BINANGKAL (The Cebuano Bicho)

After returning from lunch at a popular Chinese turo-turo in Concord, CA, I chatted thru text messaging wirh my brother Louie in Cubao, MetroManila. Told him that my tummy was full from generous helpings of chow fun noodles, roast duck, steamed broccoli, and fried sesame rice balls..

“What’s Tagalog for bicho?” I asked.

His answer: Bitso.

No new information there!

Then Louie proceeded to tell me that in Cebu, there’s a local delicacy “kinda similar to and sorta different from, bitso.   Binangkal,” he said,” is the local name.”

“Why the name? Why did they call it that?” I inquired. He said he didn’t know.

My interest piqued, I went on search mode. I pored over Philippine recipes and food anecdotes, but found nothing about the history and naming of binangkal.  Even the bloggers were wondering aloud.

My next take in finding an answer to my own question was to dissect the word.  Binangkal  implies that something was bangkal-ed, right?  So I went to, and  in the search box, typed bangkal … voila!

It is the Philippine name for a tree, the nauclea orientalis.

That’s the origin of the name for the Cebuano delicacy!
There’s no doubt about it!

Binangkal… made to look like the bangkal fruit!





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