Cravings, Emotions and Filipino Food

When you have cravings, there are emotions attached to it.

Suddenly craving for an ice cream? Everything fell into place and you want to celebrate!

rainbow ice cream
Happy eating!

Dying to eat chocolate? You just want to shove the piece in your mouth because you are upset.

chocolate waffle
Looks delicious… yes it is.

Angry at someone? You see yourself getting the potato chips in your pantry because you want to release stress.

Feeling bored? There is a bottle of wine somewhere…

There are various reasons why we crave a particular food or drink. I will not discuss alcoholic drinks, coffee or soft drinks.

I want to focus more on FOOD.

CAKE – This is always present on special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, mother’s day and other special days. In spite of that, when you feel you are an actor in a drama series, the cake is one of the options for stress eating. I could already hear the song “All By Myself”.

ube cake
So happy to see you!

There was one night when I craved for Ube Cake. It is a purple yam cake with macapuno (coconut sport)  in it. Oh, it was one of those nights I couldn’t do anything about it! I do not know how to bake it or if the ingredients are available at the Asian store. I only see it when a talented guest shares this treat in the party.

ICE CREAM – There is something about ice cream that makes you want to eat more. I couldn’t sleep one night and went to the freezer to get two scoops of Rocky Road ice cream. I asked myself, WHY AM I DOING THIS? My mind didn’t even bother to answer and just gave in to temptation.

rocky road ice cream
Eating ice cream with family and another one for midnight snack

What is your tempting ice cream treat? Vanilla? Strawberry? Chocolate? Special flavors like pistachio ice cream perhaps? It even tastes better with an ice cream cone, just like the good old days of childhood. Yum.

CHICKEN – There are two types of chicken I CRAVE: Chickenjoy from the Filipino fast-food chain JOLLIBEE and the spicy chicken from KFC. At the moment, I could not eat chickenjoy here in Australia because it does not have a  Jollibee branch yet. However, I see myself most Tuesdays falling in line at a KFC branch ordering the Cheap Tuesday option.

three boys with Jollibee
We miss you Jollibee especially your chickenjoy.

CHOCOLATE – This is my weakness, is it yours too? There are days I do not even look for it in the pantry or not even eat it for days even if it is just within my grasp. When the craving starts, as if I am a little child coming back to the pantry eating a part bit by bit.

MEAT: BEEF? PORK?  MUTTON? This is not much of a craving for me but other people are craving for these. Do you want it grilled or barbecued? Fried? Baked? Stewed? Eat the jiggly  fats that come with it? Mmmmm…

LECHON
Lechon, where art thou lechon?

POTATO CHIPS – You are not much of a fan of sweet food but you suddenly get uneasy when you crave for something SALTY. Disgust fills your mind when you open the cupboards or the pantry without potato chips. You promised yourself in the grocery store that you will start a healthy life by not buying potato chips. You breathe in and breathe out and close the pantry.

Boy Bawang Cornick
We travel for half an hour just to get one of these!

Stop it. Hold it. I could go on and on with the other food cravings. Don’t make me start with pizza. Let’s go a bit deeper with this. Something familiar.

Furthermore, there is another cause why we desire a particular food: HOMESICKNESS.

–  It was part of your childhood.

–  Father or mother used to cook it for you.

– You associate it with a friend back then.

– It is the food that you devoured during a special occasion in the past.

– Foodstuff that reminds you of home miles and miles away.

Good for you if you can buy it in the shops or the ingredients are available and you can cook it from scratch. Other times, you just have to grin and bear it. Wait for the chance to visit your country of origin and eat it all you want until you can’t take it anymore.

Here are the  Filipino foods that I craved once or twice or more.

Taho – I grew up eating this for breakfast during my childhood years. It is made up of soft tofu with caramel and sago pearls.  Most of the time, the peddler shouted TAHOin front of our house so I asked my grandmother to buy some for me. The answer was always yes. *grinning*

I ate this in front of the house with my childhood friend who was still wearing her pajamas. We didn’t even wash our faces or combed our hair but we were already outside eating taho for breakfast.

Taho
One TAHO for me and one for you

Philippine Mangoes – I already ate different types of mangoes but my heart still craves for Philippine mangoes. Maybe, it is the taste I grew up with or the special memories associated while eating it. Looking back, I always ate mangoes with my loved ones.

Philippine mangoes
I want to eat you all!

Lumpiang sariwa / Fresh spring rolls – The fresh spring rolls prepared by the experts will make you forget your diet. Different vegetables are wrapped in a soft white wrapper then topping it with sweet sauce and peanuts. The secret here why it is so delicious is the sauce that comes with it

one fresh spring roll
The last fresh spring roll… mmm.

Banana cue – This was my afternoon snack growing up. Deep fried bananaplantains with brown sugar are the best! My friends and I devoured it while drinking coconut juice.

two banana cue
Banana cue, when can I eat you again?

Chicharon/ Pork crackling – Dipping this in vinegar and stopping yourself finish the pack is an effort. Hearing the crunch of the pork crackling in every bite and catching up with friends is a match wherever you are.

chicharon/pork crackling
It takes self-discipline to stop eating this.

Balut – fertilized duck egg. Do I have to say more? It is best to eat it with salt or vinegar. It is not for the faint of heart. Legend has it that even the most adventurous, thrill-seeking food lovers have said NO THANK YOU to this.

Balut
I am challenging you to eat BALUT.

Dinuguan – is pork blood stew. I do not know how to cook this but every time I see it in parties, I always taste it initially. When my son first saw me with this, he exclaimed: “ Mum, you are eating dirty food!”   NO, I AM NOT.

Dinuguan
Dinuguan by Nelia

Pandesal – It is a part of breakfast of every Filipino family. You buy it in a bakery early in the morning then fill it with your favorite peanut butter, margarine or cheese. When I was young, the pandesal was bigger. Nowadays, it became smaller and more expensive.

Hot pandesal for breakfast = good start of the day

Leche flan and polvoron – My mother rarely prepared these special treats so when she did, I was in sweets heaven.Leche flan needs 10 egg yolks, condensed milk and evaporated milk. These ingredients are expensive for simple folks. I controlled myself eating the whole serving so I could eat it for days.

3 leche flan
Party Leche flan… I know you want it.

Polvoron is another one. Mama didn’t bother anymore wrapping the treat. She just put it in a big container and gave me a spoon. How I loved eating polvoronwhile watching my favorite cartoons! Be careful eating it or else you might cough and scatter the powder all over the place.

sweet polvoron
Polvoron (right)

Halo-halo – It is a Filipino dessert with shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweet beans and bananas, jelly, leche flan and other ingredients. Halo-halo becomes special because of the other ingredients you decide to mix.

Example, other people put macapuno (coconut sport)  in it or vanilla ice cream on top or jackfruit. It depends upon the preparation and available ingredients. Delicious!

Halo-halo
HALO-HALO: Mix all the ingredients then eat.

Kakanin – Filipino delicacies or rice treats

To prepare these treats, patience is needed because there is a lot of mixing involved. I am still a work in progress in cooking. The last time I made one, it got burnt. I rather eat the food prepared by someone who knows what they are doing. If you are interested to cook Filipino kakanin then here is the website for you.  Click here.

KAKANIN/ RICE CAKES
Examples of KAKANIN/RICE CAKES
sapin-sapin
Sapin-sapin: layer upon layer of sweet sticky food
colorful puto
Colorful puto by Joselito

Tamales or Bobotu to Kapampangans- There is the feeling of anticipation every time I remove the banana leaf wrapper from the tamales. Will the tamales be huge like the wrapper or is it small? My father loves tamales and I love it too.

Tamales wrapped in banana leaves
Surprise! Huge tamales in the house!

Street food – OH YESSS. Air pollution from the public vehicles didn’t stop me from eating street food. I only ate siomai (dim sum dumplings) and quail eggs. I was not adventurous enough to eat the grilled organs of the pig.

street food on a stick
Street food on a stick. Yum!

Pancit Malabon –  Savory noodles with toppings like smoked fish, eggs and sea food ( shrimp, oysters, mussels)

Pancit Malabon
A plate of this and you are good to go!

Reno – It is a canned good of liver spread. Yes, we do love this and we put it in Caldereta or Beef stew.

Reno, you will always be special.

To sum it up, there will always be a time that you start to crave for something. Sometimes it is okay to give in to the temptation. Just have the discipline to STOP yourself when you know enough is enough.  My enough is when my belt needs to get loose. *giggling*

A friend once  told me ”  JUST BUY A BIGGER T-SHIRT  if you don’t fit in it anymore.” Funny yes. In the long run, it will not be.

There you have it, folks. At the moment, I am craving for BALUT.  How about you? What are you craving for?