Say this about Filipino breakfasts: they’re never boring, they’re always satisfying. Indeed, even the most destitute Filipino families can still manage to get a hot, belly-filling meal to help them get through the day. Harried Pinoy urbanites also feel that something never seems quite right when they start the day on an empty stomach.
Breaking the fast in the Philippines calls for meals that heavily feature carbohydrates and protein. They may not be the healthiest morning meals in the world, but you have to admit that they’re still a better deal than, say, a miserly set of two thin and stale triangles of toast and a cup of weak tea.
In this day and age when fast-food joints are open 24 hours a day to cater to the growing BPO industry, it is so easy to grab an American sausage-and-egg breakfast and a cup of coffee if one is rushing about. However, Filipino food culture is more about sitting up at table to enjoy one’s meal rather than gobbling stuff on the go (such behavior courts indigestion!), so many Filipinos – even hectic-lived city-dwellers – opt to sit down to full meals of rice and numerous viands.
The hot long-ka-log shown above is one such example. It is so called based on a syllable from each component on the plate: HOTdog, LONGganiza (the sweet and garlicky kind), KAnin (steamed rice), and itLOG (an egg fried sunny-side-up). It is an excellent combination of flavors and textures all melding harmoniously with each mixed-up spoonful. A good drizzle of sinamak (vinegar infused with black pepper and garlic) mixed with soy sauce adds a salty-sour counterpoint to the meal and there’s a hefty glass of pandan gulaman (a green-tinged cooler of pandan-infused gelatin and sugar syrup) to wash it down.
Once amply fed, one steps out to meet the urban bustle head-on to start a new day.