Here are some treats I discovered in my travels to the Philippines. We love them so much, we use them in Purple Yam, the restaurant that my husband Romy Dorotan and I run in Brooklyn.


They don’t use salitre so it’s even better. One of my most memorable food-related experiences was having some burong babi or babuy (fermented butterflied pork belly) when I was a child, and for some reason I haven’t been able to track down this delicacy.

The pindang damulag is good, too, enough to pacify my nostalgia craving.

Facebook: Everybody’s Cafe


What a combo: homemade chicharon and achara. You can dunk it in the achara sauce, too, and have the flavors explode in your mouth. I crave both these items a lot even when here in NYC.

Facebook: Everybody’s Cafe


Bicol’s a big producer of pili sweets. We get our pili fix from the Aquila farm owned by Lilibeth Guysuyko in Naga and they make fantastic pili santan or coco jam (which we have used for our cacao rum ice cream).

Facebook: Aquila Farm


You can find Prinasal in Negros. Just sprinkle this delicious concoction over garlic fried rice or on kare kare.


Asiong’s is in Cavite City. They make the best bihud because they collect them when they are fresh and in season and they bottle them. Garlic fried rice and bihud make for a great breakfast and merienda. Whenever we have it here at Purple Yam , my customers say that the bihud fried rice is all they need for a good meal.

Facebook: Asiong’s


Bea Misa Crisostomo sells carabao butter from Sibulan, Negros Oriental made from milk around around Dumaguete’s environs. In certain areas of the Visayas, there is a surplus of carabao milk that needs to find a good market to support the farmers. Aside from the usual production of kesong puti, Bea has been finding other uses and markets for this delicious and healthy milk.

Facebook: Ritual Shop


The farmers in Laoag, Ilocos Norte originally grew sorghum to produce ethanol, but since that project failed, they had to transition to producing sorghum for food. We have used the sorghum here at Purple Yam for ice cream and for making pork shank estofado and humba. People can also use it for pancakes in place of molasses or maple syrup. It’s cheaper and buying local always helps the farmers.

Facebook: Ritual Shop


When we did our Tulong Tulong Para Sa Pilipinas fundraisers in November 2013 to help the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, my contribution for the dinner at the Swiss Ambassador’s residence was Purple Yam’s very popular goat curry.

We usually put the goat curry on a rice flour pancake and roll it with mango chutney and fried plantain.  For that particular night, we paired it with Pia Lim Castillo’s guyabano chutney and by the end of the night, she had a line of people wanting to place an order.

Facebook: Pia Lim Castillo

What do you think of Amy’s recommendations? What other Pinoy treats should everyone experience? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section.

Amy Besa

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