Filipino cuisine is catching up with its Asian cousins to claim a seat at Vancouver’s multicultural dining table.
As an example, many outside the community have become familiar with the word pancit. It’s a popular dish made with noodles of different kinds and prepared in a variety of ways, like bihon guisado (stir-fried rice noodles).
There’s the always reliable lumpia. The savoury spring rolls come either in fried version or prepared like fresh salad wrapped in crepe.
With the growing acceptance of Filipino foods in Metro Vancouver, members of the community will introduce more choices this Christmas in two online events.
One is being organized by the Philippine consulate general in Vancouver, and the other is by the community-based Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society.
Moreover, the FCCHS is taking it to another level, through cooking lessons.
The lessons will be part of the FCCHS’ online 12 Days of Christmas celebration, which will also include music, crafts, and other festive activities.
The 12-day online event debuts Thursday (December 3) on the association’s YouTube channel at 8 p.m.
Janice Lozano of FCCHS told the Straight that the maiden episode will feature two cooking lessons.
According to Lozano, Josie Dela Torre of Mama Jo’s Kitchen will show how to bake cassava cake.
Cassava cake is a favourite Filipino dessert made with grated cassava, coconut milk, young shredded coconut, condensed milk, eggs, and topped with cheese.
Cristina Lazaro, for her part, will demonstrate the preparation for ginataang langka, alimasag at sugpo.
This dish of coconut cream-braised young jackfruit with crabs and prawns goes well with fresh steamed rice.
Lozano said that other dishes and desserts will be featured in following episodes of FCCHS’ 12 Days of Christmas.
On Friday (December 4), the Philippine consulate general in Vancouver will make live its online Christmas booth www.maligayangpasko.ca.
Food vendors include: Techie's Heavenly Treats, Kasama Chocolate, Kusina Market, La Glace, Hapag Ihaw Ihaw Filipino Grill, Win Win Chicken, Goldilocks, Loobi Canada, Inc., KayeBakes, The Khaykery, Ensaimada Moment, Bukobaba, Unit 215, Maple Sun, Pampanga's Cuisine, Kapé, and Plato Filipino.
An expected bestseller is ensaymada (en-sigh-ma-duh), a Filipino version of brioche and a legacy of Spanish colonial times in the Philippines.
Ensaymada enthusiast Chari Heredia-Reyes traced its name to the Arab word ‘saïm’ or lard, which got incorporated into the Spanish language.
“The ensaïmada (en-larded) is therefore a bun with lard,” the University of the Philippines-educated Heredia-Reyes wrote on her ensaymadaproject.com site.
According to Heredia-Reyes the first written documents referring to ensaymada in Mallorca, Spain date from the 17th century.
“The ensaimada was later introduced to territories under Spanish colonization and by the immigration of Mallorcans to South America,” she wrote. “Through the centuries, each country’s version of the original ensaimada has evolved into a delectable artisan variant.”
The Filipino version of ensaymada is covered with butter, sprinkled with sugar, and topped with grated cheese.
Another Filipino favourite is mamon (mah-mun), a type of chiffon cake prepared as individual servings.
KayeBakes, a family-run pastry business, will offer a variety of mamon cakes as part of the Philippine consulate general’s Christmas event.
One of KayeBakes' mamon choices is called Yemamon, flavoured with yema, a custard made with egg yolks and sweet milk.
Edwin Batallones of the diplomatic post’s economic section noted to the Straight that Filipino cuisine will get even more popular with the community’s enthusiam in sharing its culture with others.
Batallones also said that food orders can be picked up or delivered at home.
The consulate general’s Christmas booth will also feature non-food vendors TourMasters Travel, Kiligraphy, Philippine Airlines, and cargo company LBC.
In addition to food, the consulate general’s Filipino Christmas event will likewise feature music and crafts.
The event is the second to follow last year’s maiden celebration that was spearheaded by Consul General Maria Andrelita Austria.
The decorated diplomat assumed her post in Vancouver in 2018. Austria has endeared herself with the community because of her dedication in promoting Filipino culture.
The consulate general covers B.C., Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. For more details about its Christmas event, click here.