It is undeniable that Filipinos love to have “merienda” after siesta. It has been in our tradition ever since. I can just remember the old days in our province, when my lola apt to make merienda for us – her apos (grandchildren). I immensely miss those good times. I know, you can relate to this and surely, you also have your own story to tell because we, Filipinos, like to keep bittersweet memories in mind.
Reminiscing those moments, I realized that nothing in this world can beat the mother’s cooking. It has its own special way of making you want to savor the flavorful meriendas again and again. Well, there’s nothing wrong of going back to your province and asking your lola or nanay to cook your favorite merienda for you. But if it will take you forever to get there, do me a favor, don’t waste effort and time because I know a place that serves the best merienda.
Cafe Laguna is a bona fide Filipino cuisine that serves home-cooked meriendas that you will certainly love. All your favorites from the purple-colored rice steamed in bamboo tubes to the small, flat, sweet rice cake, you can find them at Cafe Laguna.
There are plateful of meriendas at Cafe Laguna that you can choose from. Now, if want to know their best of the best meriendas, I will suggest five must-try meriendas:
I know that puto bungbong is one of our Christmas Specialties, but you can also enjoy it as your merienda in the afternoon or anytime of the day.
The purplish rice they call glutinous rice is steamed in bamboo tubes and covered with melted butter or margarine and served with grated coconut and brown sugar (usually muscovado). The way that Cafe Laguna serves it though is different. But another thing that sticks to the Filipino fashion of dessert preparation is the use of banana leaf.
Turon (Banana with langka)
Turon or deep-fried banana rolls is a typical Filipino meryenda and dessert. This Filipino culinary innovation brings saltiness to the flavor that contrasts of the ripe banana plantain as its filling. The langka strip inside adds more flavor and makes it more delicious.
The maja mais has the consistency akin to that of gelatine. This is a variation of maja blanca, a dessert with Spanish origin, that has become among the popular meriendas and desserts of the Filipinos. Instead of the corn kernel in typical maja blanca,–which, by the way, blanca is the Spanish for white– maja mais’ ingredients include powdered corn; hence, the yellowish color.
The grated peanuts are placed atop to add to the flavor.
Suman, Mangga, at Tsokolate
This is another glutinous rice cake recipe, but with hot dark chocolate and fresh bright yellow mango. It is a dessert fashion, which has become increasingly popular among restaurants and cafe. This combo seems totally Filipino and may add that is kinda healthy-licious despite the sugar content.
According to Wikipedia, palitaw is from the word litaw, the Tagalog word for “float” or “rise”.
The etymology can be attributed to that way it is cooked where ground gelatinous rice mixed with water and then the batter of the mixture is rolled and flattened. The flattened batter is cooked in a boiling water. Measuring the number of palitaws to make is based on intuition and preference, that is, if you want to cook your own.
But why cook, when you can enjoy a plate of multiple palitaws topped with grated coconut meat and sugar. The mixture delivers a product of sweet rice cake, ready to be eaten with delight during the day or as afternoon snack.