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Top 10 of the Most Delectable Filipino Native Delicacies

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Filipino native delicacies, known as kakanin, are popular snack foods that are usually served as merienda or desserts. Kakanin are native delicacies made of malagkit (glutinous rice), which comes in two varieties: the first-class variety that is sweet, rounded and white and the regular variety that is longish and translucent. The word kakanin is derived from kanin, Tagalog for rice. The three basic ingredients are malagkit or glutinous rice, coconut milk or gata, and sugar.

Filipinos love of kakanin can be traced way back pre-colonial times when our ancestors used suman as offering to gods and visitors. I remember when I was a child and used to help my Inang, a native of Bulacan, grind soaked glutinous rice in a huge grindstone (gilingang bato) to make galapong to be used in making sapin-sapin or kalamay or bibingka. We used to spend hours in this process and usually need to take turns with my cousins to finish grinding several kilos of malagkit to be used in making sapind-sapin or kalamay or other kakanin depending on the occasion. My Inang wanted to do it the traditional way even if milling services are available, just as her mother and grandmother used to do it. Kakanin are usually present on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and fiesta. No celebration is complete without these kakanin being served in the table. They are especially popular during the Holiday Season and since Christmas and New Year is just around the bend, let’s take a delicious look at top 10 lists of the Most Delectable Filipino Native Delicacies.

1 – Sapin-Sapin

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Sapin-Sapin is a native dessert made from glutinous rice flour, purple yam or ube, coconut cream and sugar. It is a multilayer rice cake with different colors usually white, yellow and purple. The texture is very fine and should melt in your mouth without spending much time chewing it. It is topped with latik.

2 – Biko

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Biko is a Filipino rice cake made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Traditionally, this delicious rice cake is placed over banana leaves in a bilao and garnished with latik on top. Other variations of biko will have a custard like topping or matamis na bao (caramel like topping) instead of latik.

3 – Kalamay-Hati

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Kalamy-hati is a native kakanin or rice cake made from ground sticky rice, sugar, mascuvado, coconut milk and sesame seeds. It is brownish in color and is very sticky that you will almost spend your whole time chewing it. It’s not easy to prepare as you have to spend around 2 hours cooking it with continuous stirring to achieve the tough-leathery texture (makunat). It is usually stored inside empty coconut husk or bao.

4 – Suman

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Suman is a famous kakanin made from glutinous rice and usually wrapped tightly in leaves. The leaf wrapper—banana, palm, buri or pandan—varies according to locality. Filipinos have been making suman since pre-colonial times. Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian scholar and explorer who travelled with Ferdinand Magellan, provides the first description of suman in historical records which he observed “were wrapped in leaves and were made in somewhat longish pieces.”

5 – Kutsinta

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Kutsinta is another native delicacy that is sweet, sticky, and golden brown rice pudding that is made from ground malagkit. Achuete is used for coloring and lye is added to improve its texture. The kutsinta ingredients are put into molds and steamed for 15 minutes. It is usually served with freshly grated coconut.

6 – Palitaw

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Palitaw is made from ground glutinous rice and sugar and got its name from the manner it is cooked. It is quite easy and fun to make as all you have to do is form into small balls the ground malagkit and flatten with fingers to form tongues. Drop in boiling water, when they float (lumitaw or lumutang), skim and drop in cold water. Drain and roll in mixed grated coconut, sugar and sesame seed mixture and you’re done!

7 – Puto

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Puto is a steamed rice muffin made from galapong or rice flour. It is traditi onally in plain white color but adding ube (purple yam) or pandan can create variations in flavor and color. It is usually being sold with kutsinta but Filipinos love to eat puto together with Dinuguan. A more recent variation of puto is the Puto Pao that has a meat filling just like the Siopao.

8 – Espasol

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Espasol is a type of rice cake that is made of rice flour cooked in coconut milk. This cylindrically shaped treat originated from the Province of Laguna. Cooking the glutinous rice flour, sugar and toasted grated coconut mixture usually takes an hour as the mixture needs to become really thick to achieve the right consistency. Once cooled, it is then cut into desired size and rolled over dusted sweet rice flour until a cylindrical shape is formed.

9 – Puto Bumbong

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Puto Bumbong is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky or glutinous rice called Pirurutong which has a distinctly purple color, soaked in salted water and dried overnight and then poured into bumbong or bamboo tubes and then steamed until done or steam rises out of the bamboo tubes. It is served topped with butter or margarine and shredded coconut mixed with sugar. It is a favorite among church goers, along with Bibingka, during Simbang Gabi or Christmas Eve Mass.

10 – Bibingka

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Bibingka is a most sought after kakanin during Christmas Season traditionally served w ith salabat and sold alongside Puto Bumbong. It is a round rice cake made with galapong, sugar and coconut milk. It is cooked in a banana leaf-lined clay pan , with coals underneath and on top. It is topped with salted duck eggs or itlog na maalat and kesong puti. Once cooked it is brushed with butter, and is garnished with sugar and grated coconut and is served while hot.

About Marvs Correa, the author. He is a simple blogger who have the passion of sharing the most relevant information, news and everything else under the sun. InfoHiway is his first venture into blogosphere where he is the site admin. His current favorite top is this black shirt with a Chupa Chups logo and is still wondering why it is so.

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Jrplaza is a blogger, wannabe-web designer/web developer and the founder of always10list from Manila, Philippines. He is a Cookie Monster to be exact.

  • Aj Banda

    wow.. you have a nice list of foods here! nakakagutom lalo na nung may pictures na kasama :D

  • Rogers Le

    These are fricken amazing.

  • Marvs

    haha… if you’re near Malabon… the best sapin-sapin I’ve tasted so far is Dolor’s kakanin

  • Jenny O’Toole

    Thanks for this blog. It gives me an idea to bake some bibingka later.

  • Ane

    I love everything on your list! :P Especially Palitaw, Kalamay and Bibingka! :D Yums! :D

  • MaxiVelasco

    Hello Marvs!  Sapin-sapin is my fave of all time… then palitaw, biko, bibingka and kutsinta.  Whenever I want to grab a bite, I make bibingka and biko pero yung iba, hirap hanapin yung ingredients dito sa Sweden kaya wait ko nalang kapag nakauwi ako sa PInas. :)

  • MaxiVelasco

    Ay.. I forgot to mention puto… love ko rin ang puto.  Good thing is, madali lang siyang gawin :)

  • Marvs

    Yup… puto is the simplest of all kakanin using only the basic ingredients of rice flour and sugar.

  • Jesselyn Grace Lising

    hMM YUM YUM!! i Love BIKO and ESPASOl!!!

  • Jesselyn Grace Lising

    I love ESPASOL and BIKO!! Yum!

  • Marvs

    It’s nice to know that you like my 10 of the Most Delectable Filipino Native Delicacies list. :)

  • Marvs

    Don’t forget to add salted duck eggs and cheese.

  • Marvs

    Me too, I love everything on the list. I’m actually eating sapin-sapin and kalamay right now bought from the local market.

  • Marvs

    Biko is quite hard to make cause of constant stirring and trust me it can give you muscle pains. If you can find the brown malagkit that would make your biko extra special.

  • JoMi

    I love Puto Bumbong and Espasol, YUMMY!!! =)

  • Marvs

    You’ll find abundance of puto bumbong and bibingka this Christmas Season, enjoy!

  • House of JCJEE

    Tis the Christmas season… it’s the season of bibingka and puto bumbong… 

  • Marvs

    It’s best to eat bibingka and puto bumbong if there’s hot salabat to wash it down which usually comes free with it.

  • Metalpig Nad

    Naglalaway ako habang nagbabasa at nakatingin sa mga pictures… heheheh Ito ung mga nami-miss ko na delicacies sa PH… :P

  • Roy Paran

    this is sooo yummy. i missed all of these. im keen to eat all kakanin when i got back home.

  • Marvs

    You can try cooking the simple ones like puto and palitaw, rice flour & coconut powder maybe readily available  at your local grocery/market, just add sugar and water and it’s ready. =)

  • Marvs

    When you get back home, just check your local public market in the morning and chances are you’ll be able to find kakanin ready to eat.

  • Kei

    Kagutom! hahaha Filipino delicacies are the best, parang bahay mo, hahanap hanapin mo. =)

  • joysflair

    i like them all ahaha, meron nang puto bumbong and bibingka near our church during Sundays :) syempre pag uwi me bitbit ba rin hihi

  • Marvs

    That’s true, it’s part of being a Filipino.

  • Marvs

    That’s good, you won’t have to go a long way to enjoy them.

  • MaxiVelasco

    Oo nga. Ang daling gawin ng puto.  Kaka miss! :)

  • Chochay17

    i love kakanin.. so yummy. great site.

  • Marvs

    Thanks for dropping by Chochay17!