How I miss merienda time in the Philippines! For me merienda starts at breakfast with puto from Goldilocks. After lunch I eat a pulvoron or one of those sweets wrapped in colorful cellophane. At 4 p.m. the entire household stops for afternoon break with boiled saba (plantains) or fried bananas dipped in sugar. Sometimes we're lucky to pick our bananas from one of our own trees.
There's an incredible array of tempting desserts to choose from in the Philippines and I have a few favorites. One is palitaw which is a flat rice cake coated with sesame seeds, sugar and shredded coconut. I usually order this when I'm meeting with friends at Via Mare in Makati. Here's the link to the recipe for palitaw:
Turon/Fried Banana Rolls
Turon is a deep fried banana roll. It's best eaten fresh off the pan, otherwise the wrap gets soggy and spoils the taste. It's perfect when it's crunchy. If you would like to make turon, here's the link to the recipe: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2009/06/24/turon/
Bibingka with salted egg and shredded coconut
I consider bibingka a big treat. It's rare to be able to order just a slice of it. Except at Laguna Restaurant (in Iloilo and Cebu) where you can get a personal size bibingka (shown above). Bibingka is a rice cake traditionally made in a clay pot and is one of the Philippines' Christmas staples. People mill around vendors in the early morning hours after Misa de Gallo just to buy a bibingka. It is soooo delicious! Here's how to prepare one: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2010/03/22/rice-cake-bibingka-recipe/
Other favorites include kutsinta (brown rice cake) and brazo de mercedes (rolled cake with custard filling). I have merienda blues just writing about this.
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Images by Charie