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Top 10 Bibingka in Metro Manila
It’s bibingka season! Here, our top picks for the prized Pinoy delicacy.
By: Jenny B. Orillos  |   Published on: Nov 25, 2010 - 8:53am

Bibingka may be available year round these days but it reclaims its special significance when December rolls in. Stalls serving the traditional Filipino rice cake during the Christmas season have become a part of the tableau during the traditional nine-day dawn masses. Clay ovens warm up the cold early mornings as families crowd the stalls for their share of this delicacy (and its partner, the purple-hued puto bumbong) after the mass.

Made from a batter of galapong (glutinous ground rice), eggs, sugar and coconut milk, the bibingka is placed on a banana leaf-lined pan and baked in a clay oven with coals underneath and on top of a metal cover. The bibingka is topped with kesong puti (native white cheese), itlog na maalat (salted duck's eggs), butter, and sugar depending on the recipe of the cook and it’s served with grated coconut.

The name "bibingka" is similar to the Indian dessert bebinca from the state of Goa. The latter is made with flour, coconut milk, sugar, egg yolks, ghee or clarified butter and almonds. Aside from Goa, the bebinca is also common in Macau and East Timor, all of which, like Goa, were Portuguese colonies. Aside from the name, both cakes are similarly cooked with heat on top and bottom. But unlike the Philippine bibingka, the Goan bebinca is a layered dessert wherein each layer must be cooked first before the next one is added (like the way we cook our sapin-sapin). Their bebinca is made with flour instead of glutinous rice though a nineteenth century Indian cookbook lists rice flour as an ingredient.

In The Oxford Companion to Food which mentions the cuisine of Goa, Alan Davidson remarks that food accounts from Goa always mention bebinca but without direct connection to the Filipino bibingka. Historian Rachel Laudan traces the trail of the bibingka to Goa but in the above Indian cookbook it’s called “Bibinca dosee, or Portuguese Cocoanut Pudding.” I suspect that the common denominator is the Portuguese influence and each country added its own take on it.

Still, we cannot discount the fact that like our biko, the term bibingka may also be Chinese in origin. Anthropologist E. Arsenio Manuel, as mentioned in The Governor General’s Kitchen, relates the rice cake's name to its root word "bi," which in Romanized Mandarin (Pinyin) means "unripe grain."   Bibingka is also used in naming other rice cakes such as bibingkang cassava and bibingkang malagkit.

A good bibingka is one that is fragrant with the scent of banana leaves and rice, tender but firm and moist, fluffy and “maumbok” or “matambok.” The flavor is a harmony of sweet (sugar, butter) and savory (salted eggs and kesong puti), like a choir singing a Christmas carol. To some, the little burnt edges complete the bibingka experience.

Here are some of the best places where you can satisfy your bibingka craving in Metro Manila.

 

10. Lourdes Church
Corner of Kanlaon St. and N.S. Amoranto Ave. (formerly Retiro), Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City


On the side of Lourdes Church in Retiro is a row of bibingka stalls. About six bibingkahans await parishioners with their delicacies, each with their own recipe. Some of them may be mediocre, flat, and enlivened with yellow food coloring, so your best bet is to look around first before settling on a stall. All stalls sell their goods at P35. The ones I tried were made at Marlon’s toward the end of the row—salted egg slices were neatly strewn on top while the rice dough is tastier and just sweet enough compared to Yolly’s (recommended to me by a tout) which was almost like a bland pancake.

9. Sweet Tomato Grill
G/F St Luke’s Medical Center, #279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Baranggay Kalusugan, Quezon City

 


The Bibingka Deliciosa (P130) at St. Luke’s Sweet Tomato Grill is best for those with a super sweet tooth. With an even golden brown on top and a positively moist texture, the taste reminds me of a cassava bibingka. But for the price and name, I wish there were more kesong puti and salted eggs than the six strands sprawled on top.

 

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32 Comments
  • Ricca Presa
    You should try the bibingka in Cafe Laguna Cebu. Its really really good
    3 months ago     Reply  
  • billy
    i really enjoyed reading this article... well written. the descriptions were a pleasure to read, not repetitive. I'm visiting Manila in a week and plan to hunt down a few of the places mentioned.
    Jul 21 2013 @ 09:27am     Reply  
  • Marie Liz
    mouth all watery.... matter of fact, i'm drooling...will somebody get me one of these when you come home...pleeeeaaaasee...
    Dec 17 2011 @ 12:04pm     Reply  
  • lourdes
    The quality of the bibingka at Via Mare, Greenbelt 1 is no longer as good as it used to be, maybe because they now use an oven to cook it...This is also true for the bibingka at Via Mare, BF Homes. Sometimes it is even undercooked.
    Mar 08 2011 @ 03:37pm     Reply  
  • naz
    felymars is now open 24 hrs. kahit 12 mn na dami pa din tao. Dami na naka park sa labas. Pero sulit! The best pound for pound bibingka in the metro!
    Dec 11 2010 @ 11:08am     Reply  
  • jonas
    Kakatulo ng laway naman. Kumain na ako many times ng Ferino's, but still bibingka of any brand is good.
    Dec 05 2010 @ 09:25am     Reply  
  • agah
    I'm surprised the bibingka from Quattro restau in Tomas Morato, QC was not included in the list. Really delicious + reasonably priced. A must-try, really. Anyone care to agree? :)
    Dec 04 2010 @ 05:04pm     Reply  
  • r cruz
    There is this small stall in front of the Sts. Peter and Paul church in Makati Avenue(very near the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge) which serves very good bibingka. It's inexpensive (around P30 per piece). It is a must try.
    Dec 03 2010 @ 10:37pm     Reply  
  • gina
    go to FELYMAR SPECIAL BIBINGKA,,SUPER SARAP NG BIBINGKA NILA....KHT MHBA ANG PILA NAG TITIYAGA KO PUMILA...THE BEST TLGA BIBINGKA NILA....24 HRS N CLA NGAUN.....
    Dec 02 2010 @ 10:25am     Reply  
  • yep
    Felymar, rnrnThanks for bringing some bibingkas last saturday at my party!rnrnAte it the next day... and it was still yummy... the best ever!rnrnAlso, thank's a lot for adding some extra salted egg and cheese!rnrnIt was the bomb!!! :)
    Nov 30 2010 @ 10:56am     Reply  
  • naz
    Felymar should be on the top list. FYI Felymar bibingka opens at 7 am up to 11pm.
    Nov 28 2010 @ 05:45am     Reply  
  • bratgurl
    we used to be the consecionaire of via mare and skyline for the bibingka and puto bungbong but we stopped becausethey wanted to buy our recipe for so that they will get the credit not us
    Nov 26 2010 @ 11:09pm     Reply  
  • dolly101
    viva via mare,,bakit nasama un ferino dito? di naman masarap un bibingka nila eh
    Nov 26 2010 @ 08:45pm     Reply  
  • jen
    super sarap tlga bibingka s felymar...the best bibingka ever.......
    Nov 26 2010 @ 08:39pm     Reply  
  • alan
    spot na recycle na nga yon article.i have this corrected last time, top 10 fave kakanin of pinoys. i said bibingka is not chinese in nature, it came from the indians. read again thru history...who are the prodominant user of rice in asia...this is very much misleading the facts.bibingka of indians which is of the same names has the same ingredients, just so happen we added salted eggs.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 06:55pm     Reply  
  • yep
    just text the owner of Felymar, to bring me some delicioso bibingka tomorrow! :)rnrnrnrn
    Nov 26 2010 @ 06:29pm     Reply  
  • yep
    Felymar is the best bibingka ever! (deserves to be number 1 on the list)rnrnNot because, the owner is one of my closest buddies since college, but whenever served hot or cold... still taste like heaven and overly yummy... rnrnTheir combination of salted egg and cheese made this long time favorite of mine a BLAST!
    Nov 26 2010 @ 06:16pm     Reply  
  • chocoluvr
    Via Mare is now the best!!! Juanchito's on UN Avenue used to be better than Via Mare but the one on Katipunan does not even come close to the original Juanchito's. Too bad.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 06:02pm     Reply  
  • daquiri
    Felymar used to be literally a "hole in the wall" bibingkahan in Tayuman area. It used to be inside a vacant lot along Rizal Avenue near corner Tayuman St. For me, Felymar's special bibingka is the best bibingka in town right. The Bulakenya restaurant also along Rizal Avenue, just in front of Espiritu Santo Church, used to have the best bibingka in the Philippines.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 05:27pm     Reply  
  • rene
    And I couldn't help being nostalgic, remembering the old Juanchito's. I used to go to my sister's office after school(high school) so we go home together. Many nights were spent munching on Juanchito's.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 04:51pm     Reply  
  • rene
    Many times I don't agree with the top choices for the lists. Today, I went straight to your top choice expecting, and guess what? Now you hit the SPOT, spot. Via Mare is it, any time of the year. I was surprised their halo-halo didn't make it to your list. And neither did their lugaw yata. Thanks, thanks..
    Nov 26 2010 @ 04:41pm     Reply  
  • bhugz
    Via Mare!!! Yummyyyy...
    Nov 26 2010 @ 03:57pm     Reply  
  • lgdua
    lahat ng bibingka na binibenta sa harap ng simbahan, masarap. there's a bazaar at the maysilo cirlce and for sure may bibingka doon. yummy...
    Nov 26 2010 @ 02:22pm     Reply  
  • kuya
    Thanks hotshot_jm for the tip! The more the merrier! : )
    Nov 26 2010 @ 11:22am     Reply  
  • hotshot_jm
    for all las pineros out there, try Dorina's Bibingka in Abel Nosce St., cor BF Resort Drive... its masarap to the last bite! d=)
    Nov 26 2010 @ 11:14am     Reply  
  • gossipmonger
    Felymar! Ang dami nang tao ngayon every night.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 10:45am     Reply  
  • kororor
    Lurv it! I miss Felymar Special Bibingka.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 10:44am     Reply  
  • jackie oh
    Via Mare is my favorite place for bibingka and puto bungbong but I'd like to try them all, kaya lang ang layo ng iba.
    Nov 26 2010 @ 10:43am     Reply  
  • foodie
    YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! I want some NOW!
    Nov 26 2010 @ 10:37am     Reply  
  • helluva
    Via Mare is the best! The bibingka doesn't get rubbery/hard even if it gets to room temperature. Just heavenly!
    Nov 26 2010 @ 10:31am     Reply  
  • cindy
    Nakainis naman ang Spot! Now I want to eat bibingka for lunch!
    Nov 26 2010 @ 09:33am     Reply  
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