10 Oct2007

At about this time every single year, my personal calendar suddenly starts to get a bit crazed. And worse, at the mall today buying yet more things I need for my computer, I heard my first Christmas carol, which I have been steadfastly avoiding, despite malls in Manila starting with the holiday music in early September… But I still have to get through a birthday sleepover and conquer new computer fears so I am simply swamped. For the last couple of years, I have asked readers to leave comments about any special Filipino dishes or desserts that they would like to see featured on this blog during the run-up to the holiday season. In my first such post, the response was rather amazing, and I did my best to feature a few of the requested items. Last year, I wrote a second such post and tried to feature the most requested items, even if I didn’t personally like to eat them (such as Lengua Estofado!). I do have quite a bit of holiday related posts already in the archives but I am sure I have missed some favorites. So I ask you all again to leave a comment here if there is a dish that you want Marketmanila to feature (if at all possible) this coming holiday season. Or if you can’t think of a dish, perhaps leave a holiday related question and I will try to see if I can answer as many questions as possible!



  1. MarketFan says:

    Hi MM,

    Have you ever featured chicken galantina? What about the old-fashioned way of making embotido where they don’t use aluminum foil as wrapper but insted some kind of “membrane” from the pig?


    Oct 10, 2007 | 5:35 pm


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  3. bluegirl says:

    I would like to see a feature showing all the Christmas lights / holiday decors in the city. It’s been years since I spent Christmas at home and I find I miss the happy & lively decors that seems to be signature Filipino.

    Oct 10, 2007 | 5:40 pm

  4. maria says:

    maybe you can feature where s the best place one can go to during Christmas day itself. please don t include malls ha. places which are really peaceful and family centered and not too far from metro manila. somewhere not crowded…is there such a place? challenging! : ) i hope you’ll be able to feature at least three. demanding! : ) thanks much.

    p.s. is your book going ok?

    Oct 10, 2007 | 6:05 pm

  5. ragamuffin girl says:

    Personally, I’d like a list of your fave places to eat. Like if you had only 3 weeks in Manila because you’re based elsewhere, and with the mad Christmas rush all around, where would you go? What would you order? What would you take home with you? A good mix of both gourmet places and hole-in-the-walls would be nice, as well as some out-of-town restos accessible by car apart from the usual Manila haunts. I’m sure the balibayan readers would enjoy this post a lot. I’d print it out and follow that eating itinerary, definitely! :) Thanks!

    Oct 10, 2007 | 6:10 pm

  6. portugalbear says:

    Hi MM,

    I’d like your list of personal favorites of christmas goodies and where to find it. The criteria should be yummy yet reasonably priced.

    Oct 10, 2007 | 6:20 pm

  7. elaine says:

    Hello MM, I do love desserts and so does my mom and sister..it would be a very very small, all family gathering this xmas so I would really like to give or best yet make(haay, ambitious!)something special..

    Oct 10, 2007 | 6:40 pm

  8. Cookie says:

    My grandmother always made chicken galantina. I miss holidays back home. Menu was always: galantina by lola, lasagna by tita, ham by mommy – and anything else extra that we can bring. Is chicken galantina difficult to make?

    Oct 10, 2007 | 9:14 pm

  9. chick says:

    hope you can feature unique but easy to do desserts that we can serve for noche buena! also, bazaar reviews and best places to visit this xmas… im so looking forward na sa xmas! :D

    advance merry xmas MM and to y’all!! :D

    Oct 10, 2007 | 9:17 pm

  10. nancy says:

    Callos! Definitely callos. And a feature on how to cook the perfect Beef Salpicao…to complete a full-blown Spanish spread for Christmas :-)

    Oct 10, 2007 | 9:53 pm

  11. Mrs Kookie says:

    How about the one Christmas gift that keeps on going around and is said that there is just one of it in the world, it just gets passed from one family to another – fruitcake?

    I like fruitcake, I know not a lot of people don’t. I like it really moist, laced with liquor, aged gracefully, with a lot of walnuts. When we get it as a gift, I look forward to eating it however not all cakes are the same. My mom used to make it but she hasn’t done one in years, nor has she passed the recipe to us. Maybe you can tell me where to get one (with the requirements stated above) or have you made one? :)

    Oct 10, 2007 | 9:55 pm

  12. acapulco says:

    how about featuring paksiw na lechon–am sure a lot of us will have leftover lechon from all these family get together….

    Oct 10, 2007 | 11:14 pm

  13. kaye says:

    To marketmanfan:
    my mom-in-law still makes this kind of embotido using pig membrane for wrapping it..it’s sooo hard and tedious to do.. but the results are really good… no fiesta is without this.. i just forgot the the name.. hehehe..

    MM.. i love simple dishes but with satisfying results which a busy homemaker like me who is also working from 12-9pm would have an easy way of preparing them for noche buena or media noche.. i hope you can feature such dishes since christmas is just around the corner again! thanks if you can feature even one!

    Oct 10, 2007 | 11:15 pm

  14. goodtimer says:

    Where to get those yummies out in bazaars or to order every Christmas.

    Oct 10, 2007 | 11:39 pm

  15. chad says:

    With all the talk about chicken galantina, do you suppose there’s a meat shop here where we could get our chickens deboned? I find deboning a chicken a daunting task.

    And with deboning, how about discovering the technique for deboning a bangus? That’ll be a unique entry MM for sure!

    Oct 10, 2007 | 11:48 pm

  16. kongwi says:

    hi kaye, i think that pig membrane is called “uto sinsal”… it’s also used for camaron rellenada…

    Oct 11, 2007 | 12:37 am

  17. Emerson says:

    MM, my question is not related to food but rather something to do with the Yuletide season. I’ve always wonder why there is the need to give Christmas gifts?

    Oct 11, 2007 | 1:10 am

  18. elaine says:

    For Mrs. Kookie, my mom looves fruitcake too and you best described it on how it should really taste. I love fruitcakes myself and would look forward to getting a box(as opposed to buying since I have no clue as to where to get the best)as each have their own versions. I hope MM, that you can give us references on where to get a good fruitcake as an additional entry to the dessert menu….thanks!!!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 6:43 am

  19. Duday says:

    Hello Mr MM,

    Good day, it would be great it you feature the top 15 hotel buffets in Manila…

    sounds interesting in the parts of Makati, Ortigas and Manila area, please also include your top choices and the prices itself, super thanks!!!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 8:40 am

  20. peterb says:

    I remember this topic from last year.


    As for food wishes — chicken ham, roast beef, lechon paksiw, callos and something to add to the dessert tray. :)

    Oct 11, 2007 | 8:41 am

  21. kaye says:

    @kongwi.. thanks for that.. i never really got to asking what it’s called..hehehe.. but i usually see those membranes hanging on hooks whenever we pass by the local market.. i just can’t find the heart to buy from the vendors for some personal reason.. hehehe.. will post what’s the dish called when i get to talk to my mom-in-law.. sorry MM.. naging forum tuloy ang comments page mo.. hehehe…

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:03 am

  22. palengkera says:

    Hi MM, my food wish for this christmas is siomai. Different kinds of siomai. and for dessert..macapuno and lychee shake.

    However, with all the fat and calorie-laden food laid out on the table almost everyday and even a week past new year, would it be nice to prepare food na pampatanggal ng umay the follow day? At home, we send-off excess food to friends and relatives as pabaon and eat something plain as paksiw na isda or sinigang kinabukasan.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:13 am

  23. Jesse says:

    How about food giveaways? A gave Delici cookies to officemates for three years in a row already. Need fresh ideas.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:17 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Kaye, I think the membrane you refer to is called caul fat in English…it kind of looks like a ragged ganchillo or knitting of some sort. According to Harold McGee, in his book On Food and Cooking, caul fat is “a think membrane of connective tissue with a lacework of small fat deposits embedded in it.” Usually from a pig in the Philippines, though also possible from sheep, this is used to keep dishes moist and self-basted, in a sense. Peterb, yes, thanks…I have featured Chicken Galantina before so refer to the archives for that one. Duday, sorry, I rarely eat at hotel buffets so that request is an unlikely one. the last time I ate at a hotel buffet was at the new Hyatt in Malate and it was so-so. But if you can eat a lot, they are usually a good option for most… Elaine and Mrs. Cookie, I have featured my sister’s fruitcake twice before on this blog. It is a SUPERB fruitcake and worthy of a gold medal. She did give the recipe in the comments section of one post on fruitcake. But please do not attempt to make her recipe using substitutes, it just won’t do. Good fruitcake is seriously expensive to make. Crappy fruitcake you buy in a mall… or at least that is my short opinion on the matter. Emerson, maybe it has to do with the three kings and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby jesus? Goodtimer, yes, everyone wants a list of home bakers for goodies, yes, maybe I can oblige on that one… acapulco, I have a pretty good paksiw na lechon recipe in the archives, precisely for the lehon leftovers. Nancy, I don’t like callos, so that is a tough one, though I featured some callos from a market meal in Florence… salpicao might be easier… for desserts, I have a good summary of top pinoy desserts and I think I have made 80+% of them and have recipes on the site…check archives. ragamuffin girl, I know what you mean and what you are asking for and will try to do a balikayan list, but oddly, I don’t eat out that often at all…we tend to cook at home a lot. Maybe I will run a poll question for readers on the best places to eat… maria, geez, on Christmas Day itself I am so exhausted and we give everyone a rest day so we basically sleep and eat some more and sleep again… we don’t go anywhere. bluegirl, will try to do a post on Christmas lights if I manage to et good photos… Marketfan, see comments on caul fat above…and yes, there is a Galantina recipe in the archives.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:21 am

  25. Cathee says:

    Hello MM,

    How about a feature on the different brands of Christmas ham (e.g. Adelina’s, Majestic, etc.)? I remember Christmases in Manila when my Dad would buy scrap ham from Majestic (coz they’re cheaper), and we’d feast on hot pan de sal filled with ham & queso de bola. Yum-O! I’d also want to see more of the following food stuff of Christmas: Fruit Cake, Callos & Rellenong Bangus.

    Being away from my family for many years now makes me miss the usual Christmas fare and celebration in Manila. Can you also feature Lenguas de Gato (I love receiving this for Christmas) and Leche Flan?


    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:30 am

  26. millet says:

    caul also goes by a prettier name, virgin’s veil, but i don’t care for it in my embutido.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:48 am

  27. Marketman says:

    Cathee, I have a good leche flan in the archives, I also featured lenguas de gato and if I am not mistaken, Majestic ham as well (or was it just the bones…).

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:57 am

  28. Mila says:

    How about a international perspective on Xmas? Choose stuff that might be available in other countries, like those puddings from the UK, or maybe a german bread that is stuffed with fruits, or an italian panettone? Or maybe one of the far flung MM readers can suggest a really interesting addition to the traditional pinoy xmas meal. A drink, a confection, a dessert, or even a new way of untwisting the darn tinsel for the tree.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 10:13 am

  29. Anna Banana says:

    strangely, our family likes fruitcake too. My mom used to make it in june and she would brush it everyday with some brandy or something. No baking for me so if you can recommend a good store bought one, (does your sister sell her fruitcake?) my dad would appreciate that!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 10:29 am

  30. Apicio says:

    Though nothing can really take the place of bibingka and puto-bumbong (not to mention real jaleang ube and sumang inantala) in our hearts at Christmas time, we have borrowed a few items from our Italian friends and neighbors over the years (Toronto has one of the largest Italian communities outside Italy). Coiled gubana that looks like thick family-sized ensaimada filled with nuts and fruits steeped in grappa, rum, sherry or even cognac. There is a very good version of it in The Italian Baker by Carol Field. Equally spicy though less spiky is chewy Siennese panforte that are a lot easier to make than full-fledged fruitcake and much kinder on aging teeth too (or dental work) than turron de Alicante. One can also pick up from Italian bakeries as close to Christmas eve as possible, freshly baked amaretti cookies studded with pine nuts, my favorite seconded only by marzipan crescents rolled in almond flakes and dredged white with confectioner’s sugar that can easily induce visions of sugar plum even among modern day clones of Scroodge.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 11:14 am

  31. ragamuffin girl says:

    My mom uses caul fat for camaron rebosado! It’s yummy, but when I was younger I didn’t realize it went by that name, or was made up of mostly fat. MM, if you can, maybe a list of good chefs/home cooks as well and if they have private kitchens? Here in HK private kitchens/speakeasies are a big thing…esp. with French and Chinese regional cuisine. Sometimes I prefer a personal touch, with fresh-from-the-market ingredients, much like being invited to someone’s home, instead of eating at commercialized places. I can understand why you don’t eat out much, with your love of cooking and experimenting.

    If you need anything Mac-related I have a “suki” Mac gallery in Central, a guy there is PInoy and very helpful and gives small freebies if you buy in bulk or if you purchase something big. I would’nt mind taking it back this December. :)

    Oct 11, 2007 | 11:36 am

  32. dizzy says:

    maybe a feature on home-made gifts for christmas? or goodies to put together in a christmas basket?

    Oct 11, 2007 | 12:33 pm

  33. sometime_lurker says:

    Re: hotel buffets in the phils; tried just one so not much point of ref, but will share since I enjoyed it.

    Circles, Shangrila, Makati.

    Tried both breakfast (6-1130am?) and lunch buffets(12-3pm). Both, to me, are exceptional and not so heavy on dough, given the variety. Last time I was there, breakfast buffets are about PHP1.5k/person, lunch PHP1.8k/person (tax inclusive, drinks–not). With the quality of the stuffs you get though, I’m thinking some restau could easily charge you PHP700/plate (ribs). So a stack of plates for PHP1.8k is not bad. I hope they don’t change their price because of this plug though. Stagger going there, you guys. ;-)

    Seafood galore, mexican, indian (?), chinese, italian, diff sorts of roasts, variety of sausages, loads of good bread, cheeses, salads, veggies and fruits, and, my goodness, the goodies and ice cream and the halo halo overflow. My fave was to concoct my own dessert with putting together the oh-so-sinful ones. I’m almost sure I forgot some more stuffs in that aforementioned list since my brain is having a hard time recollecting while trying to not drool all over my keyboard.

    Just head to your local gym a day or two afterwards; Straight to the sauna or steam room, for the lazy ones.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 2:51 pm

  34. bernadette says:

    Yes, i agree with Dizzy—A personally-made or put-together christmas basket is always nice! Ideas/Suggestions as to what can be put there is sure a welcome post!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 2:53 pm

  35. mardie says:

    MM, how about featuring the filipino lantern or parol from different parts of the country? it’s been several years since i’ve last seen one.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 5:53 pm

  36. JoCo says:

    Hi MarketMan,

    Would love to hear some foodie ideas to give as unique gifts to friends. Offhand the jumbo pastillas are my top of mind gifts but thought you would have more creativity.

    Also, I traditionally “outsource” our Noche Buena meal (Ham c/o The Plaza, ensaimada c/o Mrs. Cunanan or Mary Grace, pasta c/o my mom and Mango Torte c/o Dulcelin, etc.) and would like to know if you have any suggestions for a Noche Buena menu that a kitchen amateur can do.

    Thanks so much and more power!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 6:32 pm

  37. ceres says:

    Hello MM,

    Spend Christmas Holidays many years now away from home and so eager to learn how to make a homemade cured sweet ham. Tried it before but unsuccessful (the 9 days curing period as suggested by somebody). Been to so many places and there’s nothing like our traditional “pinoy hamon”.

    MM, please H e L p ! ! !

    Maraming Salamat and God bless you and your family.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 8:38 pm

  38. Evangeline says:

    Hello MM,
    Can you feature anything about CALLOS and pintos? Callos is a personal favorite while Pintos is a favorite of my kids. I’m sure you have tried Pintos from Bogo, Cebu already. Are there any other place in the Philippines where Pintos is also a “local specialty”?

    Thanks so much MM.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:04 pm

  39. Patricia says:

    I would really appreciate it if you could share with us a callos and fabada recipe. Muchas gracias!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 9:59 pm

  40. husbandofnang says:

    hi MM! I would like it if you can feature a good recipe for brazo de mercedes or butter cake…well a little bit like the ones from Mrs. Vargas. I would love to know how she makes it that way…thanks!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 11:08 pm

  41. kitkathie says:

    Hello MM — can u feature a Noche Buena & New Year’s Set Menu? =)

    Oct 12, 2007 | 5:31 am

  42. marilyn says:

    MM, I am sure you have heard of a dish called pastel from Quezon. I was wondering about how it is put together. I tasted this dish some 16 years ago in a wedding banquet. From my understanding, it is a specialty served on special occasions when the family gathers together. I was wondering if you could feature this. Thanks.

    Oct 12, 2007 | 7:04 am

  43. mrs m says:

    hi mm
    your may 18, 2007 post was about the top 10 pinoy putahe favorites (top 30 actually) and mentioned not having done caldereta yet.
    how about a feature on this dish – maybe using different meats like lamb, goat – specially made for the holidays and the days after.
    i would also appreciate a special duck dish, something like “luto sa pickles?” and beef stroganoff ala marketman
    thanks in advance

    Oct 12, 2007 | 7:54 am

  44. Ted says:

    Does anyone have any idea how to cook the “Smithfield” ham the Filipino way and make it less salty? This is the closest thing to the traditional chinese ham i could get here in the bay area. Maybe MM can post a recipe?

    Oct 12, 2007 | 8:56 am

  45. jennifer says:

    Every Christmas/New Year’s, my parents would take Mochiko rice flour, mix it with water, and either make flat, oval-sized shapes or roll them into balls. The flat shapes were steamed on a double-boiler and then it was rolled into sugar/coconut flakes. The balls were cooked in coconut milk and served like that. I think the former was called palitaw, and the latter was called pinindot. (My parents wanted us to grow up American, so we never learned the language.)

    Oct 12, 2007 | 10:36 am

  46. Em Dy says:

    Hi MM.

    I haven’t attempted to cook but if I do, will start with soup as you suggested.

    Having said that, can you compile a list of store bought items good enough to give away on Christmas? Sort of Marketman recommends… You seem to know the best ones and the not so publicized but very good products too.

    Thanks in advance.

    Oct 12, 2007 | 5:03 pm

  47. inked_chef says:

    i always love serving/eating panettone during christmas. I would normally go to santis first week of november to get my supply for the season. slice…toast… put a dallop of mascarpone cream laced with frangelico and nice yummy fruit on top. I tend to serve it with berries and stone fruit ( chop up the fruit and put in a bowl sprinkle a little bit of caster sugar and see the juices come out) …. dust with a bit of confectionary sugar…. So simple but hits the spot! YUM YUM!!!!

    Oct 12, 2007 | 8:31 pm

  48. marosee says:

    chad, i get deboned chicken from the chicken station at unimart but its not always available. or you can also ask your chicken vendor in the market to debone it for you. although when i tried that it wasn’t as well done but it will do in a pinch.

    Oct 13, 2007 | 12:37 pm

  49. john paul sarabia says:

    dear mm, you add more xmas spirit to my xmas season.am excited already. can you give suggestions on gifts to give in the price range of 100pesos. you see there are more or less 50 of us in the family, my siblings,nephews,their daughters etc. not to mention friends and staffs.i want to give something cool but not expensive. thanks. btw my favorite food xmas time is chickenham. can you likewise provide the recipe.

    Oct 14, 2007 | 11:42 am

  50. Marketman says:

    john paul, with that many, why not make something at home to give away? An excellent acharra or other pickle or some jam? Alternatively a native specialty for recipients who live in Manila or other big cities… Oh, and I have never had a chicken ham…

    Oct 14, 2007 | 11:48 am

  51. chi says:

    Hi MM,

    Two dishes that I haven’t had since childhood are Lengua Estofada and Pastel de Lengua. Once, a long time ago, I had this brilliant idea of trying to make the Estofada but all it took was one look at the main ingredient which was, surprise!, a TONGUE !!!! I’d only ever seen it sliced so duh, despite the name, I never made the connection. No, I am NOT blonde. Needless to say, the attempt was nixed. But I’d like to try it again if I can get a Lengua 101 from someone. I remember our Estofada had enough gravy to generously spoon over the Lengua. The gravy had a deep brown color and a rich taste that comes from long braising and it was also slightly sweet. The Lengua was served sliced with button mushrooms, fried whole saba, and quartered potatoes fried in olive oil. YUM!

    When we were little, we got to choose our birthday party menu. My dessert was always Sans Rival (made by a cousin) and Pastel de Lengua never failed to make the list. This was purchased from somewhere and it was absolutely delicious. The crust was nicely browned, light, and flaky. I would definitely love to learn how to make this dish.

    Speaking of fruitcakes, I have a killer recipe for a Plum Pudding and a very simple but drop-dead delicious Hard Sauce to go with. I’ll be happy to send it out to whoever’s interested …

    Oct 14, 2007 | 12:46 pm

  52. chi says:

    For Ted,

    You can go to http://www.smithfieldhams.com/cookinginstructions for detailed how-to information. Smithfield hams also come with full preparation/cooking instructions. You can’t completely eliminate the saltiness because Virginia hams are traditionally that way. That’s why they’re always served in paper-thin slices.

    We brought a toddler-size Smithfield ham to my family when we recently visited. The plan was to cook it while we were there but we just plain ran out of time. They’ll be feasting on it at Xmas instead!

    Oct 14, 2007 | 1:03 pm

  53. Epi says:

    I love Stews, Roasts and accompaniments. If you could also feature A Christmas Breakfast Menu, aside from the usual. Authentic bibingka, puto bumbong, suman ( all sorts) and breads.
    Do you have any idea where I can order SPICY LECHON? My husband attended a party and they served this lechon flown in from cebu, it arrived late due to the delayed Cebu Pacific flt. Most of the guests have finished eating but when this lechon arrived they had to start eating again. It was that good. Thanks MM!!!

    Oct 14, 2007 | 10:59 pm

  54. Epi says:

    For Chi,
    Can I please please have your Plum Pudding recipe??? Thanks.

    One last thing MM…Estrels caramel cake…recipe???

    Oct 14, 2007 | 11:11 pm

  55. chi says:

    For Epi,

    Hi! The recipe is in Word.doc – please provide a link for uploading or an eddress I can send it to.


    Oct 15, 2007 | 5:12 am

  56. Epi says:

    For Chi,
    Please email to espiefrancisco@yahoo.com. Thank You verrrryyy much!

    Oct 15, 2007 | 8:36 am

  57. chunky says:

    embutido is my all-time holiday food. am saddened how it was bastardized by some. i can only eat my mom’s homemade embutido- no extenders and placed inside the “tuwalya” as they call it, then baked to golden brown perfection with drippings that taste so gooood with hot pandesal. we later chill it and thaw for a few minutes before serving it a tad cold, not fried! can you share your recipe for embutido please?

    Nov 13, 2007 | 12:06 pm

  58. Roxanne Blancaflor-Bahnan says:

    Hi, I remember my grandma use to make that embutido and the thin wrapper she uses is empelya ng baboy which you can get in the market or sa palengke, the butcher will know that. I love the good old embutido, (no extenders or binders) my mom makes it to. Now I make it also and my son always ask me to make some for him. :-)

    Mar 1, 2009 | 2:32 am


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