Christmas is the most precious and long-awaited traditional festivity in the Philippines. For us Filipinos, it’s all about celebrating the birth of Christ, giving and receiving presents, spending time with loved ones, and, of course, feasting on a variety of absolutely delicious dishes! Everyone is excited for Noche Buena—the gastronomic highlight of Christmas Eve—when families gather together after Misa De Gallo to indulge in special dishes. Since Christmas Eve is almost here, we picked out the top 10 dishes we always expect on our dining tables during Noche Buena:
Any Filipino festivity would not be complete without the king on the table, especially during Noche Buena. It can be any meat—such as pig, lamb, beef, or chicken—as long as it has been roasted over coals. This entire roasted pig commonly dipped in Mang Tomas has been the centerpiece of every celebration.
There are several versions of lumpia in the Philippines, but, lumpiang shanghai is everyone’s all-time favorite! Considered the star of every Filipino festivity, you cannot call it a celebration without the presence of lumpiang shanghai.
Definitely a perfect match for lumpiang shanghai! Unlike its original version, which is the Italian style, the Pinoy style is way sweeter, composed of ground pork, sliced hotdogs, cheese, and tomato sauce that matches the palate of both Filipino kids and adults. More cheese, please!
Pancit is a dish that symbolizes longevity—no wonder why it is always present in celebrations. It ranges from canton, bihon, and miki bihon with a flavorful taste. Whenever you hear someone say, “Pa-canton ka naman!” one thing is for sure: there’s something that is worth celebrating.
Whether it’s chicken or pork, the smoky and mouth-watering aroma of marinated meat on bamboo skewers grilled over charcoal and bathed in soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar is a most delicious anticipation on Christmas Eve.
This tempting dish is the most-requested of balikbayans. FIlipinos really love devouring these deep-fried pig knuckles served with Mang Tomas or soy-vinegar dip—perfect for both ulam and pulutan! Try your best to slow down as you eat to avoid putok-batok woes.
This beloved Noche Buena dessert is a baked mixture of caramelized sugar, egg yolk, and condensed milk. A sinfully sweet treat that never fails to grace our dining tables not just during the holiday season.
Salad (Macaroni, Fruit, or Buko)
Aside from leche flan, salad is another staple dessert on the Christmas table. A bowl of colorful mixed fruits drenched in condensed milk is always a part of a Noche Buena dessert spread usually seen in three variants: macaroni salad, fruit salad, and buko salad.
A big chunk of Christmas ham is a must-have addition in Noche Buena, with its tenderness and juiciness that brings out the regal essence of Christmas. It is commonly given as a present at work or by some of our relatives.
Quezo De Bola
It’s hard to imagine the holidays without this giant ball of cheese coated in red paraffin wax! Sliced, diced, or served as a whole, it can be mixed with many Noche Buena dishes for a merrier and yummier taste.
So, did your favorite dish make it to the list? Which food are you serving on Christmas Eve? Feel free to share it as you brace yourselves for Noche Buena!
Photo header credit: travelbook.ph