though it looks like an empanada, the panara is actually a cousin of the fried lumpia. it’s a traditional simbang gabi fare here in pampanga, best paired with puto lason (yes, you read that right. that’s what we call our white puto).
unlike regular lumpia though which has a mix of different vegetables, the panara only has shredded papaya with seafood — either shrimp or crab or both. (i read that, in the visayas, upo is the preferred vegetable.) then it has loads of black pepper in it. the vegetable and seafood mixture is cooked first, then it is enveloped in rice wrappers, then fried. the result is a crunchy and spicy fried vegetable empanada (i don’t know how “panara” came to be, maybe a contraction of “empanada”).
this got me thinking…which of these i like best: empanada, panara, calzone or samosa. hay, life is always about tough choices 😛