Cover Learn about the essential panaderia treats (Photo: Klaus Nielsen / Unsplash)

Pre-heat your oven and brew up some coffee—it’s time for merienda

Panaderia or panaderya—however you spell it—we can all agree that they’re home to the tastiest nostalgia-inducing baked goods, great with a cup of tsokolate, kapeng barako or even Milo. Brush up on your vocab before your next visit to the local bakery and read more about nine of the essential treats below:

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1. Pan de Sal

Though its name translates to “salt bread,” pan de sal (also spelt pandesal) is a soft bread roll that is neutral if not ever so slightly sweet in flavour. Great with any palaman of your choosing like coconut jam, fresh kesong puti, or corned beef, pan de sal is also often enjoyed on its own. In recent years, the ube-cheese craze has taken over panaderias, resulting in ube-flavoured pan de sal filled with gooey cheese.

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2. Pan de Coco

As its name suggests, pan de coco are soft bread rolls stuffed with a sweetened shredded coconut meat mixture known as bukayo. Often treated with an egg wash that produces a shiny and golden-brown top, the rolls are also usually also pierced with a fork to create distinctive holes on its surface.

See also: 14 Classic Filipino Desserts You Need To Try

3. Kalihim / Pan de Regla

Kalihim are elongated, rolled bread with a bright red pudding-like filling—hence its alternative (and slightly graphic) name pan de regla, which means 'menstrual bread'. With the dough spread flat, the sweet filling of day-old bread in milk, eggs, sugar, and red food colouring is spread across its length. Then, the dough is rolled over the filling and sliced crosswise, allowing the colourful centre to shine through.

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4. Ensaymada

One of the most popular sweet breads found at Filipino panaderyas is the ensaymada, a localised iteration of the Spanish ensaïmada. Traditionally shaped like spiral rolls or knots (though simpler, round bread rolls have also become common), the indulgent snack has a rich, sugary, and buttery dough, and is generously topped with more butter, sugar, and grated cheese.

See also: Ensaymadas: Where To Get Them In And Around The Metro

5. Spanish Bread

Spanish bread is another classic snack, made with a milky dough twisted around a sugar-butter mixture. Its cross-section reveals a picturesque swirl of the white bread and tempting filling, an irresistible sight for any sweet-toothed folk.

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6. Putok

Perhaps the densest of the bunch, putok is a small but heavy bread roll glazed with an egg wash and topped with a healthy sprinkling of sugar to produce a sweet and crunchy exterior. Its distinguishing look (which is also its namesake) is achieved by snipping the top with scissors to create perpendicular lines that open up and ‘explode’ upon baking.

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7. Cheese Rolls

A close relative to the ensaymada is the cheese roll, which are elongated bread stuffed with cheese and topped with a blend of sugar and butter. These sweet-salty treats are also typified by a delicate, fluffy dough that promises a delightful snacking experience, especially when enjoyed warm.

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8. Mamon

Since it is a sponge cake and not bread, mamon may be the most out of place on the list. However, the buttery, tender cake is such an essential staple in local bakeries, it’d be amiss to leave it out. In fact, mamon is so popular that it has become widely commercialised and now comes in different flavours. Our suggestion? Skip the pantry-friendly varieties and opt for the freshly-baked cakes from the panaderia for the best mamon.

See also: Where To Order The Best Cakes In Metro Manila

9. Bicho-Bicho / Shakoy

Fondly referred to as a Filipino doughnut, bicho-bicho (also known as shakoy) are soft bread that are deep-fried and liberally coated in white sugar, creating a toothsome contrast of crisp and fluffiness. Elongated and twisted into a simple braid, they are simple but satisfying treats.

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