Simbang Gabi Snacks We Can’t Live Without

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Thursday, Dec 14, 2017 01:34 PM

There’s something quintessentially Filipino about the eight dawn masses leading up to Christmas. Old wives' tales say that attending all eight masses (plus Misa de Gallo on Christmas Eve!) grants you a wish; others attend the early morning mass to get at least a feeling of the cold during Christmas. 

This tradition, which began in 1669, is still widely celebrated come December 16th of each year, albeit with several time changes. Some still go for the traditional dawn mass, while others attend anticipated mass the night before. 

But whenever and however you choose to celebrate, Simbang Gabi just isn’t the same with these five snacks to munch on after. In fact, they’re so good that some of us have gone to Simbang Gabi just to have these after mass! Keep your eyes peeled outside your local church in case some enterprising Pinoy decides to sell these.

 

Bibingka

 

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A Simbang Gabi treat so perfect for the holidays that a local band actually wrote a song about it (Give it a listen here!). This rice cake treat is flavored with coconut, lightly dusted with brown sugar or cheese and served on a cut banana leaf. Traditionally made in clay pots in a special “bibingka oven” and served warm with a cup of warm tsokolate or strong Batangas coffee, this is the ultimate Simbang Gabi snack. 

 

 

Puto Bumbong

 

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Coming a close second to bibingka, these purple strips of deliciousness just make everything feel right in the world. Puto bumbong is also a rice cake and is also made with a special steamer with bamboo sticks. Flavored with purple yam powder and rice flour, this Christmas classic is also topped with coconut shreds or cheese, butter, and raw brown sugar. 

 

 

Kutsinta

 

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Pronounced "koo-chin-ta," these sticky rice snacks are perfectly sweet and best eaten on the go. Unlike its cousins the bibingka and puto bumbong, kutsinta can be served cool and topped with desiccated coconut. These brown rice cakes are made with lye water, giving it a sticky, chewy texture, closer to Japanese mochi. 

 

Suman

Another rice cake (yes, we do love our rice), suman is made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and wrapped in banana leaves. It is perfect eaten with sugar, laden with latik, coco jam, or any other sweetener of choice. Pair it with your favorite hot beverage and you're set for a great morning.

 

Arroz Caldo

 

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We’ve talked about our love for arroz caldo before, and it doesn’t end during Christmastime. There’s no better way to start the day with a bowl of piping hot rice porridge, flavored with ginger and chicken. Add a bit of toasted garlic and hard boiled egg on top, you’re all good for the whole day!

 

Quezo de Bola, Fiesta Ham and Pan de Sal 

Pan de sal, Christmas ham, queso de bola, romesco. #worldscollide

Pan de sal is almost a requirement for every Filipino breakfast table. These dinner rolls are usually chomped on slathered with butter or some other spread, but come Christmas, butter is replaced with something much more delicious. The combination of the sharp and creamy Edam cheese ball (it’s that big red ball that a tito or tita eventually sends over!) and the salty ham cold cut makes it the fanciest, most addicting dish on the Simbang Gabi platter. Or maybe do away with the bread entirely? 

 

What's your favorite simbang gabi snack?

 

 

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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