Pasko sa Canberra must be the best kept secret amongst the Filopino community. It is an event proudly hosted by the Filopino community of the ACT in cooperation with the Philippine embassy, to allow people to experience Philippine Christmas in Canberra. This was the first year I’ve heard about it and I grabbed a friend to come with me even though we did not know what really to expect.
There was lechon (roasted suckling pig), halo halo and banana cue as far as the eye could see. My friend and I were wondering where this festival had been all our lives! The first stop had to be for lechon and some rice ($13.00?). I found the closest stall and ordered a ‘large box’, after being left behind and ignored for a bit after paying, I finally got some suckling pig with a little bit of rice; the meat was rather fatty with lots of bones but I still liked it. What we enjoyed the most was the small dabble of sauce from the braised pork dish, maybe I should have ordered that with rice instead. Next year we’ll have a better understanding of what to get.Sriracha chicken wings with rice ($8.00) from Kusina. We really should have stopped eating rice with everything but we couldn’t help ourselves. These chicken wings were more sweet that chilli hot and we really enjoyed this.Adobo and longanisa with yes… More rice ($15.00?). We were done snacking, if I was going to eat anything from a Filopino festival, it would have to be adobo and I finally found it in the far back corner of the festival. If you didn’t bite down on a peppercorn, it has a lovely salty garlicky sauce with succulent chicken pieces. I really want to do make this before the end of the year. My friend chose the longanisa sausage which reminded me of a sweeter version of Chinese sausage. Both were really tasty and I’m glad that we found such unique dishes that were so tasty amongst so many choices.Marinated pork shoulder skewer our sweet BBQ sauce of banana ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and other secret stuff cooked over coals on our custom BBQ ($4.00) plus garlic rice ($1.00) and paw paw salad ($1.00) from Gee and Jem. We only ate the top third of the skewer as the rest of the meat was too fatty and chewy, which was a shame because the parts that we could eat were awesome! Yes, when I saw the option of garlic rice I couldn’t say no, it had a fabulous aroma and a beautiful crunchy texture.
I leave my friend alone for 5 minutes and she comes back with a banana cue and some sort of dough stick covered in sugar. We didn’t really like the banana cue (I thought it needed condensed milk, but I think everything could do with a little condensed milk) and the dough stick reminded me of a sweet version of Chinese youtiao.
Classic sans rival ($10.00) from Lolo and Lola. I was really disappointed that they had sold out of the mango sans rival (actually they had almost sold out of everything) but I happily bought the classic version which is layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews. I cannot wait for their shipping container to be opened at Westside pop up village!
My friend and I had lots of fun and we are super keen to return to future events. I really enjoy Filopino food but I feel I need to take someone who knows more about it than I do otherwise I’ll keep eating just adobo and rice.