Filipino Bibingka and Puto Bumbong

Il Natale nelle Filippine inizia a settembre e termina a fine gennaio.

A partire dal 16 dicembre, per 9 giorni consecutivi, la gente va in chiesa per la messa chiamata “Misa del Gallo” alle prime luci dell’alba cioè “prima che il gallo canti”. I frati spagnoli hanno introdotto questa novena natalizia per permettere ai contadini di assistere alla messa prima del lavoro nei campi.  Sul sagrato della chiesa ci sono le bancarelle con i dolci tipici delle festività natalizie: i “bibingka” e i “puto bumbong”, vere delizie a base di riso con cui iniziare in allegria la giornata.



Filipino bibingka and puto bumbong are famous when Christmas season here in the Philippines. They are inexorably associated with Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo (Night Mass), the dawn mass on the nine days before Christmas. While they are more common as street food, they are so popular even among tourists.



Bibingka, is a rice cake similar to the Western pancake in appearance. In taste, texture and way of cooking, however, they are very much different from each other. Bibingka is made from galapong (glutinous rice). It is topped with slices of kesong puti (white cheese) and itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). The newly-cooked bibingka is spread with butter and sometimes sprinkled with sugar then served with niyog (grated coconut). Galapong is glutinous rice soaked in water then ground with the water to form either a batter or a dough, depending on what the cooked dish is supposed to be.



Bibingka baked in a special clay pot, lined with a piece of banana leaf, with live coals on top and underneath.



Puto bumbong is a dish made from purpled-colored ground rice cooked in bamboo tubes that are placed on a special steamer-cooker. Then, they are removed from the bamboo tubes, spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar and niyog (grated coconut). They are then wrapped in wilted banana leaves which will keep them warm and moist until ready to be eaten.



The steamer in which the puto bumbong is cooked is a bamboo tubes are half filled with the purple-colored rice. The bamboo tubes are usually wrapped in cloth to avoid burning the hands of the vendor when they are removed from the steamer when the puto bumbong is ready.

Bibingka and puto bumbong is best accompanied with salabat (ginger tea) or tsokolateng tablea (cacao chocolate).

It’s more fun in the Philippines.