Just like the noodle dishes served in every table, Filipino bread and pastries aren’t just enough to suffice one’s appetite. After all, these foods are nothing but eaten as ‘merienda‘ or light meal/snack typically during the afternoon, hours before a heavy meal.
The concept of bread and pastries was first introduced by the Spaniards to the native Filipinos. As a matter of fact, the majority of the popular pastries and breads sold in the Philippines bears the Spanish trademarks like pan de sal, ensaymada (Spanish: ensaimada), pan de leche, pan de coco, Brazo de mercedes, sans rival, leche flan, barquillos, crema de fruta, spanish bread, and napoleones among others.
Pan de sal which literally means salt bread, is the king of all breads in the Filipino cuisine. This bread clearly dominates the bread scene because you cannot find at least one bakeshop in the entire archipelago that doesn’t sell pan de sal. This bread is a simple bread roll, usually baked and topped with bread crumbs. So unlike its literal translation, pan de sal isn’t specifically salty as small amount of salt is used in baking it. The typical pan de sal are made of less expensive type of wheat flour which explains why they’re fluffy. They are usally served during breakfast and sometimes dipped in coffee or hot cocoa. Pan de leche, a little misleading, is a swetter bread but not exactly milky. Normally sold as small-sized bread buns. Pinilipit on the other hand is the Tagalog term for ‘twisted’. A deep-fried bread similar to a twisted rope sprinkled with white sugar
To give delight to your sweet tooth, Crema de fruta is a layered sponge cake made from a creamy custard and selections of fruits on top. While leche flan is identical to the crème caramel of France, leche flan is a kind of caramel custard made with steamed eggyolks and milk. Brazo de mercedes on the other hand, a kind of rolled cake (oftentimes called as jelly roll) is made of soft yet thick sheet of meringue, stuffed with a custard filling. The luscious and sponge-like consistency of the meringue that will literally melt in the mouth is one of the all-time Pinoy favorite.
In the Philippine pastry, there are also stuffed pastries adopted from both Eastern and Western influences. Empanadas are a common example of these. Empanada is a pastry filled with sweet-savory meat filling with raisins, it can be either baked or deep-fried. The baozi of China also have a local version called siopao. Intricately prepared using yeast and flour with pork or chicken filling, steamed and is served with catsup or flavoured sauce.