As I sit here in my freezing cold office avoiding going out into the 50 degree overcast chill of this NYC “spring”, I can’t help daydreaming about being on an island – preferably in the Philippines!
I recently returned from a glorious two-week vacation – 4 days in Hong Kong, 9 days in Cebu & Manila. More on Hong Kong in the near future… today my mind is on a different kind of island!
It will take me several posts to cover all the wonderful food and experiences I had while in the Philippines, so best get started now with a bit of an overview with hints of things to come. To begin with, here are five of my (numerous) favorite foods that remind me of silky breezes, hot sun, warm clear waters, and my loved ones:
- Lechon (PIG!!): Pig products hold an especially dear place in my heart. I have yet to taste a part of the pig that did not bring me pure pleasure, and I’m fairly confident that, as I make my way from tip to tail, I will not be disappointed… but then again, I’m a reasonably adventurous eater! Filipinos have a way with pig that melts my heart!
- Mangoes: Cebu is famous for its mangoes, and rightfully so!
- Halo Halo (translation: Mix Mix): The most decadent, tropical ice cream sundae ever! Ube (purple yam) ice cream is a must, accompanied by jackfruit, custard cubes, young coconut, preserved sweet beans, gelatin cubes, and anything else that sounds yummy, all over shaved ice!
- Mangosteens: This trip was my first experience with fresh mangosteen… opening one for the first time was like finding a sweet-tart, segmented jewel of tender fruit in a deep purple shell.
- Tanduay Rum: Over 150 years of Filipino distilling history in a bottle. I don’t know if it really is the best rum I’ve ever had, or if the company I kept was just that incredible – the memories of both are forever linked. It’s amazing what you can do with a little help from your friends! Best served with Coke (Zero in our case) and fresh calamansi juice.