Seasonal dishes you can find in Manila
Each season has its own set of delights to enjoy
In every season of the year, a fresh harvest and the best dishes to make out of them are rolled out to deliver exactly what the people would need: warmth from winter soups, freshness from a spring salad, and cool comfort from the frozen treats of summer. Wherever in the world you may be, seize the moment and take advantage of what the season has to offer food-wise. Besides, it’s one very efficient way of getting to know the place you’re in even better.
As a generations-old ritual, the Japanese traditionally greet New Year’s Eve with a hot bowl of Toshikoshi soba, also known as the Year-End Soba. Eating buckwheat noodles is believed to bring good fortune and prolong one’s life; in fact, the longer the soba, the better. And they enjoy it in a variety of ways as soba allows for customization. Some would have it simple, with just broth and fishcake, while others go fancy with the addition of vegetables and raw egg.
In Manila, many Japanese restaurants let guests indulge in soba noodles, either warm or cold. Minami Saki in Astoria Plaza offers a cold green tea version while Komoro Soba has a warm bowl topped with tempura.
The Polish celebrate the end of Lent by having a feast. After weeks of denying one’s self, the Catholics break their fast come Easter Sunday by having a festive meal typically comprised of smoked or roasted meats, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, horseradish, and a traditional Polish yeast cake called babka, a rich pastry that comes shaped like a bundt cake, flavored with rum, and drizzled with icing. Babci Kuchnia is a popular Manila-based food company selling a range of Polish dishes, including pierogis (dumplings), pierniki cookies, and Polish biala kielbasa.
Whenever the sizzling sun is out, people usually turn to ice cream or cold beverages for refreshment. The Koreans, however, rely on the bingsu, one of the most popular summer desserts in their country. It appears like a snow-capped mountain made out of light-as-a-feather, finely shaved ice, then decorated with sliced fruits, sweet adzuki beans, and milk.
It’s a delicious thirst quencher that many Filipinos have grown to love too. Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu in Bonifacio Global City, Caffe Bene in Eastwood, and Magpie Cafe along Maginhawa St. in Quezon City are some of the places where you can enjoy this icy treat.
When the weather starts to get cooler again, people warm up with dishes that make delicious use of a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and game. They usually come in the following forms: a comforting bowl of pumpkin soup, pot roast, classic meatloaf, apple crumble, and the all-time American favorite chicken pot pie. Celebrating familiar fall flavors in a single dish, the chicken pot pie is not only easy to make, it also allows for customization. If time and your pantry won’t allow you to make one, then head on over to Bondi & Bourke for their Australian Beef Pie. It is not quite the same as a traditional chicken pot pie, however; it’s better. •
Toshikoshi soba is a Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on New Year’s Eve.
Left: Bondi & Bourke’s Australian Beef Pie.