Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Flying Saucer in Silay City

Did you know that there is a flying saucer in Silay City?


Well, there is one, but it's not the extra-terrestrial kind.

I am talking about El Ideal's Bakery and Refreshment's grilled cheese sandwich, which was aptly named flying saucer simply because it looked like one!  This was one of my comfort food since childhood, something that I always looked forward to whenever I went over to my grandparent's house during weekends. When I went to Manila for college, it was something I sorely other grilled cheese sandwich could quite compare to the flying saucer of El Ideal. And so, when it disappeared from the menu sometime in the late 80's or early 90"s, it was like losing a part of my childhood. Their reason was that the vintage sandwich maker they were using could not be repaired anymore and it was no longer sold by the store that used to sell it. It took quite sometime for me to get over my disappointment that my beloved flying saucer will never be back...ever again. 

Then a small miracle happened!  Mark Sanchez, (the original owner's great grandson) who now manages El Ideal knew of my flying saucer longing, and while on a family trip to Iloilo City, surprisingly found the rounded grilled sandwich makers being sold in one market stall there. 

And viola!

A really mouth-watering flying saucer sandwich.  It is different from your ordinary grilled cheese because the bread is generously buttered on the outside with melted cheese inside sealed with crisp edges. The bread is not flat but toasted/fluffy.  Yummylicious!

Now that they have several of these sandwich makers available, maybe El Ideal can now make several varieties of flying saucers aside from just cheese, like ham and cheese, bologna and cheese, pepperoni and cheese or maybe eggs too.  Meanwhile for cheese lovers like me, this flying saucer is enough to satisfy my comfort food craving.

El Ideal Bakery and Refreshment
Rizal St., Silay City
Telephone number: (034) 4954430

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Silay, The Home Of The Dulce Gatas

I grew up in Silay surrounded by food, from simple fares to not so very simple ones.  Every Sunday, our breakfast in my paternal grandparents' house would consist of tsokolate (made from cacao tablea and fresh carabao's milk), fried rice, scrambled eggs, vienna sausage, homemade chorizo recado and bas-oy ( an Ilonggo soup made of minced beef, tomatoes, onions...etc).  Meanwhile, next door was my grand-aunt's home where there was always some kind of food cooking in her kitchen, from pinangat, lumpia sariwa, homemade ice cream made of coconut, vanilla or cheese, but best of all was the Dulce Gatas (literally means milk candy). This Silay specialty was something "to die for" so to speak.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Silay's Food Heritage: Emma Lacson's Original Silay Lumpia...and then more

There are many versions today of the Silay lumpia but there is only one original...and that is Emma Lacson's lumpia ubod.  All others are poor imitations.  Tita Emma's lumpia use fresh ubod (young coconut trunk meat), no decorative lettuce (yuck) and the thinnest homemade egg wrapper ever. The secret sauce is included in the filling (which is distinctive of most Silay lumpia) and they used to put in a green onion stalk but did away with it when they learned that people just threw it before eating.  I should know...I grew up surrounded by food and yes, I was one of those who threw away the green onion.  There was no big commercial food establishment in Silay when I was growing up, except maybe for El Ideal. So that when people wanted to eat a particular food, we would call a particular family known for making the best version in the city and make an order.  These food made from family recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and were not available commercially.  In fact, when one makes an order, it comes out as a request and a favor at the same time. Of course, that was then. Today, Tita Emma's lumpia ubod is available daily and the family "hobby" has now grown into a successful food business but still small and manageable. The one taking care of business is her youngest daughter Nora, or Baby to family and friends.  They have been featured in magazines and other bloggers have written about them, but as I told Baby when I came over to take pictures, I want to put on record and for people to know that they make the best that Silay can offer.  Other old favorites aside from the lumpia, are the empanada...often copied but never equalled; the paño-paño are mini tarts, so called because the banana filling is placed in a crust that is shaped and folded like a napkin; the senorita is made of several crispy crusts layered with caramel in between; and last but not the least, the very popular pili squares which is a relatively new addition (although it is an old family favorite but due to low supply of pili nuts before, orders were very limited) having been available commercially for only about 20 years or so, compared to the others which have been Silay favorites for probably the last 100 years.  The crispy empanada is great for afternoon snacks or tea while the rest are yummy desserts.  I should warn you though that once you start eating the paño-paño and the pili squares, it is hard to one should just take a few of the tarts  and  2 or 3 pieces of the squares and then keep them in a place as far away from you as least well until the next meal.   

Lumpia Ubod (Fresh Spring Rolls)
Pili Squares (small)
My memories of the Lacson house is not all about food...the patriarch of the house, Tito Rudy was my first dentist...see that door and stairs where the tricycle is parked?  That is where the most embarassing dental experience I have ever had in my entire childhood happened...but that is another story to tell for next time ;)

Retrieved from
The house is located at the corner of Rizal and Ledesma St (formerly Mckinley) right besides Bank of the Philippine Island-Silay Branch. Contact number is (02) 495-5047.  You can reserve orders from 6 AM to 6 PM.   Happy eating!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ang Manuglibod Sang Silay

Silay is not only known for it's heritage houses but also for its food.  I grew up enjoying gustatory delights such as lumpia ubod, dulce gatas, ibus mais, tortitas, masa podrida, pianono, señorita, piaya, bread pudding, butong-butong, salab, bañadas, butse, bichokoy, paño-paño, chicken empanada, chicken pie, panara, bitso-bitso, etc...brought daily by the friendly manuglibod (literally meaning, a person who goes around to sell aka a street hawker) for us to buy, of course!  One particular manuglibod whom I will never forget is Tya Sitang.  She was small and rotund with a really happy face, wearing a baro't saya and balances on her head this wide flat native basket (nigo in the vernacular) full of these food stuff but neatly and securely covered with white cloth.  She walks around the city with this on her head and I used to be fascinated with the fact that it never falls off.  The secret I later learned was in the white cloth that is rolled tightly and turned into a round circle to be placed between her head and the basket.  This little "cushion" was the thing that stabilized and balanced the basket.

(Picture retrieved from:
The manuglibog would balance the flat basket seen above on their heads similar to this woman with the jar (Retrieved from:

Every day at around 10 in the morning she would pass by my grandparent's house and we (both kids and adults) would eagerly watch as she would open her "nigo". Tya Sitang would always give me a rosy cheek smile and she would be very patient with us while we took our time looking over her "nigo" and choosing what we want to eat. The food items would always be placed in an orderly and circular manner so that it was very pleasing to the eye. It was always difficult to choose since, everything looked delicious. I would always reach out for the tortitas and pianono as we kids were allowed only 2 kinds each.  Sometimes, I would look at my Lola and she would allow me an extra ibus mais, or butse.  After the apos, my Lola would then buy merienda for her afternoon "pangingue", usually it's the panara or empanada.   In the past, the source of all these food were only two or three families who sold their "specialties" through the manuglibod.  Later on when other people started making similar food which they sold at a lesser cost, the manuglibod had alternative sources and a small industry developed.  Today, there is the so called "barter market" in Silay Public Market held every early morning where food items are displayed for sale or consignment to the manuglibod, most of whom now ply the Bacolod route, since Silay is no longer a lucrative market. The story I got from the traders was that initially it was an exchange system wherein each vendor would bring in only one kind of food and they would exchange products with each other however because of many problems encountered, the system is now generally COD.  The days of the flat basket are gone too and replaced by the regular native basket lugged around by the manuglibod, seen mostly in offices.  So what happened to the original flavors?  Since the manuglibod no longer source the food items from them, these families began taking direct orders, so that today the originals can still be bought directly from the homes either through phone orders or by just stopping by.  Of course, one has to pay a little more if they want the taste of the originals because even though how much people try to imitate, quality suffers because they scrimp on ingredients and of course, there are the mixes that the families have never shared with anyone, not even with their manugluto (cook), much more their manuglibod.  Emma Lacson's lumpia, señorita, chicken empanada, paño-paño and pili cake can never be equalled.  El Ideal's tortitas, chicken pie and bread pudding will always be one of a kind. The Legaspi sisters' piaya will always be the best.  I do not know who made my favorite pianonos but today's version can never match the taste of the past.  And Tya Sitang and those like her? They are a thing of the longer do we see gently swaying middle aged women walking down the road with laughing children greeting her excitedly over what goodies she has to offer. I miss those days...I miss Tya Sitang.