Tis the season to be jolly! Christmas is once again just around the corner, and it’s time to experience Noche Buena (Spanish for “Good Night” or “Holy Night”), where families gather for a wonderful Christmas dinner featuring a massive variety of delicious dishes. For us Filipinos, joyous family reunions and get-togethers are incomplete without an abundance of food on the table. It’s a fact that it’s physically impossible to finish all the dishes in one sitting, but hey, that’s what makes us Filipino.
As food lovers, we give you the Noche Buena dishes that bring out the gastronomic holiday experience!
Lechon: No doubt, lechon is considered the “grandest of them all” in every Christmas celebration. It’s usually placed at the center of the Noche Buena table in a mouth-watering fashion. It rightfully earns the top rank because this slow-roasted pig is packed with flavors that will take you to taste bud heaven.
Pinoy Spaghetti: This famous dish can be found in almost every Filipino celebration. Pinoy spaghetti differs from other salt-oriented versions by adding sugar to the ingredients, creating a sweet flavor. Cheese, ground beef or pork, and tomato sauce make up this nostalgic treat.
Christmas Ham with Pineapple Glaze: This dish brings out the regal essence of a festive occasion. Holiday ham is a must-have addition due to the timeliness it brings to the table. The pineapple glaze not only adds an aesthetic touch but also balances the strong flavor of the pork.
Bibingka and Puto Bumbong: You can usually find this dynamic duo during Simbang Gabi, a Filipino tradition. People gather outside after mass to savor the warm, welcoming aroma of these festive delicacies. Besides church vicinities, this combo can always be enjoyed in one’s household.
Crema De Fruta: A creative mix of cream, graham crackers, and a variety of fresh or canned fruits, this colorful dessert is always a welcome addition to the Christmas season. Crema De Fruta is chilled and served cold.
Quezo De Bola: Every “Ber” month, this red ball of happiness pops up in supermarkets and local food stores. Cheese lovers never miss the opportunity to place Quezo De Bola on the Noche Buena table. For some families, this cheese is not even eaten during the celebration, but just seeing it makes the place feel like Christmas. Whether sliced, diced, or served whole, Quezon De Bola can be mixed in with many dishes of the holiday season.
Hot Chocolate: What better way to unwind than by sipping hot chocolate during the cold Christmas season? This drink is great to serve during family gatherings or barkada night-outs as you celebrate the day with long talks over the warm embrace of hot chocolate. It gives every Filipino a great affectionate feeling while adding a flavorful experience.
Barbecue: Another staple food in the Filipino scene, barbecues are one of the most convenient and feel-good dishes in every Noche Buena. The grilled aroma of the marinated barbecue can easily make any stomach churn with anticipation. The smoky flavor of the barbecue is truly a joy to experience.
Lumpiang Ubod: This fantastic wrap of culinary goodness is filled with mixes of shrimp, pork, and vegetables topped with garlic and peanut sauce. The mixed plethora of fillings is enough to get you coming back for more.
Macaroni Salad: A classic dish filled with variety, macaroni salad is a recipe that is rich in every way. Filled with pasta, vegetables, cream, ham, egg, raisins, and anything you can think of! Folks enjoy the taste of each ingredient, and every family offers a unique take on their very own macaroni salad.
The Noche Buena will always be a solid annual Filipino celebration. What better way to spend the holidays than by spoiling your gastronomic desires with the abundance of flavor that every Noche Buena dish has catered for you? Not only this, but the warm gathering of your relatives and friends is enough to keep the place lit with Christmas magic. Can’t wait for the big night? Well, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to brush up on some holiday cooking!