Grocery shopping has always been one of the household responsibilities I enjoy a lot. Lately though, there have been some Filipino local delicacies and products that have caught my fancy—either for its impressive packaging or for its simple ingenuity.
Here are some that I’ve found quite interesting:
For years, my cousins in the States would ask for one thing as pasalubong—bottles of calamansi juice concentrate with honey. They’ve often told us about how much they miss the tartness of calamansi juice that is so distinct from other citrus fruits.
For decades, we all had to cut, slice and squeeze these fruits to make the best summer citrus drink before the concentrate was finally concocted.
Lately though, a liqueur version called Manille Liqueurde Calamansi has been receiving accolades and may be found in specialty sections of the grocery. With an antique, intricate package design, this liqueur, comparable to a limoncello, is a perfect after-dinner digest with family and friends.
Just this weekend, we chanced upon a set of petite bottles of Datu Puti flavored vinegars. Multi-colored and delightful to look at, these bottled vinegars represent all the varieties of vinegars from North to South including, Tuba, Sukang Iloko and Kinurat.
Perfect for those Filipino breakfasts served with longganisa or tapa, the little vinegar bottle set isa conversation piece that adds a bit of flair and color to the dining table.
At the grocery too, we picked bottles of Bayani Brew—a local version of iced tea with a hint of pandan flavor. Packed in four’s and stacked in recycled cartons, the earth tone-designed bottles are very appealing. On the rack, this local tea selection can stand proudly beside its foreign counterparts.
Another local iced tea brand though that has been a long-time favorite of mine has been Sola. In stout glass bottles, Sola iced tea, brewed with various flavors is a throwback to those years when we’d have to “shake and pop” before drinking.
It’s ironic how sometimes it takes so many years before a dish is repackaged or reinvented. Take the halo-halo for one. For decades, people had to buy each ingredient like kaong, nata de coco, sweet beans, and macapuno in individual jars.
It did take sometime before someone finally realized that it’s all right to put all these sweet condiments together in one bottle—packed in colorful layers and ready to serve. After all, you end up mixing them with ice and milk anyhow.
One local food that we all crave for is the inimitable dried fish—tuyo. It did take some time too before these were sold as bottled, deboned tuyo in olive oil. At the grocery these days, you have a multitude of bottled tuyo brands to choose from.
I’d understand how difficult it must be for those living in condominiums, for instance, to fry tuyo without getting neighbors a bit irate at its smell. At least, the bottled tuyo has made craving for this breakfast delicacy easy to satisfy. In fact, tuyo in olive oil is now a perfect topping for pasta and salad dishes.
There are so many Filipino delicacies and concoctions we’ve grown up with and often take for granted. Fortunately, these days more local manufacturers are seeing the potential of a growing market for our homegrown favorite foods.
For sure, with the splendidly designed packaging, soon enough Filipino delicacies will gain its own repute worldwide too.