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7 Easy Upgrades to Pinoy Children's Birthday Party Food Favorites
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason and Charlie Altomonte for Yummy.ph
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Pinoys come to expect party mainstay dishes at children's birthday celebrations.

    What are the popular food in Philippines?

    The Filipino birthday food spread often includes spaghetti, hotdogs, and barbecue. Serve the familiar with a step up by upgrading these dishes. Your guests will be impressed! Here are a few ideas how: 

    1. Jolly Spaghetti Hack

    What’s a Pinoy children’s party without spaghetti, right? Impress both kids and adults alike and recreate the ultimate crowd-pleaser in Filipino sweet-style fastfood spaghetti — the Jolly Spaghetti. Esquire Philippines, with the help of Francis Lim of Tipple and Slaw and Nav, has come as close as you can get. One of the secret ingredients? Condensed milk. 

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
    1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
    50 grams ground beef
    200 grams sweet Filipino-style spaghetti sauce
    1/2 cup banana ketchup
    30 grams liver spread
    50 grams sliced red hotdogs
    1/4 cup condensed milk
    cooked spaghetti noodles and grated cheese, to serve

    Recipe instructions are at Esquiremag.ph.

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    2. Corn Dogs

    Upgrade your hot dog on a stick with an easy twist by encasing them in a corn muffin! They’re a heftier snack that will have the kids full and satisfied. You can also use mini hot dogs if you’ve got toddler-age party guests. Don’t forget to serve ketchup, mayo, and mustard on the side. 

    2 liters oil for deep frying
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup yellow cornflour (finer textured cornmeal) 
    3 tablespoons sugar
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1 tablespoon melted butter
    1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    16 regular-sized hot dogs

    Recipe instructions are also at Yummy.ph.

    3. Pork Barbecue With Soda Marinade

    “Lemon-lime soda, whatever the brand, is an essential ingredient in Pinoy pork barbecue marinades,” says Yummy.ph. “It helps create the sweet, tangy, sticky, and charred results that make the Pinoy barbecue a staple in most weekend meals, parties, and family celebrations.” 

    1 cup banana ketchup
    3/4 cup soy sauce
    1 whole garlic, crushed into a paste
    1/4 cup calamansi juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup lime-flavored soda
    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
    1 kilo pork, (use pork kasim), sliced thinly
    1/2 cup banana ketchup
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/4 cup brown sugar

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

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    4. Chicken Lollipops (with gravy)

    Rather than full-size fried chicken parts, opt for chicken drummettes (lollipop-style) that you can buy in groceries and supermarkets. They're easier to eat and fun for kids too! Wrap the ends with foil or colorful cellophane. 

    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    12 pieces chicken lollipops, drummettes or wings part, lollipop-style
    cooking oil, for frying

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

    Bonus: Here's an easy gravy recipe from Yummy.ph. “Heat butter in a small saucepan. Cook flour; mix until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 5 to 10 minutes. Gradually add chicken stock, stirring with a wire whisk. Be careful as the initial pour will create some smoke. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened. Serve with chicken.”

    5. Taco Lumpia

    Finger-food to nibble on are a must at any children's party. Level up the lumpia by combining Mexican and Filipino flavors to make Taco Lumpia! Serve as rolls with the main meal or cut in halves and skewer with toothpick flags to make munchies. Grab a jar of salsa at the supermarket too!

    250 grams ground beef
    1 medium white onion, minced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1 cup cabbage, shredded
    3 tablespoons taco seasoning, (we used McCormick)
    egg white, from 1 egg
    16 pieces lumpia wrappers, (6x6-inch wrappers)
    100 grams quick-melting cheese, sliced into ½-inch-thick sticks
    vegetable oil
    1/2 cup store-bought salsa
    hot sauce, to serve
    sour cream, to serve

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

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    6. No-Bake Mango Cheesecake Squares

    Here's a twist on everyone's favorite mango fridge cake: no-bake mango cheesecake. It's just as easy to whip up and the ingredients are easy to find. Says Yummy.ph, “Remember to freeze this no-bake cheesecake for at least one hour before topping it off with hot gulaman. Otherwise, the cheesecake layer will melt.” 

    1/4 cup salted butter, melted
    3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 8-ounce bar cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    2 tablespoons water
    1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    1 95-gram pack gulaman, mango flavored
    1 cup water

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

    7. Boneless Crispy Pata

    Every spread needs a star and an easy boneless crispy pata platter can be yours. Don't be intimidated, it's actually quite an easy dish to make at home that's ready in a little more than half an hour.

    1 kilo pork leg (pata)
    2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
    2 tablespoons rock salt
    3 bay leaves
    4 cups oil, for deep-frying
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon minced onions
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1/2 cup vinegar
    3 pieces bird's eye chili (siling labuyo)

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph

    Additional research by Tristen Mendoza

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