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Four dishes you don’t see in your Noche Buena anymore

‘Tis the season for the merry Pinoy food! But did you know that before ham and keso de bola became staples during Christmas, there were dishes like Nilagang Pasko, Estofadong Pata, Cabeza de Jabili and Flan de Mansanas that were once always present every Noche Buena?

Nilagang Pasko


What is it: There was no Noche Buena without the Nilagang Pasko during the Spanish era. It is called Nilagang Pasko because it is only served during Christmas. It is very much like our typical nilaga but with Chinese ham and chorizo de bilbao.

Why it’s not served anymore: Sadly, its main ingredient, particularly the authentic Chinese ham, is not readily available in the Supermarkets anymore and you actually need to go out of your way to find original Chinese ham (normally found in Chinatown or Quiapo) otherwise Nilagang Pasko won’t taste the way it should.

Estofadong Pata


What is it: Traditional humba uses liempo while estofado uses pata. Estofadong pata is a sweet-tangy pork dish where the pig’s trotter is braised and then simmered.

Why it’s not served anymore: The preparation of this dish involves a tedious process of boiling the pig’s trotter for more than two hours that is why it is no surprise that this delicacy was soon replaced with easy-to-prepare meals like the famous hamon.

Cabeza de Jabili

What is it: Cabeza de Jabili or boar’s head can be likened to rabo de toro or oxtail stew. It is deboned, then spiced and marinated with wine and lemon, then stuffed with sausages, ham, and pickles. It is best served cold.

Why it’s not served anymore: Other than being hard to prepare,  Cabeza de Jabili’s ingredients are pricey (will normally cost you more than P 1,000.00)  that is why Pinoy would rather serve hamonados that are relatively cheaper compared to this dish.

Flan de Mansanas

What is it: These are tart apples are simmered until tender and then blended with rich and creamy sweetened condensed milk for a surprisingly light and airy caramel taste.

Why it’s not served anymore: Filipinos became conservative with their budget that’s why they opted to remove the apple, which roughly costs P 46.00,  from the equation, and now our household serves the plain leche flan. ---Kimberlie Refuerzo/BMS, GMA Public Affairs

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