When it's Christmas in the Philippines, it's the time of year when you can buy lots of bibingka or sugar-glazed rice cakes baked under hot coals and puto bumbong, a pasty snack made from glutinous rice cooked inside pipes or tubes (traditionally made of bamboo). These two traditional foods are served and eaten hot, often served with shredded coconut. If you go to a local cathedral, you will likely find them being hawked in the streets in stalls with makeshift ovens that make use of hot coals on galvanized plates placed over either clay or concrete stoves.
Shown here is a bibingka and puto bumbong stall near the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City. Cooking bibingka cakes must be done carefully; in other words, it has to be timed. Otherwise, the cake can get burned and the customer may end up with one or two with blacked sugar glazing. Puto bumbong, on the other hand, must be cooked just right or it will turn too sticky and harden quickly if served too soon or too late.
If you are visiting the Philippines this Christmas season, getting a taste of these delectable and tasty treats is a must. Ask around so you know where you can get the best of these treats.
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