My family hosts a Christmas lunch every year and many of my cousins come. It makes for a rather raucous — almost everybody is part Capampangan — but thoroughly enjoyable meal. My mom used to slave over the hot stove a couple of days before the big event but lately we’ve been relying mostly on the culinary efforts of Fil-Am businesses in New Jersey. Not that mom has totally given up on cooking. But these days she just picks one or two dishes to add to the feast.
This year, since we decided to get lechon, my mom made fresh lumpia. She says that’s the complementary dish. Makes sense now that I think about it. Lumpia is sort of a veggie side dish — although the way my mom makes it it’s almost a meal in itself. Oh, I have to mention that the wrappers or crepes were made by Dad.
We also bought dinuguan from BBQ at Legal Beans, the folks who made the lechon I featured in this post. Their version is more “soupy” than my mom’s. As far as I could tell, there weren’t any “laman loob” (intestines, stomach, etc.). I guess that’s because it’s for catering.
Dad also ordered a tray of pancit from another Fil-Am restaurant, Blue Ribbon Kitchen. It’s bihon and was actually pretty good — until you get to the bottom, which didn’t have any sahog at all. Sigh.
I had planned on making tibuk-tibuk (maja blanca) but didn’t get the chance, so when one of my cousins asked if she could bring anything, i immediately requested her popular turon, or fried banana roll. I couldn’t stop munching on these. They were really good, not too sugary and the banana filling was just the right amount of ripeness.
Last but definitely not the least, the piécé de resistance of the Christmas table, the ham. One of my cousins bakes one every year but she was so busy this year. This one we ordered from another Fil-Am restaurant whose name escapes me. I don’t think they actually make the ham, though. They buy it from somebody else. I’ve been enjoying the ham with pan de sal since Christmas morning.