Afternoons in Negros used to be a sweet treat. The manuglibod or sweet-sellers would always tour the neighborhood carrying an overflowing kalalaw or bilao of pastries…baye-baye, inday-inday, bisto-bitso, calamay-hati, sundol, suman and many others that he/she protects by tying the katsa or white cloth around the flat native baskets.
The radiation of the manuglibod is slowly vanishing nowadays but the well-guarded family recipes of classic native delicacies are coming to the fore with the innovation of our Negros producers equipped with more modern kalalaws. These present day kalalaws are what sweet dreams are made of – piles of winder fully flavored Clara’s barquillos; rich with the aroma of the powdered goat’s milk which you can smell even before it crumbles in your mouth and the olfactory appeal of mango-flavored barquillos which comes from real mango, pureed and incorporated in the rich batter of this tasty delicacy.
The irresistible pull of the guapple filling in every plate of Silay City’s El Ideal Guapple Pie that makes it must-stop in the “Paris” of Negros where residents and guests clamor for freshly-baked buko pies, chocolate and cassava cakes, puddings, panara, empanada, señorita, the chewy meringue and other delightful pasalubong items.
The novelty of every crispilicious kangkong leaf in a box of Jarvis’ Garlic Krispee Kangkong is another treat. A further spin on the traditional favorite is Casa Camela’s healthier flat galleta-thin piaya bars or its richer versions in cheese or strawberry.
These are just examples of mouth-watering treats that producers like Virgies’s, T-Flavors, Quan, Sugarlandia, ECJ Farms, Alter Trade and Jojo’s are putting their hearts and souls into. It reflects a strong culture of productivity, industry and ingenuity. Thinks tarts in caramel and cheese, picture jam in papaya and durian, dream of enchilada in bamboo shoots and jicama (singkamas), imagine chili in oil, envision tea in ginger. A whole spread of masa podrina, hojaldres, biscocho de caña and so much more. There is no doubt about it; the Negrense kitchen is an inexhaustible source of goodies that enervates a vibrant food industry.