A bibingka vendor in Cebu City’s Carbon Market. Photo by Blue / CC BY-NC-ND.

A type of kakanin (rice-based delicacy) that uses radiant heat from charcoal embers to steam and broil the cakes simultaneously, traditionally using portable clay ovens.

To make bibingka, a batter made of ground rice cooked in coconut milk and sweetened with sugar is poured into circular tins or earthen pots lined with banana leaves.

A popular Christmas treat, bibingka is often topped with freshly grated coconut, salted eggs and/or kesong puti (fresh water buffalo cheese).

Regional bibingka specialties abound
Places claiming aim to particularly special bibingkas include:
• Ilocos Norte, where bibingka is a sticky, dense rice cake, topped with peanuts and broiled to a crisp
• Manila, where the fluffy “extra super special” bibingkas made from pure galapong (rice dough) are a mainstay at the venerable Ferino’s Bibingka
• Cainta, Rizal, which lays claim to being the birthplace of bibingka, though its local interpretation consists of clumped grains of rice (as opposed to rice flour) topped with coconut jam
• Mandaue, a city adjacent to Cebu in the Visayas Region, where spongy Mandaue bibingkas, baked in the traditional “inurno” method with terra cotta ovens, are a true point of pride for locals; also, tuba (palm wine) was once an ingredient in their bibingka

Other points of interest
• Bibingka on The Kitchn!
• “Waffingka”, anyone?
• Check The Bibingka Vendor by celebrated sculpturist Napoleon Abueva
Five minutes in the lives of Carbon Market vendors

Primary information translated from the wonderful community behind Sagisag Kultura, a cultural research and awareness project by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

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