Fam jams, or family jams (parties), are where some of my fondest memories come from. I love our fam jams, and we always had one when it was someone’s birthday, or if it was a holiday. In the Philippines, Catholicism is the predominant religion (which came from Spanish colonisation), so two of our biggest fam jams were Christmas and Easter. These fam jams were always buffet style. Everyone would bring something, and it didn’t necessarily have to be Filipino, but there would be Filipino staples.
Top Five Filipino Dishes You’ll See At a Filipino Family Party:
Crispy Pata is a dish made with pork leg that is boiled and deep-fried. As the name describes, it is mouthwateringly crispy. I can just hear the crunch as I type this. It is typically eaten with rice and atchara, but can also be eaten as pulutan (a snack to eat while you drink beer). It tastes amazing dipped in a spicy vinegar sawsawan (dipping sauce).
Pancit Bihon is a dish made with rice noodles, protein such as chicken or shrimp, and vegetables.
Adobo is probably one of the most well-known dishes in the Philippines. It is made with a protein like chicken or pork, which is marinated in soy sauce, and then cooked with more soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. It is eaten with rice.
Lumpia and/or Spring rolls. Lumpia is made with a crepe-like pastry filled with ground pork, minced garlic, carrots, and onions. Spring rolls are similar but they are bigger in size and are filled with bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, ginger, and garlic. Both can be dipped in plum sauce or Thai sweet chili sauce.
Filipino BBQ. These are skewers of pork marinated in soy sauce, calamansi (a citrus that is a cross between a lemon, lime, and orange), banana ketchup, garlic, and brown sugar. It also has a special sawsawan (dipping sauce) of spicy vinegar. Of course, you can always use Roni's Ihaw Ihaw BBQ Sauce, which is amazing and tastes just like the BBQ in the Philippines.
Honourable Mention: Halo Halo, translates to “mix-mix”. It is a dessert made with jellies, beans, crushed ice, evaporated milk, and topped with a scoop of ube ice cream and a scoop of mango ice cream.
Halo-Halo by maynila in 2018
Since moving to the UK, these family celebrations have changed. All my family members are either in Canada or the Philippines, so I miss these celebrations dearly. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to recreate these delicious foods in the way I enjoyed them as a child, and how to bring the same joy and love I felt when I got together with my titas, titos and pinsans.
How do you celebrate Easter in your family?