies in front of the market. I bought a couple of samples and found them to be delicious. I ended up buying a ton of them for the office today and boy was it good. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
First up is one of my favorites, the Bayi-bayi. This treat is quite popular in the Visayas region which includes my hometown and the place where I now work. This treat is made from toasted ground sticky rice or corn. The process of making the treat involves pounding the rice or corn with coconut meat and brown sugar until you obtain a sticky mass that holds its shape when pressed together with your hands. More coconut meat is added until the desired texture is obtained. A downside to this treat is that is goes bad quite quickly due to the fresh coconut that was added. Good thing this treat is so yummy it almost always disappears before you have to worry about it going bad. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Second on the list is the Puto Lanson. This treat was sold every afternoon by vendors roaming our subdivision when I was growing up in Bacolod City. We would await the sound of the vendor shouting "puto-lanson" in the middle of the day and me and my cousins will be at the gate waiting for my Mom to buy us these freshly steamed snack. The main ingredient is grated cassava mixed with coconut strings, sugar and coconut milk. Sometimes eggs are added but the simpler ones rely on the stickiness of the cassava flour to hold the cake together. They are usually steamed in small round tin pans until they are cooked and can hold their own shape. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Next in line is something that is new to me actually. I've never tasted one before and I will give it the name, Ube (Taro) Cake since it was made in the same vein as a rice cake. I assume that given its similarity to the rice cake, this treat is made from ube or taro flour, coconut milk, grated coconut meat, brown sugar and eggs. This purple treat is steamed and topped with more grated coconut. It was yummy although a bit dense in terms of texture. If I had to choose between an ube cake and a rice cake, I think I'll settle for the latter. This cake albeit delicious is just a bit too "heavy" for my taste. 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The fourth treat in my list of guilty pleasures is the Alupe. This treat is traditionally made with ground cassava, brown sugar, coconut milk and bits of coconut strings wrapped in a banana leaf before steaming. This version however was made with ground rice. The lady who sold them to me was quite proud to inform me that this version is better than the traditional one. I do agree with her but I have to say that given the choice between the rice or the cassava version, I might go for both. To me, they are equally delicious. Besides, why settle on one when you can have two equally wonderful treats. Really! 

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
And now, the last but not least, the Suman. This traditional treat spans the whole country and is perhaps the easiest to make of the whole bunch. The method of cooking this treat involves soaking the sticky rice in coconut milk while the brown sugar is cooked in more coconut milk until a brown sugar syrup is obtained. The rice together with the coconut milk is added into the syrup and cooked until the rice is just perfectly cooked. They are usually served topped with a "latik" topping which is basically curds from the coconut milk. This is obtained by cooking the coconut milk over high heat until the curds start to form and slowly turn golden brown. Just skim them off with a slotted spoon and set them aside until needed.

As such, I better stop here. There are actually more traditional treats that I can present but these were the five that I bought today. The list can go one for a bit but they will have to wait their turn. For now, my cravings have been sated and I look forward to having some more of these treats later today during my coffee break. 

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