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Filipino Bread and Pastries - Introduction

As I have often said in the past posts, Rice dominates the Filipino Meal. As with Noodle Dishes, Breads and Pastries are just not enough to suffice a Filipino’s appetite, and most of the time, they are just eaten as Merienda’s or during breakfast time.

It was the Spanish who first introduced the concept of bread and pastries to the Philippines. In fact, most of the popular breads in the Philippines still have names which are Spanish in nature, like Pan de Sal and Pan de Leche. Early Filipinos preferred cooking with rice flour, since the Wheat is not an indigenous crop in the Philippine Islands. The Chinese people’s influence is also evident on Filipino Breadmaking, as evident in the Hopia and Siopao. The Americans also taught their baking skills to the Filipinos, which gave rise to the Tasty (Filipino’s general term for American Sliced Bread) and the Filipino Cakes.

As we are in the Topic of Breads and Pastries and Filipinos, did you know that Food Industry giant Kraft produces cookie snacks labeled “Filipinos”? If you are in Spain or Portugal, you might be familiar with it, since they are mainly produced and sold in those two countries. The “Filipinos” brand of biscuit snacks are ring-shaped biscuits coated with chocolate. There is also the “Filipinos Agujeros” variant, which are chocolate coated biscuit balls, and the “Filipinos Bigsticks” – pretzel sticks with puffed rice which are covered in chocolate. It has made a fuss in the International scene since as you might know by now, the term “Filipino” refers to Philippine Citizens. Most Filipinos (Philippine citizens, not the Biscuit) are irked and offended by this. In 1999, Philippine President Joseph Estrada filed a petition to the Spanish Government to stop the production of the “Filipinos” brand biscuit and force Kraft Foods to change the name but to no avail. The “Filipinos” brand are still produced in Spain and Portugal today. In fact, if you ever type in your browser “”, you would be taken to the official site of the biscuit snack, and has nothing to do with the Philippines nor the Philippine Citizens. Personally, I think it is wrong since the term “Filipinos” has been used since the Spanish Occupation of the Philippines 400 years ago to refer to the “Citizens of the Philippines”. Some say that it may have been named “Filipinos” because the snack may have been based on a similarly ring-shaped biscuit of the Iloilo Provincethe Rosquillos.

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