Best food for potluck , Pinoy-style

Now that it’s Christmas, my 3 1/2 year old toddler seems to find a reason to ask for toys everyday. She doesn’t yet know what a big deal Xmas is but toys are everywhere every time we go to the mall. Unfortunately, my killjoy mom instincts are finely tuned and I don’t encourage her when she says “Lalaloopzy! …. Barbie!” or else my wallet will go pfft. When the urge to point at every toy happens, I divert her attention. She’s happy enough to play with a real dog, for instance…

Lucy plays with dog

But food? Food is another matter. We find excuse to gorge and spoil ourselves with all sorts of grub this season. The past week in the office has been a whirl of parties. Potluck was the order of the day because everyone seems to be in cost-cutting mode because of Super Typhoon Yolanda.But even with potluck, there’s still overflowing food. Thank you Lord! :)

From this space to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas! ;)

concierge party

So what did we feast on? Even though there are lots of glitzy restaurants in Manila these days, it’s still nice to go back to the basics when it comes to the potluck. Being true-blue Pinoys, we can always settle for home cooking, what’s being offered by traditional food vendors and don’t forget the dessert!

Here are failsafe Pinoy potluck food ideas from this year’s Christmas food parties that I really enjoyed:

The boneless bangus from Pixie’s Sinugba was a revelation. Really missed eating these since we don’t grill at home.The fish itself is stuffed with onions, tomatoes and herbs…yummy for a fish lover like me. I think they have branches all over the metro or call their delivery hotline tel. no. 922-3333.

Pixie's Sinugba

A sushi and/or sashimi platter is elegant enough to bring to a potluck. There are always Japanese food lovers among a group of family & friends and most Japanese restos offer the platters to have good business.Budget from P1,300 to P2,000.

Potluck food Pinoy-style

Another good idea is a sausage platter or a cheese platter that can be put on a wooden board or even just a tray. Decorate with olives, grapes or croutons to complete the look.

Roast beef with mashed potatoes is a classic and can suit those with Continental tastes :)

Pasta or noodles in every incarnation is a given. Pansit malabon, pancit canton, spaghetti (the sweet type kids love..aargh) ) and even pad thai….

Filipino lutong-bahay is never absent because this is where the young and young-at-heart showcase their cooking skills. In this category, saucy dishes dominate. Menudo, mechado, cocido, caldereta, dinuguan and the whole lot of ‘em.

With the salads, popular choices are Caesar’s, macaroni, fruit salad (and yes, Filipino-style tends to have condensed milk & cheese)

I was kinda hoping for my favorite lechon in the parties and found none. Good enough coz it’s healthier that way. But yes, the boneless lechon belly originating from Cebu is also getting to be popular

I would also vote for paella as a potluck food since it would look so colorful & pretty in a buffet table. The Spanish restaurants in the metro would offer them for take-out and being based in the South, I get mine at La Copa Wine Bar & Restaurant near Duty Free in Sucat Road.

People always outdo each other when it comes to bringing desserts to parties. Leche flan, the sweet fruit salad and no-bake refrigerator cakes are common among ordinary households. But outstanding Filipino dessert purveyors are a-plenty too, so it’s best to order them take out rather than toil in front of the oven.

Here’s a perfectly-baked banana-walnut muffin that an officemate bought from Dimpy’s in Makati’s Dasmarinas Village.

Dimpy's muffins

Anyway, am sure families from all over will be bringing all sorts of food to the potluck parties this Christmas and New Year. Aside from the sumptuous chow, what truly matters in these gatherings is the laughter, the singing, the beer-drinking, the company, the telling of stories and all those good things which makes the Filipino Christmas celebration most sought-after wherever in the world we are….

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Most of us miss out on life's big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A full moon. An empty parking space.A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don't fret about copping life's grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights. There are plenty for all of us.

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