A casual trip to the town for an afternoon snacks or merienda somewhere in Cebu? Or pass by an enterprising vendor along the street in Cebu City? These seven local food items, good for an afternoon snacks, are the staple. And while growing up in Talisay, these were part of my childhood.
Except for one, these food are easily prepared. Three are saba banana based, a local variety, two are flour + coconut milk based and one is a root crop that are then fried in oil and dredged in white sugar. The last one, binignit takes time but usually just includes stewing a bunch of root crops and saba bananas with a few other ingredients and sweetening it.
The turon, a Spanish influenced snack is actually a pastry, tube-like, filled treat that is also sold in many pasalubong shops in Cebu. But in the afternoon snack context, is just wrapped ripe saba bananas, . Other versions have the sugar added at the same time these are fried, rendering a sticky but wonderful melted sugar layer all around.
Frying is the easiest to do and, quite popular with Filipinos. Pinaypay (from the word paypay, meaning fan) is another fried snack that I loved when I was a child. If we have stocks of ripe saba bananas, this would be the snack or just buy it from roving vendors.
Sweet potatoes or kamote is almost always present, next to the bananacue. Usually covered with melted sugar. There are two kinds usually used, the white kamote and the purple or tapol variety. We often joke that eating this, and camote in general, gives you a good fart!
Ripe saba bananas fried with sugar. The more melted sugar sticks, the better! It’s a staple everywhere, from the streets to school canteens and outside schools, from roving vendors to markets, the skewered bananacue is always there. I can usually consume two!
5 Bicho-bicho or sinudlan
I love this one! Most call it sinudlan while others call it bicho-bicho, the latter, comes in other forms as well. Chewy bread like texture with sweet bukhayo (or bukayo), especially if the coconut meat used are young ones. Some fill it with older, but grated coconut meat that is firmer in texture.
What a name! But it has also been a childhood staple. When we were children, we would call on the roving vendor as she shouts, Siakooooyyyy! Siakoy mo dayyyyy!. It’s a simple but delicious snack that we usually pair with a cold coca-cola.
This one is traditional Good Friday fare, especially as an afternoon snacks. We always look forward to having this one and, for most Cebuanos, it is a must to prepare this sweet snack. At the snack stall that I visited, they were serving a watered down version mostly of root crops and saba bananas. Less landang and no gulaman balls.
There you have it! Seven of the most popular afternoon snacks in Cebu. Although there are others, these are what you mostly see. Have you tasted some or all of these are saw these while in Cebu?