You Can Do These: NILAGA and PUTSERO

It’s the stock of jokes about kitchen klutzes*: she can’t even boil water, much less fry an egg!

When I left Manila to study in the USA, I hardly knew how to cook to save my life.  Mom was always there to prepare standard and favorite foods; in better times, there was a housemaid to do the chore.

In time, I learned to prepare my own sustenance, thanks to the vast collection of cookbooks in the university library, as well as private lessons from the Ates, wives of Filipino graduate students who lived in Married Student Housing.

There are two easy ulams that you can cook with very little effort: nilaga and putsero.  I am giving general instructions; it’s up to you to determine ingredient proportions for the amount of food you intend to serve.

NILAGA is just what the word implies: boiled whatever – beef, pork, chicken, or vegetable such as sweet potato shoots (talbos ng kamote), or whole elongated eggplants.

Step 1.  Ensure that the meat pieces are cut into serving-size pieces.  Wash, drain, then add enough water to cover, plus a quartered onion, a pinch of salt, and about 12 whole peppercorns.

Put a lid on your cooking pot, set it on High on the stove.  When the mixture reaches the boiling point, reduce the heat to Low and let it simmer until the meat is tender.

Step 2.  Take several layers from a head of cabbage, cut the leaves into serving-size pieces, and add to the pot.  Increase stove temperature back to High.

When the leaves turn bright green and they appear half-cooked, turn off the stove.

Step 3.  Taste the broth.  Add fish sauce (patis) until the liquid is pleasantly salty.

Step 4.  Serve your nilaga in a bowl, with a separate bowl of steamed rice (sinaing) and a small saucer containing patis and some lemon, lime, or kalamansi juice in your desired proportion.


PUTSERO is also easy to prepare, but has a few more steps and added ingredients.  Pork is the meat of choice, but you can safely use beef or chicken, too.

Step 1.  In a little oil, saute minced garlic, onion, and tomatoes.  Add the meat, already cut into serving-size piece.  Cook until the meat turns light brown.

Step 2.  Add fish sauce (patis), whole peppercorn, tomato sauce, and water.  Let the mixture boil until the meat is tender.

Step 3.  Add peeled and cut-up potatoes, peeled saba bananas, and drained garbanzo beans from a can.  Cook about 5 minutes.

Step 4.  Add leaves of cabbage and long beans (sitaw), both cut into serving-size pieces.  Cook for five minutes.

Step 5.  If you have it, add some whole baby bok choy.  Cover the pot and turn off the stove.  After 5 minutes,

Step 6.  Taste the broth.  Add fish sauce (patis) until the liquid is pleasantly salty.

Step 7.  Serve your putsero in a bowl, with a separate bowl of steamed rice (sinaing) and a small saucer containing patis and some lemon, lime, or kalamansi juice in your desired proportion.

*Word Study: KLUTZ = a clumsy, awkward, or inept person


Sarsiyado and Sangkutsa

One of the first dishes I learned to cook is sarsiyadong isda.   I was about 11 years old when I learned to make it and, boy, did I cook it often!

First I fried pieces of fish such as lapu-lapu, dalagang bukid, or pompano.  (If your choice of fish has scales, make sure those are removed.  After frying until slightly crisp, set aside to drain.)

Then I sauteed:
* sliced onion and diced tomatoes
* enough water for some token sabaw, and
* some patis to taste.

When the veggies look wilted, I added the fish and simmered everything until heated through.

Then I added two beaten eggs, stirring until the curdles were well incorporated into the sauce.  That’s it!  Easy enough for an 11-year old wanting to dabble in the kitchen.
Until yesterday, I thought sarsiyado was derived from salsa (sauce).  Leafing through a Spanish-English dictionary which I consult often for a summer class, I chanced upon salteada, meaning “sauteed” (fried quickly in a little hot fat).

Note that I sauteed the onions and tomatoes, to which all other ingredients were added.  And that is why my dish was called sarsiyadong isda.

Now, repeat after me: salteada, SARSIYADO,  salteada. SARSIYADO .

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

And now for sangkutsa.  I often heard this word from my mother, who hails from Nueva Ecija.  She always emphasized that when making tinola, the chicken  has to be sangkutsa-d until the animal juices “sweat” from the chicken parts, thus making a sauce.  That done, water and the vegetable ingredients (pieces of green papaya or sayote) can be added.

My mother also noted that all meats, when sauteed in whatever seasoning, need to be sangkutsa-d for optimal flavor extraction.  An example would be sauteeing pork, chicken, or beef for afritada.
Reading a feature on Colombian cooking in an old issue of Food & Wine magazine, I happened upon a recipe for sancocho.  It was another AHA! moment for me, because I’ve long wondered where-in-Heaven my mother’s sangkutsa came from.

Turn out, sancocho is the ultimate comfort food in Colombia.  Foodie Nancy Cabrera says it’s such a beloved dish in that country, that it is served at every party.  One can safely bet that there are versions of sancocho in many parts of Latin America.  The recipe probably came to our shores via the Galleon Trade.

If you want to learn how to prepare it, just Google “South American sancocho.”  My personal assessment is that it is quite similar to our putsero, since it includes a variety of banana.


Iyong salitang matsakaw,  parang Intsik ang tunog, ‘di ba?

Dami ko nang ni-research na mga salitang tungkol sa pagkaing Intsik, mga putahe nila, at iba’t-ibang sangkap.  Hindi ko makita ang anumang relasyon sa matsakaw, iyong medyo matamis at malutong na day-old tinapay na bina-bargain sa mga panaderia.

Mali pala ang tinitingnan kong kultura!  Kahapon ay inimbita ako ng isang kaibigan na mananghali sa restorang Mehikano.  Habang binabasa ko ang menu, napansin ko ang isang putahe nila, machaka.

Wow, ika ko sa sarili.  Ito na siguro ang sagot sa matagal ko nang hinhanap na pinagmulan ng matsakaw!


Ang machaca ay hiniwa-hiwang piraso ng karneng baboy o baka, tinimplahan ng iba’t ibang rekado, at iniluto nang matagal sa hurno.  Sa ganoong paraan, pwede itong i-imbak nang matagal.

Kapag kailangan, ang machaca ay sinasariwa sa kaunting tubig, hinihibla-hibla, at isinasahog sa pagluluto ng maraming putahe, tulad ng taco, burrito, enchilada.  Madalas as igini-gisa ito sa sibuyas at inihahain kasama ng pritong itlog.


Hindi ba, kahawig ng matsakaw sa panaderia natin
ang machaca ng Mexico?

Rub the coffee mixture all over your pieces of meat.


Karne Norte

Bakit nga ba tinawag nating karne norte ang corned beef?

Ang corned beef ay karneng baka na inimbak sa pamamagitan ng pag-aasin.  Isang paraan ito sa pagtatago ng pagkain bago naimbento ang refrigeration.

Ang salitang corned ay mula sa kurnam, Aleman para sa “maliliit na buto ng anuman.”  Ilang halimbawa ay ang sumusunod:

buto ng trigo                = wheatcorn
buto ng barley             = barleycorn
buto ng paminta         = peppercorn.

Sapagkat ang uri ng asin na gamit sa pag-iimbak ng karneng baka ay kasinlaki ng mga nasabing butil, ito ay tinawag na corn of salt, at ang resultang produkto ay tinawag na corned beef.

Bakit dalawang hugis ang lata ng corned beef?

Iyong medyo kwadrado ay para sa madaling pagsa-salansan sa knapsack ng mga sundalo.   Mula pa noong World War I, kasama na ito sa mga supplies sa giyera.  May kasama itong susi na pambukas, para hindi kailanganin ang abre-lata.

At kung bubutasan ninyo ang kabilang dulo ng binuksang de-lata, madaling maidudulas palabas ang karne.  Sa ganoon, pwede itong i-slice tulad ng nasa larawan sa kaliwa.

Corned_beef     About the Product:

Iyong bilog na lata ay para sa pambahay na gamit.  Ito ay madaling buksan ng abre-lata, at karaniwang iniluluto bago ihain.


Ngayon, balikan natin ang tanong:  bakit ito tinawag na karne norte?  Alalahanin natin na sa Pilipinas lang gamit ang pangalang ito; hindi sa Espanya, Mexico o iba pang bansa sa Latin America na nagsasalita ng Kastila.

Ang sagot ay natagpuan ko sa isang miyembro ng  Noon daw Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano (Peb. 4, 1899 – Hulyo 2, 1902), kabilang sa supplies ng mga sundalong Amerikano and de-latang corned beef .  Ang bansag ng mga Pilipino sa nasabing pagkain ay karne Norte Amerikano.   Pagkaraan ng ilang panahon, at hanggang sa kasalukyan, pina-igsi ang pangalan at naging karne norte  na lang.


Kung interesado kayo sa istorya ng ating bansa, i-search ninyo ang:
Philippine-American War
Battle of Manila (1899)
Campaigns of the Philippine-American War.







Calling All Adventurous Eaters!

Read a random article on Philippine street food, and you will come across some really interesting snacks:  adidas, kwek-kwek, betamax, chicken helmets, and many more.

Squeamish folks — iyong mga delikado kuno — will turn their heads and walk away, but many people find these foods acceptable, if not downright delicious.

In my opinion, it’s just a matter of getting used to the street offerings.  Just think: aren’t shrimps and crabs downright ugly creatures?  Look at those legs!  And what about the aligi that we crave so much?  Someone unfamiliar with these creatures will say that sucking all that yellow goo from the heads of shrimps and crabs is absolutely yucky!  Yet we do it, with gusto.

That being said, it would be really beneficial to the economy and to the nutrition of the general populace if we were to adopt what is common practice in Bangkok : entomophagy.  It’s the human practice of eating insects.

Blogger Fecielo reports that in Thailand, insects are regular features of the diet;  snacks of grasshoppers, silk worms, beetles, and water bugs are as common as French fries and roasted peanuts.

fried bug

Insects similar to the ones above are eaten in certain parts of the Philippines:
—  Fried salagubang:  Ganyan sa Nueva Ecija, sarap niyan!”
—  Salagubang larvae:  ‘Masarap iyan, abal-abal ang tawag sa Nueva Viscaya.”
—  Tamilok, a tree worm that tastes like oyster: “Favorite iyan sa Palawan!”
—  Kamaru (mole crickets):  Kamaru-eating contests, popular sa Pampanga!
—  Uok (beetle larvae) adobo: “Gustuhin iyan sa amin sa Rizal.”

Agreed, there’s a following for certain insects in certain parts of the country.  One way to spread consumption is to introduce them as snacks in other areas.  Sell them in small quantities at affordable prices, just so people will be encouraged to try them.

For a few pesos, an adventurous eater can buy a trial-size packet, then maybe “graduate” to a snack-size bag once the initial squeamishness is overcome.  Who knows, that same buyer might swing by one afternoon to buy a meal-size bag so that folks back home can share the delights of munching on the tasty morsels.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), bugs present a possible solution to the world’s growing food problem.  Many insects provide as much protein – weight for weight – as beef and fish; hence, they are good alternatives to eating meat.

It seems like a win-win for all concerned:

— Farmers will have a source of income from gathering insects which are harmful for their crops.

What insects are eaten depends on the time of year.  For example, June beetles will attack rice and sugar cane crops, and when this happens, farmers will capture them at night and later cook and eat them… Locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets are also caught and eaten when they attack crops.

If markets are created in metro areas, the farmers can catch the critters in greater quantities, for sale to processors and vendors.

— Small-time business people will have a source of livelihood.

From the farmer-insect gatherer to wholesalers, to the vendor who hawks the insect delicacies, there is a line of business people who stand to generate income.  In Thailand, insect-growing has become a “small livestock industry.”   In Bangkok, enterprising vendors attach two bins to the back of motorbikes and cruise the city for possible buyers.

— Consumers will have another source of protein food at affordable prices.

The Philippines has one of the wealthiest arthropod collections on the planet.  Numerous insects have double the protein content of many meat sources.


If you do a Google search on the word tinapay, among the results will be “bread” from  You will also see images of various kinds of bread.

If you do a further Google search on the word bread, Wikipedia will tell you that bread is a staple food prepared — usually by baking —from a dough of flour and water.

My interest in the root of tinapay began when I learned that the word was included in the first Western record of the Cebuano vocabulary, written down by Antonio Pigafetta in 1521.  Pigafetta was a Venetian scholar and explorer who sailed with the Magellan expedition and visited some Visayan islands.

According to Pigafetta’s notes, the Old Cebuano word tinapai meant “rice cake.”
In, Jessie Grace U. Robrico points out that the old Cebuano tinapai has evolved into puto and bibingka in modern Cebuano.  This makes sense: indeed, in the whole country today the generic names puto and bibingka  apply to cakes made with rice, whole or ground.

Our word puto is believed to be derived from puttu of Kerala, India.
Our bibingka comes from Goa, India, where a sweet rice cake was called bebingca. These words probably came to our shores via contacts with Indian and Portuguese traders.

Puto, as we understand it today, generally applies to rice cakes made by steaming fermented rice batter.  Have you noticed that putong puti has a yeasty taste to it, hinting that it is quite panis (fermented)?  This is accomplished by soaking the rice overnight with a sourdough starter which spreads its flavor into the whole batch and also serves as a leavening agent.

Puto in banana leaf.jpg
Putong puti baked in banana keaves. The slightly sour white
often accompanies a stew that has a sauce of pork blood (dinuguan).
Puto kutsinta, another type of rice cake.

In the early history of Maritime Southeast Asia there was a staple food called tapai. These were fermented pastes made with starches such as cassava or rice.  Very likely, Indonesian settlers brought this food to our islands, and those rice cakes were what Pigafetta saw, and he was told that they were called tinapai.

I have yet to find out the linguistic principle behind the formation of some Pilipino words which indicate process, as in the following examples.  The  -in  is inserted in the original term, which could be borrowed from another language:

dendeng               dINengdeng
guiling                  gINiling
ihaw                      INihaw
kilaw                     kINilaw
pangat                   pINangat
singgang               sINigang
tumis                     tINumis
tapai                     tINapai

By Midori in
Vendors in modern-day Indonesia still sell slightly alcoholic (that is, fermented) tapai, which can have either a sweet or sour taste.  They may be eaten as is, or with certain dishes.  

Indonesian tapai are now called puto in the Philippines, where tinapay applies to any kind of bread made from wheat flour.


Some readers might think that I mis-spelled the title of today’s post, and say that I probably had azucena in mind… You know the frangrant tuberose flower which is generally used to make funeral wreaths in the Philippines.  Said plant is native to Mexico and was probably brought over by the galleons that plied the Manila-Acapulco route from the 1500s to the 1800s.

Tuberose flower.jpg
Azucena, polianthes tuberosa


I really do mean to write ASOCENA.  It is a compound word: aso (Pilipino for “dog”) and cena (Spanish for “dinner” or “evening meal”).  Together, the two words stands for any dish prepared with dog meat.




A Cable News Network (CNN) correspondent in Asia reported last week that Taiwan has banned the consumption of dog and cat meat on the island.  This is said to be a step up from a previous regulation prohibiting the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat.  The amendment specifically forbids people from eating the meat of said animals.  Fines for non-compliance amount in the thousands of dollars.



In the Philippines, Republic Act 8485 (The Animal Welfare Act) was enacted as far back as 1998.  It then became illegal to slaughter dogs and cats for personal of commercial trade and consumption, except when done as part of indigenous religious rituals.  Enforcement of the law has been sporadic; local and foreign animal rights groups have many times publicized the sorry lack of observance of RA 8485 in many parts of the country.

Following the lead of Taiwan (as shown in the above newsflash), might the Philippines begin yet again to enforce the law?   After all, the country is somewhat expert at copying foreign practices.


The consumption of dog meat happens in the Philippines for a number of reasons:

  • Regional practice.  In the Cordillera Mountain area of northern Luzon,  eating dog meat can be as common as eating pork.  It started started with ritual slaughters in Ifugao and Benguet:  tribes used to sacrifice dogs before battle, hoping that warriors would become as fierce as dogs.

    Over time, the practice continued despite the fading of the rituals.  In the cold-weathered uplands, people believed that dog meat imparted a warm feeling in their bodies.A number of adjacent lowland provinces, such as Pangasinan and Pampanga,  have began to adopt dog meat consumption.

    “They cook it adobo-style, sauteed with garlic, onion, and laurel leaf, seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar.  This is the favorite appetizer during drinking sprees,” wrote one blogger.

  •  Peoples’ desire to sample exotic fare.  Adventurous tourists, local and foreign, will sometimes try dishes from unusual meats.  Ever heard of  The Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya?  It boasts of serving ostrich, crocodile, and camel meat dishes among the more common meat offerings.

    In the same spirit, an out-of-the-way eatery might feature limited servings of dog meat for the “shock value” of offering taboo meats.

    File:Dog meat hotpot.JPG
    ( dog_meat)


  •  Lack of protein sources.  Unscrupulous people round up stray dogs for slaughter and sale to any takers.  This is not a common occurrence, but it happens.  For the most part, dogs (and cats) are not widely considered as food animals in the Philippines.

    Still, John M.  wrote in 2010:  “… dog meat is a source of protein.  Not as much as other meats, but it’s there… Dressed dog meat sells for around 65 pesos per kg.  at the palengke in Cagayan.  If you are poor, compare to the price of other meats, and it becomes a cheap source of protein.

    Where does our word ASO come from?  Instead of looking at word translations in many dictionaries, I consulted a website on dog care,  The Dog Breeding Information Center.   I found the word for “dog” in more languages than I ever imagined.  The list gave me a glimpse of relationships between languages.

    Our word aso is expressed in other tongues as:

  • Asu (in Tetum, which is spoken in Timor; in Tola Batak, spoken in northern Sumatra; and in Javanese, spoken in Java)

    Marco Samson of San Francisco State University wrote in a 2010 research paper that Indonesians were the first to introduce dogs into the Philippies.  It goes without saying that their word for the animal would carry into the local language.

  • Cho (Vietnamese).  This is intriguing.  There is very little similarity between the Philippines and Vietnamese languages, but it is interesting to listen to aso and cho.
  • Achu (in Kuna, spoken in Panama and Colombia)South America is across the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines, so this presents yet another curiosity.  Aso, achu… two similar sounding words from regions separated by a wide expanse of water.


How do you say “dog” in your dialect or language?

Some Common Terms That Came with the Galleons: TIANGGE, PITAKA, TOCAYO

The Galleon Trade, which saw large three-masted sailing ships travel back and forth between Manila, Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico, lasted from 1565 to 1815.  A total of 110 galleons set sail during those 250 years of unprecedented prosperity.  The enterprise is said to be the first instance of global trade:  goods from China, India, and Southeast Asian realms (and other countries they traded with) were trans-shipped from the Philippines to Mexico, for further trans-shipment to Europe where consumers were hungry for imported goods.

On October 13, 2010, the province of Cebu in the Philippines welcomed the galleon “Andalucia.”
Over five days, more than 10,000 visitors toured the replica of the 17th-century Spanish galleon,
which traversed the Manila-Acapulco route a number of centuries ago.
The galleon served as the main attraction of the first-ever Dia del Galeon Festival. The festival’s aim was  to focus attention on the Galleon Trade’s impact in the transmission of culture across the globe

The replica galleon sailed from Spain to Malta, then Israel, followed by Egypt and Oman,
and then through the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka, then Singapore, and the Philippines.

It later proceeded to Shanghai, China.  The ship was built by the Nao Victoria Foundation,
a non-profit entity which specializes in promoting historical events.

The ships carried spices as well as silk, porcelain, ivory, lacquerware, and many more.  Such items were much in demand in European markets; the sales provided a lucrative business for Spaniards in the Philippines, in Mexico, as well as in Europe.
While buyers in Europe longed for Asian products, the Chinese were self-sufficient and wanted only the metal silver.  Spaniards in Mexico obtained from these from local mines.  
The back-and-forth sailings provided not only trade but also cultural exchange between Mexico and the Philippines.  Along the way, vocabulary words were adopted on both sides of the Pacific.  It’s interesting to note that some of words actually originated from the Aztec language called Nahuatl.

Our word TIANGGE is from the Mexican Spanish tianguis; root word is the Nahuatl tianquiztli, meaning market.

We have another Philippine word for market, PALENGKE.  An internet search for this term yielded the following information:  Palenque is the site of an ancient Mayan city in south Mexico, famous for its architectural ruins.

Palenque Collage.jpg
To me, Palenque as a place-name is quite specific, whereas the Philippine word palengke is a more general term.  Not satisfied with the above information,
I looked further.  said, “palenque is the English translation for stockade, palisade, arena, ring.”  Hmmmm.

Further down, I came across this comment from Maggie ‘Strandiskov’ Kuusisto, who works at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  “We lived in Merida and I remember it referring to some sort of fair or gathering to sell items.”  Bingo!
Vocabulary word #2 for today is PITAKA.  That’s where you stash your money, right?  We derive it from the Spanish petacathe root of which is petlacalli, Nahuatl for suitcase.   I’ll buy that!
Our last word study today is TUKAYO… you know, someone who also goes by your name.  The Spanish tocayo goes back to the Nahuatl toca-yo-tl, meaning namesake.   Pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
I am intrigued by the  tl  endings in many Nahuatl words.  Maybe someday I’ll go deeper into the linguistics aspect of study and share with you what I find out.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep adding to our storehouse of Philippine words that came from the Mexican shores across the Pacific.   

Cha sui bao —> SIOPAO

Chinese historical documents and pottery excavated in Philippine locations reveal that trade between the two countries occurred long before the arrival of Spaniards.  In exchange for their loads of silk, porcelain, and other items, the Chinese brought back forest and sea products like rattan, beeswax, birds’ nests, dried sea cucumbers, and many others.  

Of course, trade did not occur during just one market day.  Businessmen waited while their goods were unloaded
 and new ones put on the vessel, sales negotiated, and payments arranged.  
Some of the foreign traders settled and married local women.  It is then easy to deduce how Chinese cuisine blended with local cooking; the wives learned new ways of food preparation, sometimes modifying ingredients according to availability. 
Today, we look at a perennial favorite snack, siyopaw, more popularly presented as SIOPAO.   It’s steamed bread with a meat filling.  
The Chinese name for this food item is cha siu bao.

The first two words mean roast pork; the third one, bun.
Over the years, the name has been shortened, and the pronunciation modified, hence, siopao.

Barbecued pork is sometimes called pork asado in the Philippines,
after a Spanish term which also means barbecued.

Therefore the cha siu bao (later shortened into siopao) might also be called SIOPAO ASADO.

When meatballs are placed inside before pinching the bread dough together,
the result is SIOPAO BOLA-BOLA. 

Both are served in restaurants, peddled by street vendors, or sold over-the-counter, and accompanied by a small packet of sauce to be poured into the bun as the siopao is eaten.


“Huwag kang makulit!” ika ng ina sa anak na sunod-sunod ang tanong.  Sa katunayan, maigi sa bata ang maging curious, dahil sa ganyang paraan sila natututo tungkol sa maraming bagay.  Imbes na bawalin, dapat ay i-encourage na palaging magtanong ang bata; sagutin ang paulit-ulit na tanong nila.  Balang araw ay mag-isa na silang magre-research ng mga sagot sa mga bagay na gusto nilang malaman.  Ang importante ay huwag bayaang mawala ang kagustuhan nilang matuto.
Ang kakulitan ay mapapansin din sa mga pangalan ng ilang pagkaing Pilipino.  Tingnan natin ang susunod na diskusyon.  Sana ay may expert o estudyante ng linguistics na magbibigay-linaw sa ganitong paraan ng pagbibigay ngalan.
Halo-halo:  Wow, perennial favorite iyan ng karamihan!  Matamis, maraming sangkap na prutas, malamig, malutong ang yelo, at ma-krema ang lasa dahil sa sa gatas at leche flan.  Ang deretsong translation nito sa Ingles ay “mix-mix.”  Talaga namang hahaluin mo ang lahat ng laman bago kainin ang masarap na meryenda!

  Ang tira-tira sa mga tindahan ngayon ay matigas na kending asukal.  Maaring makakita ng tunay na tira-tira sa mga probinsiyang nagtatanim ng tubo (sugar cane).  Kapag ang katas ng tubo ay pinakuluan hanggang lumapot, ang resulta ay inuyat. Ang isang dakot ng malamig na inuyat, kapag hinila nang madalas sa magkabilang direksiyon, ay magiging makunat na kendi. Iyan ang tira-tira, at ang pangalan ay hango sa  Kastilang “tirar” (hila).


Bilo-bilo:  Ang kumpletong pangalan ng pagkaing ito ay guinataang bilo-bilo.  Mga mala-holen na piraso ng giniling na malagkit, inuluto sa gata ng niyog na sinamahan ng asukal at iba’t-ibang prutas, tulad ng saging na saba, kamote, langka, atbp.  Maaring tinawag na bilo-bilo dahil iyong binilog na malagkit ang pangunahing sangkap.  Pwedeng itong kainin nang mainit sa meryenda, o malamig sa almusal.

Kare-kare:  Dalawang theory ang alam ko tungkol sa pinagmulan nito.  Una, dala raw ng mga Indonesian na dumaong sa pasigan ng Pampanga River ang lutong “kari.”   Ang iba’t-ibang hiwa ng karne at gulay ay iniluluto sa gata ng niyog at mga spices na kung tawagin ngayon ay curry powder.  Ang ikalawang theory ay lutuin daw ito ng mga Sepoy (Bumbay) na lumipat sa Cainta, Rizal.  “Kari” din ang tawag nila, at hindi gaanong kakaiba sa luto ng mga Indonesian.
Ang malaking kakaibhan ay ito:   iyong kare-kare natin ay walang gata ng niyog o curry powder; pinalapot ito ng peanut butter, at kinulayan ng atswete.  Isa pa, ang bawat subo ng kanin at ulam ay sinasamahan natin ng kapiranggot na bagoong, para sa malinamnam na pinagsamang tamis-alat.

 Yep, pitong sangkap ang kasama sa produktong ito:  mga dahon ng alagaw, banaba, bayabas, pandan, manga, at mga buto ng anis at kulantro.  Pwedeng ilaga at inumin bilang tsa-a, o itapal kung saan masakit ang nilutong pito-pito.  Kasama sa mga gamit nito ay pang-alis ng sakit ng ulo, pagpapababa ng lagnat, gamot sa sipon, ubo, sakit ng tiyan, atbp.