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Christmas in the Philippines

Christmas in the Philippines : Filipino Christmas Recipes & Traditions

filipino christmas recipes
 Filipino Christmas Recipes

THE CHRISTMAS TRADITION IN THE PHILIPPINES

Filipinos are very religious and family-oriented by nature. Nothing could ever measure to being with your family and love-ones on special occasions like birthdays, Christening, anniversaries, New Year, and ofcourse Christmas. Filipinos have high regards for Christmas, having known as the ones who celebrates this sacred day the longest and in the moss blissful way.

Christmas preparation starts as early as September and the Christmas season does not only focus on just the eve and the Christmas day itself. Filipinos have this “simbang gabi” (Attending mass) that starts on the 16th of December and ends on the 24th, a day before Christmas. Filipinos ritually attends the mass for nine consecutive days. Then have their festive celebration of the tradional “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve).

For the Noche Buena, you would see variety of mouth-watering dishes, from desserts, to the main course and you’ll get full even at the sight of these Filipino Christmas cuisine.

So what will you find on a traditional Christmas dinner in the typical Philippines setting?

CHRISTMAS DINNER : Filipino Christmas Recipes

Let us start with the main course. What are the major dishes that you can find on the Christmas tables of the Filipino community?

  • Lechon (Roasted Pig) – This is the number one to-die-for food for the Filipinos. It’s a roasted pig over charcoal. With very crispy skin and tender meat inside, then match it with a sweet and spicy sauce, you’ll surely crave for it. Well, just don’t eat TOO much or your blood pressure will shoot up triple times. It’s quite pricey for a dish though since it’s worth the montly salary of an average Filipno, but definitely worth every penny.
  • Holiday Ham – You always see this as part of the Christmas dinner. It’s actually called Chinese Ham (I wonder why Filipino loves it), a bulk of pork sweetened with honey and pineapple extract. You can make one at home, but if you are like me, who’s so into last minute preparation, then you can buy it from supermarkets.
  • Spaghetti – Noodles would always be part of the Christmas dinner too. Not all kids go for heavy meals and children would prefer eating pasta than eating meals with load of vegetables on it. You can have it the way you want it to be- tomato based, pesto, carbonara, tuna pasta, or the typical Filipino sweet spaghetti.
  • Lumpia (Spring rolls) – I consider spring rolls as finger food, since you can eat lumpia by itself. Doing it is easy. Wrap ground beef with chopped onions, mashed potatoes and carrots, add some spices, then fry it and you’re done. Spring rolls are also famous on different occasions, having an easy-to-follow recipe and easy-to-find and low-cost ingredient. Plus the fact that it taste real good!
  • Rellenong Manok (Baked Stuffed Chicken) – This is also being served as part of the grand Christmas Eve dinner. Deboned chicken stuffed with ham, pork, onions and sausages- a recipe that tastes like heaven! I haven’t tried cooking this one yet, but I surely will include it as part of my Christmas menu.
  • Kare-kare (Ox Stripe in Peanut Sauce) – Kare-kare is one of the challenging Filipino dishes that I have yet to prepare. You would have to ground peanuts yourself to serve as sauce, then blend everything to have a good outcome. This is being served well with a fish sauce (bagoong) that I am allergic to. they say I am missing half of my life. Well, Id rather not eat something I can’t than afford getting rashes all over my body.
  • Beef Caldereta (Spicy Beef Stew in Tomato Sauce) – I never get tired of eating and cooking this dish. It’s easy to cook, it will just take long to wait for the meatbe tender. You can eat Caldereta with rice, put that thicks sauce on top of your rice, or you can match it with a bottle of beer while celebrating Christmas with your family.

filipino christmas recipes

DESSERTS, ETC. : Filipino Christmas Recipes

So we’re done with the heavy scrupmtous meal. So what are the other food you will find on a typical Filipno Christmas setting?

  • Queso De Bola (Ball-shaped Cheese) – This is a dutch cheese that is covered with red wax, ofcourse not the type of wax that we use on the floor or hair. The price is too much for a cheese, but the odd salty taste is just perfect for breads.
  • Tsokolate (Hot Chocolate Milk) – The native hot chocolate drink made purely of cocoa, being served after dinner as part of the dessert and while waiting for the small hand of the clock to hit number 12 so you can say “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” to your love ones.
  • Leche Flan (Caramel Custard or Creme Custard)- This is the most popular dessert in the Philippines at all times. Nothing could be better than eating a very simple dessert, made of egg, an milk and sugar. Cooking this native dessert would just take you twenty to thrity minutes.

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