Sunday, March 7, 2010

Balikbayan Pasalubong Eats!

My parents recently came back from their 40yr high school reunion in the motherland. The word, balikbayan literally means "return to country." (Balik - return, Bayan - country)

Whenever anyone in the family goes anywhere, it's kind of a rule that you bring back with you some pasalubong. This pretty much is translated to "souvenir" that you bring back for other people. In this case, my parents brought tons of edible pasalubong back from the Philippines.

Confession: Pasalubong items, especially when they're food, are my favorite part of traveling.

Can't go wrong when you get these eats from the homeland:

Mini empanadas, purchased literally the day of my parents' departure so when they arrived here in the states, they were still soft and delicious. Filled with chicken and potatoes, similar to the Mexican empanadas you may have had, I think I may have consumed more than the "suggested" amount. I figure, they're "mini" so you're allowed to eat more than normal, right?

Hopia is the package I'm holding above. This sweet delicacy is made up normally of sweet mung beans or ube (a sweet purple root) inside a flaky bread-like consistency. This particular hopia had kundol, described by my mama and grandmother as a sort of sweet melon that they use when it's really ripe and then make into a paste to put inside. Whatever kind of hopia it is, trust it's gonna be a good, light delicious dessert.

Garlic peanuts are a delicious snack of the Kapampangan peoples. I may or may not have woken up in the middle of the night recently to grab a handful and eat them under the covers. Don't judge, sometimes there just isn't anything else that can tame the growling beast. Garlic peanuts has been my go to snack, until we run out of course. In the background of my fave garlic peanuts, San Miguel 3-in-1 coffee makes an appearance. Kristine, Ate P, Ate B and I totally fell in love with these instant coffee packets when we traveled last to the motherland. Thank goodness Mama and her sister remembered my love affair with San Mig. Mmm...instant!

Yup, you read this correctly, "Dried melon seeds". So unlike the American watermelon, the ones from the Philippines have GI-nourmous seeds. Called butol pakwan (seeds of watermelon), like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, this is a good pastime snack. Don't worry, these aren't the seeds that people spit out when eating watermelon. My mama said that my grandparents used to specifically harvest the seeds and dry them out and store them for future snackage.

Mmmm, watermelon seeds. Mama and I have serious competitions on who can peel the most. One time, I even exercised the will power to not eat the inside of the seeds after peeling. Instead, I saved them and then when I finally had about 30 or so peeled in a pile, I put it all in my mouth in one schwoop! Soooo good! This was definitely an accomplishment. I mean, that's a lot of self control to not eat something so good. Can you tell I'm proud? =)

And this is why I love pasalubong eats.


  1. my salsa :)

    i totally laughed at the thought of you smuggling garlic peanuts under your covers...nerd!

    ps way to practice self control with all the shelling at once?!?! youre my little squirrel, storing away for the winter, haha

  2. ah...pasalubong treats... I love the thought that goes into pasalubong - your parents actually bought empanada that day and smuggled it into their luggage!