Just a Taste of a Filipino Weekend
We grew up with our Lola (Grandma) in our house so we always had good food on the table and love in the home. The way Lola spread love was through her cooking.
Our weekend mornings were the best, that’s when she cooked the really good stuff. The house smelled yummy and if we were planning on going out, our clothes would smell that way too. Like walking advertisements of her cooking, the smell of stewed or fried beef or pork radiated off all of us. Somedays we might come out of the house smelling like fried fish. That was the worst!
Tuyo, or fried herring made the whole house smell like fish. The smell would seep into all the fabric of our home and it would smell for days, but it was all worth it. The salty dried fish was dipped in vinegar and eaten with rice, usually accompanied by meat of some sort and a fried, runny egg to top it off.
Longaniza was often one of the meats that was prepared for our weekend mornings. It’s a pork sausage made with sugar, spice and everything nice. No really, it’s a perfect mixture of sugar and spices, and of course pork making it a pure delight to your tastebuds.
Filipinos love fish and Lola’s favorite was bungus, a butterflied milkfish that is marinated in vinegar and other spices, then fried. A Filipino breakfast staple, the flavor of the meaty fish is perfectly sour and spicy, and the skin has a nice crunch. My mouth waters as I type this.
Another meat she would cook was bistek or stewed steak. The steak was braised in garlic, onions, and soy sauce. The reason why this stewed beef was so good was because Lola would have a tub of the raw mixture marinating in the fridge for a couple of days. She would just pull some of the beef out, cook it on the stove-top and you can imagine how tasty and tender that meat was. After it was cooked, it was placed on top of a huge mound of jasmine rice. Filipinos had to have their rice and there was plenty of it. It wouldn’t be a Filipino household without a large pot of steamed rice.
One of my absolute favorite dishes to eat in the morning was salted duck egg and tomato. The duck eggs are brined in a salt mixture, left for a couple of weeks, and when ready to eat, chopped up with some tomato. It is pretty salty but the flavor is cut with the tomato and balanced out with rice of course! The egg yolk is the reason this dish is so delicious. It has a distinct flavor with that of the normal yolky flavor of a cooked chicken egg but ten times more rich in flavor. It’s remarkable, really.
These are just some of the tastes of my Filipino mornings growing up. Yes, it was a heavy breakfast but they made us all happy and full! The perfect way to start off our days.