Top 10 Filipino Noche Buena Favorites
There’s only a few days left before Christmas. In the Philippines, it’s the most awaited season of the year. Filipinos are so keen on celebrating Christmas day that they start celebrating early. Aside from the early putting of Christmas decors, they also attend Simbang Gabi (night mass) for nine consecutive mornings before Christmas day. However, the last Simbang Gabi is celebrated a few hours before midnight. And after the mass is what the Filipinos call the noche buena or midnight dinner.
It’s customary for every Filipino family to share noche buena food together. If you haven’t decided yet what to prepare this coming Christmas eve, take a look at our list of noche buena favorites.
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Top Noche Buena Food
Lechon is any meat, chicken, lamb, beef, and most particularly a whole pig roasted over coals. It’s the Filipino counterpart of turkey. Lechon baboy has always been the star of the table, definitely one of Filipinos’ noche buena food favorites. For the sauce, your best choices are Mang Tomas sarsa, vinegar with crushed garlic, and banana ketchup.
Barbecue can be a pork or a chicken (sometimes fish) thinly sliced and bathed in soy sauce, calamansi, garlic (and other secret ingredients), then skewed on bamboo skewers and grilled over charcoal. The aroma of the barbecue on the table will make your mouth water. Note: Chicken Inasal is one of the more well-known variant of this dish.
Bibingka and Puto Bumbong
While bibingka or rice cake is available throughout the year, it is during Christmas that they become most popular. It is usually sold outside the church and most favored snacks by churchgoers after attending Simbang Gabi.
Here’s our bibingka recipe.
Also one of the best noche buena treats is the fruit salad. Seldom will you see a table without fruit salad on Christmas.
Hamonado is not an everyday recipe. It’s a special dish consists of pork or chicken dish, cooked in pineapple juice, that’s why the meat is specially tender, just perfect for the occasion.
There are several versions of Filipino lumpia, but this fresh variant made of ubod (heart of coconut), pork, carrots and lettuce is divine and deserves to be part of noche buena food favorites. As for the sauce, it’s made from corn starch, vinegar, and mixed with peanuts and garlic.
Learn how to make this dish with our lumpia ubod recipe.
This heavenly treat made from egg yolks, condensed milk, fresh milk, and sugar is so sinfully sweet, it should be barred from our dining table. But no, because it’s everyone’s favorite Christmas dessert.
Make sure to learn how to create this dessert with our leche flan recipe.
Filipinos, both young and old, love spaghetti. But unlike the original Italian style spaghetti, which is a bit sour, the Filipino version is sweeter. It’s on par with lechon when it comes to food popularity during feasts.
Though lumpiang shanghai is a favorite by a Filipinos, it is actually a Chinese food. It can be a ground pork, shrimp or a combination of both rolled in a lumpia wrapper. It’s so delicious it has become a regular during special occasions.
There are various types of macaroni salad. The pasta can be mixed with canned (or fresh) fruits to make macaroni fruit salad or with chicken strips for macaroni chicken salad. Whatever your choice is, it’s always added with mayonnaise and cheese.
Try our macaroni salad recipe.
Quezo de Bola
It’s hard to ignore this Dutch cheese in the dining table during Christmas dinner because it’s coated with red wax. It’s also called queso de bola and is among the noche buena food favorites. It’s the perfect partner for white wine and cold cuts.
Sotanghon noodle soup is among the dishes sold near the church to warm churchgoers during cold mornings after Simbang Gabi.