Thu. Apr 15th, 2021

There’s nothing like a Filipino Christmas.

As soon as September comes, the streets will be filled with Jose Mari Chan’s traditional Christmas songs. In fact, it has become a running joke among Filipinos. And on social media, you’ll find plenty of Jose Mari Chan memes being shared.

As Filipinos, we’re quite familiar with this scenario.

But more than the Christmas songs and decorations, it’s definitely the food that sets a Filipino Christmas apart. From puto bumbong during Simbang Gabi to Embutido during Noche Buena. Filipino’s love for food becomes apparent.

Filipino Christmas Dishes That Makes Pinoys Abroad Feel Nostalgic

The smell of Bibingka and Puto Bumbong after Simbang Gabi. Piping hot chocolate drinks. Mouthwatering embutido, lechon, and fruit cakes during Noche Buena.

All these classic, delicious Filipino dishes in the middle or at the end of a crazy Christmas rush makes one feel nostalgic.

Unfortunately, many families don’t get to celebrate Christmas together. It’s during this holiday season that Pinoys abroad feel homesick the most.

And with the current situation and travel restrictions,  it’s harder, almost impossible, to come home (for now!).

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of traditional Filipino Christmas dishes.

These Filipino dishes will give you a taste of home. And hopefully ease the blow of not being able to celebrate Christmas with your loved ones.

Traditional Filipino Christmas Dishes for Pinoys Abroad

Puto Bumbong

This is a sticky, purple rice cake finished with coconut shavings and brown sugar. It has a slightly sweet, albeit a bit bland, flavor. It’s best paired with margarine or butter (yes, I can feel the cholesterol build up as I type this). But it’s definitely one of the best comfort food for Filipinos.

Puto bumbong is prepared by putting the batter inside a bamboo tube. It’s one of the traditional street foods during Simbang Gabi.

A great reward for waking up and staying up for a dawn service.

Pinoys abroad can make their version of this Filipino Christmas snack. You can even make one without a bamboo steamer. Check out these Youtube videos from Jolly Manalo and Nina Bacani if you want to try making this dish.

Bibingka

Another Simbang Gabi classic.

Bibingka is made of rice flour and coconut milk. It’s a soft cake-like snack with a lightly charred top with a moist and mildly sweet flavor.

Some Filipinos like to top it with salted egg. While others like to top it with grated coconut or butter.

Pancit Bihon

Filipinos not only eat rice. We also eat noodles. But best of all, we eat noodles with rice.

And one of the best noodle dishes is the Pancit Bihon. It’s made of rice noodles, variations of meat, and chopped vegetables. And it’s so easy to make.

This traditional Filipino dish has different versions. In fact, your family may have your own version of this pancit recipe.

Some are served with Chinese sausages, while others are served with boiled eggs. Some Pancit Bihon recipes have shrimp and other seafood. So if you’re feeling homesick, this Filipino dish will make you feel right at home.

Embutido

Another traditional Filipino Christmas dish is Embutido. It’s a Pinoy-style meatloaf with a mixture of ground meat, carrots, and raisins. These are then wrapped around slices of egg or sausage. Some even add cheese to the recipe.

Then they are steamed or baked in a water bath. Embutido can be served cold or lightly-fried until they are golden brown.

As a result, you get this juicy, creamy meatloaf that simply melts in your mouth. It’s sweet, savory, and salty, perfect for Noche Buena.

Usually reserved for special occasions, it takes time to prepare this recipe. But as the saying goes, “good things take time”, and so does good food.

The great thing about this traditional Filipino recipe is that it’s versatile. You can change it according to your taste.

Kaldereta

I’m tempted to add Hamon de Bola, Crispy Pata, or Fruit cake as the last recipe for this list. But alas, I decided to add Kaldereta instead.

And why not?

This popular Filipino dish is a staple in parties and holidays. It’s usually cooked with pork, beef, or chicken and stewed in tomato sauce. But if you want to go for a more exotic route, use goat meat.

Add a chockfull of potatoes, green olives, and bell peppers. The result is a combination of tender meat and savory flavors that explodes in your mouth.

It’s hearty and tasty, definitely an excellent addition to Noche Buena.

We’ve come to the end of this mouthwatering list. Are you hungry yet?

But Before You Go and Make These Filipino Christmas Recipes

Know that it’s perfectly normal to feel homesick. This is especially true during the holiday season. Fortunately, recreating traditional Filipino Christmas dishes is now easier than ever.

From online recipes to Youtube tutorial videos, you can recreate the taste of home. So until the day we can come home to a real Filipino Christmas, remember to be merry. And keep the spirit of Christmas alive.