We Filipinos love to eat. Whatever the occasion, a personal party or a big time feast, the centerpiece of our celebration would probably be the buffet right at our dining table. Christmas season is no different. We are entitled to choose our own meals, tinted with our top secret recipes just to impress our visitors for the Christmas Eve dinner. And no matter the cost, as long as our delicacies generate the expected smiles from our guests, we are definitely smiling along with them, thinking to ourselves, “We had succeeded!” Yes, great food is one way towards other people’s hearts, however, such may only be the case if we managed to mix the right ingredients, and sometimes the right ingredients would cost too much. Well, in such case, keep your worries away, as we had prepared a list of the Top 10 Budget-Friendly Filipino Noche Buena Favorites:
1. Bibingka – A familiar treat among Filipinos, this variety of a sweet steamed rice cake has strong heritage significance from our rich history. Just as our great, great grandparents enjoyed having this on their dinner table, so do their cheerful descendants who are avid fans of this delicacy as well. No need to go to fancy restaurants for this, you may find this treat right outside the church during early morning masses leading up to Christmas day, with the price usually ranging from P35 – P50.
2. Fruit Salad – If you want your budget done right, you have to do it yourself. Food that is prepared by your own hands can give you an advantage, especially if you’re already familiar with the preparation process. The more you know about the exact amount of ingredients, the fewer mistakes you’ll make in purchasing them. This is true when it comes to fruit salad. You see, a true expert in preparing one knows how much condensed milk or cream, canned fruits, and additive syrup he/she would have to put in to achieve just the right amount of sweetness. The whole ingredient ranges from P300-P450. Choose your ingredients wisely.
3. Puto Bumbong – Similar to bibingka, this may also be found outside the church during early morning masses leading up to Christmas day. If you want variety, in terms of desserts, you may have to include this one as it features the stickiness that bibingka lacks. The sprinkled sugar and coconut bits add a majestic flavor to this already delicious treat.
4. Queso de Bola – This is one treat that every Filipino family should have on their table at Christmas Eve. Not to be mistaken as a mere traditional display, this rounded cheese made more appearances at Christmas than some of your aunts and uncles, who mysteriously disappear every Yuletide Season (hmm, we all wonder why). The elegant taste adds a smooth, salty variety to your meal. Don’t let the appearance intimidate you. Yes, some are truly expensive. However, if you would persevere, you would surely find a grocery selling certain brands of this delicacy for a much affordable price; sometimes, even buy 1 take 1.
5. Embutido – Tired of hearing your visitors complain about how you had served them with cold food? Worry no more, as this delicacy may be served in either cold or hot temperature, depending on your preparation. As our own version of meatloaf, this favorite is a must-have on the table, exploding with different flavors due to the variety of filling in the middle. This is also affordable, as some are even sold in foil-wrapped bundles, having enough for every guest at the Christmas Eve dinner.
6. Leche Flan – Another delight that may be served as either hot or cold. This desert may be purchased or prepared. Regardless, you would be able to get more value for your money, as price of this delicacy is within reach, one tub us usually priced P35 – P50, depending on the size. Discounts are also given if bought in bundles.
7. Filipino Style Spaghetti – What Filipino gathering would be complete without spaghetti? It may seem strange for foreigners, but our love for this delicacy never fades, whether at birthdays, weddings, or even blow outs. Recently, groceries started selling pastas with tomato sauce and other needed ingredients in plastic-wrapped baskets. This offer usually appears during the yuletide season, indicating that stores indeed study their customers. The best thing about this is it also comes in a reduced price. Imagine getting all of the ingredients for less, unlike buying them one by one in which you would likely never save any amount by the time you exit the supermarket.
8. Lumpiang Ubod (Lumpiang Sariwa) – This is another one of those masterpieces, not due to its appearance, rather because it is made by your very hands. Yes, you purchase a few to save up preparation time, however, where’s the fun in that? Besides, purchasing the ingredients may help you think wisely about the exact amounts to be bought. The right amount of vegetables and sauce mix that you can buy for its preparation may make the difference between getting the right amounts and spending less, or buying more than what you need and spending a lot in the process.
9. Barbecue – Notice a certain pattern in the list? There are numerous times in which you may be able to save more only if the food to be served is prepared by your own hands, meaning, you would spend more if you were to buy ready-to-eat meals. Again, this is due to the fact that you would be able to buy the right amount of ingredients and avoid overspending at the same time. Barbecue, whether pork or chicken, may not be too pricey if you know the right delicious parts to be bought. Some pork parts are cheaper than the other but less tasty, this may be remedied with the proper marinating. Ketchup and soy sauce, with a touch of citrus and garlic definitely adds to the taste. Brush the pork/chicken while being grilled to add a tender coating of sweet marinate, even after pulling out from the charcoal.
10. Kastanyas – “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” – Isn’t that the opening lyrics of a famous Christmas song? Yes, it is. As the song clearly signifies, nuts are a traditional part of our Yuletide treats. Here in the Philippines, it is identified by its hard outer shell, which then softens as you expose it to heat. The result is a holiday snack sold per gram or kilo, depending on the current market price. Nonetheless, it’s another must have on the dinner table.
So, you are prepping up your budget to prepare the said delicacies, but you had only counted enough as the other half of your expenditures would be allotted for the gifts to be given this holiday season. You need a few extras to survive this Yuletide season. Well, worry no more, as Cebuana Lhuillier offers its Pawning Service. They lead the pawning industry by offering safety and the highest appraisal rate in the industry in its more than 1,800 branches nationwide. Accepting an array of items, from jewelry to gadgets, as collaterals, the company’s core business has evolved with the needs of its clients. So what are you waiting for? Visit your nearest Cebuana Lhuillier branch now – we assure a fast, easy and secure transaction.