If necessity is the mother of invention, then I guess it would be safe to say that boredom is the mother of re-invention. Of course, we love eating classic, traditional, tried-and-tested dishes but there are days when we wish to try something new and different. Right? I’ve come across some fresh takes on our favorite native merienda (snack) or panghimagas (dessert), which I’ve found inventive but not totally out-of-this-world. Here are a few of them:
- Maja Blanca Crepe from Sentro 1771 (P180)
Maja blanca is a Filipino pudding made primarily from coconut milk. Sentro 1771‘s version is extra-creamy and delicately smooth, wrapped in paper-thin crepe, drizzled with coconut jam and topped with sugar brittle candy and corn kernels. Y-U-M-M-Y! Expensive,yes. But with dessert this good, I can forgive (and forget) the price.
- Biko Barako from C2 Classic Cuisine (P90)
In theory, this would have made a great snack or dessert: “coffee-infused rice cake with a molten hazelnut surprise.” In execution, however, it fell short of my expectations. For one, the biko (glutinous rice cake) was too mushy in texture. I was looking for a bit more bite. Perhaps it got overcooked after being reheated in the microwave oven? Another thing was that the coffee flavor was too subtle, and barako should be anything but that. Finally, the “molten hazelnut surprise” was kind of watered-down instead of a thick and luscious Nutella-like paste. Not recommended.
- Cassava Bibingka with Buko from Fely J’s Kitchen (P115)
I loved the salty-sweet cassava or tapioca cake and the serving portion was just right. Shredded coconut meat added an extra dimension to the flavor and texture, as well as tempered the sweetness of the coconut jam sauce. Really good.
- Crispy Leche Flan from Mesa Filipino Moderne (P65)
This is simply leche flan rolled in lumpia wrapper and then deep-fried to a crisp. The re-invention worked for me because I adored the texture contrast provided by the smooth custard and the crunchy wrapper. It’s surprisingly light and far from cloying. Just delightful.
- Iday from Crisostomo (P120)
Our native sticky rice with coconut shreds and latik dunked in chocolate? Why not? Actually, it’s not such a big innovation because some people have been doing this for a long time already, but it’s not everyday that you see this item on a restaurant menu. It’s pure LOVE, I tell you.
- Crispy Halo-halo from Goldilocks (P35)
Clearly, we love all things crisp(y) like crispy pata and lechon. But when I first encountered this dessert some 4 years ago, I must admit I wasn’t sold on the idea. To my mind, it’s just one of those things that will surely be gone from the menu as quietly as it had been introduced. Then I tasted it, and had it again and again…and again. Lumpia wrapper stuffed with the usual halo-halo ingredients such as langka, nata de coco, kaong, white kidney beans and red mongo beans, rolled and fried just like turon (banana fritters) and served with a single scoop of vanilla ice cream plus a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Never thought it would taste so good, but it really does! A toothsome, refreshing treat that’s also very easy on the pocket. For its price which includes a scoop of ice cream, how can you possibly go wrong?
Which one is your pick?