Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Pinoy in Iloilo: The Best Bibingka in the Philippines

One of the native Philippine delicacies that I love is bibingka. There used to be a lady making bibingka every morning near our parish church in my hometown. But she's gone now.

Bibingka (pronounced bee-beeng-kah) is a Philippine rice cake made of rice flour, eggs, grated coconut, sugar and other ingredients, which make this delicacy yummy and to-die-for (!), or in my case, to cross-the-sea for!

I have tasted bibingkas from Manila and from everywhere else, but the best for me is the Balasan bibingka of the Iloilo Province. Balasan is a town in the northern part of Iloilo.

And lucky me, instead of driving all the way up to Balasan town from Iloilo City, the capital of the Iloilo Province, I just crossed the sea (from Bacolod) and was able to  get Balasan bibingka right in front of the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City.

The Balasan bibingka is not too sweet, but is savory, not too thick; it's full and you can taste the coconut flavor and thick grated coconut strips in every bite (unlike other bibingkas which are 'airy' and tastes like an ordinary chiffon cake)!
With the bibingkas being baked right at the kiosk where they're sold, one can see the baking process where the bibingkas are placed in an oven with hot charcoal providing the heat on top and below each bibingka mold lined with banana leaves.

So, in case you are able to travel to the Iloilo Province, don't forget to swing by the town of Balasan, or at the Jaro Cathedral, where you can also watch, smell and enjoy the baking process of these Balasan bibingkas, the best bibingka in the Philippines!
Crossing the sea, from the Jaro Cathedral....to my plate! 

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