04 Sep2011

Growing up, I knew of several families that had weekly gatherings for Sunday lunch or dinner. Several generations got together, feasted on some house specialty like cocido, a special adobo, paella or pancit, and hung around for hours on end, week after week after week. It was part of the schedule, and you were only rarely able to beg off from these events. In retrospect, I think such gatherings were a brilliant opportunity for family to catch up with one another, to hear the latest news (and gossip), and simply to connect. These days, large home gatherings seem to be less common, with folks opting to eat out instead… I suppose it’s simpler to do it this way… no fuss, no muss. But there’s just something different about the dynamics of a restaurant meal…it isn’t the same. Special and elaborate meals were the hallmark of a Sunday feast, but these days, I like to do a simpler meal every once in a while… like this abundant but totally easy giant platter of poached shrimp we had for lunch last Sunday at the beach…

I had dropped by the Nasugbu market in the morning, and spied a small mountain of suahe or white shrimp, medium size, for a very reasonable PHP230 a kilo. I bought two kilos and left the market soon after as there wasn’t anything else on offer, the boats had apparently stayed ashore due to the lingering effects of a recent passing storm. Back at home, we simply poached the shrimp for a few minutes, loaded it onto this beautiful ceramic plate (a gift from Sister) and made a simple dip of soy sauce, vinegar, a touch of sugar, ginger, dayap and wansoy or coriander leaves. Everyone peeled their own shrimp and took as much or as little of the sauce as desired. It’s funny to watch how folks handle the shrimp… do they peel one and eat one, or peel many and stockpile the shrimp… Do they marinated in the sauce or take a quick dip? Eat it with rice or separately? At any rate, it was a leisurely lunch, simple yet satisfying. Oh, all shrimp shells, heads and broth saved for making shrimp stock for other uses as well…

I am curious, what was the typical “anchor” dish at your family gatherings or Sunday meals?



  1. betty q. says:

    Shrimp bisque for the shells and the heads!!!!!!!!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:35 am


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  3. kitchen says:

    Nilagang Baka and Kare Kare.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:42 am

  4. titabuds says:

    Nyek, I just had poached shrimp and fried rice for breakfast, haha.
    Our anchor dish: Bicol Express with baluko, prepared by my brother-in-law. There are never awkward moments at the table as everyone’s just sucking air and going ”hoooo!”. :)

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:46 am

  5. Jun B says:

    My Lola always had Callos or Cocido as a Sunday staple.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:46 am

  6. Divine G. says:

    When we had our Sunday lunch I remember that we always had pancit either bihon, canton, sotanghon but always pancit on Sundays in fact we had other food but I can’t remember it. The “sahog” will be pork, chicken and shrimp plus all the vegetables in a pancit, but the seasonings could differ. Like if it is bihon my mother will use soy sauce, if sotanghon, she will use achuete and patis and canton also soy sauce but with oyster sauce plus the regular pepper and some /little salt to taste.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:46 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Sinugba (grilled) food!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 11:05 am

  8. millet says:

    yes, sunday lunches are de riguer for my family. It used to be at my parents’ house all the time, but nowmy mom, my siblings ang i take turns hosting. The most elaborate and traditional are always those at my Mom’s (pochero, or kare-kare, the works) while the rest of us put together whatever strikes our fancy, our try out/show off new recipes (build your own burger or pasta, etc.). or sometimes we just have pizza delivered. even our kids look forward to these sunday lunches which can go on until dinner. and you’re right, MM – everyone loves shrimp!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 11:07 am

  9. flip4ever says:

    Sunday lunch was beef pochero (with saba, potatoes, various greens); with the water used to cook the meat turned into nilaga.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 11:27 am

  10. kittel says:

    We always had chicken adobo or tinola and some shrimp as well… I only eat the chicken though. I don’t know why I don’t like the taste of shrimp. My family says I’m weird because I’m the only one who doesn’t seem to like it.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 12:15 pm

  11. Mojow says:

    Sunday family lunch are anchored with either of these 7 stars: Laing (my mom makes the best with natural oil from the taro and coconut milk oozing out), Bulalo, Sibot w/ duck, Kare kare, Sotanghon soup, Sinigang and Papaitan! I absolutely love our Sunday lunches and I’m happy my siblings and I are planning to continue this family tradition.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 12:28 pm

  12. redberry says:

    Sunday is indeed very special for majority of Filipino families :D. We grew up in a town where market days are Sundays and Wednesdays (there were no electricity yet) and we get to eat nilagang baka, or kadyos baboy & langka and grilled bangus its cavity filled with tomatoes and onions. Despite the development (electricity and refrigeration) and days where fresh meat and fish are always available…Sunday is still being looked forward so we can cook our favorite food. Our parents are gone now and since we live in the same compound we share our special food with plates and bowls being passed between four households :D.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 1:55 pm

  13. PinkCarnations says:

    Pork & fish sinugba (yum!), white beans soup, potato salad, fresh pako salad & yes, that, poached shrimp too. Enjoy your weekend too, Market Man!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 2:00 pm

  14. Melit Villanueva says:

    kare kare and adobo.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 3:14 pm

  15. Nina says:

    Ours would be humba or nilas-ay (beef soup with pechay and blood stirred into the broth)

    Sep 4, 2011 | 3:49 pm

  16. Sharon says:

    Those shrimp look divine, nowadays I’d pour melted butter over the whole lot for added wickedness :-) I miss the traditional Sunday lunches with extended family members! We always had pancit, pancit and more pancit lol, (bihon is my all-time fave), plus a mountain of chicken “lollipops” that my Tita Beth who was the great cook in the family as she’d gone to culinary school made painstakingly and deliciously, and the usual menudo and lumpia fare. Aahh the good old days!!!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 3:55 pm

  17. Elodie Jane Amora says:

    We do Sunday lunch every week at my mother-in-law’s house and it’s always her special Nilagang Baka! sometimes when she feels like it she’ll make it in another style with tomato sauce or pork and beans. but we always have Nilagang Baka. :)

    Sep 4, 2011 | 4:23 pm

  18. Rochelle says:

    Sunday lunch at my Lola’s always have Tinolang Manok, and since we live in Davao and Uncles have business in Gensan, we always have kinilaw na tuna and sugba/grilled tuna panga, and of course the walang kamatayang Bam-i :) and lots and lots of kakanin, which ingredients come from my lola’s farm ;) I do miss Sunday get together alot :(

    Sep 4, 2011 | 5:50 pm

  19. Ellen says:

    Bangus and Hipon Sinigang sa Bayabas paired with Binagoongan Baboy.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 5:53 pm

  20. Lalaine says:

    Maton (it’s supposed to be mommy son but us kids had difficulty pronouncing “s”) always prepare kare-kare, batchoy and lumpiang gulay.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 5:58 pm

  21. Junb says:

    Nilagang Baka simmer as early as Saturday night on a charcoal fired clay pot stove. Served with lots of vegetables and a calamansi and patis dipping sauce.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 6:03 pm

  22. quiapo says:

    Paella is the mainstay of weekend family gatherings, since my grandfather’s time. Other dishes depend on what is available in season, these tend to be Tagalog dishes, but inasal manok is a frequent favourite, usually on a Weber, sometimes on a Kamado.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 7:25 pm

  23. MP says:

    Grilled liempo, beef or shrimp sinigang + a favorite of a family member (selected in rotation) are the anchor dishes for lunch at my Mom’s house every Sunday, after mass.

    Sorry, off topic MM, @atbnorge, do you mind sharing the website you use to buy Staub and LC items? Time to add to my collection (I’m interested in the red ones, mine are mostly blue and white). Thanks!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 8:58 pm

  24. charly says:

    I have been in LA for 25 years we have kare kare & beef adobo almost everys sunday. Kids love kare kare without bagoong

    Sep 4, 2011 | 9:37 pm

  25. atbnorge says:

    In the Philippines, my family loves NILAGANG BAKA or SINIGANG NA BABOY accompanied with any fried or grilled fish. September is also a very special month for our clan because so many were born this month and it is the PINIPIG season in Antipolo. Ginataang pinipig is the all-time favourite dessert.

    Sep 4, 2011 | 9:41 pm

  26. Gej says:

    Ours was inihaw na baboy (grilled pork) or inihaw na bangus (grilled milkfish).

    Sep 4, 2011 | 9:58 pm

  27. jean says:

    I miss my Mom!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:04 pm

  28. rosedmd says:

    ours is sinigang na baboy or baka, sometimes bulalo, nilagang baka, or baboy or manok………yummy! plus inihaw na liempo

    Sep 4, 2011 | 10:45 pm

  29. Kasseopeia says:

    When I was much younger, Sunday lunch meant inihaw na bangus and lato salad, or inihaw na liempo and ensaladang talong, or a nilagang bulalo simmered for 6 hrs, or an appropriately sour sinigang na baoy with lots of gabi. Now that my (nuclear) family is scattered in different countries, we only have this sort of thing once or twice a year. Good times =)

    Sep 4, 2011 | 11:07 pm

  30. Zerho says:

    At our house Sunday was the market day so my mom would cook her special law-uy(utan bisaya for some) and each sunday it will be always be a differnet version depending on what was available at the market that day. Of course my favorite was the one with chicharon laman!!!

    Sep 4, 2011 | 11:49 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    Back home on Sundays…my Ate always made Pancit Malabon and brought it to our house….have tot have that! Then she would always pass by the wet market and bring over suahe still jumping. There was ALWAYS TAWILIS and SINAING NA TULINGAN.

    But here in my neck of the woods…it is always BARBECUED stuff…grilled Lemongrass chicken, simple Grilled Liempo slices, Kahlbi Ribs…side dishes would be those vegetables served in little plates like Korean side vegetable dishes….cubed potatoes in teriyaki marinade, napa cabbage slaw, snow pea salad, marinated lotus root, have to have gomaae, grilled vegetables with ginger-sesame dressing are just a few of the side dishes.

    Desserts are always fresh fruits whatever is in season. Just like your poached shrimp, people on the dinner table eat fresh lychees like shrimp. Some peel away each lychee and pop them in their mouth and other make a pile first of peeled ones. Longan is another fruit much like fresh lychees…peel as they eat or make a mound first, too!

    Sep 5, 2011 | 12:36 am

  32. Sarah says:

    My mom usually made pochero for Sunday lunch. I miss having Sunday lunch with the whole family.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 1:08 am

  33. Mart says:

    Ours was usually something with sabay (nilaga, sinigang) or some chicken dish (Filipino curry, my lola’s adobo). It would be a treat to have Imarflex turbo broiler lechon kawali. For birthday celebrations on the weekend, we’d order in the pansit bihon or malabon (the Navotas malabon’s are quite good if you know where to get it from).

    I guess nowadays getting in touch with one another happens more on Facebook and cellphones rather than catching up at the table. Kids nowadays are also in front of the telly playing with their consoles instead of outside playing shato or tumbang preso.

    Sigh. I guess every generation goes through this kind of nostalgia when evaluating the present.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 1:37 am

  34. Maddie says:

    Our anchor dish growing up was bas-oy (a simple pork soup) paired with pinakas (salted dried fish). This has to be present every Sunday. Then you would have either pochero, some super fresh grilled fish, suaje (like your poached shrimp), and inihaw na baboy.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 1:48 am

  35. fried-neurons says:

    When we still lived in Manila, a “production” Sunday meal often consisted of crispy pata, nilagang baka, and a seafood/veggie dish of some sort. We never really had shrimp that often, because my brother and I just refused to eat it. It’s only after we moved to the US that I started eating crustaceans, and now I love shrimp!

    Here in the US, we all have separate households. In mine, Sunday is usually our day to experiment with new recipes, or to make more complicated meals that we wouldn’t have time to do during the week. So, we don’t really have typical anchor dishes on Sundays anymore.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 3:35 am

  36. secretsauce says:

    for us it was always cocido for very special occations but our family recorded 3 different kinds of cocido over the generations so we always had it 3 different ways depending on the host family’s turn to prepare the cocido. we also had nilaga or paella on lesser occations. but in all occasions there is a competition among the families as to how each are made and how true it was to the original “lola lola” recipe.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 4:57 am

  37. noel says:

    Our anchor dishes at home gatherings and family reunions are Sinigang na Baboy, Kare-Kare and Pritong Hito. The family just loves this!

    Sep 5, 2011 | 6:59 am

  38. MrsKookie says:

    We all used to go to my Lola’s every Sunday. Whether it be in the old house in Kalookan or now in QC, it will always start with a lunch that would extend all the way to almost dinner. Sometimes we’d even stay for dinner, and eat the leftovers or she’ll add more food. With all my uncles and aunts getting married or growing up, some have moved out of the country or just far to travel, these gathering have been reduced to just cerebrating a birthday, a death anniversary or just because Lola wants to see her apos.

    My Lola, at almost 83 now, would still cook her signature dishes and there would be a lot left over so that we can bring home some. There will always be her sinigang and sarciado, the latter being my favourite and being the eldest apo, she’d always have extra for me to bring home. :)

    Sep 5, 2011 | 8:31 am

  39. Bubut says:

    inihaw na liempo and bangus

    Sep 5, 2011 | 8:40 am

  40. Anne :-) says:

    That would be pochero and lumpiang shanghai

    Sep 5, 2011 | 9:05 am

  41. millet says:

    i loved reading through the comments. Funny how two words, “Sunday dinner” and a beautiful platter of steamed shrimp could evoke such nostalgia and happy memories.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 9:06 am

  42. Pinksalmonlady says:

    Menudo and lumpia shanghai is the fave in our family get together. This is mum’s signature dishes aside from the sinigang and pinakbet. She just turned 86 but she still try to cook whenever possible.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 10:01 am

  43. Joe-ker says:

    Ours would be Bulalo and Fried or grilled fish

    Sep 5, 2011 | 10:10 am

  44. luisa ditan says:

    its varied, its all of the above, plus fabada, bacalao a la vizcayna, paella, but mainstay would be whatever fresh seafood bought that morning, crabs, shrimps, kinilaw na tangigue, clam soup.. alternately…

    Sep 5, 2011 | 10:41 am

  45. paeng says:

    Bulalo w/ some white corn and Grilled Alumahan or Samaral.. Yum!

    Sep 5, 2011 | 11:20 am

  46. betty q. says:

    Reading Paeng’s comment, I forgot about the corn! It is corn season here and I harvested the BESTEST corn I have ever planted. It is called MIRAI…by far surpasses all the corn varieties I think there are

    GEJ….you have to try that corn…..MIRAI! If your suppliers cannot get it, I will send you a few packs of seeds!

    Sep 5, 2011 | 11:56 am

  47. Gej says:

    That’s interesting Betty Q! Are you scheduled to visit anytime soon? Hope the anniversary was a blast !

    Sep 5, 2011 | 12:15 pm

  48. Chris Davis says:

    Nilagang Baka/Bulalo and Inihaw na Bangus or Barilyete, or Alimango/Alimasag if they are in season come to mind for Sunday dinner. It was held at our house since my grandparents stayed with us — my aunts and uncles and cousins would come after morning mass was done and spend the day.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 1:13 pm

  49. betty q. says:

    Have to postpone our road trip, Gej… Mr. and Mrs. MM are on their way! But I can mail you the seeds if you want. When does corn planting start there? Mirai is ideal for it is one of the early varieties….only 69 to 71 days! It is the mini variety…about 6 inches but full kernels up the tip….and so sweeeeeeeeeeeeet! I can send you the same yellow mini Mirai and /or the white Mirai. The white variety is also an early variety but longer than the mini Mirai.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 3:11 pm

  50. anna says:

    nilagang baka/bulalo and fried chicken (for the kids). we drive from qc to bulacan for our sunday get together family lunch. minatamis na saging na saba with pandan and sago for dessert.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 4:52 pm

  51. Vettievette says:

    At my grandmother’s house in Concord, CA – staples were nilaga, sinegang, humba, adobo, asado, kare kare, pinakbet, etc. Every once in a while she would also make her roast chicken (simple rub of soy sauce and lemon/calamansi), her munggo or arroz caldo. She’s still alive and strong (at 93), but my aunts do all the work now behind the stoves – they have an indoor and outdoor kitchen for all the serious cooking since my dad’s side are always the main cooks for Filipino community events at church. True Capampangans indeed.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 9:13 pm

  52. Enteng says:

    Bulalo, Kare-kare, Inihaw na Liempo, Piritong Tilapia, Oyster, Sari-saring sawsawan! I miss home!!!

    Sep 5, 2011 | 9:47 pm

  53. Mila says:

    I enjoy these posts that evoke a rush of nostalgia from everyone commenting. It’s a good sign that we’re not that far off from our roots, no matter where we end up as adults. My Sunday lunches/dinners as a kid included at least a few of the following bistek tagalog, kare kare, bulalo or sinigang na bangus, platters of shrimp (my mom used this to sub for the fact she couldn’t eat crabs anymore due to a severe allergy), kare kare, adobong pusit, fried bangus, pochero, and some dessert that someone picked up or made. There were years when we’d hit the old Magnolia factory after mass, but when they changed owners we moved mass to late afternoons and would trek all the way to Binondo for oyster pancakes, beef in oyster sauce, steamed fish and some sauteed vegetable. Family meals definitely made a difference to how we communicated as a family.

    Sep 5, 2011 | 10:36 pm

  54. Eden Claire says:

    tinolang manok

    Sep 5, 2011 | 11:30 pm

  55. Michelle says:

    I love the Nasugbu market. Even my ten year old son loves tagging along. Their shrimps are so fresh. We love buying shrimps to cook w fresh coconut milk we get from the market too. But mind you, most days they have a line to the “gata” place. Sometimes, we have to make do w the powdered kind. My kids also love crispy fried galunggong. They even eat the crunchy heads!
    I actually miss Nasugbu, have not been back since Holy Week. Actually, I miss the food. We mostly eat and swim and sleep when there. When super lazy to even think of what to eat, its off to Dalampasigan for us!

    Sep 6, 2011 | 10:16 am

  56. Tina says:

    It’s usually pansit canton, lechon kawali or inihaw na liempo :-)

    Sep 6, 2011 | 1:15 pm

  57. Gej says:

    Sayang, but that Vancouver eyeball is exciting – we look forward to the pictures – of all of you and the food!

    The Mirai corn sounds really good. But it’s ok, thanks for the offer to mail, but I’m fine with waiting for the time you visit. Really appreciate your offer.

    Ano ano kayang dimsum ang ihahanda sa EB?!

    Have a good one MM and Mrs MM, and Betty Q!

    Sep 6, 2011 | 1:31 pm

  58. Papa Ethan says:

    Nilagang baka. The long hours of simmering the meat is a perfect excuse to leisurely read the Sunday newspapers. =)

    Sep 6, 2011 | 8:00 pm

  59. Nacho says:

    When my grandparents were still alive we would have Saturday lunches on my mother’s side and Sunday lunches on my father’s side. My Saturdays would be anchored by chicken pork adobo and sinigang na baka. On Sunday it was Paella, Cocido, Fabada or crabs. Thing is the crabs would always be served as one big pile of crab meat. We never had to learn how to peel? Crabs. I only learned how to eat A whole crab when I got married and it was a staple dish of my in-laws’ Sunday dinners.

    Sep 6, 2011 | 9:29 pm

  60. Nacho says:

    Oh and here is another family quirk, this goes for both sides of my family. We eat our sinigang with bagging. At my in laws house when I first asked for bagging with my sinigang they looked at me like I was an alien. I have always wondered which custom was “normal”? MM what’s your take on this?

    Sep 6, 2011 | 9:35 pm

  61. Nacho says:

    Sorry folks spell check is a bummer, I meant BAGOONG not bagging

    Sep 6, 2011 | 9:38 pm

  62. PITS, MANILA says:


    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:37 am

  63. millet says:

    my lola’s sunday staple was kare-kare that she started cooking on saturday morning. what i miss most about her kare-kare are the tubes ooozing with fat – beef intestines that had been cleaned and tenderized for hours. really, really good! i don’t see that type of offal in the markets now (wonder who gets them now), and i feel sorry for the folks who will never get to taste it.

    back then, the word “cholesterol” had probably not been invented yet ;-) aside from binagoongang baboy, this kare-kare’s usual neighbors on the table, were chicken and pork adobo, steamed oysters and shrimp, and burong mangga.

    and, by the way, my lola lived till 99!

    Sep 7, 2011 | 12:33 pm

  64. Cheska says:

    This post made me smile because our Sunday staple at home is suahe, we always have it for Sunday breakfast. My father would wake up early in the morning to go to the wet market and buy a kilo or two. I usually don’t eat it with sauce since I really like tasting the sweetness of the shrimp.

    Sep 8, 2011 | 3:00 pm

  65. Teresa says:

    We do Nilagang Baka, inihaw na liempo + isda, lamb chops with mint, Pinapaitan and ilocano Igado…special Sundays would call for Kare-Kare….all so yummy. This is also exactly what we had when I was young. My husband’s side of the family would do Sugpo, Steamed crabs and Lauya. So we also have these dishes for Sunday meals.

    Sep 8, 2011 | 11:34 pm

  66. Alex says:

    you should try cooking shrimp with chinese wine. i saw this done in a chinese restaurant in Q.C. They use live shrimps, pour a particular brand of Chinese wine that’s flammable, light it and cook it in a wok. I am sorry i don’t recall the brand of wine, but i heard that its special. you could probably try using local spirits, as long as its flammable and enough to cook the shrimp to perfection

    Sep 9, 2011 | 2:43 pm

  67. Eloy says:

    That has to be kare-kare. Cooked by my kuya, not by my mom. :D
    And almost always, the weekend lunch date will be spent eating kare-kare and relentless conversations on why my kuya cooks it better than mom.

    Sep 11, 2011 | 6:40 pm


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