Pasalubong is a Tagalog word that generally refers to gifts and souvenirs one gives out upon arriving/returning to/from another place. More specifically, and perhaps more appreciated, is Pasalubong of various food items from wherever you traveled.
Luckily for me, one of my many cousins from the Philippines is visiting the States for the very first time and she arrived at my parents' house bearing many food gifts. Although it's been a few years since I saw my cousin when I last traveled to the 'Peens, our conversation upon her recent arrival went something like this:
Me: Hey cuz! Nice to see you again! How was your trip!
Cuz: Hi! The plane ride was very long and...
Me: Hey that's great, what's that you got there? Looks like you brought some goodies!
Family relations are not my strong suit.
But I do like to eat! And I'm sure my cousin understood my curtness with her as she happily opened up her luggage and extracted what seemed to be a never-ending stream of Filipino eats. Don't worry, we eventually had a civil conversation as soon as I stuffed my face with some of the sweets she brought. And besides, she's going to be here for a month, there's plenty of time for us to catch up and for me to corrupt her sensible Pinoy tastebuds with the zany, bastardized concoctions I've created.
Until then, here's a rundown of the Pasalubong I was
able to steal given from my parents:
Bibinka is one of those Filipino desserts that I love, but am too scared to attempt because it seems like it would be a difficult recipe (at least to me it seems difficult). Bibinka is typically made from rice flour, coconut milk, sometimes macapuno, sometimes cheese, depending on your tastes. The Bibinka my cuz brought was deliciously sweet and will be a good accompaniment to my morning coffee--unless I eat all of them before morning arrives.
I don't know what these little round candies are called, so like anything else, I just called them balls, White Sugary Balls. Please people, do not confuse these with my Brown Sugary Balls. My Brown Sugary Balls are bigger. Ahem. Uh, anyways, these little white candies are made of coconut, sugar, and the souls of 10 happy Filipino elves (I made that last ingredient up because I am clueless).
Calamay are another Filipino dessert made from coconut and sugar and who knows what. Calamay are very similar to American Fruit Roll-ups, only much tastier. As such, I ate these Calamay like any American schoolkid knows how to eat a Fruit Roll-up; I wrapped it around my finger:
I suggest all youngsters eat Calamay in this fashion as you will likely be awarded with a cool nickname like "Sticky Fingaz" or "Coconut Digit". But be careful not to eat your fingers, otherwise you may be deemed something like "Nubby" or "Ringo".
As you can see, the Calamay my cousin brought us were brown and white. The brown Calamay contained molasses, and was therefore a bit sweeter.
As slow as molasses in January.
The preceding sentence makes absolutely no sense in the context of this post, but I've always wanted to write that phrase. I saw a chance and I took it. I feel complete.
Arggh! The crown jewel of me booty! Chichacorn! Unlike the other Pasalubong items, I've never seen or heard of this crunchy corny snack food. I believe Chichacorn is the resultant love child of two other corny treats, CornNuts and Popcorn, as it is basically a puffed CornNut.
I was able to smuggle away two bags of Chichacorn: "Spicy Flavor" and "Adobo Flavor". I haven't had any of the "Spicy" yet, but I've been grazing on the very garlicky "Adobo" flavor for the past couple of hours. In fact, I am enjoying some Chichacorn as I type this entry:
I like serving the Chichacorn in this squared dish as the corners make for easy and direct pouring into my mouth. Yes, I could use my fingers, but then I'd get Chichacorn dust all over my keyboard and my chalice of beer. Good times.