The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has posed an unprecedented impact on the world, from health concerns down to livelihood apprehensions. Stories about vast redundancies, supply chain interruptions, as well as the increasing number of cases and fatalities have sent shock waves across the globe, making it easy for anyone to fall into a mishmash of negative emotions.
Despite the dim outlook we face, however, Filipinos have instead found a way to take this as a chance to discover novel trends and income opportunities. In the Philippines, many have found comfort in their kitchens, navigating through culinary experiments that resulted in one-of-a-kind recipes and reinvented dishes. Since the quarantine measures, Filipinos have started putting twists on famous meals, sharing and selling them online for everyone to taste. Indeed, food has once again united the country.
Here are some of the dishes that are currently sweeping the country in today’s quarantine era:
Gone are the days when sushi is visualized as fresh cold rolls of rice, seaweed, or fish. Today’s sushi—at least for Filipinos—now means a deconstructed dish of Japanese ingredients baked in a casserole. Some of the ingredients thrown in the pan include sticky rice, crab, salmon, mayonnaise, and sometimes cream cheese. Where’s the nori, you may ask? The sheets are served separately, where you can just scoop the baked sushi and wrap it yourself.
According to Camille Arcilla, the online seller behind Cam’s—which offers baked sushis alongside other food products—Filipinos began looking for new ways to spice up their home-cooked meals during the lockdown period.
She noted that one major reason it became the craze that it is today is curiosity, with many people wondering what it tastes like. “I guess [it became a trend] because it’s something novel, people are so curious if it really works. I mean—sushi, but baked? Sushi is eaten raw, but someone had this brilliant idea of baking it, and it worked.”
Ube cheese pandesal
Pandesal has always been a Filipino staple, but the quarantine period has allowed us to put a twist into this Pinoy favorite—with many flavoring the dough with ube and adding cheese in the middle. A salty and sweet combination that has since captured the palates of Filipinos not just in the Philippines, but in the UAE as well.
This beverage has become famous because it is only made with four simple ingredients—instant coffee, sugar, hot water, and milk. The first three are whisked into a bowl until it becomes creamy. It is then added on top of the concoction, making it your homemade version of your favorite go-to coffee—sans the hundreds of pesos!
Baked goods (revel bars, brownies, etc.)
It’s no surprise that baked goods like revel bars and brownies are still on the list of trending goods among Filipinos today, especially given our sweet tooth. These delicacies seem to never get old, because according to Johannes Chiong, co-owner of Bataan-based Choleng’s Restaurant, Filipinos constantly look for ways to satisfy their sweet cravings no matter the situation.
“Pinoys are known to have a sweet tooth. So even in the time of strict community quarantines, they keep looking for ways to satisfy their craving for desserts. That’s why we decided to sell our premium revel bars, to offer people that familiar source of comfort during this crisis. Sweets never get old,” he said.
He added that since they introduced their revel bars to their customers weeks ago, deliveries and orders have started going through the roof.
Grilled meals like chicken and pork barbecues are always on top of Filipinos’ favorite dishes, a reason why they have become more sought-after online since the start of quarantine in the Philippines. According to Lhexi Galvez-Valeriano, who started the online business—the Lunch Box by Galvez Family—to sell inihaw goods, Filipinos want to get their favorite grilled dishes without the hassle of actually making them.
“Mahirap kasing mag-ihaw kaya nagiging mabenta siya ngayon. Gusto ng mga Pinoy ng readily available, hindi na sila mahihirapan magluto tapos hindi din masyadong magastos,” she said.
“Naging patok ang aming negosyo sapagkat siniguro din namin na swak na swak sa kanilang panlasa ang timpla namin sa mga inihaw namin. Bihira ang mga pinoy na mag-ihaw sa pansarili nila kasi matrabaho ito,” added Valeriano.