Most Christians will be observing the Holy Week which is set from March 28 (Palm Sunday) to April 4 (Easter Sunday) this year.
While Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday usually go on as usual (perhaps, with some, practicing slightly a bit more reverence in their prayers), the annual holy obligations begin on Holy Thursday when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ’s last supper with his disciples (and the washing of the feet), then move on to Good Friday when Christians are obligated to eat only one full meal (fasting) and abstain from meat in the process.
Black Saturday is usually void of any activity, while Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ—a celebration over the power of death, an event that would forever change the world.
What does food have to do with all of this?
Filipinos and their love for making an occasion out of everything—usually marked with a delicious spread—can hardly be separated. Even fast-food joints have their own “Lent Specials” just so Pinoys can indulge a little bit (we’re all guilty of enjoying one tuna pie or two).
Anyway, here are three snack items one might want to prepare at home during this Holy Week. Serve it light, serve it easy. These treats are tried and tested by religious Pinoys year after year.
In the essence of humility, the palitaw is a small, flat rice cake. It is sweet and made from washed, soaked and ground glutinous rice. Of course, Filipinos like to enjoy their merienda, so the simple palitaw must be had with a generous sprinkling of muscovado.
Squid Ball, Fish Ball and Tempura
In the Philippines, squid and fish balls, and tempura are not as premium as they are in Japan. These come in the form of cheap street food, deep fried by vendors outside church premises. Served hot and with a sweet and spicy sauce, these perfectly fit the description of “little indulgences.” If one wants to push the limits, have some kwek kwek (deep fried battered quail eggs).
The Visayas is represented loud and proud with this traditional recipe. Usually enjoyed when the clock strikes 3 on Good Friday, binignit is a warm dessert soup traditionally made with glutinous rice, bananas and taro, cooked in coconut milk. Other versions in the country go by the name of guinataang halo-halo or bilo-bilo. This dessert is so deeply rooted in the Holy Week tradition, that missing out on binignit on Good Friday feels like committing a culinary mortal sin.