* Part 10 of a series *
When it comes to the idea of afternoon tea, can the food-crazed Filipinos be far behind? The concept of having a light snack in between lunch and dinner is commonly known to the average Pinoy as merienda. And what could be a more enjoyable merienda fare than our native delicacies?
The other day I went to Bistro Pamana on Perea Street, Makati all by my lonesome to try its Afternoon Tea Set (P380) during lunch time. Why not? The set is said to be good for 2 to 3 persons and consists of an all-Filipino snack time favorites: four pandesal sandwiches (a pair of adobo flakes sandwiches and a pair of kesong puti with pesto sandwiches), palitaw, puto bumbong, bibingka and turon served with a pot of Lipton Clear Green Tea. Just add 75 pesos if one wishes to substitute the tea for native hot chocolate (tsokolate ah). I just opted for tea because the hot chocolate might be too sinfully rich and too heavy for me.
Pandesal is the most popular local bread that’s a staple for breakfast on most Filipino tables. I found the pandesal in Bistro Pamana rather humongous, but it turned out to be very light and very good. The adobo flakes sandwich in particular was really tasty. I loved it.
By the time I finished eating two pandesal sandwiches, I was already quite full but I knew I still had to tackle the bottom layer of the serving tray. I started with the puto bumbong — the purple-colored glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaf. It’s sticky and chewy and delicious. I was able to finish eating all of it. Then I had one palitaw — a flat white rice cake rolled in grated coconut, toasted sesame seeds and white sugar. It’s good but very heavy in the tummy. Then I ate the bibingka — another type of rice cake that’s fluffy like a thick hotcake. Bistro Pamana‘s version is topped with a lot of cheese. Yummy! Finally, all that’s left was the turon or banana fritters. I took a bite and found the banana way overripe, it was much too mushy. I didn’t like it at all, which was just as well because my tummy couldn’t take any more. I really wished I had company while I binged on this (so I was texting my good friend Aimee while I was eating).
For all Filipino food lovers, the Bistro Pamana Afternoon Tea Set is a must-try. It’s best enjoyed with a friend or two. I love that our traditional native snacks get that well-deserved spotlight because they’re really close to my heart.
“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”
— Lin Yutang