Thursday, March 05, 2009


If there is a name for returning Filipino citizens to Philippines, "balikbayan," should there also be a name for returning Filipino American citizens to America? Should they be called "balikbayan" in America? I may never be able to answer that, but if there is one thing I like about balikbayans in America it is bringing "pasalubong" or gifts.
My fave pasalubong is food. Nothing can beat Filipino desserts such as suman or sticky rice dessert. When my granduncle came back, he brought with him suman of different kinds. Although suman varies from region to region, one staple ingredient in suman is sticky rice. Without sticky rice, suman would not be suman. In my granduncle's province, suman is cooked with coconut milk, brown sugar, and coconut oil. This variety is wrapped in banana leaf. When I bite into it, I can taste each ingredient. The rice has mellowed its flavor and has absorbed the brown sugar and coconut milk that it does not taste like rice anymore. A good suman has a rich coconut milk flavor.
When you decide to bring suman with you back to America, buy freshly cooked suman, preferably cooked the day of your departure. Upon returning to America, store in freezer for upto 3 months. To reheat, steam on stove or place in the microwave with a cup of water to stimulate steam.

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