Nilupak a sweet sticky goody you should try.

The nilupak snack gave me a fond memory when a friend of mine, invited me in their town in San Juan Batangas.

It was his fortieth birthday and Mario; a native of San Juan decided to celebrate his natal day in his hometown. He invited the whole family, and at the same time it would be a good idea to bring the children at Laiya beach after Mario’s birthday celebration.

We arrive at the Mendoza’s residence a little past 9 AM, upon Mario’s advice to come early to have more time in his place. As usual the batangueños hospitality starts by serving their guest the best way they can.

Vicky, Mario’s wife prepared fried boneless bangus (milk fish) and red salted duck eggs with tomatoes for btreakfast. Which Mario had asked before hand, what my children loves eating for breakfast. And of course the children had hot tablea (cacao) chocolate, while my wife Marissa and I had kapeng barako (Batangas coffee or Batangas brew).

After a very satisfying breakfast, Mario brought us at the backyard of the house full of different fruit bearing trees. The shade of the trees together with the fresh wind was so relaxing. A typical relaxing environment in the province.

Under the mango tree, Mario’s nephews Jake and Toby where busy pounding there wooden mortar and pestle. Making the nilupak native delicacy.

It has been years since I have last tasted this native snack. Even Marissa my wife was excited because she has not consumed the snack for years. And she feels excited to introduce the native eats for the children to try.

I watched Jake and Toby prepare it the old and traditional way. The cooked and peeled cassavas are placed in the wooden mortar. Then, they start to pound the cassava, and add grated coconut and sugar gradually. Then margarine and condensed milk are added into the mortar. The pounding cycle continues until the items becomes sticky smooth and gummy in texture.

Toby prepared a bilao (woven tray) to put the finished snack in place. First he wrapped the bilao with banana leaves and placed the nilupak all over the circumference of the tray.

And now it is time to have a bite of the finished native delicacy of the Mendoza family.

Mario however, advice us to sprinkle the goody with fried pinipig (rice stamped flat) for a more crunchy chewy sweet taste. And he is right, it is tastier, compared to the last time I tried the snack.

According to Vicky, saging na saba (banana variety) can also be used as substitute to the cassava. But, Mario prefers the cassava more because it is chewier and creamier.

Cassava a main ingredient in the snack is rich in carbohydrates. It is also the third most important source of calories, after rice and corn. With the recent spiraling price of rice world wide, cassava could be a good alternative.

The delicacy is considered a heavy snack. A serving will definitely make your tummy satisfied. While a second serving will certainly make your stomach filled.

So if you happen to drop by the province of Batangas, try the nilupak. Normally sold at marketplace wrapped in banana leaves and placed in woven trays.


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