Fondly known as “Filipino crack” to young FilAms, polvoron is a sweet molded treat whose basic ingredients are toasted flour, margarine or butter, sugar and powdered milk. Continue reading “PULBURON”

Filipino Candy

The Filipino word for “candy” is kendi, from the English, but this usually refers to Western-style hard, semi-hard, and soft candies.

Branded candies that can be considered vintage or classic Filipino: Bobot Candy-Coated Peanuts, Candyman Kendimint, Jack n Jill X.O. Coffee Candies, Viva Caramel, Nuts Caramel, Lipps Strawberry, Starr Eucalyptus Menthol (the candy formerly known as Storck), Orange Swits, Peter’s Butter Ball, Mikmik, King’s Chocnut, Hany, Ricoa’s Curly Tops, Ricoa’s Flat Tops, Stay Fresh, Maxx Honey-mansi Menthol Candy, Potchi Strawberry Cream Gummies, Nips Candy-Coated Chocolate

Tropical or Southeast Asian flavors used for Filipino candy: ube (purple yam), langka (jackfruit), mangga (mango), kundol (wintermelon)

Candied Kundol
Candied Kundol

Aside from sugar-glazed pili nuts, here are examples of local Philippine sweets and their notable ingredients in parentheses: Yema (egg yolks), Bukayo (coconut), Pakumbo (coconut), Sampalok (tamarind)

The native Tagalog word minatamis refers to “sweetened” fruits, such as bananas or jackfruit stewed in sugar syrup.

Filipino Candy
Peanut Kisses & Peanut Fingers: Filipino Candy from Bohol

A few regions of the country are known for their particular confectioneries. Foremost among these is Bohol province. As soon as you mention Bohol to a Filipino, the first thing that pops to mind are the Chocolate Hills geographical formation, and not far behind are Peanut Kisses and perhaps their slightly lesser cousins, the Peanut Fingers.

Durian Candy of Davao
Lola Abon’s Original Durian Candy

The great Davao area on the large island of Mindanao in southern Philippines is famous for the wide variety of fruits that are mostly found only there. Among these fruits is the odoriferous durian.

Lola Abon’s is a brand that has national recognition. Her family and company have been making durian candies since the year 1950.

Lola Abon's Durian Candy Bar
Lola Abon’s Durian Candy Bar, a Davao Specialty

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Filipino Seed Snacks

Among many Filipinos’ fondest memories is gathering around a bowl of dried watermelon seeds with a piece of old newspaper on hand ready to be piled with discarded shells. Ahhh… butong pakwan!!

Filipino Seed Snacks

Dried seeds are old-time favorite Filipino snacks. Fun and addictive to snack on, satisfying one’s oral fixations, unshelled seeds boast a fairly low “calorie to bite” ratio — what with the amount of effort involved in carefully extracting each seed’s kernel from out of the shell. In terms of nutritional value, seeds run a close second to traditional nuts as a source of potassium, manganese and zinc.

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BALUT: Filipino duck egg


duck egg with a developed embryo

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A type of Filipino bread from Sariaya, a town in Quezon province.

The name supposedly comes from the word pagong, meaning “turtle” — the shape is slightly reminiscent of the reptile. And the bread is crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside. (A turtle’s shell is hard. Inside the shell, the turtle’s flesh is soft.)


made into a turtle

Pinagong: Filipino Turtle Bread

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seaweed “gelatin”

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RECIPE : Puto Maya

Puto is the classic Filipino rice cake traditionally made by steaming. But since it is intensive work, Filipinos came up with an easy version based on using rice from a regular cooker or pot.

The Tagalog phrase gaya-gaya puto maya is used to mock someone who is trying to copy someone else (gaya means “to imitate”). The inclusion of the phrase putomaya is not only a rhyme; it could also be an allusion to the fact that puto maya is trying to be a replacement for real puto.

This recipe for Puto Maya yields 12 servings.

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The widely used Filipino spelling these days is lumpia. In classic Tagalog orthography, the spelling is lumpiya, which could be found in cookbooks from at least the 1940s up until the late 1970s. Another, less common non-standard spelling variation is lumpya. The word comes from the Chinese.

egg roll

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