Filipino Comfort Food That Will Make You Feel Nostalgic
A lot of people enjoy comfort food. There is something about them that transcends beyond just merely satisfying your cravings. For some, it could be an emotional attachment or a childhood memory behind them. Pinoys, in particular, adore even the mere thought of munching on some Filipino comfort food and won’t hesitate to admit that they find themselves sampling their favorite childhood snacks over and over again.
Another reason why Filipinos enjoy comfort food is because it acts as a stress reliever. When a person feels down in the dumps, they naturally look for something to liven up their mood. So whatever the reason behind your cravings is, let us take a trip down memory lane and go over the beloved Filipino comfort food enjoyed by different generations.
Filipino Comfort Food: Your Real Childhood Best Friend
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10. Captain Sid’s Butong Pakwan
When you were young, you might have panicked over the urban myth that swallowed watermelon seeds could grow inside your stomach. Thankfully, that fear is nowhere near the truth and we can all enjoy Captain Sid Butong Pakwan in all of its salted glory. The salty taste is enough to take you back to the lazy Saturday afternoons wherein you and your childhood friends wasted time cracking open these black seeds. The good news is, you can always get your fix at local grocery stores, and a variety of brands are known to sell the same salty seeds for the same price.
Another popular Filipino snack is binatog, which is basically boiled corn kernels served with grated coconut and salt. It takes a lot of Pinoys back to their elementary school days wherein they’d wait in line at local carinderias right after the school bell rings. Binatog was sold in wooden carts by street vendors as well.
Thankfully, binatog is an easy dish to prepare and you can always make one yourself. All you need to do is soak mature white corn in a mix of salt and water until it puffs out. After doing so, you should boil and simmer the dish, then top it with salt (or sugar) together and grated coconut before serving.
8. Ice Scramble
Kids these days may get their sugar fix from popular cafés, but the younger generation saved their parents a lot of money by purchasing ice scrambles from the nearby carinderia.
Believed to have originated from Iloilo, ice scramble or iskrambol goes perfectly with the hot summer weather in the Philippines. It is a simple snack made of shaved ice, milk powder, and chocolate syrup. Over the years, this Filipino comfort food has made its way to malls and is now sold at a higher price. Luckily, you can make your own. All you need to do is prepare its key ingredients, which include shaved ice, red food coloring (to achieve that pinkish coloring), evaporated milk, milk powder (or you may add your own toppings such as chocolate syrup, rice crispies, or candy sprinkles), and banana extract.
7. Mik-Mik (Sweetened Milk Powder)
Mik-Mik is one Filipino comfort food that elicits a lot of fond childhood memories as many people remember choking on this when they were younger. The vintage snack even comes with a memorable slogan: “Mapapaubo ka sa sarap.” But don’t worry, Mik-Mik won’t cause asphyxiation, just try not to suck so much milk powder all at once.
6. Haw Haw Milk Powder Candy
You probably are familiar with the Tagalog children’s song “Haw Haw de Carabao,” but do you remember the milk candy Haw Haw? If you do, then you probably recall how you innocently concluded that this would be a great replacement for actual milk. There really isn’t anything as euphoric as savoring the milky goodness when the haw haw candy melts in your mouth.
5. Ice Gem Biscuits
Ice Gem biscuits have always been a cult favorite, and they continue to be revered by many up to this day. No week was ever complete without having this delightful Filipino comfort food in your baon. But did you know that this nostalgic snack did not actually originate from Asia? It came from a Berkshire-based company called Huntley and Palmer, which discovered them by accident. Since its invention, the biscuit has been sold by a variety of brands around the world. In the Philippines, ice gems are being packed and distributed by Khong Guan, a company under Ritz Food corporation.
People have a variety of ways of eating ice gem, either by placing it all in the mouth or by biting off the icing first. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy them, there is no doubt that ice gem is one of the most beloved comfort foods of all time.
4. White Rabbit Creamy Candy
Most people remember White Rabbit for its unique and edible candy wrapper. While it has been a staple Filipino comfort food in our childhood, the melamine scare back in 2008 put production of this candy to an abrupt halt. Chinese officials clashed with the milk supplier regarding this scandal, which ironically left 54,000 children sick. Luckily, the issue was resolved a year later, and White Rabbit was eventually rebranded as Golden Rabbit. The company changed milk supplier by tapping an Australian company to provide the dairy products instead. So now that it is a safe snack, everyone can now pass this iconic candy around in Christmas holiday parties.
3. Pompoms Cheese Flavored Curls
In the year 1986, this Filipino comfort food was sold at a mere 25 cents. But even after inflation, you’d be glad to know that Pompoms continue to be sold at a reasonable price. Sometimes called poor man’s cheese curls, this Pinoy chichirya was the reason behind a kid’s cheese covered fingers. Pair it off with a refreshing drink, then your afternoon has officially been made.
2. Bazooka Bubble Gum
This vintage gum may have a distinctive smell, color, and taste, but it is Bazooka’s iconic comic strips that made them so memorable. Sadly, the American company has discontinued the production of this beloved comic strips back in 2012 due to low sales. But don’t fret, those looking to relive their childhood will be happy to know that there is a rumor going around of an upcoming movie adaptation of Bazooka Joe.
1. Choc Nut
The loyal followers know that there are a hundred ways to enjoy Choc Nut. You may either melt it, mix it with Martinis, sprinkle it into a cup of coffee, or simply eat it the old-fashioned way. There really is something about the vintage packaging that takes a lot of people back to their childhood, and its taste is enough to rival imported chocolates as well. No wonder Choc Nut has gained such undisputed reputation as one of the most iconic Filipino snacks ever made, as just one single bite is enough to take you back in time.