Among the terms that have emerged this year, quarantreat is the word people get most excited about. Let’s admit it: Food is one of the things that made our quarantine lives more bearable.
Our day-to-day meals are no longer just mere sustenance providers. Some of their benefits include helping us build stronger immunity and discovering ourselves better.
Food is also the best way to declare and show love for others. For some, it has also become a means to get out of a financial rut. It brought out our creative side and, for some, their inner leaders.
We may not remember a lot of good stuff in 2020, but we can say the year has its good moments through dishes we enjoyed with our family at home or loved ones online. As food historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria said, “eating the Filipino way is not only a celebration of cooking but of how valuable relationships are with one another.”
We’ve rounded up the top quarantreats that made it to the Filipino’s table. May these dishes help you realize that 2020 hasn’t been all that bad.
1. Dalgona coffee
The internet sensation of quarantreats. Dalgona coffee started off as a Titktok trend that slowly invaded everyone’s kitchen during the quarantine period, thanks to its do-it-yourself (DIY) attribute. Made of instant coffee, sugar, and milk, the frothy Dalgona is the caffeine mix coffee lovers needed (and wanted) as cafés closed their doors for months.
2. Sushi bake
There is no denying that Filipinos love Japanese food. This reimagined version of the sushi easily secured a spot in our hearts (and tummy). Deconstructing the sushi into a casserole, sushi bake has everything you love in a sushi and maki. With the help of nori sheets, people can help themselves with bite-sized scoops of the rice casserole, which adds a new and fun dining experience to the Japanese staple.
3. Ube cheese pandesal
Adding a new flavor to the humble breakfast staple, the ube cheese pandesal is fresh, comforting, and delicious. This, perhaps, is the most Filipino on this list. Some say that long before the reign of ube cheese pandesal in Metro Manila, provinces in the Philippines like Pampanga have been serving their pandesal filled with ube halaya, or even with kesong puti.
4. Basque burnt cheesecake
A rule breaker. Known as the alter ego of New York-style cheesecake, the Basque burnt cheesecake looks rustic with its cracked exterior and caramel charred color. Hailed from the Basque region of Spain, this cheesecake is baked on a higher temperature than what is required for the classic. What sets the Basque burnt cheesecake apart from other cheesecakes is its play on texture. The bottom part is creamier and thicker, which contrasts with its smokey-flavored top.
5. Ready-to-cook eats
With the health protocols mandated by the government, food establishment are forced to keep operations on to-go and delivery basis. One trend that emerged at the peak of the pandemic is the ready-to-cook products, allowing Filipinos to enjoy their favorite restaurant meals in the safety and comfort of their own homes. Fast food giants like McDonald’s and Jollibee turned their product to frozen goods for people to prepare in their home kitchen whenever they want. Even, ramen dishes are delivered fresh through special boxes, making it easy to heat and prepare.
6. Banana bread
To cure cabin fever, people find comfort in whipping up food in the kitchen. Filipinos’ love for banana bread had a moment in the earlier days of the pandemic. Though there is nothing new with the banana bread, it is one of the top items in Filipinos’ must-bake list as it is easy to prepare. It’s pretty much a one-bowl recipe, a fool-proof loaf, which anyone, even novice bakers, can execute.
7. Floral bakes
Adding a touch of positivity to this list of quarantreats are the baked goodies imbued with the beauty of real flowers. Using edible blooms in desserts and breads is relatively not new, but a higher dose of flower power brightens up the gloomy atmosphere brought about by the pandemic. From garden focaccia to floral pressed shortbreads, these dainty and tasty goods are like the nature-inspired works of Monet and Picasso in the home baking world.
Among these quarantreats, we can definitely make a space for quarantinis. Cocktail time and happy hours are spent differently and digitally this year. Not only did Filipinos find their inner chefs, they also brought out the bartender within, crafting unique mixes with things readily available in the pantry. Some even have cocktails kits delivered to them. Whatever it is people are having in their glasses, there is no better reason to have a virtual meeting this year than with a well-deserved e-numan session.
9. Milk tea-inspired desserts
Filipinos just can’t have enough of milk tea that they skip from sipping it to chewing it. Budding food entrepreneurs soon found out that it was a sure-fire way to get people’s attention. These days, there’s an unlimited list of milk tea-inspired desserts to choose from, such as boba donuts, soufflé pancakes, cheesecakes, egg tarts, the list goes on.
10. Canned goods and instant noodles recipes
From the Taal eruption to Covid-19 and the typhoons, Filipinos’ relationship with canned goods and instant noodles has never been more vital. It may even be the ultimate symbol of “aid” this year. Aside from having something on the table, canned goods also signify that people in need aren’t forgotten. Of course, these ayudas aren’t just for filling an empty stomach, but ultimately, for helping people build stronger immunity. That’s why packed relief goods also came with vegetables to make them nutritious. The National Nutrition Council even released low cost ways to give these relief goods healthier twists such as corned beef sotanghon soup, tuna and vegetable stir-fry, as well as instant noodles with veggies and egg.
11. Kori kohi
Another coffee trend that came straight out of the internet is the kori kohi. This Japanes-style drink made famous by UCC Vienna Café is similar to its predecessor, the Dalgona. The easy and fuss-free caffeine fix consists of coffee, ice cubes, milk, and sugar. While the Dalgona capitalized on its cloud-like texture, the kori kohi plays with contrasting temperatures as warm milk is poured over frozen coffee cubes. No more watered down coffee.
12. Vegan lechon
Why should something so good be so sinful? But that is not the case for this plant-based lechon belly, now trending thanks to a viral post by a young entrepreneur. This vellychon by Chef Elpi is composed of cassava, corn, soy beans, and wheat, made flavorful by special spices. As everyone is exerting great effort to create a much healthier meal plan, this ethical lechon is probably the best way to steer dining toward a greener, healthier path. Who said vegan dishes are bland? This dish is far from dull and boring.