Filipinos love a good party, and nothing is grander and more anticipated than the Christmas Eve feast we call Noche Buena. From the time we were little, there are scents and flavours that signal the beginning of the most festive time of the year. However, the eating does not begin on Christmas Eve and end on Christmas Day now, does it? The food-gifting and the feasting is a month-long celebration and with all the delicious things getting passed around, we really do need more time.
If you are Filipino, have Filipino roots, or simply enjoy celebrating Christmas the Pinoy way, then you would surely have some—if not all—of these dishes on your holiday table.
1. Christmas Ham
This usually means a cooked ham with a sticky, sweet glaze and it is the centrepiece of the Noche Buena celebration. There are affordable shaped hams you can pick up from the supermarket aisles. Some are boneless balls wrapped in fat to ensure moisture and flavour; others are cured, then smoked, before getting baked with the leg bone still on. Your choice is usually based on tradition, then it is sliced thinly and served as a sandwich, tucked into warm pandesal or sliced bread.